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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

 

Every non-democratic political activism group has had their propaganda machine.  Hitler had his.  Castro had his.  Hussein had his.  Lenin had his.  Putin has his.  Propaganda machines are necessary in order to convince people you are correct in your views.  When used properly, as in the examples above, they can bring about the type of change non-democratic political activism wants.  Mainly that they gain total control of a country.

The whole premise of propaganda machines is to spread rumors, lies, hate, and then tell everyone you have the solutions to everyone’s woes.  You make some other group or the current political system the fault of all of the problems in the world.  You victimize people who look and think like you to gain their support.  You don’t even have to be specific about what you will do to “fix” things, all you have to do is make sure someone else is to blame.

Roger Ailes over at Fox News appears to be taking pride in the fact that his “news” station has become that propaganda machine.  He has even stopped pretending that Fox News is “fair and balanced” in recent comments.   We all know that Fox News has lied about the ACA.  They have run untrue stories about welfare and food stamps.  They have tried their best to make sure that “white” people feel victimized because the demographics of the country are changing.  They villainize minorities and women.  Things they don’t believe in become “agendas” like the “gay agenda”, the “black agenda” the “illegal agenda”, etc.  They are following the propaganda machine rule book to a tee.

They have now landed on a new hero.  Cliven Bundy!  Here is a rancher in Nevada who has stolen from the American People for over 20 years to make a profit for himself.  When the government tried to stop him, he and his militia buddies showed up on government land, not his land, armed to the teeth and threatened the federal officials with bodily harm.  Fox News hopped on the story faster than you could blink.  Especially Sean Hannity!  According to Mr. Hannity, Cliven Bundy is an American Hero who deserves better.  Even though he owes the government over 1 million dollars in grazing fees and fines for illegally grazing on land he does not own.

Sean Hannity said that the BLM’s action lacked proportionality.  He claims that federal officials should not have shown up on Mr. Bundy’s land with guns to round-up the cattle.  Problem number one is that the officials never went onto Mr. Bundy’s land.  They only rounded up cattle on government land.  There were no guns pointed until Mr. Bundy and the rest of his wacko buddies showed up with their guns.  Plus, if you have ever seen a foreclosure or other re-possession by court order, you will note that the people who show up are law enforcement officials who carry guns.  So this argument is a lie.

He also asked “What is wrong with Bundy’s cows cutting some grass for free?”  Well for one thing, Mr. Bundy does not own the grass.  For another, he has been offered to let his “cows cut the grass” but would need to pay a fee like all the other ranchers who use public land for grazing.  Secondly, Mr. Bundy is using federal grass to “feed” his cows for free.  Making his profits higher because he isn’t paying to feed them.  If nothing else, that is putting the other ranchers in the area at a competitive disadvantage.  Stealing is stealing.  Stealing by the way is a crime.  Seems Mr. Hannity thinks it is okay for a rancher to steal from the government, but not okay for the government to help the poor.  I have an idea, why doesn’t Mr. Hannity tell Mr. Bundy on air that Mr. Bundy can bring his cattle to Mr. Hannity’s property to “cut the grass for free”!

Cliven Bundy could easily be called a thief, he could be called a felon, he could be called a welfare rancher.  All things that Fox News claims that the poor are because they are poor.  If violence breaks out in poor areas of a city, it is because “those people” don’t understand right from wrong.  It is their “culture” of violence.  But a white man who has been stealing from the government for 20 years is a hero.  How does that happen?

Maybe, just maybe it is because Mr. Bundy shares Mr. Ailes and Mr. Hannity’s view of the world and the problem they see of changing demographics in the country.  Mr. Bundy told a group of people who went to his house to talk to him, including a reporter from the New York Times:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro.”  Bundy told of driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he continued. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

“Never learned how to pick cotton,” really?  He uses this to justify his theft, and Fox News want to make him a hero?  To date, Mr. Hannity has said nothing about the welfare rancher’s racist comments.  I doubt he will.  That may take the mask off of his hero.  Propaganda machines don’t work that way.  Keeping the mask on is the important thing in their rule book.

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The Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s affirmative action ban.  The ruling means that the State of Michigan is able to eliminate race as a basis for determining who gets into college or not.  This ban was passed by a voter initiative.  The old argument of “race doesn’t matter anymore” is the battle cry.  There are currently three states that have similar bans.  Michigan, California, and Washington.  In all three states, minority enrollment into State Colleges has plummeted since the bans were put in place.  There is currently a battle raging in California to reinstate affirmative action in determining college enrollment.

The Roberts Court has overturned several laws that were the result of fighting against the Jim Crowe court.  That court basically ruled that blacks do not have the same rights a whites.  That was finally overturned in the sixties with the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.  Now, the Roberts Court is trying to bring the basic “separate but equal” stupidity back into vogue.

The problem is that this will not just cover minorities of race.  Blacks and Latinos are the prime victims, but other groups are also in the cross-hairs of the Roberts Court.  Only four states that ban same-sex marriage is not having their bans challenged in court, yet.  Popular opinion has swung in favor of same-sex marriage rights.  There has been hope that the courts will rule in favor of same-sex marriage.  But, there are other precedents that this court has used to overturn rulings from the past, and one very disturbing opinion from the Michigan case that may stop equal rights in its tracks.

The elimination of the most important part of the Voting Rights Act that was struck down, namely that states with a history of voter restrictions must get pre-approval before implementing new voting rules led to a mass of states passing voter restriction laws called “Voter ID” laws all in the name of “combating voting fraud”, which really doesn’t exist!  They are clearly intended to disenfranchise minorities, youth, and elderly voters.

But in the Michigan opinion, one thing stands out to me that is very disturbing.  Justice Anthony Kennedy said voters chose to eliminate racial preferences, presumably because such a system could give rise to race-based resentment. Kennedy said nothing in the Constitution or the court’s prior cases gives judges the authority to undermine the election results.  So what Justice Kennedy and his majority on the court are saying, if the voters choose to deny rights to a group of people, the courts cannot do anything about it to protect the minorities being adversely affected.

A large number of states that have passed same-sex marriage discrimination laws have done so by a ballot initiative.  Justice Kennedy’s writing seems to suggest that if a discrimination voter initiative manages to pass, that will be the end of it.  His argument of  “presumably because such a system could give rise to race-based resentment” echoes all to well the Jim Crowe courts actions.  Since when does the constitution or civil rights depend upon worrying about “race-based resentment”.  If that were the case, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act would never have been passed.

The Republicans have coined the term “slippery slope” to deny rights to citizens.  They use it in instances like “if we allow same-sex marriages, it will cause a “slippery slope’ to bestiality.  But this “slippery slope” can work both ways including affecting large groups of our population and put them on a path of second-class citizenship.  If you can take away race, you can take away sexual orientation.  If you can take away sexual orientation, you can take away religion.  If you can take away religion, you can take away nationality.

It may be harsh to say, but the actions of the Roberts Court has taken on a very similar smell as the Jim Crowe Court.  Only time will tell how the court rules on the same-sex marriage issue.  We will get some understanding of how it is leaning when they decide on the birth control mandate in the ACA that companies are challenging on “religious” grounds.  If their argument is upheld, the flood-gates will open and we will see many more rights taken away from everyone not considered a “true conservative”.

There is something very wrong with a Supreme Court that rules that corporations and corporate spending in elections is the same as “people”, yet is willing to overturn rulings that give equal opportunity to “real people” just trying to get ahead.  All of the social progress we made in the last 50 years is hanging on the Roberts Court.  Will we continue our progress?  Or, will we return to the Jim Crowe days with old and new victims?

 

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As usual, this time of year is somewhat slow for politics.  Easter holiday has come, spring break has come, and Congress has taken its, what 54th recess this year?  So, other than the usual right-wing nonsense going on continuously, there isn’t much to talk about in politics.  So, it is time to start to strategize for the mid-term elections.

Everyone is missing the whole point of the Republican strategy.  Their whole premise is to hold the House and take the Senate.  They don’t plan on doing this through strong policies that appeal to the electorate.  They know they don’t have any strong policies, or weak ones for that matter, that appeal to the electorate.  So, they are counting on their gerrymandering of districts and passing as many voter restriction laws as possible.

That should be their undoing not their success.  Rather than complaining about the laws and gerrymandered districts, Democrats need to show how Republicans are rigging the elections and they need to start getting the electorate fired up about how the Republicans are trying to destroy democracy.  I don’t care what polls you watch, what people you talk to, or what demographic you listen to, they all have one common belief.  Democracy is sacred in America and they don’t want anyone to take it away from them.

All of the voter restriction laws are aimed at the same people.  They are aimed at the poor, minorities, the young, and the elderly.  Why?  Because these groups of people traditionally vote democratic.  So, in order to win the election, these people must be disenfranchised.  These people must be kept from voting.  They are not the “right” people who should be allowed to vote.

On top of all of that, the Republican money machine is cranking out the TV advertisements in record numbers.  All going after the ACA and Democrats who voted for it.  We have come to a time in this country when people can simply spend money wherever they wish, even in districts they are not represented in.  That is thanks to the SCOTUS rulings about financing in elections.  Now, a rich person can spend money wherever they want, at whatever amount they want, all in order to “buy” an election so their economic interests are better protected.

We have seen these types of shenanigans before.  It isn’t new.  We have overcome them before too.  We can overcome them again.  But, it will take a lot of hard work.  Look, I know that mid-term elections usually draw a small percent of the voting public.  But, this time we need to make those numbers rise.  We need to make the electorate so hopping mad at the Republicans that they want to vote them out.

Democrats don’t have to lie about the Republican agenda either.  There are plenty of examples to use to fire up the electorate.  There are the voter suppression laws, women’s issues, minority issues, minimum wage, reduced spending for public education, privatization of schools, the Republican plan to privatize social security and medicare, the elimination budget for welfare, WIC, food stamps, veteran benefits.  The list goes on.

Democrats need to espouse these items and use them against the Republicans.  More importantly, they need to mobilize like they did before.  They need to have groups look at the voter suppression laws and figure out how these disenfranchised groups can obtain their ID so they can register and vote.  Then, they need to mobilize people to assist them in getting their IDs.  Stop saying who can’t get them, and start helping them get their ID.  Make it local!

When we discus minimum wage, stop just talking solely about fast food workers in urban areas.  Point out that white rural workers are affected just as much as urban workers.  After all, the Republican base is mostly white rural people.  We need to show them that voting for Republicans is voting against their pocketbooks.    As Bill Clinton once said, “it is all about the economy”.  Make it local!

When town hall meetings are held in Republican districts, and the candidate says “Obamacare is a disaster” step up and ask what their alternative is.  Then ask what do we do about the “people in this room” who now have health coverage they didn’t have before?  Stop making this a national issue by talking about the “millions”.  Start making it a local issue.  Even in Republican states, people who never had health coverage now have it.  What will happen to them if the ACA is repealed?  Don’t let them talk in generalities either.  Make them state what they plan to do!  Make it Local!

You can also ask them about the minimum wage and how it affects their constituents.  All over America there are people making minimum wage, or just above it, that can’t make ends meet.  Show them in these town hall meetings that the Republicans are going to keep them down.  That they won’t do anything to help them in their plight.  Make it local!

Ask them if they attended public schools.  If they did, ask why they propose to reduce the public school budgets.  Ask them why your children can’t be afforded the same education they got in order to get ahead.  Make it local!

Ask if they voted for or against the Violence Against Women Act.  If they say they voted no, ask how they could justify not protecting women from violence especially domestic violence.  Ask them how that could possibly square with their idea of the “rule of law”?  Don’t be afraid to point that probably at least one in three women in the room have probably been a victim in the past.  How do they plan to protect these women?  Make it local!

It is time for the people to take back their government from the 1% group.  It is time to show them that no matter how much money they have, they cannot buy the American Government.  It is time to stop this bigotry in its tracks.  It is time for the Tea Party to be thrown into the Boston Harbor and drowned!  I won’t happen until we put the Republican Candidates on the spot!  Until we make them say something specific about their plans!  When they won’t be specific, we will have the ammunition to say they don’t have a plan.  We will be able to make it local?

It won’t happen until democrats and other groups see the same dangers of these policies like they did the segregated south in the fifties and sixties.  Until there is a mobilization of the American People who rightly stand for true democracy, the oligarchs will continue to corrupt the  political process.

If we want America to remain a true democracy, we need to start action now.  We cannot wait for the next Presidential Election.  If the Republicans gain control of both houses this year, the next Presidential Election may be too late.  If you want to beat them, change the game.  Make it local!

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I generally stay away from labeling generations.  I know there has been a lot of talk about the Gen X, Millennial, and now the Gen Z.  I prefer to look at them as aspiring young people who are intelligent, loving, and hard-working.  The problem is that in our political system, no one wants to talk to them about their problems and what they think and believe.  That is a very sad state of affairs.

The younger generations are facing problems that we did not face.  I grew up in the sixties and I saw a country with lots of potential for me.  I saw strong labor groups who spoke up for the workers.  I saw companies that actually treated their employees like partners in business.  I saw that if you worked hard, you would definitely have an opportunity to get a head.  I saw minority and women’s rights being promoted.  I saw a public education system that if you didn’t want to go to college, they taught a trade you could make a living with.  I saw a bright future for me and my country.

Although for its time education was expensive, it was not something that would take 40 years to payoff your student loans.  Plus, when you graduated from college, there were plenty of opportunities for employment in good paying jobs.  That isn’t the case anymore.  Education costs have exploded, student loans take 20-40 years to payoff, and good paying jobs for graduates are becoming less and less.  Additionally, public education no longer offer “trade” schools anymore.

Now, I am not going to say that I know how these young people feel about things.  Although I may be able to sympathize with them, I cannot empathize with them.  I did not face the same problems as they do.  As a matter of fact, my parents generation who grew up in the great depression, is the only living generation that can empathize with them.  They grew up in similar times as these young people have.

It would also be easy to say that the younger generations could improve their plight if they became more active in politics.  But, that is fantasy.  Many people from my generation say that “we changed” things in this country.  That is also a fantasy.  Yes, we were very active in politics and social issues.  But, did we really change anything?  If you want to be honest, the answer is no!

Despite our activism, we actually didn’t change anything.  Why?  Because the older generations who controlled politics did not listen to us.  They called us names.  They put us down as “whiners”.  They put labels on us like communists.  They simply went about their business without listening to their own children.

Today is no different.  The so-called millennial generation is getting the same treatment as we did and that is our fault.  No one wants to really listen to them.  No one wants to include them in discussions.  No one wants to sit down with them and actually “speak” with them.  It doesn’t matter if these young people are conservative or liberal.  It doesn’t matter what their religious beliefs are.  What matters is that they are our children and grandchildren.  They are people who have the same dreams and desires that every generation before them had.  They deserve to have their voice heard!

It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over-and-over expecting different results.  Not listening to, not including, not looking for new ideas from these young people is insanity!  These people have grown up seeing the demise of labor.  They have grown up seeing the demise of the middle-class.  They have grown up seeing pay inequity rise.  They graduate from college only to find the only jobs available are minimum wage positions.  They look to a bleak future.

When they express their ideas, they are ridiculed.  When express their beliefs, they are told they are crazy.  When they worry about their future, they are called whiners.  When they work their butts off for their company to make it successful, they are asked why aren’t they doing more?  Is it any wonder they look at the dysfunctional political system and economic system and ask “why bother?”

When younger generations believe that they really matter to those in power, and see at least some of these politicians actually try to help them, not just give them lip-service, they will become more active in the process.  But, as usual, the system dismisses them because they are young and “don’t know better”.  States try to limit their ability to vote in elections.  They are put down and told to “stop whining and get a job.”  That is a pure waste of talent.  It is time to stop patronizing the younger generations and start treating them as the equal partners that they are.

We will not dig ourselves out of this malaise until we start including their ideas and talent.  They are not only our future, they offer us the ideas we need to make the future better for us and them and their children.  We need to start listening to our children and grandchildren!  It is time we stop telling them to “get off my lawn!”

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For years, the Republican Party has made the phrase about the “makers and takers” their political platform.  They always cite people on food stamps, welfare, WIC, Medicaid and the working poor at the “takers”.  Then, they turn around and tell everyone that the “makers” are those who are paying those poverty level wages.

We have discussed several times the fact that major corporations in this country pay little or no taxes.  They receive millions of dollars in subsidies from the government.  The very infrastructure they depend on is funded by tax dollars they don’t pay. And the list goes on and on.  However, the right-wing has found itself a new hero to fall back on.  Our friends over at the Foreign Owned Xenophobic news network even calls him a hero.  When in fact, he has been stealing from the Federal Government and American Taxpayers for 20 years and should be put in jail!

Of course I am talking about Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.  Mr. Bundy is a rancher in Nevada with a somewhat sizable herd of cattle.  Problem is his land is not big enough to maintain his herd.  Therefore, Mr. Bundy uses Public Owned Land to allow his cattle to graze on.  The Bureau of Land Management allows ranchers to utilize public land for grazing as long as the rancher pays a grazing fee.  Seems everyone in the area pays the grazing fee except Mr. Bundy.

He claims the government does not have the right to charge him the fees.  He says he does not “recognize” the governments right to the fees or even owning the land.  As a result, Mr. Bundy has NOT paid his grazing fees for 20 years.  He currently owes the Federal Government approximately $1.1 million dollars in back fees.

The government has tried to deal with Mr. Bundy in court and administratively to no avail.  Recently, they received a court order that allowed them to confiscate Mr. Bundy’s herd and sell it off to settle his debt.  Of course, Mr. Bundy started the bullshit of screaming how the government is overreaching and that he is just a “patriot” trying to make a living.  Naturally, other wackos, mostly from out-of-state showed up last Saturday, armed to the teeth, to “take back Mr. Bundy’s herd”.

After a very tense standoff, the BLM backed down and allowed Mr. Bundy to remove his cattle.  They didn’t want to get into a shooting match with the well-armed militia nuts who showed up.  The showdown is far from over. The BLM says it will “continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially,” though Bundy still doesn’t recognize federal authority over the federal lands that he continues to use in violation of a court order. The federal judge who issued that decision says Bundy’s claims “are without merit.”

That order from October 2013 says Bundy owes $200 per day per head for every day he fails to move his cattle. That amounts to roughly $640 million in damages owed to the federal government for illegally grazing his cattle.  Can anyone say felony?

This is the face of the right-wing’s “makers”!  A rancher who decides which laws he will follow, and which he won’t.  He makes money off of selling cattle that he feeds illegally on public lands stealing from the American People.  Their mouthpiece, FOX news, calls Mr. Bundy a “patriot and hero”.  I call Mr. Bundy a common criminal!

Mr. Bundy even backs up his claim by stating that his ancestors have been working the land since the 1800s.  Okay, but what about those Native American Tribes who worked the land and lived there for hundreds of years before Mr. Bundy’s ancestors ever saw the land?  Oh yeah, they aren’t white are they.  Guess in Mr. Bundy’s mind that means they don’t count!

There has always been conflict between ranchers in “sagebrush country” and the government.  There probably will always be conflict.  But showing up and threatening to shoot the wranglers who were hired to carry out a court order is not patriotism, it is anarchy!  So why should the right and their mouthpiece FOX news support such behavior?  Because it stirs up the hatred that they want.  The party of “pure evil” I wrote about yesterday wants anarchy.  That is their whole game plan to seize power.

The next time you hear one of the Republicans talk about the “makers”, you should picture Mr. Bundy.  This “maker” is a thief and “taker”.  That is what the Republicans support.  All the while they talk about gutting social safety nets, they want to allow thieves like Mr. Bundy to continue stealing from the public and calls him a hero.

It all falls in line with their true motto:  “Steal from the poor and give it to the rich”!  Bet that would look good on a bumper sticker!

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As we start gearing up for the 2014 mid-term elections, we have to look at not just what each candidate is saying, we need to look at what the American People are saying as well.  When you look at the polls on any variety of issues, the American People are saying one thing, and the Republican Party is saying another.

The mid-terms could be an avalanche for the Democrats if only they would actually state the real differences between them and the Republicans.  Now, I am not a Democrat nor a Republican.  I stand by my independence.  I do lean left as everyone knows, but that doesn’t mean that I universally reject anyone solely based on a their party affiliation.

But, I am going to say this very clearly.  This mid-term election offers America two choices.  This election is between a party that is looking to keep American growing into the 21st Century, and a party that is pure evil!  Yes, I said pure evil!  The Republican Party has proven time-and-again over the last five plus years that they are the party of pure evil.

There are multiple examples of their evil all across the country.  You only need to look at the recent Republican Budget passed by the House to see their true intent.  This budget guts almost every social safety net, but continues to call for tax breaks for the wealthy.  Mr. Boehner the other day said he would not bring the Extended Unemployment Insurance bill passed by the Senate to the floor for a vote.  Thereby dooming over 2 million people to poverty and even losing their homes.  But, he doesn’t care.  The reason he won’t bring the bill to a vote?  He wants cuts in the corporate taxes.

He heads a party that claims they are for freedom.  They claim they are for the constitution.  They claim they are for keeping the government out of our lives.  They claim they are for equality in the workplace.  The claim they support job creation.  They claim a lot of things.  But, when you look at their policies and their talking points, you soon realize they are only for divisiveness and hate.  That is pure evil!

Let’s look at their policies and measure them against their own standards.

They are totally against same-sex marriage.  They stand by their “definition” of marriage being between one man and one women.  They claim “freedom of religion” as an excuse to discriminate against gays.  They say they are for the “freedom of religion”, but they really mean that they are for the “freedom of their religion” but not anyone who disagrees with them.

Here is a question that they will never answer.  If marriage is a state sponsored institution, what does it have to do with religion?  Yes, marriage is a state sponsored institution.  Marriage gives couples protections under the law about taxes, inheritances, child rearing, home ownership, and a host of other “privileges” that single people don’t get.  Therefore, since marriage is a state sponsored institution, refusing to allow same-sex marriage is unconstitutional since that act openly discriminates against certain groups of people based on religious belief not the constitution.  It is no different from saying a black cannot marry a white.  That is pure evil!

They are against abortion rights.  All across the country, the Republicans are passing legislation in states to deny a woman the right to an abortion if that is her decision.  All the while saying the government should “stay out of our lives” they are more than willing to crawl into the life of a woman.  There is no social justification for this attempt to ban abortion.  It is purely religious.  All the while they cry that their “religious freedom” is being ignored because they cannot discriminate against gays, they are denying a woman her “religious freedom” in determining whether or not to have an abortion.  That is pure evil!

The constitution clearly states there is to be a separation of church and state.  Therefore, passing legislation that is based solely on religious beliefs is unconstitutional.  If you claim to be in favor of the constitution and the freedoms it guarantees, then passing legislation that is unconstitutional, is pure evil!

The Affordable Care Act mandated the expansion of Medicaid in all states.  It even gives 100% of the cost of expansion to the states for the first three years, and 90% of the cost of expansion thereafter.  The Supreme Court in its idiocy struck down that portion of the bill and said states have the right to choose whether or not to expand Medicaid in their states.  At least 24 states decided not to expand Medicaid.  Every one of these states is either fully or mostly controlled by Republicans.

As a result, millions of people who would have been able to get health care cannot.  It is estimated that up to 17,000 people will die from preventable causes each year because of their decision to withhold health care from their citizens.  There is no reason or any shred of justification for this denial of health care.  They simply don’t like it.  That is pure evil!

They want private companies to be able to “pick-and-choose” the contraception coverage offered by company sponsored health insurance plans.  They claim that the owner’s “religious beliefs” should be the deciding factor.  Hobby Lobby sued over the mandate for contraception coverage.  All the while they are investing from their “retirement plans” funds in the very companies that make these same contraceptives.  According to Hobby Lobby, it is okay for the company and their employees to make money off these companies, but not okay for their employees to use the very products they are investing in.  They don’t see any hypocrisy either.  That is pure evil!

They claim they are for creating jobs.  Yet, they have proposed no legislation to create jobs.  The only thing they say will create jobs is cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy.  This has failed for the last 30 years, yet they continue to repeat the same failed slogans.  The administration has offered several bills that would create long-lasting, well-paying jobs.  The Republicans have failed to bring one of those bills up for a vote in the House.  These bills would improve our roads, bridges, electrical grid, sewers, water lines, and other parts of our infrastructure which is crumbling.  That is pure evil!

They claim they are for upward mobility.  Yet they continuously vote to slash education funding.  They continuously vote to hold down the minimum wage.  The repeatedly vote down equal pay legislation so women cannot be guaranteed the same pay for the same work.  As a matter of fact, several members of the House, on the Republican side, even want to eliminate the Federal Minimum Wage altogether.  That is pure evil!

There are a lot of other examples to offer like voter restriction laws, but I think you get the idea.  The problem is if the Democrats don’t start calling out their opponents on these issues and show the American People just how evil the Republican Party has become, they are doomed to fail.

Yes, we have a definite choice in this mid-term election.  We can either vote to move the country forward, or we can vote for pure evil.  Remember when you are standing in the voting booth, if you vote for pure evil, they will soon be coming for you as well!

 

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I know that the current Republican Party leans towards white men.  Mostly to “older” white men.  I know that women are very intelligent people.  I understand that there are differences between the genders.  But, I cannot understand why the Republican Party seems to think that women are second-class citizens.  I especially don’t understand how any woman can possibly defend the Republicans policies towards women.  To bring up an old saying, “what are they smoking?”

The latest woman who claims that the Republicans are not waging a war on women is Marsha Blackburn.  The Republican Representative from Tennessee says: “I find this war on women rhetoric just almost silly. Go back through history, and look at who was the first woman to ever vote, elected to office, go to Congress, four out of five governors.”   Okay, I am not quite sure what she means by that either.

She went on to say trying to defend her opposition to the Fairness Paycheck Act, “The legislation was something that was going to be helpful for trial lawyers, and what we would like to see happen is equal opportunity and clearing up some of the problems that exist that are not fair to women,” she said. “We’re all for equal pay. I would love for women to be focused on maximum wage.”  Question, if you are for equal pay, why aren’t you voting for it?

She claims that the Republican Party are the ones fighting for the rights of women.  Okay, let’s take a look at their stances.

When it comes to health insurance, they feel that women should pay more for health insurance than men do.  This clearly came out when Sec. Sebelius was grilled by Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C during a congressional hearing.  For years before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies charged more for premiums for women simply because of maternity care coverage.  Since men didn’t need that coverage, they were charged less.  In other words, if you were a woman, you paid more simply because you were a woman.  Funny thing though, they did not charge men more for coverage since they were the only ones who were treated for testicular cancer or prostate cancer.

Yet, the Republicans seem to think that it is okay for women to be charged more because they are women.  Women need maternity care, breast cancer care, uterine cancer, etc.  That is how they look at “fighting for women’s rights” in health care.

The Republicans also want to allow private employers to decide what forms of birth control, if any, they will be allowed to have covered under their insurance plans.  If an owner disagrees with an option, its gone from the plan!  If they don’t like birth control at all, then birth control is eliminated from the plan.  Not one of these Republicans have raised the issue of Viagra and other ED medicines being covered for men in their health insurance plans.  We won’t even get into abortion coverage.

Speaking about abortion, Republicans across the nation have been doing everything possible to eliminate a woman’s right to choose.  They are the party that claims they want government out of our lives, but are very willing to step into a woman’s life when it comes to abortion.  The State of Alaska is even trying to pass a law that will define what is “critical health” status when deciding on whether or not an abortion is necessary.  It will be the State of Alaska defining this, not the doctor.  Additionally, the State of Tennessee, yes the same state of Marsha Blackburn, passed a law that can put women if jail if they give birth to a stillborn baby.  It is mostly aimed at women who use drugs while pregnant, but it includes a whole lot more.  One woman was institutionalized because she refused a C-Section after the doctor told her she needed it “because she already had one done in the past”.  Turns out she gave natural birth to that child and a couple of more later.  So much for government staying out of our lives.

They are passing voter restriction laws.  Of course they are calling them Voter ID laws.  Problem is that most people who have trouble getting the “proper” ID so they can vote are women.  There was even a case in Texas during their primary where a female judge was not allowed to vote because she didn’t have the “proper” ID!  Why is this suppression necessary?  Because women are more likely to vote than men are.  Plus, they often vote for the other side.

Of course they are against any “equal pay” measures claiming they are unnecessary.  They are against raising the minimum wage even though 1 in 3 people making minimum wage are women with children.  Their latest budget, which Ms. Blackburn supported, guts food stamps, snap, WIC, welfare, and other safety nets needed by single women with children.

Marsha Blackburn says it is the Republicans who are fighting for the rights of women.  If this is what she considers fighting for women, as a husband and father of two daughters, I ask her to stop her fight.  With friends like her, women in America don’t need any enemies!

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As expected, the Republicans have once again stalled the Fair Paycheck Act.    Scott Walker, that wonderful Governor who thinks unions are Satanists, says that pay inequality is a “bogus issue”.  Another “screw the poor” Governor, Rick Perry, says that the debate about fair pay is “nonsense”.  Then there is Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute, and supporter of GOP Governor hopeful Gregg Abbot, says that inequality pay is nonsense and backs up his statement  saying:  “Women prefer to stay home with their children.  And they also choose lower-paying jobs.”

Unfortunately, both sides of the argument are missing the whole point.  This isn’t just about pay inequality, it is about discrimination that has a lifelong effect on the people receiving less money than their counterparts.  Conservatives argue that the pay inequality is based on comparing apples and oranges.  They like to show how congresswomen receive the same pay as congressmen.  Of course, they fail to mention that is because it is the “law” that says women and men in congress get the same pay.

Liberals often cite reference material showing that women make as little as 77 cents per dollar compared to men.  Women of color make even less than their male counterparts.  These statistics are based on comparing like jobs among men and women.  Women often get less money for doing the same work as men.  That is pay inequality.

But, it goes even further than that.  Lower pay for women costs a whole lot more in future earnings than just their pay.  By making less money, women receive less money in their 401K plans, if they have one, and they receive less money from Social Security because their wages are so low.  If a woman makes less pay than a man does for doing the same job, their contributions to their 401K plan is automatically less than the man’s because they don’t have the money to put into the plan.  Plus, matching contributions from the company are less as well.  Since Social Security is based on lifetime earnings, they will receive less money in Social Security payments because they make less money.

That is a big deal.  Anyone can see that women who will be getting less income in their retirement will be forced to rely more on social service safety nets.  That means you can be forcing them to live in poverty their whole lives, including during retirement.  All because you don’t believe a woman should make as much as a man.  That is absurd!

Conservatives argue that there are already laws about equal pay.  But, they won’t let anyone enforce them.  They continuously cut budgets for the Department of Labor.  They continuously enforce archaic laws that require silence about pay among employees and no reporting of differences by the companies.  They continuously argue for “tort reform” which will limit the damages a company must pay for violating any laws.  They also have been arguing that these laws will cause “frivolous law suits”.  They are only frivolous if you think that women and men should be paid differently.

Besides, talk about frivolous, wouldn’t trying to eliminate a law of the land over 50 times be considered “frivolous”?   That is how many votes the house has held to reduce or completely repeal the Affordable Care Act.  That only proves that “frivolous” is solely dependent upon your view of what is right and what is wrong.  According to them, it is “right” to vote out a law that helps millions of people, but it is “wrong” to sue for equal pay for equal work.  That should tell you all you need to know about the Republican’s worldview.

Liberals need to change their tune when they argue for equal pay.  We need to stop just pointing out just the pay inequality at work, and start showing everyone how much it will affect women when they retire, or try to retire.  This isn’t just a woman’s issue either.  It is a family issue.  Married women are also affected.  Their comfort in retirement is on the hook, as well as their partner’s.  If a woman receives less than she should have during retirement because their pay was lower, then the whole family is affected.

No, pay inequality is not just a workplace issue.  It is a lifetime discrimination issue.  Republicans don’t seem to think that is a problem.  But, then what do you expect from a party who just passed a budget that cuts all safety nets for the poor, elderly, disabled, and veterans.

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This year is the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Bill.  There has been a lot of discussion on the “talking heads” shows about how Lyndon Johnson used his “power” to get the bill passed.  Johnson did twist a lot of arms to get the bill passed, and he deserves a lot of credit for that.  However, if this bill came to a vote today, Johnson would have been able to get it passed.

Even though there was a lot of bigotry and hatred in the sixties, there were also a lot of “cooler heads” in Congress.  Politics was just that.  Politics.  When legislation like the Civil Rights Bill came up, politicians were willing to at least discuss the bill, and look at whether or not it benefited the country.  Today, that type of politics is dead.  Therefore, I do not believe even Lyndon Johnson could get the Civil Rights Bill through the Congress today.

It is very easy to come to this decision.  Just look at all of the bills, similar to the Civil Rights Bill, that are languishing in Congress.  ENDA, The Fair Pay Act, Same-Sex Marriage, and the list goes on.  Why could Lyndon Johnson get the Civil Rights Bill passed and we can’t get these other bills passed?  Mainly because the Conservative Christian Cult has put theocracy above the constitution.  To be more blunt, they are putting their theocracy above the constitution.  Then when someone disagrees with them, they cry their “religious freedoms” are being attacked.

Many politicians of the day, especially the so-called “Dixiecrats” used similar “biblical arguments” against the Civil Right Bill that the Christian Conservative Cult is using to block these other bills.  They are famous for saying they are right because “the bible tells me so”.  They are also famous for trying to convince people that our country was founded on “Judeo-Christian” values.  Of course they are wrong.

In fact, John Adams, one of our founding fathers, said in the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797 that “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion”.  So much for the argument that the founding fathers used Christianity as the basis for our form of government.  That very argument falls in the face of fact as well.  Our government is based on what is supposed to be the “will of the people”.  Christianity, and all religions for that matter, are based on a dictatorship where the “leader” tells the “faithful” what they are supposed to do and how to act and what to believe.

The true divisiveness in politics today is not based on the difference of opinion of what is wrong with the country and how to fix it.  It is based on one side taking a theocratic approach to government.  “You only have rights if you believe what I believe.”  Since that it the total foundation of the Christian Conservative Cult, we still have unequal pay based on gender; we still have discrimination in marriage rights; we still have employers being allowed to fire someone because they believe that person is LGBTQ; we still have law suits against contraception coverage in health insurance because the “liberty” group wants to control women’s lives.

No, even Lyndon Johnson with all the leadership qualities he had would not have been able to pass the Civil Rights Bill today.  There is no way the Conservative Christian Cult’s view of American Theocracy would have allowed a democratic bill like the Civil Rights Bill to pass through Congress.   They would have cried, as they do today, that it violates their “religious freedom” to discriminate against anyone who doesn’t agree with them.  So much the worse for us!

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I finally get it.  I humbly offer my Republican friends an apology.  I may even go so far as to apologize to the Tea Party, but that may be a mea culpa too far.  All this time, I figured that the Republicans are against equal rights.  Especially when it comes to pay.  I humbly admit I was wrong.

The Republicans have a great plan for the future of our country.  Under their plan, there won’t be any “class warfare”.  There won’t be any envy.  There won’t be any discrimination against any race, color, creed, or sexual orientation.  There will be equal pay for all working class Americans.

Why didn’t I see this before?  Why didn’t I realize that they just want to even the playing field for everyone.  Their policies are aimed at this equality, and it won’t require socialism to achieve it either.  The market will set pay for everyone.  It will set education levels for everyone.  It will solve all of our problems in one swell swoop.

Why these crafty Republicans didn’t open up about their wonderful plan is a mystery to me.  If they had, Mitt Romney might have been president.  They may actually control both houses of congress.  They might actually have achieved the power they all crave.  But, they must have made a horrible mistake somewhere along the way, because most of us just didn’t get it.

If you are still having trouble seeing their plan, here is how it will work.

  • If you are white, rich, and Christian Conservative, your children will get the best education available.  They will be allowed to go to private schools under “vouchers” paid for by taxes.  That way, they will be able to maintain their status.  Everyone else will be sent to underfunded public schools.  It will be all they need.
  • If you are wealthy, one of the makers, you will have your taxes cut in half.  You won’t have to pay any more, because all of those annoying safety-nets will be radically cut or eliminated.  Besides they won’t be needed.  Their plan will ensure full employment for everyone.
  • If you are a woman, you can do anything you want.  As long as the “man” in your life says it is okay.  But, don’t even think about contraceptives, abortion, or being a CEO of a company.  A woman’s place is in the home taking care of the “man’s” children.  If you are a single woman, you can work as a secretary or some other menial position like maid or nanny until you get married.
  • If you are LBGTQ, you will either be refused work, or you will have to take a position similar to women.  If you are an immigrant, you will have to “go back to where you came from”.
  • If you are a senior, you better have planned better for your retirement because Social Security will be slashed.  But, to be fair, we will give you a small stipend so you can buy health insurance on the private market.  With no guaranties of coverage, of course.
  • Here is the best part.  Everyone who works for a living will receive the exact same pay as everyone else.  There is no reason why companies can’t create new jobs and ensure full employment.  Everyone will make minimum wage!  That way, no one can claim a man is making more than a woman.  No one can say that race is a factor.  Yes, equal pay for everyone.  Plus, employers won’t have to supply any costly mandates like health insurance.

What a wonderful society the Republicans have planned for America.  Think about it.  No one will be able to complain that someone else who works for a living will have more than they do.  No one will have to go through bothersome law suits to get fair treatment at work.  It will be a wonderful utopia for all!  How could we not vote for something as wonderful as that?

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