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So, what do you think about the Presidents State Of The Union speech last night?  All of the pundits on both the left and the right have their take on what was said.  But, the real important people who need to digest what was said is the American People.  I can only give you my view of it, you will have to decide for yourself what you think.

There were some very interesting items he brought up.  This is the first time I really believe that the President threw down the gauntlet towards the Republicans.  Whether or not you liked his ideas, at least he laid out a plan to move the country forward.  For the last six years, the Republicans have done nothing.  Our economy has grown in spite of the Republicans not because of them.

They have been proven wrong time and again.  They say that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs.  Yet in areas that did raise the minimum wage, jobs are growing faster than next door where it wasn’t raised.  They said the ACA would cause health care costs to skyrocket.  Yet, the cost of health care has gone up at its lowest rate ever.  They claimed that allowing same-sex marriage would “destroy traditional” marriage.  It hasn’t.

So, now that our economy is getting better, the President offered some ideas that would actually “help” the middle-class.  Things like increasing the EITC, tax credits for child care, and free Community College education.  Not being a Republican, he actually laid out a plan to “pay” for his middle-class tax cuts.  But, we all knew what the Republican response would be to that plan since it calls for raising the capital gains tax and closing some inheritance loopholes.

According to the Republicans and their propaganda machine, the speech was nothing more than the “redistribution of wealth.”  After the speech I heard a Republican Representative from Illinois say something I have never heard a Republican say.  He said that the idea to raise capital gains taxes in order to pay for tax breaks for the middle-class was “redistribution of wealth.”  When was the last time you heard a Republican say tax cuts were “redistribution of wealth?”

To be honest, he is such an important figure I cannot remember his name.  But, when the President said “if you really believe you can work full-time and raise a family on less than $15,000 per year, try it.”  This gentleman tweeted, “it is just as hard raising a family at 10.10 per hour”.  See he is against having a minimum wage at all.  He also claimed in the interview, that those people who are making minimum wage are teens who are getting their first job.  Of course, statistics prove him wrong, but what is a lie between friends.

This is at the real heart of the matter on the tax proposals the President is making.  If taxes are cut for the top 1%, especially the top 0.1%, it is a good thing for America and it is being fair.  If taxes are cut for the other 99% paid for by capital gains taxes, it is “redistribution of wealth.” I think that more than anything else the Republicans have said over the years shows exactly what their economic plan is all about.

Here is something else that the right doesn’t want to talk about.  That 28% capital gains tax rate the President wants, is exactly the same capital gains tax rate under the sainted Ronald Reagan.  The rest of the money comes from closing loopholes in inheritance taxes.  See, rich people leave their portfolios to their children.  The children then use a loophole to not pay any taxes on those portfolios that they did nothing to earn.

The biggest reason that inheritance taxes were invented in this country was to make sure that America did not gain an aristocracy class.  It was determined that the “old money” of England was not good for society and that it would not happen here.  Problem is that Republicans believe they are the “old money” in America and America’s aristocracy.  Therefore, they shouldn’t have to pay any taxes on money they inherit.

The Republicans seem to think that we can lower tax rates across the board and not have to pay for it.  They like their voodoo budget tricks to show they are balancing the budget.  But, under Ronald Reagan, the budget deficit grew.  Under Bill Clinton, the budget was balanced.  Then, under George W. Bush, the budget deficit grew exponentially and the economy collapsed.  As a result of two unpaid wars and the collapse of the economy, our deficit grew to about 18 Trillion Dollars.  All of this from a budget that was a surplus when Bush took office.

Funny thing, both Reagan and Bush gave massive tax cuts to the rich and did not pay for them.  They may not like it, but at least the President said how he would pay for his middle-class tax cuts.  But, instead of looking at the proposal and working out a compromise, Mitch McConnell said it is “just another tax and spend plan” that the President has been proposing all along.

Look, we all know that “redistribution of wealth” has been going on for the last 40 years, at least.  The problem is that this redistribution of wealth has been going to the wealthiest people, not the working class people.  95% of all the wealth in this latest recovery has gone to the top 1% earners while the working-class pay has gone down.

The Republicans have brought up the cry that the middle-class is still struggling due to wage stagnation.  I agree.  But, whose fault is that?  Is it the worker’s fault?  No, it is the wealthy who own companies and pay out wages who is at fault.  While they line their pockets without paying taxes on the money, the rest of us are forced to struggle.

While the wealthiest get richer, Republicans across the nation have voted to take away the workers right to unionize.  They have made it impossible for workers to negotiate pay raises through union representation.  They have basically rigged the system against the 99 percent of the people they are supposed to represent!

That is why the Republicans are against any tax hikes.  They want the 99 percent to continue to redistribute their money to the top 1% earners.  They want the 99 percent to struggle just to make ends meet so the rich can get richer.  You cannot keep taking money out of the Treasury and expect to “balance the budget” as Republicans like to say.  Without revenue, the budget cannot be balanced.

As you can see, it isn’t necessarily what the President said in his speech last night.  It is what Republicans are saying in response.  These past Republican plans were “exceptional” ideas but are now socialist plans.  And, yes, the President’s plans are taken straight out of Republican ideas.  David Camp, a Republican was the first to suggest taxing financial institution stock transactions.  Ronald Reagan believed that 28% was a “fair” tax rate on capital gains.

While they wail against the President’s speech last night, they are mute about their plans.  We are still waiting for the Republicans to publicly state their economic agenda to ensure the middle-class gets pay raises.  They keep telling us they want to “repeal and replace Obamacare” but refuse to tell us what their plan to replace it is.  They keep saying they want a ‘fair flat tax plan” yet keep trotting out a plan that will save tens of thousands of dollars for the top 1%, and raise taxes for the 99%.

The next two years will be interesting at best.  They will be dangerous at worst.  The only thing we have to protect us from the continuing Republican’s radical wealth redistribution to the top 1% is the President’s veto pen.  Hopefully the 99% will wake up during these two years.  Otherwise, the future will be very bleak.

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The Republican Party is still insisting that the middle-class has a clear pathway to success.  They claim that hard work will lift you up from poverty and move you into the middle-class.  Once there, more hard work will lift you even higher and allow you to be successful and become rich.

They are not telling you the truth.  As a matter of fact, they have done everything in their power to make sure that the middle-class goes away, and we end up with the very rich and the very poor.  That is precisely why they haven’t voted on a “jobs creating” bill in over six years.  They don’t want you to have a way to get to the top.

Their policies are despicable at best.  They are all in favor of letting student rates soar, making it impossible for less than the wealthy to attend college.  They are all in favor of cutting taxes on the wealthy while slashing social safety nets like Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Welfare and Food Stamps.  They are against raising the minimum wage.  In fact, they would rather eliminate the minimum wage all together.  They are against equal pay for equal work regardless of sex.

So, on Saturday, when the White House announced that the President will be seeking a tax increase on the very wealthy in order to help pay for a middle-class tax cut, and possibly make community college tuition free, the Republicans had a fit.  Marco Rubio said:  “Raising taxes on people that are successful is not going to make people that are struggling more successful. … It would also be counter-productive.”

Remember, Republicans always say that increasing taxes on the wealthy will cost jobs.  They have always been wrong on this matter, but they keep trumpeting the lie.  That is what “It would also be counter-productive” represents.  It is a veiled threat that jobs will be lost.

He also said:  “I’m all for reforming our higher education system.  In the 21st century, to have the skills you need for a middle-class job, you need higher education of some form or fashion. It may not be a four-year degree. The problem is he just wants to pour that additional money into the broken, existing system.”  The only thing that is broken in the existing system, is that the average person cannot afford to attend these schools.

The wages for the middle-class has stagnated for the last forty years!  The middle-class struggles did not start with the last great recession in 2008.  They have been struggling for years beginning with Nixon who went after the unions.  Once “right-to-work” laws were passed in several states, wages stagnated.  Since companies did not have to bargain with their workers anymore for raises, they all but dried up.

Today, it is becoming more and more difficult to find meaningful work.  Especially if you are looking for full-time employment.  Just take a look at job sites.  The vast majority of jobs available are at or just above minimum wage.  They are also “part-time” jobs.  It seems that companies would rather fill up on part-time employees rather than full-time.  Of course that is because it just about eliminates overtime and thus cuts wages.  It is also nearly impossible to move from a part-time job to “moving up to the middle-class through hard work” as Republicans say.

So, when Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT says:“We’re not just one good tax increase away from prosperity in this nation,”  he’s right.  We are several pay raises for everyone except the top 1% from prosperity in this nation.

In all honesty, the economy is getting better.  Confidence is beginning to rise quickly.  The real problem is that the middle-class and the working-poor are still working for wages that were set in the 1970s.  While the top 1 percent reap all of the rewards of the new upswing in the economy.   Remember, demand drives an economy, not supply.  If people are not making enough money to create demand, there can be no prosperity.

The President rightly pointed out that the tax rates he is asking for are no higher than they were under St. Reagan.  But, Republicans don’t want the 1 percent to be taxed at all.  They are still calling for a “flat tax” code.  They claim that is the fairest way to tax.  Unfortunately, all of the flat taxes they have introduced will cut the top 1 percent’s taxes by tens of thousands of dollars while the taxes for the middle-class and working-poor will increase by thousands of dollars.

Lowering the taxes on the wealthy and raising taxes on the rest of us is their idea of a “fair” tax code.  Remember, the Koch Brothers, Mitt Romney, Karl Rove, et.al., all pay a smaller percentage of their income to taxes than their Personal Assistants do.  Would you please explain to me how that is “fair?”

The time for a wreath laying at the grave of the middle-class is getting closer.  When Nixon laid the wreath at the grave of the unions, the middle-class went on life-support.  Ever since then, the Republicans have been trying to pull the plug on that life-support.  Republicans believe they are the American Aristocracy.  You can’t laud it over a middle-class that is thriving, so you have to get rid of it.

If anyone tells you the Feudal System is dead, just take a look at Republican Policies and you will discover it is alive and kicking in America.

 

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Ever since the 2008 election when Barak Obama won in basically a landslide, the Republicans have gone on-air to say they want to be an “inclusive” party.  They have been trying to reach out to African-Americans, Gays, Latinos, and Women.  So, let’s take a look at their policies and behaviors.

They still refuse to recognize same-sex marriage.  Not because it is right to deny people individual rights, but because they just don’t like the idea of two people of the same-sex getting married and being legally recognized as being married.  Their argument, even though more expansive, boils down to the simple fact they want to determine which people are allowed the same civil rights as they get.  Since their only argument is based on religious beliefs, they claim that allowing same-sex marriage is infringing on their right to freedom of religion.  Of course they are right.  That is if you consider hate and civil rights discrimination against certain groups of people is part of freedom of religion.

The courts have stepped in and determined that same-sex marriage should be legal.  They have said over-and-over that not allowing and recognizing same-sex marriage is an infringement on the civil rights of gay people.  Now about 36 states allow same-sex marriage.  Still, the Republican Platform says that they consider marriage is to be defined as “marriage between one man and one woman.”  Hardly a platform to “include” gays in their party.

It also appears that their idea of “including” Latinos is to shut down the southern border so no more Latinos can become American Citizens.  They have refused to act on any meaningful Immigration Reform and their only answer to date has been to “secure our border with Mexico.”  They want to put up a Berlin styled “wall” all along the southern border.  I can only guess that they also want guard posts along the fence to keep those pesky Latinos from crossing.

They argue that the “open southern” border is a haven for terrorists to enter the country.  Funny thing though, almost all of the terrorists who have “entered” the country have come from Canada.  Why aren’t they calling for a wall along the Canadian border?  Simple answer.  Canada is mostly white.

When it comes to “including” women into their party, they have a wide array of great legislation that helps them as well.  They don’t believe that companies should be forced to include birth control in their health insurance.  They want to shut down all abortion clinics in the country.  They want to adopt a “Personhood Amendment” to the constitution to ensure abortion will be outlawed forever.

They want to keep lower pay for women doing the same work as their male counterparts simply because they are women.  The fought tooth and nail against the Violence Against Women Act.  They want to basically legislate the idea that women are to be subordinate to men.

I left African-American issues for last for a reason.  We all know about their attacks on the African-American community, which they refuse to call African-American.  They prefer the title of Blacks.  They have gone after welfare recipients.  In several states legislation has been either introduced or passed that says if you want your welfare check, you must pass a drug test.  At the national level, they have slashed the budgets for WIC, Food Stamps and Welfare.  On the state level, they have refused to expand Medicaid.

In some very controversial cases, they say that unarmed black men who are killed by police officers “had it coming” because they were obviously breaking the law.  They have claimed that Michael Brown was “not unarmed because he was a huge fellow.”  And, of course, stealing some cigarillos is a crime worth shooting an unarmed man over.

Then, just before Christmas, a story broke about their new Whip in the House of Representatives.  The party leadership has tabbed Steve Scalise of Louisiana to be the Majority Whip in the House.  Lamar White, Jr. broke the story that in 2002 Mr. Scalise gave a speech at a conference of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO).

EURO is a white supremacist group led and founded by non other than the infamous David Duke.  If you aren’t old enough to remember, David Duke is a leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Louisiana and ran for political office, including the Governorship based on a white supremacist platform.

When the story broke, Mr. Scalise said he had given a speech at the EURO conference and said “it was a mistake” that he did so.  He argued that he had a very small staff, that he was giving speeches against a tax bill in Louisiana that he gave to hundreds of groups, and that he did not know that EURO was a white supremacist group.  The lamest part of his “apology” was that he couldn’t look up the group himself on Google because it didn’t exist back then.  Problem is that Google started in 1998.  Four years before 2002.  Yahoo also had a search engine that was even older.

If you think that his argument may be correct because he wasn’t “tech savvy,” Mr. Scalise has a degree in computer programming.  Yet he claims to have no knowledge of search engines in 2002!  I don’t know about you, but to me that either makes him a really lousy computer programmer or a really bad liar.

He also claims that he was actively campaigning against a tax bill in Louisiana.  That bill was called the Stelly Plan.   The Stelly Plan was, essentially, a proposal to lower sales taxes on electricity, gas, water and home food consumption and replace that lost revenue by closing loopholes on individuals making more than $80,000 a year who double-count their federal and state income tax exemptions.

Here is the problem with his statement about campaigning against the Stelly Plan.  He gave his speech to EURO in mid-May.  The bills that made up the Stelly Plan didn’t even go to committee until May 28.  At least 10 days after his speech at EURO.  I could find no record in Louisiana papers that indicated that Mr. Scalise or anyone else was on a campaign to defeat the bills until at least August.  There seems to be a conflict between Mr. Scalise’s statement and the facts about the Stelly Plan fight.

Mr. Scalise says he doesn’t know David Duke.  But, he does know what David Duke stands for.  In 1999, he reportedly told news outlets that he agreed with a lot of David Duke’s conservative positions but that David Duke was basically unelectable and that was the basic reason he opposed him.  He further went on to say that he was “David Duke without all the baggage.”  Note that he opposed David Duke not because of his racist views, but because he was unelectable.  I find it difficult to believe that a man who claims to be “David Duke without the baggage” is not inherently a racist, too.  Otherwise comparing yourself to a known racist should be political suicide.

Since the story broke the Republican Leadership including John Boehner has stood by their appointment of Mr. Scalise to the position of Whip.  The odd fact in all of this, is the former Whip was Jewish.  He was the only Jewish member of Congress in a leadership role.  Now, Mr. Boehner and the Republican Party seem to think that it is okay for them to appoint a person who speaks to racist anti-Jewish organizations to replace him.

To my mind, Mr. Scalise is hiding something.  There is no way that he could not have known what EURO was.  Hell, even a minor league baseball team for the Chicago Cubs changed their hotels when they discovered that the EURO conference was being held there.  Are you telling me that a minor league baseball team knows what EURO is and a State Representative of Louisiana doesn’t?  It just doesn’t wash.

So, there you have it.  We have the Republican Party who wants to be “inclusive” to minority groups, yet they continuously disregard the needs of those very groups.  To add salt to the wound, they now want to keep someone, who seriously appears to be a racist, and/or a very bad liar to the position of Whip.  Remember, one of the primary jobs of the Whip is to raise money for campaigns.

It will be very interesting how many mainstream Republican donors will welcome Mr. Scalise into their offices to give them a speech as to why they should contribute to the Republican Party.  As a matter of fact, that is the main reason some Republicans are calling for Mr. Scalise to be removed from the post.  Not because he gave a speech to a racist organization, and then apparently lied as to why he did, but because it might interfere with raising money.

I don’t think anything more can show exactly what is important to the Republican Party.  It obviously isn’t about being “inclusive” it is all about raising money.  What can say more about their true feelings about African-Americans, Latinos, Gays, and Women?  Just remember, once they “take care” of these groups, you may be next.  GOP has been scarred so badly that it should now be referred to as the Grand Oligarch Party.

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Next week the new Congress will take over.  Both the House and the Senate will be controlled by Republicans.  Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.  Republicans in the past were at least willing to compromise and make the government work.  This batch of Republicans have proven over the last six years they are unwilling to compromise and/or govern.

Many people believe that is because they are only interested in “their way or the highway” philosophy.  They wrap themselves in the flag and religion and pretend that they have the will of the American People at heart.  Of course, their policies have proven that the last thing they have at heart is the will of the American People.

Republicans, especially the conservative wing of the party, have been embroiled in defending racism over the last several months.  Their arguments about deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson and New York City have proven that they consider black men as criminals until proven innocent.  They have also shown that they believe the police are right just because they are police.

The tragedy of the shooting deaths of two New York City Police Officers really brought this to a head.  Conservatives are screaming that the protests over the deaths of unarmed men directly are responsible for the deaths of the police officers.  If there were no protests, they argue, then these officers would not have been shot.  We are supposed to rally around the police officers, but we are to say nothing about those others who were killed by police officers.  According to them, we are to blindly follow the instructions of police even if we believe the police are wrong.

This is something called legalism.  Legalism is a notion that we are supposed to blindly follow those in authority simply because they are in authority.  We are supposed to be a nation of laws, so if there is a law we must obey it no matter what the circumstances are.  If a police officer kills an unarmed man, we must assume that the police officer was acting according to the law simply because he is a police officer.

The first recorded case of Legalism rearing its ugly head was in the 3rd century B.C. in China.  Ch’in shih huang-ti was the first king who was able to unify the country.  Ch’in became the first emperor of China.  As a matter of fact, the country got its name from him.  It was what he did after gaining control that records the first case of legalism.

Under Ch’in, Confucian scholars were reportedly buried alive.  Teachings of individualism were contrary to the rule of law that Ch’in wanted to implement.  Under his rule, you were to blindly follow the law as written by Ch’in.  Failure to do so would result in extremely harsh punishment.

It was under Ch’in that the first recorded book burning took place as well.  It wasn’t enough to burry alive the Confucian scholars, he needed to get rid of their teachings as well.  It was through these actions that Ch’in was able to consolidate his empire.

Which brings us back to today.  If you have ever wondered why conservatives are arguing that climate change is a myth, you probably think it is because they are favoring the oil companies.  That is part of it.  But, if you look at the whole picture and their policies, you can see that it is far more reaching than that.

By arguing that 97 percent of scientists are wrong on climate change, they are trying to forge a narrative.  By arguing that women shouldn’t have the same civil rights as men in regards to health care and pay, they are forging a narrative.  By arguing that we citizens must blindly follow every order issued by a police officer, they are forging a narrative.  By arguing that gays and other minorities can’t have the same rights as everyone else because the “bible says-so” they are forging a narrative.

What the conservatives are really trying to do is set up an American form of legalism.  Their form of legalism is laws passed by their groups of favor and not the based on the American People’s wishes.  This is a very necessary part of their agenda.  You cannot take away civil rights from certain portions of the populace without legalism.  By making something illegal, you can justify it through legalism.  Just look at the Jim Crowe laws of our past.

As you can see from the stories of Ch’in, this is not something new in the history of man.  Legalism has been the backdrop of every authoritarian leader in history.  It may have started with Ch’in but it leads to Alexander, Caesar and all the way to Stalan, Hitler, Hussein, and every king or dictator that came before them.

That is what the conservatives really want.  With demographics changing and putting their movement on a death spiral, they need to install legalism to justify their discriminatory policies.  It is the only way they can maintain their political power.  But, as we have seen throughout history, legalism directly leads to authoritarianism.  Societies ruled by one leader making whatever laws they feel like.

Even ploys like trying to change how the Electoral College votes is part of this scheme.  Just because the majority of a state votes for a particular candidate, they don’t believe that candidate should get all of the votes from the Electoral College.  Under their scheme, the loser of a general election can actually become the winner.  But, they justify it through their legalism fantasy.

Their agenda is on full display for anyone who wishes to openly look at it.  Their “War on Christmas”, the bans on same-sex marriages, the battle to incorporate religious artifacts in courthouses, the fight against abortion and birth control are all indications of their true agenda.  They not only want to install legalism as a way of life in our country, they need to install a “Christian Legalism” on everyone else.  But, it must be a “Christian Legalism” based on their definition of Christianity, which is anything but Christian.

The next two years will be very interesting to be sure.  How Congress acts and how they try to impose their legalism will have a major impact on the country going forward.  If the conservatives win this battle, we may soon see legalism become a reality in the U.S.  That would mean authoritarianism won’t be far behind.

However, legalism cannot win if the people do not fall prey to the conservative ploy of creating fear.  They want you to be afraid of everyone who does not fall into their category of a “real American”.  The problem is that if the only people who pay attention in the next two years are the 34% who voted in the mid-term, legalism may have already won.

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The Republican Party is full of contradictions.  As we know, they claim to be for “the rule of law”.  They claim to support the Constitution.  They claim to be all for the First Amendment.  They always talk about “liberty”, “freedoms”, and “personal rights”.  As we move toward the Republicans controlling the whole Congress in 2015, we are beginning to see just how disingenuous they really are about these claims.

Before the election I wrote that we had a choice between keeping our democracy or moving to an oligarchy.  Most Americans didn’t believe me apparently.  Only about 1 in 3 registered voters voted in the mid-term elections.  That is probably the most pathetic turnout I have seen in my lifetime.  As a result of those numbers, Republicans gained control of the Senate which gives them control of Congress.  As a result, they have the ability to pass legislation that will seriously affect our freedom, liberty, and personal rights.

The Republicans have in their platform a “pro-life” stance.  However, “pro-life” is a misnomer.  They aren’t talking about life in general.  They are only talking about whether or not a woman has the right to determine if she wants to continue with a pregnancy or not.  If they were truly “pro-life” they would be against the death penalty.  They would be all in favor of universal health care because there is nothing more “pro-life” than saving people from disease and death.  But, they are not in favor of health care nor are they against the death penalty.

How can a party be “pro-life” and ignore the devastating effects of global warming?  How can a party be “pro-life” and ignore the devastating effects of pollution to the health of our people?  Yet, they continue to say global warming is a myth.  They continue to fight against pollution control.  They continue to fight against ensuring clean water for everyone.

If Republicans were truly interested in civil liberties, they would be all in favor of fixing our broken immigration system and not fighting any reforms.  They would realize that deporting parents of U.S. Citizens because the parents are not citizens, goes against all of their “family value” rhetoric.  But, since these people aren’t white, they don’t have the same “family values” as we do so they can be punished and their children government made orphans.

The incoming leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, is all in favor of passing a law that would ban abortions after 20 weeks.  A similar bill passed the House in 2003.  That bill was called the Pain Capable Unborn Protection Plan.  That bill was based on the false pretense that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks of gestation.  Of course science has debunked that notion, but as usual science doesn’t exist in the Republican brain so they can ignore it.

But don’t think that will be the end of their attacks.  They are planning attacks on reproductive rights in general.  Especially birth control.  Their lame excuse is that they believe birth control pills should be available over the counter not as a prescription.  Sounds very nice indeed.  However, there are other factors that they fail to mention.  The reason the want “over the counter” accessibility is so their money backers don’t have to provide birth control in health plans.

There is nothing in their articulation of this plan to keep the pill affordable for everyone.  Nor, do they mention the fact that like other medications, it is necessary to monitor the health of the woman taking the pill for possible side effects.  I guess that will be something else that won’t have to be covered in health plans.

On another front, since the courts have overwhelmed the right with their decisions that same-sex marriage should carry all of the same rights as heterosexual marriages and banning them is unconstitutional, there will certainly be legislation trying to rein in those nasty gay people and their marriages too.

See, they get away with all of this in the name of liberty!  They cry that if someone wants to be in a same-sex marriage, those people are taking away the liberties of heterosexual marriages.  They are forcing heterosexual marriages to fail because we all know the “gay agenda” is to make everyone in America gay.  They try to use “tradition” as a means of proving they are right.

They are continuously saying that America was intended to be a Christian Nation and that secularists and atheists have forced us to abandon that intention of the Founding Fathers.  One example they love to use are the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance.  Most people do not remember or even realize that those words were added in 1954 during the Big Red Scare.  They were not in the original pledge.

The Republicans, and especially the far right-wing of the party, still are living in those days.  Communism is still the biggest bogey man hiding in the shadows.  Fair tax plans where people pay their fair share based on income is Communism to them.  Allowing people to have their own religious beliefs about abortion is Communism to them.  Allowing people the same protections under the law in marriage regardless of sex is Communism to them.  Enforcing the Separation of Church and State as provided for in the First Amendment is Communism to them.

But why would they continue to use the Red Scare to pass these anti-liberty pieces of legislation?  Because their base are the people who lived through those times.  I remember once in Chicago when I was in college a Republican Politician telling the audience that the difference between us and Communist Russia was our religious beliefs.  As the joke of the day went, “Russia is a Communist country so they don’t believe in religion.  That means they have seven days a week to plot our overthrow.  While we here in America use the seventh day to go to church and pray they don’t come up with something.”

Our country has fought through upheavals before.  We have fought very corrupt governments before.  We have fought for civil rights before.  But, as you can see, those fights do not stop.  In order to keep our form of government, we must continue to fight for those rights.

As we move into the fanatics reign of power for the next two years, I only hope we can survive until the next election cycle.  Maybe these two upcoming years will convince the American voters that their votes really do matter.  Then they might actually turn out to get the fanatics out of office.

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Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas Season has officially begun.  Being of sound mind and body, I decided not to partake in the madness of Black Friday.  As a matter of fact, I make it a point to stay away from any shopping area during the Thanksgiving weekend.  If the right-wing news media wants to show rioting, they just need to show up at places like Wal-Mart and film the raucous behavior of the shoppers.

Now that the madness of Black Friday weekend is over as well, most of us will settle back into our lives.   We will begin to make our “wish lists” for gifts we hope to get.  And, we will eventually head to the malls and do our shopping, if we don’t shop online.  Again, personally I prefer to shop in local stores rather than online.  I try to purchase from local stores and only go to national stores when I can’t find what I want at local merchants.  I prefer spending my money in my community, where I hope it will stay.

As we move along during this festive season, the right-wing will begin its obnoxious rantings about how Christmas is under attack.  The Self-Anointed Prophet Bill O’Reilly and his cronies will begin their “War on Christmas” in earnest.  We will hear how it is offensive to wish someone Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.  Even though Christmas is not the only holiday celebrated at this time of year.

O’Reilly will pontificate about the true meaning of Christmas and how the left is trying to do away with Christmas and with Christianity itself.  He will wail about how you can no longer have the government pay to put up religious scenes on public property.  He will cry about how other religious groups can put up displays next to Christmas displays in parks as long as they pay for them.  You see, it is all a conspiracy created by the President to make America a heathen country with no religion, or worse yet, a Muslim country.

The Conservative Christian Cult will join in the chorus of complaints.  They will wail about how LGBT groups are making it difficult for “normal” people to celebrate Christmas.   They will tell us that allowing LGBT people to raise children is an aberration that is killing religion and Christmas in the country.

The right-wing of the Republican Party will have their own versions of how those “others” are killing our family values and our traditions.  Christmas will be high on their list of things that those “others” are trying to eliminate.  We will hear time and again how the U.S. was “founded using Christian Principles” by our Founding Fathers.

All the time, these people will be wailing against everyone who is not what they consider to be a “real Christian” but rather a “Christian In Name Only”.    The right will be wailing against everyone who is not in their camp.  They will scream about anything they feel is a slap to their beliefs.

The questions we should ask ourselves though is what are these people actually trying to get done with their “War on Christmas?”  Are they really afraid that Christmas is going away?  Are they really afraid that Christianity is going away?  What are they really afraid will happen?

We will be able to answer those questions simply by looking at what they have and are trying to pass as legislation.   They have passed, and are still trying to pass, legislation that would allow you to discriminate against anyone you wish simply on religious grounds.  They passed legislation, and took a fight to SCOTUS to keep “religious companies” from having to include birth control in their medical plans.

They have been passing legislation with the sole intent of making abortion illegal.  They are telling everyone that if a woman gets raped, she must have “invited” the rape by her actions.  They have fought legislation that increases the penalties for domestic abuse and child abuse.  They have, and will continue to introduce legislation that will force their religious beliefs on the rest of society.  They call this “freedom of religion” all the while denying others their religious freedom.

What these people are actually doing is making the divide in our country even bigger.  They are preaching to the older generation (unfortunately, my generation) about how life used to be and how things are changing.  As a result, their quiet little lives are under attack by all of those “others” who are out to get them.  The problem is that the older generation is falling for their gimmick.  They all seem to have forgotten about the changes we fought for in the 60s.  They fell into their own little world and basically checked out of society.  They lost their dreams and their Christianity.  Yes, hippies were mostly Christian.

As a result, the very people who fought for social change in the past, are now the ones afraid of change in the future.  The Cult and the far right-wing wackos are taking advantage of this amnesia to take over the country and form their little theocracy.

Our country was founded to be a secular nation.  “The government shall endorse no religion” is very prominent in the First Amendment.  Freedom of Religion means we all have the right to live our lives believing in any religion we choose.  Or, to live our lives NOT believing in any religion at all.  And, with no fear that the government will interfere with those rights.

Which brings us back to the celebration of Christmas by Christians.  If the Cult and their lackeys on the far right are against religious beliefs they do not agree with, are they really Christians?  If they believe that discriminating against someone they consider to be “sinful” is legal, don’t they go against Christian teachings?  If they believe that their wealth is the result of god favoring them, doesn’t that go against Jesus saying “give up all you have and follow me?”  If they are against the social safety nets that help the most needy in our society, doesn’t that put them at odds with “whatever you do to the least of you, you do to me?”

So, when the Cult ramps up their rhetoric about the “War on Christmas” and the “War on Christianity” remember it is they who are the real attackers of both.  They are the ones who claim to be Christians but defy all of the Christian teachings.  Sorry, but the Cult is anything but Christian.  They are anything but Americans, either.  Their real Christmas Wish is to have enough power to make America a white, Cult country where everyone else is a second-class citizen.  In their power-hungry, crazy thinking, that is celebrating the real meaning of Christmas!  After all “Peace On Earth” and “Goodwill Towards All” are just left-wing words against the real spirit of Christmas.

 

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The last twelve months have exposed a lot of problems in our society.  I am not talking about our political problems either.  In the last twelve months, we have seen certain people in our society get away with just about everything including vehicular homicide.

A drunk rich kid driving under the influence was involved in an accident that resulted in the death of someone.  His lawyer argued that he was suffering from a made-up infection called “affluenza” and was therefore not responsible for his actions.  The judge actually fell for this nonsense and he is spending no jail time for killing a human being while he was driving drunk.

At the end of last year when a football player (the star quarterback of the team) at a university had been accused of raping a student nothing was done about it.  Reports even stated that local police told the woman that her life would be hell if she went ahead with the charges because of whom she was accusing.

Then there was a rash of NFL players who were accused of domestic violence.  One of the players pled “no contest” to child abuse charges in order to avoid a trial that might have put him in jail.  The NFL announced that he would be suspended for the remainder the season.  He announced that he would immediately appeal the suspension since he has missed all of the season so far.  But, he has been paid for his time off.

A star NBA player was recently accused of child abuse but Florida decided not to do anything even though the doctor who examined the child stated that there was bruising on the child because he was beaten with the buckle end of a belt.  The player’s lawyer immediately accused the players estranged spouse of “making it all up” because of a very ugly custody battle.  In the meantime, the state of Georgia has announced it will look into the matter.

A New Jersey High School suspended the entire football season over allegations of abuse by some players on others.  Normally, this is called hazing.  But, the hazing went way beyond the lines of decency and some of the players are now facing criminal charges.  Yet, many in the community say the High School went too far, not the players.

Recently two more football players (both starters on the same team as the rape accusation) were reportedly involved in a traffic accident.  The accident resulted in the totaling of both vehicles involved, and reports indicate the accident was the fault of the football player.  Reportedly the player was driving on a suspended license and fled the scene on foot.  Instead of being charged with “hit and run” he was simply given two tickets and was never tested or even asked if he had used drugs or alcohol.

Bill Cosby has been accused by 14 women of being a serial rapist.  All of the women accused him of drugging them and raping them.  The first accusation came out about 20 years ago.  Again, nothing was done.  In one case, Mr. Cosby settled out of court so nothing else came of it.

The one thing all of these cases have in common is that the accused is a “personality” in public life.  Most of them are sports stars and one is a TV/Movie star.  In all cases, the victims involved are the ones who are being questioned about their “honesty”.  In the Cosby case, even Whoopi Goldberg said she has a lot of questions for the accuser.  Why doesn’t she have a lot of questions for Cosby instead?

In rape cases, victim blaming is a simple game that the accused plays all of the time.  Now, as we see, victim blaming is something that goes even beyond rape.  It has infected our justice system to a point where victims are becoming more and more afraid to come out with their story.

Or, in some cases we see where law enforcement is willing to turn a blind eye to the behavior just because the person being accused is some sort of celebrity.  You will probably tell me that this type of thing has been going on for years.  That may be true.  But, isn’t it time for it to stop?

Quite frankly, I never read the “entertainment” section of newspapers.  I really don’t care about the lives of celebrities.  I don’t care how rich people, movie stars, sports stars, or any other celebrity lives.  They can afford to live however they want.  But, I do care when they are involved in criminal activity and get away with it simply because they are celebrities.

I get even more irritated when people defend their behavior and put blame on the victims.  Or try to brush it off as “boys will be boys” stupidity.  The over-militarization of our police forces is a real problem that has led to tragedy across the nation.  However, the complicity of law enforcement in helping these celebrities get away with crimes is even more troublesome.

We have seen way too many times when law enforcement has turned a blind eye to celebrity misbehavior.  The victims have been hurt.  In some cases people have died.  Yet, they seem to get away with whatever they have been accused of doing.

With this kind of reaction whenever someone with a public name gets in trouble we have to ask ourselves just how balanced our justice system really is.  In some states if you are caught with a bag of marijuana you get at least 10 years in jail.  If you are a college football player who flees from the scene of an accident, you get “well that’s okay”.

If you are a star running back in the NFL and beat your then fiancé you get paid 5 million dollars to sit out a season and then cry foul when an actual suspension comes down for your behavior.  And, you get the union to back you up on the matter.

If you are a star quarterback on a college football team and get accused of rape, the police tell the victim that she will go through hell if she continues with the complaint.  Then, when there is a scheduled hearing to determine if you broke university conduct policy, you get the hearing put off until after the football season so you can continue to play.

If you are a star comedian who is accused of being a serial rapist over the last 20 years by as many as 14 women, your friends “have questions for the accuser” instead of you.  Forget the large number of women accusing you, they must all be liars.

I don’t know if everyone who has been involved in these cases are guilty or not.  I am not making an assumption of guilt.  I am questioning how these cases have been handled.  These cases show clearly that our judicial system may indeed be broken.  In most of them it clearly shows a lack of interest by law enforcement to fully investigate cases involving “celebrities”.

Cynics have claimed for years that guilt and innocence is determined more by how much money you have rather than the actual facts of the case.  When we continuously see these kinds of behavior towards celebrities, maybe the cynics are correct.  As a result maybe the Statue of Justice should not be blind folded and holding a scale, maybe she should have one eye open looking at the bag of money she is holding.

But then, we are all to blame for this mess.  If we continue to believe the accused simply because they are celebrities, nothing will change for the better.

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