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Archive for the ‘Gender Issues’ Category

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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There are a lot of things coming from the right that baffle me.  As hard as it is, I do try to listen to their arguments, but I find it difficult to follow their logic.  I often wonder if these people are looking at the real world, or if they are trying to facilitate some fantasy that we were better off in the 19th Century.  It runs the full gamut of politics and policies.

The right claims to be for “personal liberties” yet they continually want to tell women, and other groups, how they should live.  They claim they are for “religious freedom” yet they continually prove over-and-over again they only mean “their” religious beliefs.  They claim they want the economy to grow.  Yet they continuously attempt legislation that “deregulates” everything around so companies cannot be held accountable for illegal activities, bust unions, and reward companies who move jobs overseas.  They claim they want “opportunity” for all yet they repeatedly cut spending on education, which is supposed to be the great equalizer.

Somehow or other, they just can’t seem to come up with any solutions to the very problems they claim they want to fix.  Since Barak Obama became president, they have offered nothing in terms of policy to make things better.  They simply sit back and say “no” to everything.  Even things they originally proposed like the Affordable Care Act.  It is truly baffling.

They don’t even agree among themselves.  For example, today Steve Doocy on Fox said that the President is “changing the subject from the Affordable Care Act (he called it Obamacare)”, by signing two executive orders tomorrow that will address the “gender pay gap”.  Then he went into his histrionics by holding up his had and closing his eyes in an attempt to calm everyone down and said:  “Now I know, I know, women have gotten equal pay for decades!”

I guess Mr. Doocy didn’t read all the information from every source available that says women are getting paid 88 cents on the dollar compared to men in the same job.  Maybe, he figures that 88 cents on the dollar for women is equal pay.  But his co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck must have read the information.  She also must not have heard Doocy either.  She chirped in that there is a Gender Pay Gap, at least in the White House.  She said:  Shouldn’t that equality then start right in the White House?  Is the White House aware that female staffers get paid 88 cents on the dollar when compared to the men?”

Seems the right can’t make up its mind whether or not there is a Gender Pay Gap.  One “expert” claims women have been paid equally for decades, while his “expert” co-host says that isn’t true.  No wonder they can’t formulate a solution to any problems, they don’t even agree among themselves what the problems are!

The right is continuously railing against the level of poverty in the country.  One easy solution to help lift over 3 million people out of poverty is to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 as the President has proposed.  We know that these people are hard-working everyday employees of giant companies making billions of dollars in profits, yet pay their employees below poverty wages.  They even expect the government to pick up the bill for their medical care and food by telling their employees how to apply for Medicaid and WIC and Food Stamps. The Republicans oppose raising the minimum wage.  Why?  Because that would mean that these giant companies might not make as many billions of dollars in profits.  That might cut into their political contributions to Republican coffers.

Whether you are talking about social issues, economic issues, or even foreign policy these right-wing wackos just can’t seem to make up their minds about what the problem is.  If you support the LGBT community, you are anti-Christian.  If you support raising the minimum wage, you are a socialist trying to take away from the rich.  If you support abortion, you are an atheist.  If you believe that public education should be funded properly, you are against private enterprise who is willing to take it over, for a price.

But, if you support legislation that makes it more difficult to vote, then you are for “protecting the ballot box” even though there is almost no voter fraud at the polls.  If you support legislation that allows you to discriminate in the name of “religion” you are a true believer in “religious freedom”.    If you are against raising the minimum wage, you fully understand that all these people in poverty are there because they are lazy and shiftless.

To coin the “New Republican Party” theme, if you believe that the country was better off in 1890 than it is today, you are talking about the “New Republican Party”.  How very 21st century of them.

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So the Conservative Christian Cult are arguing that corporations are people with deeply held religious beliefs.  And, as such, should be able to “opt out” of the contraception mandate of the ACA.  They are now arguing that Public Education is a “handout” to poor people and should be privatized.  In order to make their point, they are pushing vigorously for “voucher programs” which will take tax dollars earmarked for public education and offer them as sort of “scholarships” to private schools.  Of course, their argument is that public education is failing.

In 2012 Bobby Jindal introduced such a voucher program in Louisiana.  One problem, only about 8,000 poor students in the entire state were admitted into these private schools.  Furthermore, the data from the LEAP testing done each year showed that those students in the private schools scored drastically lower (40% at or slightly above grade level) than the state average (69%).

Not to be outdone, Milwaukee Wisconsin also has a voucher program.  Research shows that just 13 percent of voucher students scored proficient in math and 11 percent made the bar in reading this spring. That’s worse on both counts than students in the city’s public schools.  It would appear that vouchers do not improve the education of students, but rather drag it down.  How could this be?  In the past, private schools had a reputation for providing excellent education.  So what happened?

What happened was that many of these private schools have adopted the A Beka Book curriculum.  I already wrote once about how they teach creationism rather than evolution.  They even villanize scientists and mathematicians.  But, that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Here are some wonderful things your children are being taught if they attend a school that uses these text books.

According to their book titled:  America The Land That I love In Christian Perspective the following are taught as “fact”:

The Great Depression was made up in order to spread Socialism.  That’s right, the Great Depression didn’t happen at all.  It was a left leaning propaganda ploy to spread socialism in America.  The book says:

“Some people wanted to create an imaginary crisis in order to move the country toward socialism. They spread rumors of bank mortgage foreclosures and mass evictions from farms, homes and apartments. But local banks did all in their power to keep their present tenants. The number of people out of work in the 1930s averaged about 15 percent of the work force; thus 85 percent continued to work. Most had to take a pay cut, but prices also declined during the Depression, enabling people to buy more for their money.”

What’s more, in the Propaganda section, students learn:

In 1939, John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath. This novel described the plight of the Okies, farm families from Western Oklahoma who went to California in search of jobs. Most families who went west did not experience the hardships that Steinbeck presented in his novel. Steinbeck openly supported labor violence and strikes instigated by socialist groups to keep the Okies from earning a living as migrant farm laborer in California…. Socialist photographers and artists produced misleading pictures of the… mountaineers of Appalachia. These mountaineers did not have the modern conveniences of homes in the town or cities but they did not consider themselves to be poor. The Depression actually had little effect on their lives.

They also teach that Carl Marx and Darwin brought the German people Hitler and the Nazis.  The book teaches, “as a socialist, Hitler believed that the government should own the nation’s industries and take responsibility for its people.” Through socialism, the book tells us, Hitler became “the absolute dictator of Germany. By embracing socialism, the German people lost their freedoms to a tyrant.”  They fail to mention that Hitler did not nationalize German industries and that many German Industrialists got very rich during his reign.

Freedom of Speech was the Gateway to Porn.  According to them,  “Pornographic films and books were legalized under the guise of ‘freedom of speech’.”  So even if you think Freedom of Speech is a good thing, according to these texts, it is really a freedom that is a dangerous gateway.

Other wonderful things they teach include little tidbits like the Clintons were Draft-Dodging, Economic-Crisis-Creating, Joint Presidents, or that George W. Bush was an awesome President because he invaded Iraq and saved mid-born babies, or that 2008 was a terrible year for America because Barak Obama a Marxist-Nazi-Muslim-atheist-homosexuality-approving Kenyan, was elected president.

Finally, private schools are not required to provide special education to anyone with physical or mental disabilities.  Therefore, they don’t have to take these children into their schools.  Nor, are they required to accept anyone who is not a member of their church group.  Or, if they do accept them, they charge significantly higher tuition.  Naturally, they don’t have to accept LGBT students either.  On top of all of that, if a student doesn’t measure up to their “standards” they can refuse to let them back in.

All the while, public school funding is being drained by the voucher programs.  Because the money intended to provide public education to everyone is being used as “scholarships” for these private schools, up to 65% of public school funding is going to voucher programs in many states.  That leaves practically nothing for everyone else.

If you want your children to attend one of these “so-called schools” by all means send them there.  But, I find it very offensive to expect me to pay for their lack of education.  Private means Private.  Private Schools are to be funded by students, not the tax payer who may or may not agree with their “ideology”.  Stop voucher programs wherever you can and give all of our children the opportunity of a good education!

 

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Tomorrow morning the U.S. Supreme Court will hold a 90 minute hearing on the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for insurance coverage to include birth control.  As usual, the media are focusing on this one point.  However, this case will involve a whole lot more than just the ACA mandate.  It will have either a positive or negative effect on the position of corporations in America.

We have already seen, in the Citizen’s United case that corporations believe they are people.  It stands to reason then, that their “religious beliefs” should be able to trump regulatory laws.  But there is even more to the issue than that.  This case could affect the entire corporate law structure in the country.

According to the case, Hobby Lobby, et al., say that the majority of stockholders hold religious beliefs that contraception is immoral.  Therefore, they should not be forced to provide coverage in their insurance plans.  To some, that sounds reasonable enough.  However, it also flies in stark contradiction to other corporate laws.

In order for this case to move in the favor of the complainants, the Court has to rule basically that corporations are people.  That would make Mitt Romney happy.  But what about all the rest of the laws that these new-found “people” object to under “religious beliefs”?  Would that mean laws like the Arizona law that would have legalized discrimination based on sexual orientation wouldn’t be needed because any of the new “people” could claim religious beliefs in refusing to serve people?  Would that extend to race, creed, color, etc.?

What if one of these new-found “people” object to paying Social Security Taxes or Medicare Taxes under “religious belief”?  What about environmental laws?  There are a whole myriad of laws that could be affected, not just the ACA mandate.

44 corporate and criminal law professors wrote an Amicus Curiea brief in support of the government.  You can find it at www.americanbar.org.  I urge you to read the entire brief.  But, here is a pertinent excerpt from it:

Hobby Lobby and Conestoga argue that they should be exempt from federal law because of the religious values of their controlling shareholders, while seeking to maintain the benefits of corporate separateness for all other purposes. These corporations have benefited from their separateness in countless ways and their shareholders have been insulated from actual and potential corporate liabilities since inception. Yet now they ask this Court to disregard that separateness in connection with a government regulation applicable solely to the corporate entity. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga want to argue, in effect, that the corporate veil is only a one-way street: its shareholders can get protection from tort or contract liability by standing behind the veil, but the corporation can ask a court to disregard the corporate veil on this occasion. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga cannot have it both ways.

According to this argument, shareholders and corporate leaders should be allowed to be protected under corporation laws, but they should be able to “pick and choose” what other laws they should follow. Remember, the ACA mandate does not affect an individual.  It only affects corporate entities.

To emphasize this a little more, if the Court decides in favor of these corporations, they will be going against their own reasoning in a 2006 case called Domino’s Pizza Inc. v. McDonald. In that case, the sole shareholder of a corporation — an African-American man — alleged that Domino’s had been motivated by racial animus to violate several of its contracts with his business, and in so doing had violated his civil rights. The court was not sympathetic by ruling:

It is fundamental corporation and agency law — indeed it can be said to be the whole purpose of corporation and agency law — that the shareholder and contracting officer of a corporation has no rights and is exposed to no liability under the corporation’s contracts. The corporate form and the rules of agency protected his personal assets, even though he negotiated, signed, performed, and sought to enforce contracts for [the corporation].  The corporate form and the rules of agency similarly deny him rights under those contracts.

So, if the Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby, et al., wouldn’t they be effectively negating their own ruling in this case?  Religious freedom is a very important part of our Constitution and laws.  However, these freedoms are for individuals to be able to believe and/or worship as they choose.  It is not intended as a protection for corporations to pick and choose the laws they favor.

If I owned a company, could I choose not to pay minimum wage to my employees based on religious freedom?  I don’t think that would fly too well in our society.  But, then again, following the Christian Conservative Cult’s thinking, I just might be able to get away with it.  It may well depend on the Court’s ruling in this case.  If the Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby, et al., it could bode very badly for our nation’s secular laws.  The Christian Conservative Cult’s dream of a theocracy may be closer than we think!

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The Conservatives have been making their case for what causes poverty.  Naturally, in their view, it is caused by “laziness” as Paul Ryan said, it is caused by “Uncle Sugar” as Mike Huckabee said, it is caused by “culture of taking” as the entire Republican Party has said.  There are a couple of other things that they don’t mention.

The second item is the undermining of unions.  By passing what have been called “Right to Work” laws and going after public service workers unions in many states, the Conservatives have actually set up a practice of “Right to Work For Poverty Wages!”  They have attacked unions as being the villains that cause plants to close down.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t wash in the real world.  Since they have passed their Poverty Wage bills, more plants have shut down than ever before.

Unions used to be the workers voice at the bargaining table.  When unions were at their strongest, the middle class emerged with good paying jobs.  Any chart or table from research you look at shows that the middle class pay stagnation is directly tied to the union busting that conservatives employed.  With no “workers voice” anymore, companies were allowed to lower wages in the name of bigger profits.  In the meantime, these same companies offered millions of dollars to the executives of their corporations in annual income and benefits.  We need unions to help reclaim a fair portion of the big pie from these corporations.  Without it poverty will continue to rise.

The ten poorest states in the country are almost entirely in the South.  These are states that first brought up those Poverty Wage laws.  Additionally, the most religious believers are almost entirely in the South.  Both of these categories are led by states like Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana.  Looking at this combination, it would be safe to draw the conclusion that Religion Is The Main Cause Poverty!  Especially, conservative Christianity, which of course isn’t a religion at all.  It is a cult and political movement designed to keep the poor, poor!

How can I make such a simplistic claim?  Past surveys have shown that if you ask people, particularly in the south if they like Obamacare, most will tell you no.  If you ask them if the prefer the Affordable Care Act, most will tell you yes.  If you ask them if they want the minimum wage to be raised, most will tell you yes.  Maybe that is because most of them who work in the south make minimum wage.

So, what is causing these same people to keep electing people to office who are obviously voting against the very things they want?  Religion.  Conservatives in the south don’t argue against any real economic issues.  They know that would be suicide come election day.  No, they argue the conservative religious issues.  And yes, they are very racist, misogynist, homophobic, and anti-immigrant.

They tell their voters that poor people are lazy.  Of course they are referring to poor people of color not white poor people.  They tell voters that women are kind of smart, but they need to be guided by the government in reproductive rights because women are too stupid to think for themselves.  They tell voters that if women get equal pay, men will lose their jobs.  They tell voters that immigration is a direct threat to their jobs.  They tell voters that voting for equal rights for gays is the equivalent of slapping god in the face.

They get help from the “pastors” of the conservative Christian churches.  They preach from the pulpit the very same things as their politicians.  They justify everything by saying “the bible tells us so”!  The same argument that allowed segregation to exist for over one hundred years in the south.

This has turned into a full-fledged conspiracy of the conservative Christian cult!  By threatening their congregations with eternal damnation if they vote for progressive ideas, which would actually help them out of poverty, they are able to collaborate with their political pals to keep power.

I am not against true religion. Everyone has a right to their religious beliefs.  But, a blind “follow-the-leader” cult such as conservative Christianity is very dangerous not only to democracy, but especially to the members of the cult.  America is full of religious cults.  As a matter fact, our very democracy allows them to thrive.  But no religious cult has come to any good.  Conservative Christianity is just another cult bound to keep its flock in line with whatever means necessary.

This type of religion is the real cause of poverty.  Until the cult members wake up, they will continue to vote against their own best interests.  Which is what their cult leaders want.

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There has been a lot of talk recently on the right about women’s issues.  They GOP is trying hard to convince women that their best interest lies with their party rather than the Democrats.  Unfortunately for them, they seem to be getting their messages conflicted.  On one hand, they want women to believe they are smart, intelligent, hard-working people who don’t need the government to tell them what is best for them.  On the other hand, they believe and pass laws that tell women they are too stupid to make up their own minds when it comes to reproductive rights.

The head of a conservative PAC in Texas basically said that women are “too busy” to worry about equal pay.  She says they have too much to balance and that times are too busy for women to think about such things.  A day later, the executive director of the Texas Republican Party says equal pay inequality is the fault of women.  According to her, “women are terrible negotiators”.

Then there is State Representative Andrea Kiefer in Minnesota who says that raising the minimum wage, and paid sick and family leave policies were actually hurting women.  According to her these types of policies were “putting women backwards in time and causing us to losing respect in the workplace.  They make us seem like a bunch of whiners”.

So on the front of fair pay, balancing work and family, or trying to get ahead we should just leave women alone.  But, when it comes to their reproductive rights, they definitely need the government’s (or more importantly the conservative’s) guidance on such matters.  For example, in Texas a woman must wait 24 hours, undergo coercive counseling, and have their ultrasound explained to them before they can decide if they want an abortion.

Additionally, the conservative movement wants businesses to be able to refuse to allow contraceptive coverage in their insurance policies if they claim religious belief against such coverage.  But, they don’t seem to be saying anything about insurance coverage for things like Viagra or other ED treatments.  So, while they want women to “keep their knees shut”, they want men to be able to perform whenever they choose.

This “cave man” mentality in the GOP is not limited to men as you can see from above.  The women in the Republican Party seem to share the exact views as their men.  Funny, though, these women are against equal pay for women in the workplace, but they don’t seem to mind that the law regulates what they get paid as Representatives or Senators.  Wonder how many would be keeping their mouths shut if they were paid 77 cents per dollar their male counterparts get.  Bet they would be screaming bloody murder.

I hope that women see through all of this masquerade.  The Conservative movement, led by the Christian Conservatives, have waged a war against women and equal rights for generations.  Hell, if you remember women Republicans almost unanimously voted against the Violence Against Women Act.  That should tell women all they need to know about how the Republicans view them.

According to Republican practices, regardless of what they say, they seem to believe that women are nothing but stupid, lazy, unimaginative, baby factories with no legitimate claim to equal rights.  If that is your idea of being treated fairly, by all means vote Republican.  But, if you believe like I do that women are a very necessary part of our society with all the intelligence, imagination, hard-work ethics they deserve equal pay and equal rights, then the Republican Party should not be your cup of tea.

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