Archive for the ‘General’ Category

I am going to contradict conservative media and say this openly.  This country was founded on the belief that all people are created equal.  It was also founded on the principle that every individual may choose to worship God, gods, or no god at all.  Basically, it was founded to be a secular nation open to everyone.  That is what the separation of church and state in the First Amendment is all about.

For over 200 years, we have lived by those principles.  Our nation grew and became the most democratic and open society the world has ever known.  However, in the last 40 years or so, things have changed.  Radicalism has taken over our discourse.  Religious Radicalism to be exact.

I have spoken about the problems that Radical Islam has let loose on the world.  I have also spoken against any violence for any reason.  The unfortunate side is that Islam is not the sole proprietor of Religious Radicalism.  Every religion in the world has their radical elements.  I don’t care what religion you wish to speak about, radicalism exists in it!

The nations in the middle-east are full of human rights violations.  They openly discriminate against anyone who isn’t a follower of their religion.  They openly discriminate against gays and women.  They are abhorrent in my eyes and they really need to do something about it.  The problem is that the rest of the world is mostly powerless to do anything about it.  Especially as long as the rest of the world depends on oil as their primary source of energy.

We are seeing a similar radicalism in our own country.  We are seeing a group of people trying their very best to enforce and even codify their religious beliefs on the rest of the country.  Except these radicals are supposed to be Christians!  We now have a slew of candidates for the Republican Party’s nomination for President.  Most of the “declared” candidates are doing their very best to pander to this radical religious group.

As a result, I have some questions for our Conservative Christian brothers.

First, the vast majority of conservative Christians claim that climate change doesn’t exist.  Okay, I may let you slide on that one.  But, no one can deny that pollution has increased health issues.  Things like asthma has increased due to the pollution in our air.

Conservative Christians claim that “God created the world.”  Okay, I will even allow for your belief.  But, if that is true as you claim, how can you not be the very loudest ones screaming about pollution?  How can you not demand our legislators to pass laws that will clean up our air?  How can you not demand carbon emission reductions?

Continuing with pollution, we have seen large oil and chemical companies pollute our water and poison our land.  The very water we need to drink to survive and the very land we need to grow our crops.  If the planet was created by God, why aren’t you demanding that the polluters be held accountable for their “crimes against God?”

Why aren’t you demanding your legislators to pass laws that require these polluters to clean up the water and land?  Why aren’t you demanding more regulation to ensure that these polluters are stopped from continuing their pollution?  If God created the world, isn’t it a crime to destroy his work?  Isn’t it a crime to allow others to destroy his work?  Why are the vast majority of Conservative Christians against these laws that will help keep God’s creation viable for future generations?

Conservative Christians claim that they “live by the bible.”  If that is so, and Jesus said to “love your neighbor as you love yourself,” why do you claim it is a religious right to discriminate?  Why are you so eager to pass laws that legalize iscrimination against those very neighbors your savior said you are supposed to love?  You cannot love your neighbor if you discriminate against them.

In the Bible, Jesus tells us we are to take care of the poor, sick, and elderly.  So why are your Conservative Christian politicians continually slashing funding for those very people we are supposed to care for?  Isn’t that a “sin” in the eyes of Jesus?

I am picking on the Conservative Christians in this article only because they are the biggest political force of what I consider religious radicals in this country.  The fact of the matter is, regardless which religion is being used, religious radicalism is very anti-social at best and very evil at worst.

We cannot afford to have a country run by religious fanatics and radicals.  We were founded to be secular nation with individual rights protected by our Constitution.  If we continue listening to these Radical Conservative Christians, we will become no better than countries like Saudi Arabia or other Islamic nations with their versions of Sharia Law.

Religion has no place in our politics, nor our laws.  By imposing religion into our politics and laws, we cannot claim to be exceptional anymore.  We cannot claim to be “the land of the free” anymore.  We will simply become another country run by radicals for the sole purpose of power.

I took an oath years ago to “defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”  I still hold to that oath.  As far as I am concerned, religious radicals are domestic enemies of the constitution and we must defend against them!

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Sunday there was another shooting in Texas.  That is nothing new in and of itself, Texas is full of shootings.  Hell, when I lived there, Houston led the nation in armed bank robberies.  What makes this shooting newsworthy, at least in the national media and especially in the conservative media, is that this shooting took place in front of a convention center hosting an anti-Muslim cartoon contest.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative was hosting a competition for drawing the Prophet Muhammad.  Now, I seriously doubt that anyone in this “competition” was attempting to show any respect for the prophet.  More than likely they were mocking the prophet in their “freedom of speech” tantrum.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.  Their leader is an avowed anti-Muslim.  The contest called “Draw Muhammad” is not the first such “draw” contest this group has hosted.

“This terrible incident reflects the need for such conferences,” Geller said. “It’s illustrative of the violent assault on the freedom of speech.” Later, she added, “There is a problem in Islam, as illustrated last night, that anyone who addresses it gets attacked.”

So far, Texas officials have refused to name the suspects.  CNN and ABC identified one of them as Elton Simpson. The shooters’ motive wasn’t immediately clear.  Of course, ISIS claims it planned this attack.  I find that hard to swallow, yet you never know.

The AFDI isn’t new to spewing hate in other ways either.   They drew ire for anti-Islam ads featuring Hitler on San Francisco buses and a burning World Trade Center in New York City subways.  But of course, Geller told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota in a heated discussion that she is not against Islam.

“I’m not concerned with Muslims, especially peaceful Muslims,” Geller said. “I’m anti-Jihad, and anybody who says I’m anti-Muslim is implying that all Muslims support Jihad.”  She even went so far as to call herself a modern-day Rosa Parks.

However, Camerota pointed out that Geller’s selection of Dutch politician Geert Wilders as the event’s keynote speaker suggests otherwise, and read portions of his speech: “Our Judeo-Christian culture is far superior to the Islamic one,” Wilders said. “Islam does not allow free speech, because free speech shows how evil and wrong Islam is. And Islam does not allow humor, because humor shows how foolish and ridiculous it is.”

The unfortunate side of this is that Geller is correct in her belief that she has the right to spew out her hate.  That is covered under the First Amendment.  However, she should not spew out hate against those who disagree with her, because that is also covered under the First Amendment.

I don’t know how this is going to end up.  If it comes out that the shooters were indeed angry about the contest and went there to shoot the place up, conservative media will have a field day.  On the other hand, if it turns out that was not the case, conservative medial will probably say it is all an Obama cover-up.

Whenever these things happen, we are always reminded that terrorism is the sole conduct of Muslims.  We all know that is not the truth, but never let the truth get in the way of a good story.  There is ample proof that Christians are just as guilty of terrorism as anyone else.

Christians call it “free speech” but shouting insults and threats against women who are heading into an abortion clinic is terrorism.  Following workers of abortion clinics home and shouting at them in front of their house is terrorism.  Blowing up abortion clinics is terrorism.  Shooting abortion doctors is terrorism.  These are not fantasies, they have and are still happening.

Look, I know that shouting threats is not the same as shooting someone.  But, if you are the target of those threats, you will understand what terrorism is.  If you were the target of someone you don’t know following you down the street, you will understand what terrorism is.  Shooting a doctor inside his church is terrorism.  Why doesn’t Geller and her organization hold at Draw The Doctor Assassin” contest?

Yes, Geller and her organization have the right to spew forth their hate.  Just like the other hate groups like the Aryan Nation, The KKK, The American Nazi Party and others.  But, we also have the right to shout down their hate lingo.  We have the right to confront their hate by calling them what they are, terrorists.

Please don’t come back at me with any of the usual moral claptrap about Muslims.  Geller, her group, and all of these other “Christian” groups are nothing more than terrorists.  They need to be called out as such.

More than that, they are cowards.  They get others to do their bidding by filling them with hate speech.  Yes, Free Speech is protected under our Constitution.  However, most sane people understand that Free Speech does come with some responsibilities.  Then again, no one ever accused of Geller and these hate groups of being “sane.”

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I will admit, I have been relatively quiet about the Trans-Pacific Protocol (TPP) agreement.  This is not because I don’t have an opinion about it, it is because I just can’t get enough information about it to make an informed decision.  I have listened to each side of the equation and still can’t figure out what is in the damn thing.

I looked it up on the internet (I know the internet isn’t always the best place to do research, but it does help from time-to-time) and the only information I can get about the TPP is years old.  The President wants Congress to “fast-track” the TPP so there isn’t any debate about it on the floor.  He also says it is necessary to “harness” China.  He claims it is the TPP or China’s way.

That may all be true.  But, until we can actually read what is in the TPP, and not just excerpts that are “leaked” about it, there will be no way to make certain that it is something that will help the American Worker.

With all of that said, I am beginning to believe that the TPP will not be good for the American Worker.  There has been no “Free Trade” deal that has helped the American Worker.  In fact, under NAFTA, Korean Free Trade Agreement, and the Preferred Status deal to China, America has lost over 4.3 million manufacturing jobs.

If you listen to the right, these free trade deals are designed to help American Companies export to other countries.  They bring down tariffs and help us reduce the “trade imbalance.”  That all sounds really nice, doesn’t it?  The problem is that these “free trade” deals also make it easier for American Companies to shift their manufacturing to those other countries.

That means American Jobs are lost!  For example, while the 2012 elections were taking place, we saw a perfect example of the problems with these “free trade” agreements.  In Illinois there was a company called Solendra.  This company was making a very healthy profit.  Everything looked up for the factory and its employees.

Then Bane stepped in and decided that the company would make far more profits if it just shipped the jobs overseas to China.  They would be able to make the same products cheaper all the while keeping the price where it was.  That would result in maximizing profits for the share-holders.

To help the profits even more, they were able to take a tax break by shipping all of the manufacturing equipment to China as well.  See, if a company ships their equipment overseas, our tax laws gives them a “moving expense” break.  Forget about the 2 or 3 thousand employees of the plant and the local economy they put into shambles.  The share-holders were getting richer.

At the same time, candidate Mitt Romney was waxing lovingly how those “walls and barbed wire around China’s factories weren’t to keep people in, it was to keep others out.”  If anyone believes that, I know of some bridges for sale.

You may ask why any lawmaker in their right mind would even consider voting for such “trade agreements” that actually hurt American Workers.  Isn’t it their job to protect their citizens and not someone else’s?  That is your first mistake in politics.  The primary job of the American Politician is not to protect your jobs and the future of your children, it is to protect their jobs and the future of their children!

In addition, Republican Politicians, as proven by their continued love for failed economic policies, only care about the profits of CEO’s and share-holders.  It is the avowed belief of today’s Republican Party to establish a two-tiered citizenry.  The very wealthy and everyone else.

But, it isn’t just the politicians fault.  I am saddened to say that it is the American People’s fault as well.  Take Nike.  It makes “Air Jordan” shoes in China.  It costs Nike about $25 per pair of Air Jordan shoes.  They then import the shoes to America and sell them at around $150 to $200 per pair.  And the American People buy them!  So, you can take some blame for these “free trade” agreements.  Problem is that by continuing this behavior, your job may be the next to go overseas.  Think about that!

Furthermore, I am always amazed that the Republicans all talk fondly about how they “swept the floor in my father’s bar” as proof of their middle-class upbringing and support for small businesses.  Yet, their economic policies are killing small businesses everywhere.  Huge conglomerates like Wal-Mart, Big Lots and others are making it almost impossible for small businesses to compete.  These huge conglomerates are allowed to pay poverty wages and get their profits subsidized by the federal government through the “social safety net” needed by their employees.

Combined with the buying power these conglomerates have due to their size, small businesses cannot compete.  As a result, you will find small towns without a main street business district anymore.  Once these conglomerates are allowed to move in, they kill their competition.  It isn’t just department stores either.  It is everything.

These are the same policies that Republicans use to help get through these so-called “free trade” agreements.  It is all in the name of making the rich richer and everyone else poorer.  The real unfortunate side to this is that many Democrats are just as guilty in these “free trade” agreements as Republicans.

As you already know, I usually support the President.  However, when it comes to TPP, I must ask him: “If the TPP is going to be so good for the American Worker, why is it so secretive?”  Let’s face facts, when any trade agreement comes up and no one wants to tell the people what is in it, it NEVER is good for the American Worker.

As a result, even though I cannot find out exactly everything that is in the TPP, I must express my opposition to it.  It is time politicians actually do their job.  Which is to protect our working class!

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We have heard the paranoia time-and-again.  Especially from North Korea.  Every time the U.S. and South Korea plan a training exercise, North Korea claims that it is really a cover for an invasion of the north.  We hear all sorts of bellicose rants from their “leader” about how the North will defend itself against these aggressive moves.

Unfortunately, we are now hearing the same paranoia from our own right-wing wackos.  That is right, we are hearing that a military exercise designed to train our special forces, as well as other parts of our military, that is being conducted in seven states this summer is really a conspiracy to enforce “martial law.”

This summer, the military is planning a training exercise in seven states.  In five of those states, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado special forces troops will be training.  In a statement, the U.S. military said:

Members of U.S. Army Special Operations Command will train with other U.S Armed Forces units July 15 through Sept. 15 in a multi-state exercise called Jade Helm 15.

USASOC periodically conducts training exercises such as these to practice core special warfare tasks, which help protect the nation against foreign enemies. It is imperative that Special Operations Soldiers receive the best training, equipment and resources possible.

While multi-state training exercises such as these are not unique to the military, the size and scope of Jade Helm sets this one apart. To stay ahead of the environmental challenges faced overseas, Jade Helm will take place across seven states. However, Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) will only train in five states: Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The diverse terrain in these states replicates areas Special Operations Soldiers regularly find themselves operating in overseas.

The training exercise will be conducted on private and public land with the permission of the private landowners, and from state and local authorities. In essence, all exercise activity will be taking place on pre-coordinated public and private lands.

The public can expect nothing much different from their day-to-day activities since much of exercise will be conducted in remote areas. The most noticeable effect the exercise may have on the local communities is an increase in vehicle and military air traffic and its associated noise.

Military training exercises are nothing new.  They have been going on since there was a military.  It is the only way to make sure our troops are properly trained in performing their duty.  But, over at Infowars, Alex Jones, infamous for his conspiracy theories doesn’t believe the military.  His Infowars has started a crazed attack on the exercise.

For example, The Drudge Report aggregated a number of stories about the exercises, directing readers to Infowars—including a March 24 story that said the trainings in Utah and Texas led observers “to fears that traditionally conservative areas may be a simulated target for future domestic operations.”  Yeowee!

What their fears really boil down to is that the administration is secretly preparing for an “invasion” of Texas!  Don’t believe me?  Take this from a frightened Texas citizen’s reaction:

The idea that training among small towns in the USA is supposed to provide “realism” for operating in Afghanistan or Iraq is utterly absurd. For one thing, small towns in America don’t have teams of local rebels setting up roadside IEDs to destroy humvees and their occupants. Special Forces operatives are more likely to encounter people hurrying their way to Starbucks than trying to run any sort of armed resistance actions. No, military training on the streets of America isn’t “realistic” training for fighting wars overseas. It’s only “realistic” for military action that takes place on the streets of America itself.

Or how about this gentleman from “The Common Sense Show” who has become convinced that this is far more insidious even than a practice for the day the U.S. military launches martial law throughout Texas:

In recent days, I have learned that the reason that we are seeing Jade Helm activity in so many areas and we are also witnessing the prepositioning of massive military equipment, is because Jade Helm forces will isolate certain geographic areas, thus trapping a segment of the population and keep them from fleeing to other areas. The second part of Phase III of the Jade Helm operation will be the insertion of Special Forces death squads among the civilian population which will target key dissident leaders.

Really?  The military is going to insert Special Forces “death squads” to target key dissident leaders?  Just who might these “dissident leaders” be?  God-fearing Patriots, that’s who.  Groups like the Tea Party of course!  This gentleman from “The Common Sense Show” went on to say:

“Patriot groups across the country are preparing to launch a ‘Counter Jade Helm’ operation to keep tabs on a controversial U.S. military exercise that some fear is part of preparations to train troops for civil unrest and martial law”. Among those protesting the Jade Helm 15 drills are former Special Operations forces as well as many veterans groups. Along these lines, I am beginning to receive invitations to speak about Jade Helm to various groups including the Oath Keepers.

In case you don’t know who the Oath Keepers are, they are former and current members of the military who take an oath to disobey orders which violate the constitution. Who decides what the constitution says in these matters is apparently left up to Alex Jones.

Then there is this:

“It’s the same thing that happened in Nazi Germany: You get the people used to the troops on the street, the appearance of uniformed troops and the militarization of the police,” Bastrop resident Bob Wells told the Statesman after the meeting. “They’re gathering intelligence. That’s what they’re doing. And they’re moving logistics in place for martial law. That’s my feeling. Now, I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong. I hope I’m a ‘conspiracy theorist.’”

The really scary part of all of this nonsense, is that the Governor of the State of Texas, Gregg Abbott, has bought into this stupidity.  Or, maybe he has always believed these conspiracy theories all along.  Anyway, yesterday, the AP reported:

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday asked the State Guard to monitor a U.S. military training exercise dubbed “Jade Helm 15″ amid Internet-fueled suspicions that the war simulation is really a hostile military takeover…

“It is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed,” Abbott wrote. “By monitoring the Operation on a continual basis, the State Guard will facilitate communications between my office and the commanders of the Operation to ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect Texans.”

So we now have a governor of one of our own states who is spurting out the same paranoia that North Korea spouts every time there is a training exercise in South Korea.  I guess paranoia is not the sole domain of North Korea.

In order to put this in proper perspective, Glenn Smith, the director of the Progress Texas PAC said:

“Abbott’s pandering to paranoid, secessionist fools would be comical if it wasn’t so costly and frightening.  Abbott has the state military confronting the U.S. military because some nut cases fear, what, armed U.S. takeover of Texas? Seriously? What next? Will Abbott call out the troops to protect us from alien abduction, abominable snowmen and Bigfoot, or should I say an invasion of Bigfeet?”

There you have it.  The U.S. military is conducting a training exercise that is really a  covert operation that is intended to “invade” Texas and impose Martial Law on its citizens.  Forget the fact that there are 15 military bases and hundreds of thousands of military personnel already stationed in Texas.

Remember one thing about Texas.  They are not about to give up on their paranoia anytime soon.  Just the other day, a Congressman from Texas announced that the riots in Baltimore were really being caused by “same-sex” marriage.  I am certain that Alex Jones and Abbott will be able to link this “invasion” of Texas to same-sex marriage too.

This is what happens when a major political party let’s their fringe take control.  Paranoia becomes mainstream!

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We have heard our Conservative Christian friends talk a whole lot about abortion and same-sex marriage.  Basically, they are against both.  Their concerns are based on religious beliefs and, in their opinion, should be banned from our planet, not just our country.

Let us assume for just one minute that these people actually have a religious belief based on the teachings of Jesus.  Don’t laugh, hear me out.  If these people do believe in the teachings of Jesus, why are they not crying loudly about another morally objectionable issue?  The idea of Income Inequality!

According to all four gospels of the new testament, Jesus taught that being rich does not get you into heaven.  He even said at one point “it is more difficult for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.”  Now, I am not a theologian, but that sure sounds like a put-down of rich people to me.

There is another passage where he tells people “to cast off all of your possessions and follow me.”  Again, that sounds like someone who is not in favor of material things.  Finally, to make matters even worse, when asked about paying their taxes to Rome, he said “give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and give unto God that which is God’s.”  In other words just pay your damn taxes!

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus praised the meek and the poor, but did not praise rich people.  Funny how Jesus seems to have left out the rich every time he wanted to praise some group of people.  It does make you wonder what he would be saying today, doesn’t it?

If these Conservative Christians are so pious, shouldn’t they be the loudest screamers about income inequality?  Shouldn’t they be the ones openly and vociferously supporting a $15 per hour minimum wage?  Shouldn’t they be the ones who support unions so they can continue their work to ensure a “fair share” of the profits for the working people?

Unfortunately, quite the opposite is true.  They are the ones who want to block the minimum wage increases needed.  They are the ones who demonize unions.  They are the ones who support paying women less than men for doing the same work.

If you go to most of these Conservative Christian churches, you will hear how if you are rich, “God is blessing you”.  If you are poor, “it is your fault for being lazy.”  If you are a working stiff trying to make ends need, you shouldn’t complain.  You should just “thank those rich people” for hiring you at those lousy wages.

The real shame in all of this is that the non-rich who attend these churches, buy into this crap.  They buy into it because they have fallen into the trap of believing what the idiot in the pulpit says because he “is a man of God.”  And, that proves that Conservative Christians are only interested in material gain and not the “souls” they claim to be saving.

The Conservative Christians and their political cronies all cry about this becoming a “godless country.”  Of course, they blame the left for making it so.  If America is becoming a “godless country” it is the fault of Conservative Christians.  It is their policies that have created a situation where the working wages of Americans has fallen to a low equal to 40 years ago, while the top 1% earnings has increased over 300 times what it was 40 years ago.

But saying that they have become “godless” isn’t exactly true.  Rather, we should be calling them out for making the dollar their “God.”  That is the only “religious” belief system they follow.  All Hail The Almighty Dollar!  Maybe those crosses in their churches should be replaced with dollar bills.  Then they would be honest about their “god.”

Anyone who wishes to call himself a Christian, should follow the teachings of the person whom they claim to be following.  Christianity is supposed to be about compassion for the downtrodden.  It is supposed to be about loving your neighbor.  Don’t take my word for it, read the gospels and you will see I am right.

Christianity is supposed to be a religion of “love and peace.”  Conservative Christians have made it a religion of hate and discrimination.  In his fictitious “War on Christmas”, the self-anointed prophet, Bill O’Reilly says we shouldn’t take “Christ out of Christmas.”  Why not?  Conservative Christians have taken “Christ out of Christianity.”

It is my opinion that these people need to just shut the f… up!  Maybe then we can get on with making America better for all of its citizens!

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The violence that erupted in Baltimore yesterday is a tragedy.  I also believe that it serves no purpose in changing opinions and/or views.  I have always spoken out against violence.  I lived through the riots in the 60s and I was against the violence then.

I did participate in protests in my past.  I protested for civil rights and against the Vietnam War.  But, I refused to partake in any violent act.  I considered violence as counter-productive to any cause.  Violence will only turn independent thinkers against what you are trying to achieve.

I supported Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his non-violence approach to civil rights.  As a truth in that struggle, the violence that was perpetrated against the non-violent protesters helped sway the American people in favor of backing the Civil Rights Bill.

Unfortunately, what has happened in Baltimore was bound to happen.  If not in Baltimore, it would have happened somewhere else.  In the last ten to twenty years, we have seen a dramatic increase in deaths during arrests.  I am not even going to suggest that all of these deaths were the result of bad cops going beyond their authority.

However, I am going to say that way too many of these deaths were a direct result of bad cops going beyond their authority.  The fatal blow came when the police departments failed to take credible action against those bad cops.  It came when prosecutors refused to press charges against these bad cops.  As a result, these bad cops received indirect approval of their bad actions and they continued.

This is not something that has taken place in the last couple of years.  It has been going on for at least a full generation, if not longer.  Police Officers have a very difficult job.  They actually do put their lives on the line for the general public.  But, when bad cops abuse their power and target any specific group of people, then go unpunished for their acts, everyone loses.

I have worked closely with several police departments across this country.  I personally know there are bad cops in every police department.  I have met them.  I have heard them.  However, police departments, in the cause of unity among its members, are very slow to punish these bad cops.  It is almost like they are afraid that if they punish the bad cops, it will put everyone else in a bad light.

Quite the opposite is true.  If a police department refuses to punish their bad cops, it makes the public believe all cops are bad.  It makes the public very suspect of anyone in a police uniform.  As a result, when something like happened in Baltimore takes place, the public is suspect of any “investigation” the police department may conduct.  It will also make the finding of such an investigation suspect.

When you put together that with the over-militarization of police forces, something is going to break.  When people feel helpless against the very department that is supposed to protect them, violence won’t be far behind.

I am sure that the violence in Baltimore has nothing to do with the case.  It is as the mayor said thugs taking advantage of a bad situation.  Those people should be caught and held accountable for their actions.  On the other hand, it will be unfair to categorize all protesters as violent extremists.  Until yesterday, all of the protests were peaceful.

It is time that this country has a real dialogue on police activities and police extremisms.  Every person who puts on a police uniform is not a “good guy.”  Many people who wear a police uniform should not be allowed to because of their bigoted views.

It only exacerbates the situation when departments and unions defend bad behavior simply because the bad behavior was conducted by someone in uniform.  The uniform should not be a shield used to protect bad behavior.  It should be used as a symbol of what good behavior is supposed to look like.

Violence is deplorable in all fashions.  That includes the riots that have taken place in Baltimore.  It also includes the violence perpetrated against the civilian population by bad cops.  Both have to stop.  Both have to be addressed properly.

In order for a police department to be successful in reducing crime, it needs the help of the public.  How can police departments expect the help they need when the public doesn’t trust them?

In a lecture I once gave, I said that perception is the driving force behind whether or not crime is a problem.  I told the audience that if people perceive that there is a crime problem, there is one.  If people believe there is no crime problem, there isn’t one.  That perception cannot be changed regardless of what the statistics say.

That includes whether or not the public will trust the police as well.  Until police departments start proving they will weed out the “bad cops” the perception will be that all cops are bad.  We all know that is untrue.  But, perception of things drives our trust.  As an unfortunate result, Baltimore may not be the last place we see violence over these kinds of cases.

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Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on same-sex marriage.  It is expected that by late June, it will render its decision declaring whether or not same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states.  A lot of experts are saying it will rule in favor of same-sex marriage, but I am not so sure.  I never try to figure out how 9 people will rule on any issue.  I hope they rule in favor of same-sex marriage, but I won’t hold my breath.

According to last weeks ABC/Washington Post survey, a full 61 percent of Americans favor legalizing same-sex marriage.  That is the largest margin in favor of the subject in history.  Republicans like to say that they only support “what the people want.”  Yet, the vast majority of Republican Candidates are opposed to same-sex marriage.

I have never understood the reasoning behind their utter hatred for the matter.  They often come out with ridiculous commentary about how same-sex marriages will “ruin the very fabric” of America.  Just how two people who love each other getting married will “ruin the very fabric” of America seems to escape me.

They claim their opposition is religious.  They cite the bible as the reason for their hatred against homosexuals.  Yet, in the New Testament, the testament that is supposed to be the one that Christianity is based on, has no such discriminatory language against homosexuals.  It takes some real “poetic liberty” to claim that any passage in the New Testament says homosexuals are “sinners.”

Besides that, this was the same type of argument that was used in order to ban bi-racial marriages in the past.  The haters then claimed that the bible said that blacks and whites were not to be married.  In truth, the whole Jim Crow laws were based on this false claim of biblical justification.

These candidates also say that our country was founded on the Judeo-Christian values.  That is not true.  The mere fact that the founding fathers needed to include the “separation of church and state” in the constitution says that they intended this to be a secular country that allows religious practice no matter what your religion is.  That is a far cry from being a Judeo-Christian country.

One of the funniest arguments to me is that same-sex marriage will destroy traditional marriage.  No one on that side of the argument has ever pointed to one definitive fact that makes this claim even remotely plausible.  I am still waiting for that nice Christian family to have a divorce because a same-sex married couple moved into the area and that caused their marriage to break-up.

I believe that if you really look closely at the demise of the “traditional family” values in America, it isn’t because of homosexuals and their desire to be married.  It is due to the simple fact that over 50% of marriages in America end in divorce.  The number one cause of divorce in America isn’t the homosexual “agenda” it is infidelity!  On top of that, many of the fighters against same-sex marriage have been married multiple times.  Isn’t that something that is against religious beliefs?

The purveyors of this hatred towards homosexuals has nothing to do with religion.  It has to do with politics.  Pure and simple.  According to Ted Cruz, if same-sex marriage is legalized in all 50 states, “religious liberty” will absolutely go away.  His stupidity is based on the fact that he thinks anyone who favors same-sex marriage is part of the “fascist liberals” who hate Christianity.

Of course, Ted Cruz’s idea of “religious freedom” is that you are allowed to discriminate against anyone you don’t like, as long as you can say “the bible tells me so.”  He constantly talks about the constitution, yet he continuously puts his interpretation of that book ahead of the constitution.

This hatred towards homosexuals, as I said, is pure politics.  In that survey I mentioned above, a full 70% of conservatives are opposed to same-sex marriage.  Since it has become necessary to gain the conservative support in order to win the Republican nomination for president, it is no wonder this topic is front-and-center in their debates.

I don’t know which rings more hollow.  Ted Cruz and his opponents ramblings about “religious liberty” or Ted Cruz’s comment that he would love his daughter just as much if she came out as homosexual.  That, at least to me, was a stunning comment on his part.  He may love his daughter as much if she were homosexual, but he would still fight to place her in a second-class citizenship position without all the rights of everyone else who isn’t homosexual.

Even if the Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, this hatred will not go away.  You will see Cruz and others on his side of the aisle try to pass a Constitutional Amendment that would outlaw same-sex marriage.  Of course, they will be doing this in the name of “religious liberty.”

The term “religious liberty” has been dusted off by today’s conservatives in order to sway you into believing that discrimination is “constitutional” in America.  They want you to believe that they are the only people who are “smart enough” to decide who shall benefit from civil rights.  You simply have to sit back and let them make the rules, even if you don’t agree with them.

And, that is the definition of fascism!  In spite of what Mr. Cruz says, there has never been a “liberal fascist” regime in the world.  Even the Communist regime in Russia and China were not based on liberalism, it was based on conservatism.  Liberalism is allowing people to live their lives with civil rights protections so they cannot be discriminated against because they are different.

I am not a member of any religious group or sect.  Yet, I do not favor the idea that the state should order religions to perform same-sex marriages.  That should be left for them to decide.  There are Christian churches that do recognize and even perform same-sex marriages.  That is true “religious liberty” that is protected under the Constitution.

On the other hand, I do not believe that any religion has the right to impose their religious beliefs on everyone else.  That is not “religious liberty,” it is “religious dictatorship.”  In its Citizens United ruling, the Supreme Court opened up our electoral process to the highest bidder.  Something that Campaign Finance Laws were intended to prevent.

What will be the fallout should the Supreme Court uphold the bans on same-sex marriage?  Which “different” group will be next in the crosshairs of the conservatives?  Will it be immigrants?  Will it be women?  Will it be blacks?  Will it be Catholics?  Will it be Muslims?  Will it be Methodists?  How soon will it be before only “White Conservative Evangelical Christians” are the only group protected by the Constitution?

If you wish to scoff at these questions, you are probably part of the problem.  If you scoff at these questions and are not part of that “White Conservative Evangelical Christian” group, you will not scoff for long.  A ruling against same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court will mark the opening of further legalized discrimination laws in many states.

When the haters win, society loses.  When haters win, the end of our democracy isn’t far behind and the beginning of Christian Sharia Law with its terrorism will follow quickly behind!


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