Archive for the ‘Race’ Category

At precisely 0000 hours (midnight) tomorrow night, the Department of Homeland Security is going to run out of money unless Republicans can get their “stuff” together.  The Republicans who want you to believe that they are the only ones interested in protecting our country from terrorists, are about to let the one department charged with protecting us from terrorists run out of money.

I am not overly concerned about terrorists running amuck in the country, however.  We all know that about 200,000 members of the various agencies under DHS will continue working.  They are considered “essential” personnel.  However, they will be working for an IOU from the government instead of actually being paid.

This tragedy is all tied to immigration reform.  Our immigration laws are archaic at best and need to be reformed.  Two years ago the Senate passed a bi-partisan Immigration Reform Bill and sent it to the House.  It has been languishing in John Boehner’s desk drawer ever since.  This was truly a bi-partisan bill.  Even 14 Republican Senators voted for the bill, and several Republicans were involved in its creation.  Should have been an easy task for Boehner to pass it in the House.

But, once again John Boehner proved that he is only interested in having the title of “Speaker of the House” rather than acting like one.  His bellicose comments about immigration reform are just another example of his unwillingness to “govern”.  He is too afraid of the Tea Party wackos in his caucus to try to pass any meaningful legislation.

After over a year of Boehner derailing a vote on the Immigration Reform Bill, the President issued an Executive Order detailing some changes in the deportation policies.  The Republicans went bonkers, as expected.  Whether or not you think the President’s actions was an overreach or not, I do not think so, is irrelevant.  Something has to be done about our Immigration Laws.

The President’s Executive Order does not make it easier for people to cross the border.  It simply lays out a plan for those already here with U.S. Citizen relations to remain without fear of deportation.  It also gives them a pathway to seek “legitimacy” as the Republicans would say.  It is not amnesty as Republicans are telling everyone.

As a result of this “fight” the Republican House passed a funding bill last year that put the DHS on the spot.  They funded every department of the government except DHS for a full year.  They funded DHS only through tomorrow and the Senate went along.  Then they passed a bill funding DHS but only if the Executive Order was withdrawn.

Naturally, the Senate Democrats filibustered the bill in that chamber.  So, now Mitch McConnell wants to pass a clean DHS funding bill and introduce a bill that would withdraw the Executive Order.  But that puts John Boehner in a corner.  He still has to contend with his wacko fringe group.  And, since he is loath to actually lead and fight the wackos, the idea of a clean bill passing the House is up-in-the-air.

The only way Boehner will be able to pass a clean DHS funding bill in the House is to use the Democrats to get the votes needed.  Although he did use them a few times in the past, that is also something that Boehner is loath to do.  He is afraid that if he goes to the Democrats to pass a clean funding bill, he will face another coup in his caucus.

All of this nonsense was avoidable.  If John Boehner had allowed a debate and vote on the bi-partisan Senate Bill, it would have passed the House.  I am sure there would have been amendments added by the fringe group, but those would have been worked out in a joint committee between the House and Senate.  There would have been no need for the President to issue his Executive Order in the first place.

With the Immigration Reform Bill actual law instead of collecting dust in Boehner’s desk drawer, we would not be in this situation right now.  The other day Boehner said about the DHS funding bill they sent to the Senate: “We did our job, now it is time for the Senate to do theirs.  This will pass if the Democrats stop saying “no” to everything.”

That is really rich coming from a man who has been sitting on the “fix” to all of this for two years!  John Boehner is the worst Speaker of the House in my lifetime.  He makes Newt Gingrich look like a reasonable man.  However, the Citizens United case in the Supreme Court added fuel to this flaming issue.

This is the kind of thing that happens when money is allowed to control politics.  These fringe wackos that Boehner is afraid of are financed by the likes of the Koch Brothers and others.  Their money has polluted and corrupted our political process to the point of stagnation.

Even still, it is John Boehner’s job to “govern” in the name of the People of the United States.  Something that, apparently, he is loath to do as well.  This whole dilemma was manufactured because John Boehner is more interested in holding the title rather than being the Speaker of the House.

There is no other reason for us to be in the predicament we are in over DHS funding.  Even big business and the Chamber of Commerce favor the Senate passed Immigration Reform Bill.  To stop this mess, all John Boehner needs to do is dust off the Senate Bill and bring it to floor of the House.  But he won’t.

I don’t use this word lightly, but John Boehner is basically a coward.  That is why we are waiting to see if there will be a partial government shutdown come midnight tomorrow night.

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So, according to Rudy Giuliani the President does not love his country.  The President does not love you.  The President definitely does not love Rudy Giuliani.  The reason this is so is because the President wasn’t raised like you.  Nor was the President raised like Rudy Giuliani.  You know what?  He is right.  The President was not raised like Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani likes to talk about his father, Harold.  He likes to tell how he was raised loving this country.  But, there are a lot of things that Giuliani likes to leave out of his stories.  He also likes to say how he would defend our country.  In one speech he said:  “I would go anywhere, any place, anytime, and I wouldn’t give a damn what the President of the United States said, to defend my country. That’s a patriot. That’s a man who loves his people. That’s a man who fights for his people. Unlike our President.”

I admit that truly sounds like someone who loves his country.  But there is also something that he leaves out of this narrative as well.  Let us take a look at the public record of how Rudy Giuliani was raised, his definition of “love”, and his patriotism.

Rudy Giuliani was raised by his father Harold.  A fine upstanding individual who loved this country and everyone in it.  Except, he was arrested and spent time in Sing Sing Prison for holding up a milkman.  He earned his living as a bat-wielding enforcer for a loan-shark operation which was operating out of a bar owned by Rudy’s uncle.

To show his love for this country, Harold, who was arrested under an alias, made sure the draft board knew that he was a convicted felon in order to avoid serving in World War II.  Additionally, five of Giuliani’s uncles found ways to avoid serving in the war too.

Not to be outdone, Rudy, while serving as a clerk to a Federal Judge, received about a half-dozen deferments from the draft during the Vietnam War.  He even got the judge to write a letter to the Selective Service to get him a “special” exemption from the draft.  So much for “going anywhere, any place, anytime to defend my country.”

On the other hand, the President’s grandfather and uncle both served in World War II.  Obama’s uncle was present when the concentration camp at Buchenwald was freed.  What he saw there apparently affected him so much, he reportedly spent six months in the family’s attic after being released from service.

Giuliani’s definition of “love” has some explaining to do as well.  Did you know that Giuliani’s first wife was his second cousin?  Did you also know that he received an annulment from that marriage because “she was his cousin?”  As a matter of fact, the priest who helped him get his annulment was actually Giuliani’s best man at the wedding!

When he was mayor of New York City he divorced his second wife.  See, he was already dating his third wife at the time.  According to records, he and his entourage of six or seven cops traveled 11 times to her Hamptons getaway at a taxpayer cost of $3,000 a trip.

Then, just to show his true love, one morning he left Gracie Mansion, the mayors residence in New York City, and announced in a televised press conference that he wanted a separation from his second wife and mother of his two children.  Watching the press conference was the first time that his wife had heard of his desire for a separation.  Now that is love.

Giuliani later doubled down on his remarks by declaring that the President was brought up by a communist grandfather.  He also claimed that his comments weren’t “racist” because The President’s mother and grandparents were white.

Giuliani also stated that the President was “more of a critic than he is a supporter of America.”  That is an odd thing for a security salesman to say since he told a group of consulting clients in Tijuana in October “America needs to stop lecturing other countries and start working on how to stop drug use in its citizens,” shifting the onus for the Mexican drug trade onto us.

Or, how about the time he was a consultant for the government of Qatar, the country his friend and FBI director Louis Freeh accused of hiding 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed before the attack. That’s the ultimate triumph of money over memory, since he’s still talking, as recently as a week ago, about the 10 friends and 343 firefighters he lost on 9/11.  Now that is love of one’s country!

So, I say to Mr. Giuliani that you are correct.  The President was not raised like you were.  He was not raised by mobsters in New York City.  The President did not have three wives, one of which was his cousin.  Nor, does he come from a family of draft dodgers.  Rather he comes from a family that honorably served their nation in a time of need.

This is one time that I like agreeing with Mr. Giuliani.  I would not want a President who has the “upbringing” that Rudy Giuliani had.  I would rather have one with President Obama’s “upbringing” instead.  But, don’t worry Rudy, the President isn’t the only one in America who doesn’t “love” you.  I don’t love you either!

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The far right is still howling about the attack on Charlie Hebdo and that “free speech” is at the heart of the matter.  They are arguing that the President did not go to Paris for their march because he “hates free speech.”  They argue that blasphemous cartoons and art are a form of “free speech.”  They also forget about all of their cries for “censorship” against art they deemed to be blasphemous towards Christianity like “Black Jesus” and “Dung Virgin Mary”.  But, we shall leave that for another time.

But, is “free speech” especially as defined by the French really at the heart of the matter?  France has a problem that they don’t like to talk about.  They surrendered to Nazi Germany during WWII.  As a result, they were collaborators in the Holocaust.  After the war, they had to do something to make sure they were on the right side.  As a result, they passed laws that made it illegal to deny the holocaust and/or make anti-Semitic comments.

As we discuss these laws deeper, you have to wonder if we had similar laws concerning “free speech” would people like Rep. Steve King, Sen. Ted Cruz, David Duke, all of the KKK, all of the Aryan Nation, and many others be in jail right now?  As you will see, they have all used “hate speech” and/or “incited violence” according to French Law.

These laws have been in existence for years.  They limit the “hate” speech that is allowed in French society.  Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks, they have started enforcing these laws harshly.  As a matter of fact, in November they added harsh penalties for anyone invoking or supporting violence.  They added prison sentences up to seven years for backing terrorism.

But, what does “backing terrorism” really mean?  Well, the French are answering that question.  Since the attack, up to 100 people are under investigation for “backing terrorism.”  One is a 28-year-old man of French-Tunisian background who was sentenced to six months in prison after he was found guilty of shouting support for the attackers as he passed a police station in Bourgoin-Jalieu on Sunday.

Another, a 34-year-old man who on Saturday hit a car while drunk, injured the other driver and subsequently praised the acts of the gunmen when the police detained him was sentenced Monday to four years in prison.   This is after, on Wednesday, the Minister of Justice told Prosecutors to fight and prosecute “words or acts of hatred” with “utmost vigor.”

That utmost vigor has resulted in several people being arrested, charged, tried, and sentenced to prison in as little as three days!  The anti-terrorism law that is being used has some very harsh provisions.  It targets “hate speech” and is more severe if the words are posted on the internet.  If the offense is spoken, the law allows a sentence of five years and a fine of almost $90,000. If it is on the Internet, it allows sentencing up to seven years and a fine of nearly $120,000.

But, what is spoken “hate speech?”  Well, it is clear that the accused did not have to threaten actual violence to run afoul of the law.  According to the actions of Mr. Cabut, the prosecutor who brought the case of the man who shouted as he passed a police station: “They killed Charlie and I had a good laugh. In the past they killed Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Mohammed Merah and many brothers. If I didn’t have a father or mother, I would train in Syria,” that is enough.

But Mr. Cabut also says that there were limits as to how far prosecutors would go.   He is sure that no one would be prosecuted for refusing to stand during a moment of silence.  Maybe not prosecuted, but maybe suspended or fired.  Thursday a parking attendant in Paris was suspended by the police prefecture for refusing to observe a silent tribute to the victims.  It must be pointed out here, that to date, no one who has called for violence against Muslims in France has been arrested or prosecuted for their “hate” crime under these laws.

As you can see, “free speech” in France is not the same as “free speech” in America.  If it were, thousands of people would be in prison for invoking violence and/or using hate speech.  Under these laws, the simple act of speaking at a white supremacist group might have landed Mr. Scalise in prison under these “free speech” laws.  Instead he is the number three person in power in the House of Representatives.

I know that conservatives and the Cult don’t care about the obvious double-standards and hypocrisy.  Just remember, when they cry about the attack on Charlie Hebdo being an attack on “free speech”, they don’t mean “real free speech.”  That is why no conservative in this country is complaining about all of these arrests of people “exercising free speech.”  Conservatives, I am sure would love to have similar laws, with a few tweaks of course, in this country.

Other European countries have similar laws.  The laws themselves infringe upon what we in America consider “free speech.”  Let’s be honest, if you are going to have laws that restrict “hate speech” you cannot allow the type of cartoons that Charlie Hebdo prints.  Many people around the world, not just Muslims since they also attack other religions, would consider those cartoons as “hate speech.”

No, the attack on Charlie Hebdo was an act of terrorism.  The cartoons may have been used as the excuse, but terrorism knows no religion, race, or ethnicity.  It is simply acts of violence against society by evil people who want to control us.  That is the point that is lost on conservatives, and why incidents like this will continue.  George W. Bush proved that when you don’t recognize the real enemy, you fight the wrong wars.  Conservatives still don’t recognize the real enemy!

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I know it is only 2015.  But, the primaries are just one year away.  Why is that so important now?  Because states that have already passed voter suppression laws need to be fought beginning right now!  We need to be sure that everyone who is eligible to vote, can do so.

Most of the states with these voter suppression laws have several things in their favor.  Mostly the cost of getting that Photo ID.  Some states claim that they will issue the Photo ID for free.  But the documents they require cost money.  Plus, many of these same states don’t have offices to issue these “free” Photo ID in every community.  Meaning that some people will need to travel far distances just to get their ID.

I have an idea that may help damper these voter suppression laws if not beat them completely.  However, I do not have the name recognition, nor the funds to try to start up something that will be required.  I hope someone out there knows someone devoted enough to at least consider my plan, with whatever variations they deem proper.

First it must be a bipartisan non-profit organization.  That means someone with the right name recognition is needed to raise funds.  It will also need fund-raisers who have worked in the non-profit business before.  Once the non-profit organization is up and running, it would work something like this.

In every state that requires a photo-ID to vote, volunteers would be recruited to assist those who need help.  The funds would come from the non-profit to help pay for things like birth certificates, gas, mileage, etc.

Advertising would be run in each state to let people know that they can get help in getting their Photo-ID to vote.  They would be directed to either go online to the non-profit’s website, or given an 800 number to call or a local number to a volunteer.

The volunteers would take the calls with a checklist of questions to determine how much help would be needed. (It must be noted that party affiliation cannot be asked .  Otherwise Republicans will accuse the non-profit of trying to rig the vote.)  If the person requesting help is poor, elderly, or simply cannot pay to get a needed birth certificate or other documents they may need, the organization would put up the money including the cost of the photo-ID, if necessary.  Once the birth certificate, or any other documents needed have been received, the volunteer would transport that person, if necessary, to the office to get their ID.

Again if necessary, the volunteer would then take that person to the voter registration place so they can register to vote.  In this way, the volunteer would be there to help that person through the entire process and ensure they get the documentation they need to vote.

Volunteers would be paid for any paperwork expenses, gas, mileage, etc.  The organization could start them out with a grant to get started.  Then each volunteer would submit expense documents so the initial money could be reimbursed thus ensuring a continuation of services.

Obviously, there will have to be training for the volunteers.  With today’s technology that is not as difficult as most may think.  With online meeting places, volunteers could receive their training without leaving home.  Volunteers could by anyone.  They may be college students, or retired people, of anyone with time to dedicate to this import mission.

I know that the voter suppression laws are bad for the country and should be overturned by the courts.  But, with a conservative Supreme Court, that is most unlikely.  So, as in the 60s, we need to mobilize to make sure that everyone who is entitled to vote, wants to vote, does vote.

The clock is ticking, though.  Hopefully, someone will see this opportunity and start the ball rolling soon.  This plan is one way to help beat the Republicans at their own game.  It will also help to keep them from stealing future elections.  But, it needs to start soon.  Otherwise, the Republicans will keep suppressing the vote wherever they can.

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We are two weeks into the new congress.  Before it all started, Mitch McConnell went on TV and basically told the nation that the Republicans, now in control of both houses would prove that “adding a Republican President won’t be so scary.”  He actually made some overtures that the new congress might actually be willing to work with the President.

So, two weeks in and what do we have?  A very scary start to the new session.  The House has already passed new rules and laws that threaten Social Security, the economy and national security.  What a beginning!

On the very fist day of session, the House passed a rules change that prohibits Social Security Administration from transferring money between Social Security and Social Security Disability.  Social Security Disability is in trouble.  If they aren’t allowed to transfer money when necessary, those receiving Social Security Disability will see a 20% reduction in their payments!

We all know that these people are really living high on the hog with their average $1,130 per month check.  Therefore, the Republicans seem to think they can afford their “haircut” as they like to call reductions in benefits.  Even Rand Paul has gotten into the act.  The other day he claimed that Social Security Disability is riddled with fraud because most people who draw benefits are suffering from nothing more serious than anxiety or back pain.

“The thing is that all of these programs, there’s always somebody who’s deserving, everybody in this room knows somebody who’s gaming the system. I tell people that if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn’t be getting a disability check,” Paul said. “Over half the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club. Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts? Everyone over 40 has a back pain.”

Bryce Covert at Think Progress gives a very good explanation of the program:

The disability insurance program, which is part of Social Security, has come under scrutiny after two media reports last year that focused on rising enrollment and implied that it was at least partly due to fraud. But the reality is different: fraud in disability programs is estimated to amount to less than 1 percent and is extremely rare, as the agency’s watchdog has found.  Its inaccurate payments rate is also less than 1 percent, compared to about 8 percent for Medicaid and Medicare.

The benefits are also very hard to come by. Fewer than four in ten applications are approved even after all stages of appeal. Medical evidence from multiple medical professionals is required in most cases to determine eligibility, which means showing that an applicant suffers from a “severe, medically determinable physical or mental impairment that is expected to last 12 months or result in death.” The severity of the disabilities of those who get benefits is underscored by the fact that one in five men and nearly one in six women die within five years of being approved.

In order to get Social Security Disability, it can take years.  I know, we looked into applying for it for my wife.  She suffers from Spinal Stenosis.  Since her job requires her to stand for eight or more hours per day, she has been in constant pain.  She has had two back surgeries.  Although she is feeling somewhat better, she is still suffering from severe back pains to the point she has trouble walking.  In the end, we decided that she will simply retire at the end of this month.    We would need to lay out a lot of money in order to meet the “multiple medical professional” evidence she would need.

The second bill passed will delay parts of the Dodd-Frank Bill.  What the house wants to do is let large banks continue to use “taxpayer protected” monies in risky investments.  The law states that banks must offload “collateralized loan obligations” — risky packages of corporate debt that are sliced off for sale to investors. Similar collections of risky mortgages were at the heart of the 2008 meltdown, and federal regulators have been warning about the corporate debt market overheating.  The big banks own the majority of these risky corporate debts.

Under the law, they have until 2017 to complete this offload.  The bill passed by the house would push that date back to 2019.  There are 10 other pieces of legislation packaged in this bill as well, all chipping away at the Dodd-Frank protections.  As a result, the Republicans are pushing us back to the days that led up to the 2008 economic crash!  Just as the economy is really beginning to gain steam.

The third law passed yesterday.  This is the Department of Homeland Security budget.  There are two items that will surely cause a veto if it reaches the President’s desk.  First, it overthrows the President’s executive action that allows up to 5 million immigrants to not face deportation.  But, that wasn’t good enough for the Republican crazies.  For good measure, they are also pulling the rug out from under DACA which allows immigrants brought to this country illegally by their parents when they were children from being deported.

The Republican crazies are willing to shut down the Department of Homeland Security because they don’t like immigrants!  You can put it in different perspectives if you like, but that is the real gist of the situation.  The ultra-conservatives are the people pushing for this bill.  Unlike the rest of the Republican Party, they seem to think that some illegal immigrants are a far greater threat to America than those Jihadists and other Terrorists.  Why else would you be willing to shut down the one Cabinet Post that is most responsible for our Homeland Security?

In a mere two weeks, the Republican controlled congress, mostly the House for now, has placed Social Security in jeopardy, our economy in jeopardy and our homeland security in jeopardy.  I don’t know about you, but all of these actions seem very Anti-American to me.  I mean, are they really trying to crash the country and its economy down?  Something is definitely wrong with all of these actions in the House.

So, Mr. McConnell.  If this is your idea of showing the American People that adding a Republican President to a Republican controlled Congress “isn’t too scary,” I would hate to see your definition of “scary.”  I have always been an optimist, and I can’t speak for everyone else, but you are sure scaring the hell out of me!

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It has become as inevitable as the sun rising in the east.  Ever since the atrocious attacks at Charlie Hebdo in Paris the other day, there has been a lot of hand wringing, especially by the conservatives in the U.S.  As you expect, they are even claiming that it was a lapse in intelligence by American Intelligence Agencies that allowed the attack in Paris.  They are clamoring that the NSA needs even more power to snoop on everyone.

The right is arguing that this is a first step by the Islamic Terrorists and we can expect similar attacks in our own country.  The Canadian Senator even said that the murders were “a reminder of the global threat we face.” Then on Facebook he said that they should be considered “an attack on us all.”  I will admit that Fundamentalist Islam Terrorist attacks are something we need to be concerned about.  The attack on Charlie Hebdo was atrocious, it was vicious, it was criminal.

However, the problem with fundamentalist terrorism is that it is not confined to Islam.  As I have written before, fundamentalist terrorism is all around us and comes from all corners of religious beliefs.  Something that has seemingly been lost because of the Charlie Hebdo attack, is that right here in America there was a bombing at a NAACP Office in Colorado Springs, CO.  No one was killed or injured in the attack, but it happened.  There were three White Supremacists arrested in Georgia for planning a terrorist attack in this country.

The right is saying nothing about either of these cases.  Yesterday, the FBI released a sketch of the suspect at the Colorado Springs attack.  I checked on Fox News website today, and there is nothing about the attack or the sketch.  There are a bunch of stories about the Paris attack though.

Yes, I know that the Paris attack resulted in the deaths of 12 people, plus the deaths of three of the four suspects in the attacks.  But, right here at home we have a terrorist attack against the country’s oldest civil rights group and the conservative’s propaganda machine doesn’t even run a copy of the sketch to help catch the terrorist.

As I wrote the other day, terrorism is a scourge of humanity.  The attack in Paris was because the magazine ran what many believe to be offensive cartoons.  Yes, Charlie Hebdo has a right in a democratic society to run such cartoons, and it is extremely criminal to attack them for that reason.  The attack was carried out apparently by radical fundamentalist Muslims.

In Colorado Springs, a civil rights group was attacked.  The sketch shows a bald white man in sunglasses as the suspect in the crime.  In Georgia, three white supremacists were arrested for planning a terrorist attack.  Why are they similar to the Paris attacks?  Because white supremacists claim that the Bible says whites and “others” need to be segregated.  Some may consider this a lame argument, but it is just as fundamental to white supremacist beliefs as similar attacks are to radical Muslims.

I would think that the right would be up-in-arms about a terrorist attack in Colorado Springs.  Know what else is there?  The U.S. Air Force Academy!  Who can say if these white supremacists won’t target it next!  The Academy is integrated, so it would seem to fair game for white supremacists as well.

If we are going to conduct a war on terrorism, we need to conduct that war against all terrorism.  We cannot just pick an enemy because of religious differences.  We need to work hard to erase all terrorism, regardless of who is using it.  That includes white radical fundamentalist Christians as well as radical fundamentalist Muslims.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “the West” must respond to the massacre by ceasing to “appease leaders of Muslim organizations in our societies.”  If that is true, then we must soon hear from someone like Glenn Beck that we should cease to “appease leaders of Christian organizations in our societies” as well.  When the terrorist is a white Christian, one can take a long nap during the silence of Conservative Christian Leaders speaking up against that attack.  Even if they do speak up against such an attack, they usually follow it up with some sort of rationalization for it.  Like the “left caused the attack” by their policies.

We have had several cases of domestic terrorism carried out.  There have been abortion clinics bombed, abortion doctors murdered, the Federal Building attack in Oklahoma City, and others too numerous to name.  Terrorism does not know color or religion.  All colors and all religions are just as guilty as any other.

Terrorism is terrorism.  I don’t care who the terrorists are.  If we are to really understand terrorism, we need to stop letting our politicians scare the shit out of us when a terrorist attack is carried out by a Muslim.  We must ask them why that is more evil than a white Christian carrying out a terrorist attack on our shores.  Shouldn’t we be just as afraid of them as the Muslims?

After all, the attack at the NAACP office in Colorado Springs was apparently carried out by a citizen of THIS country.  I am thinking that citizens of Colorado Springs would consider this attack much more dangerous to us than the attack in Paris.  Innocent bystanders could have been killed by this bombing right here at home.  Where is the outrage?

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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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