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Archive for the ‘Religion’ 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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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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There has been a lot of discussions recently about religion and its effect on politics.  There has also been a lot of surveys pointing out that religion is losing ground to the secular part of society.  Salon the other day had an article about how Millineals are “turning their backs on the faith of their parents”.  As if this is something new.  It isn’t.  It has been going on for generations.

The real question isn’t how many people are turning away from religion, it is why are they turning away from religion?  I cannot speak for others, but I know why I have.  It isn’t even so much that I turned away from religion, it is more that I was driven away from religion by the very people who want us all to “believe”.

It would not be fair to say that I am an atheist.  Like many people who got surveyed, I am more what is now called a “spiritualist”.   Most of the people I know in this “category” do believe in god.  We simply don’t believe in the god of the major religions.  I believe that god was made up by people in order to justify their own bigotry and hatred.  I find that not something of which to be proud.

It is often said that we are the “product of our times”.  That is partially true.  Like many who grew up in the 50s and 60s, I was raised in a religious household.  My family are deeply rooted Catholics.  I was sent to private Catholic Schools during grade school and high school.  As we all were, I too, was involved in the church.  That means I should hold to these same beliefs, but I do not.

In these private Catholic schools I had to attend religion classes.  During these classes we were taught that god created the world in six days.  The funny thing about it was, neither the nuns nor priests who taught these classes ever said these six days were 24 hour days.  We were taught about evolution in our science classes.  Somehow, my teachers in these schools seemed to believe that evolution made the creation that much more interesting and that, to them, it did not disprove god’s existence.  The one thing we were taught was to think for ourselves.

My change was not sudden.  It was a very gradual process.  During these time the Civil Rights Movement went into full mode.  The Viet Nam was raging.  And people of my generation began to question why either of these were necessary.  Civil Rights should have been covered in the Constitution and there shouldn’t be any discrimination.  The war was never really explained as to why it was necessary.  To us, the argument that if “we don’t stop the Commies there, we will be fighting them in California next” just didn’t seem to hold water.  Like China was going to take a shortcut through Viet Nam to get to us.

Many things were going on that seemed to question long-held beliefs.  An entire generation began to question things.  More and more of the so-called “hippie” generation began to “drop out”.  That, to me was not the answer either.  Being active in the fight for civil rights and against the war were the right thing to do.  But, that also brought me into conflict with many people who claim to hold the same religious beliefs that I did.  I didn’t understand the hate towards blacks.  I attended an integrated high school.  Everyone performed well in class regardless of who or what they were.

As I went through high school and college, I began to realize that all major religions were false pretenses to make you feel better than everyone else.  They taught you that you were better because of your beliefs.  They taught you that it was okay to discriminate because someone else believed differently, looked differently, or acted differently.

More importantly to me was the fact that the god these religions worshiped seemed very tyrannical.  How could people worship a deity that threatened their very existence if they did not do exactly as told.  Were we to only gain eternal life through fear?  We were taught that god was our father.  I never feared my father, so why should I fear god?  Somehow that didn’t seem like a viable way to live one’s life.

When I was in school, I was taught that Jesus gave us two commandments.  Love god and love your neighbor.  If religion was being used to discriminate against others, how could any Christian claim to be following these commandments?

It doesn’t matter which religion you look at.  All of them have the same premise.  You can hate your neighbor if they don’t believe what you do.  You are special because your are “god’s chosen people”.  If you consider someone else to be a “sinner” you can kill them with god’s blessings.  You can look at all of the religious texts you want, and you will find the same logic in all of them.  Even in Genesis the Jews “put to the sword all living things, men, women, and children” under the “order of god”.  Is that what we are supposed to worship?

When I entered the Coast Guard, I realized that it doesn’t matter what religion you follow, or what color you were, or where you came from,  we worked as a team.  Our job was to save the lives of anyone in pearl on the seas.  Never once did I ask what nationality someone was before going out on a rescue mission.  That is what we are supposed to do as people.  Help others!

As time passed, I began to realize that these religions offered nothing but separation.  On one hand they taught to love thy neighbor, but on the other hand it allowed you to slaughter everyone else not like you.  I began to realize that these religions offered nothing different than ancient pagan religions, except that they worship one god instead of many.

If we are all children of one god, how can we hate another person?  If we are all children of one god, how can we justify the killing of someone else because they believe differently?  If we are all children of one god, how can we let someone else starve to death or live in poverty or deny them their civil rights?  How do all of these square with those beliefs?  They don’t, and that is the problem with religion.

Yes, I believe in a god.  But, I do not believe in the Judeao/Christian/Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist god of terrorism.  If you wage war in the name of god, or say god is on our side, you worship a god of terrorism.  If you can discriminate against another because of race, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation then you worship a god of terrorism.  Sorry, I cannot worship a god of terrorism.  For that matter, I do not worship any god.

In the movie Inherit the Wind, the sarcastic journalist said “When man crawled out of the cave, he look up and saw the stars.  He thought they were something to eat.  When he found he couldn’t reach them, he figured they were the groceries of a bigger being, and god was invented”.  Maybe, he isn’t far from the truth.

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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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It has been another wild week in politics.  The right-wing has managed to offend just about everybody.  If they managed to go one week without saying something offensive, I might think we were facing the end times.  But fortunately, they keep those lines coming.

We have discovered that poor people, especially in the inner-cities, are poor because of their “culture of laziness”, thanks to Mr. Ryan.  But, of course, he isn’t being racist, just inarticulate.  Funny, he didn’t mention the millions of white rural people.  That must mean he only believes that poor “black people” are the lazy ones.

We have also discovered that Disney apparently has been purchased by Satan.  That tidbit comes from Religious Right talk show host Kevin Swanson.  According to him, no one should take their children to see Disney’s animated movie Frozen because it is intended to “indoctrinate children to become lesbians”.

We have discovered from Pat Robertson that if you watch horror movies, you are bound to be possessed by the devil.  But according to him all you have to do is:  “This thing may be living around you and what you need to do is speak it — command this thing to leave — and ask God to forgive you.”  I guess you can watch horror movies and not be possessed if you just use his little advice.

We discovered that, according to Jim Brown who is running for Congress in Arizona that slavery wasn’t all that bad.  He posted on his Facebook Page:  “Back in the day of slavery,” he wrote, “slaves were kept in slavery by denying them education and opportunity while providing them with their basic needs. Not by beating them and starving them. (Although there were isolated cases of course.) Basically slave owners took pretty good care of their slaves and livestock and this kept business rolling along.”  Some people just never attended history class.

But, one item that has really set off the right-wing nut-jobs is the Presidents plan to revise how overtime pay is handled.  The overtime rules would be aimed at salaried workers who make more than $455 a week and those who are ineligible for overtime because they are designated as management even though their supervisory duties are minimal.

The last time these rules were changed was in 2004 under President G.W. Bush.  That was when the per-week limit of who gets overtime and those who don’t was raised to $455.  Funny, the right-wing wasn’t screaming about that change.

Of course Fox’s Stuart Varney got apoplexy over the very idea that people should be “paid” for their extra work.  He said:  “This is redistribution by executive order,” he sputtered. “The president is buying votes. He is commanding higher salaries for millions of people. Right before an election. Don’t you think that those millions of people will be grateful and say, ‘Thanks for the pay raise, Mr. President. I’m voting Democrat.’ Don’t you think that’s in there?”

He went on to say:  “In the earlier days of Google, they had all kinds of youngsters, up-and-coming strivers, who would work day and night. That’s how they built the company. Tech startups with really a drive to succeed and climb that food chain.”

Of course, Mr. Varney didn’t say that these new rules would not have affected all those hard workers at Google.  The rules do not apply to anyone making over $50,000 per year.  Those hard-working software programmers all made substantially more than that.  But, we can’t let any facts get in the way of a good scare tactic, can we.

Not to be outdone, Mr. Boehner said:  “The president’s policies are making it difficult for employers to expand employment.  And until the president’s policies get out of the way, employers are going to continue to sit on their hands.”  Well, Mr. Boehner, the President’s policies have created 8.7 million new private sector jobs.  How many have your jobs bill created?  Oh that’s right, you don’t have a jobs bill.

Paul Ryan says that the inner-city residents are “lazy”.  And, that is the cause of their poverty.  He doesn’t mention that even when they do work, they receive minimum wage which will guaranty they remain in poverty even though they are working 40 hours per week.  Mr. Varney thinks that paying people due overtime is “wealth redistribution”.  Mr. Boehner has no plan to speak about.

Somehow, I just can’t get the thought out of my head that the Republican Party in general, and the right-wing wackos just like to hear themselves talk.  It seems that the only things that comes out of their mouths is something ridiculous.  It is usually offensive to minorities, women, immigrants, gays, or the American Public.  What are they drinking in those closed-door sessions of their caucus?

So, we are facing a problem of poverty in this country because inner-city people, but definitely not the white rural poverty ridden people,  are lazy.  We cannot raise the minimum wage because it might help those in poverty.  We cannot pay overtime to people who earn it because that, along with minimum wage, is “wealth redistribution”.

That leaves us to draw the only conclusion from all of this.  Neither the Republican Party, Christian Conservatives, Libertarians, or other Right-Wing Conservatives care one bit about working Americans.  So, what else is new?

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Millions upon millions of people around the world believe in extraterrestrial life.  There have been over 15 million witnesses who claim to have seen a UFO or been abducted by an ET.  There are those who believe that man’s great leaps and bounds in evolution are the direct result of ETs changing our DNA or coming to our planet to “teach” our ancestors how to make civilization.  There is a show on TV that is called “Ancient Aliens”.  The people on this show are determined to convince us that we are descendents of ET.

Last night I happened to watch this particular show.  I don’t take very much of what they say as serious science, but it is somewhat amusing to watch anyway.  Then I suddenly got a thought.  What if these people are actually right.  What if the gods humans have worshiped for thousands of years are actually ETs.  But, more importantly, what would that mean to Christian Conservatives and their belief that the bible is true science and that the world is only 6,000 years old?

I began to laugh out loud thinking about what Pat Robertson or Mike Huckabee would say if it were determined that ETs made life on our planet possible.  What would happen to their whole concept about god and their belief that humans were created in god’s image?  Since the most popular ET is what people call the “grays”, that might put a crimp into their belief system.  Grays are described as humanoid, but they do not look exactly like us.

Then I thought their first reaction would be to denounce the “science” as fantasy.  That is their easy answer.  But, some might even say that the ETs were sent by God to develop our ancestors.  Even still, that may be difficult to swallow if it means the earth is more than 6,000 years old and the grays don’t look exactly like us.  Then, if the ETs were sent by God, what does that do to the divinity of Jesus?

But, I began to come to the realization that if these ETs reappeared to check on their work, the Christian Conservatives would immediately call for their extermination.  After all, if we were created in god’s image, and ETs look like the grays, the Christian Conservatives will argue they must be “spawns of the devil” and must be destroyed.

On the other hand, don’t forget, that these very same Christian Conservatives argue that Intelligent Design is a fact.  They even use the argument that if god was not the intelligent designer, someone was.  That leaves open the possibility of ET creating the human race.  I just hope they look like us, or we will have an intergalactic war on our hands.

The one thing that always amazes me in watching stuff like this is the certainty that these proponents have about the topic.  They don’t talk like it “may be a possibility”, they talk like it is “fact”.  Then it occurred to me that is how the Christian Conservatives view their beliefs.  It also occurred to me that whenever humans look for that big question of “why am I here”, they always have to find some kind of intervention by an extraterrestrial or god to find the answer.  That in itself is not a bad thing.  It becomes a bad thing when it takes the place of common sense and reasoning.

Once humans fixate on mythology and believe it to be true, they lose sight of the common decency that is supposed to bind us all together.  That is when things like hate, discrimination, and misogyny all take root.  It is the one thing that causes most of our troubles as a species.  The idea that one group is better than the other simply because they believe one mythology over another.  That is the primary focus behind the intolerance laws against all minorities that are being raised in several states.  It is what causes men to think of women as “pawns” and an “inferior” sex.

I know that belief in religion can be comforting to some.  That does not excuse the vitriol hurled at others who believe differently.  That is the one factor that Founding Fathers wanted our Democracy to overcome.  Allow each group of myth believers to believe what they want.  But, not to be able to impose their myth on others.  I am afraid that is something Christian Conservatives will never accept.  Thus, they will never accept democracy.  That is the real danger facing us today.  Intolerance is a vicious cancer in society that kills freedom and the very soul they claim to have.

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The first day of the CPAC whine-fest is over.  The main speakers at this years conference all seem to have one major theme to spout to the audience:  “Woe is us”!  But, in all honesty, I do have to agree with one meme that has come up time-and-again.  That meme is that “we are at a critical point where liberty is at risk”.  That was first uttered by the Liberty Loving (as long as you are a white Christian) Ted Cruz.

Of course, I do not agree with their assessment of what constitutes “liberty”, but liberty is at risk.  It is at risk every time a conservative legislature passes another anti-abortion law.  It is at risk every time a conservative legislature passes “legal discrimination” laws in the name of freedom of religion.  It is at risk every time a conservative business owner says he won’t provide contraception to employees because he is “religiously” against using contraceptives. It is at risk everytime a state passes a voter restriction law.  It is at risk every time a legislature cuts funding for Public Education.  It is at risk every time the Republicans try to defund the social safety nets and let the poor on their own to just die.

What the conservatives at CPAC are really saying is that they believe their “liberty” is at risk because the Federal Government, especially the Constitution, makes it illegal to discriminate against people.  So, they callously shroud their discrimination is false claims that their “religion” says it is okay to discriminate against people, therefore, the government cannot tell them they cannot.

All the while the paranoid conservatives are meeting in Maryland, court briefs of friends of Hobby Lobby are proving that the mandate challenge of the ACA to provide contraception is not about religious freedom, but rather controlling women employees and their sexual activities.  The façade of using religion against the ACA mandate is falling away very quickly if you take time to read the papers.

For example: the Beverly Lahaye Institute includes in its brief:  “If the Government intends to broaden the definition of ‘women’s health and well-being,’ and thus the goal of the Mandate, to include non-health related concepts such as emotional well-being and economic prosperity, then it should likewise have considered the documented negative effects the widespread availability of contraceptives has on women’s ability to enter into and maintain desired marital relationships. This in turn leads to decreased emotional wellbeing and economic stability (out-of-wedlock childbearing being a chief predictor of female poverty), as well as deleterious physical health consequences arising from, inter alia, sexually transmitted infections and domestic violence.

There you have it.  Contraceptives are the root cause of domestic violence and the reason women don’t desire to enter into desired marital relationships.  I wonder just what they mean by desired marital relationships.

The American Freedom Law Center says:  “Thus, it has come to pass that the widespread use of contraceptives has indeed harmed women physically, emotionally, morally, and spiritually — and has, in many respects, reduced her to the “mere instrument for the satisfaction of [man’s] own desires.” Consequently, the promotion of contraceptive servicesthe very goal of the challenged mandate — harms not only women, but it harms society in general by ‘open[ing] wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards.’ Responsible men and women cannot deny this truth.

Sorry ladies, I didn’t realize that once you take contraceptives you lose all control of your sexual impulses.  According the American Freedom Law Center, once you pop that pill into your mouth, you apparently just go around looking for a man to satisfy.  Your choice of when you have sex is all lost to that little pill.

There are more examples, but I think you get the idea.  These groups are not arguing against the mandate on religious grounds.  They simply want to control the lives of women.  According to them, taking contraceptives causes women to lose all self control and dooms them to a life of poverty.  Who said there was a “war on women”?

With this in the background, the conservatives at CPAC are bemoaning the idea that “liberty” is under attack.  In a sense they are correct.  But it is they that are attacking liberty.  It is they that are trying to establish a legal discriminatory government.  It is they who simply wish all the poor people would simply die and leave them alone.

I am sure today we will hear more of the same.  We will hear their weeping for quite a while, especially since this is an election year.  But remember, they are the ones who are really attacking liberty.  To be fair, they have gotten really good at it too!  All in the name of hate!

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Get the barf-bags ready!  Today marks the start of that infamous CPAC meeting in Maryland.  I am sure that we will hear plenty of interesting things from the guest list of speakers.  I just wonder if they will be able to come up with something new or even outdo their past speakers in stupidity.  CPAC claims it stands for Conservative Political Action Committee.  I believe it really stands for Creditless People Against Critical-thinking.

With people like Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin speaking, I am quite sure we will hear a whole bunch of stupidity during this conference.  I am sure we will hear all about the ACA ruining America.  How Climate Change is a hoax.  How women should let the government decide what is best for their health choices.  How same-sex marriage will “ruin traditional marriage”.  How un-godly we have become.

As usual there will be the list of Conservative Christians speaking as well.  These nuts have come up with some real doozies in the past.  I can’t wait to hear what Mike Huckabee has to say.  According to these people, as well as the rest of CPAC, same-sex marriage, abortion, violence, crime, feminism, homosexuality, and even contraception are sins that are all the result of our “having thrown god out of our schools and communities”.  A meme that Huckabee and other Conservative Christians have howled for generations now.

I have often wondered why they don’t seem to make the same correlation about the “broken family” or “lazy parents” as the root cause for these “sins” and not link them to the decline of religion in our country.  Let’s face facts.  If children are to grow up with religious beliefs, it is the responsibility of parents and churches to teach them.  Not the public schools.  If working parents are to blame for unruly children, then why aren’t they to blame for the decline in religion?

The latest polls indicate that religion is in serious decline in the country.  Over a third of the population says they are “unaffiliated” when it come to religion.  That is a nice way to say they are not religious.  But, rather than talking to parents about the need for religion, they blame the government.  They don’t want the government to be involved in our lives.  Or, so they say.

But, they have no problem with the government being involved with a women’s right to choose, or with discriminating against homosexuals, or “teaching their children” all about religion.  At the rate that religion is declining, some experts think that religious believers will be a distinct minority in America by the year 2050.  This is what is most terrifying to these people.  Not that religion appears to be disappearing, but that their lavish paychecks made off of “preaching the bible” is in real jeopardy.

Since neither they nor the parents they are claiming to protect are capable of teaching their children religion, they expect the federal government to do it for them.  That way, they will be able to keep their gigs and make all that money without actually having to earn it.  Sounds like they may just be a bunch of “takers” they preach against.

The CPAC conference is full of nuts like these Conservative Christians.  They are willing to spout the most hateful things and claim they have the right to do so.  In that regard, they are correct.  They have the right.  But, we normal people, have the right to call them out for the hypocrisy they live.  Mega Preachers like Huckabee and Pat Robertson are leaches making a ton of money scaring people.  They are even less Christian than I am, and I do not consider myself a Christian.

Yes, it is the annual barf-bag time of year.  I know, these people cause us to reach for the barf-bag all year long, but the CPAC conference brings all the wackos together for three fun-filled days of homophobia, lying, fact altering, and history rewriting.  Come to think of it, maybe we should look at it more as comic relief.  But, have the barf-bag ready just in case.

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