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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

In 1960, John F. Kennedy ran for President.  John F. Kennedy was Catholic.  In our long history, only one other Catholic won a party’s nomination for President before Kennedy.  That was Al Smith who lost big-time.  When Kennedy won the primary for the Democratic nomination, the protestant population had a fit.

The argument ran that if Kennedy was a Catholic, he would disregard the Constitution in favor of his Church’s teachings.  This, according to the protestants was not only wrong and dangerous, but also treasonous.  How could a Catholic protect the rights of non-Catholics if he followed the teachings of the Pope?

Kennedy was forced to give a speech telling the American people that he was first and foremost an American.  He assured the population that he would not abandon the Constitution in order to follow his church’s teachings.  He said that although he was a Catholic, his faith would not dictate his handling of the Constitution and the rights it afforded.

In 1960, Kennedy won a very hotly contested election against Richard Nixon.  Some on the Republican side even called it controversial.  In either case, Kennedy won over the majority of the people with his I am an American first speech.

Today, we are facing a similar problem.  At last count, there are 16 people running for President on the Republican side.  Every one of these candidates are in step with the “conservative social agenda” of the Republican Party.  In a word, they are instep with a “religious” belief that says their religion trumps the Constitution.

You can look at just about every issue in their “conservative social agenda” and see that they don’t give a hoot about the Constitution.  Rather, they believe in their religious teachings as being “superior” to the Constitution.  If that was a troubling aspect of the 1960 election involving Kennedy, why isn’t it a troubling aspect of the 2016 election?

The biggest block of the “conservative social agenda” is the anti-abortion stance.  The major argument against abortion used by these candidates is that they are “saving the lives of the unborn.”  However, the definition of “life” and when it starts is a matter of personal determination.

Conservatives of all religions believe life starts with conception.  That is their right to believe that.  Others however, believe that life begins much later.  Therefore, having an abortion before the time they believe “life” begins is not wrong.  Conservatives cannot abide by that definition.  Theirs is the only definition they want to allow.  This is not based on science, it is based on religious beliefs.

As a result, their stance against abortions is a purely “religious” belief that they think trumps the Constitution and the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade.  They say your belief of when life begins is wrong.  They say you must abide by their religious belief.

The argument against same-sex marriage follows similar lines.  The conservatives are constantly claiming that “God” defined marriage as between one man and one women.  But, their argument runs out of steam as soon as you realize that polygamy was a standard practice among the ancient Jews.  Especially the “royals” of the ancient Jews.  If marriage was defined by “God” as between one man and one woman, why were so many kings of the Jews married to so many women at the same time?

Also, if they truly believe that God defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and that their religious marriage ceremony ends with the words: “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder,” how can they defend divorce and remarriage?  How is it that the state should recognize remarriage as being “legal” with all the rights defined in by law?

If conservatives really believe in what they are preaching, shouldn’t people who are divorced and remarried to someone else be denied the same rights they want to deny same-sex couples?  Shouldn’t inheritance of a second spouse be taxed as if that person was not a spouse?  Shouldn’t companies deny health coverage to that second spouse since they aren’t really married?  Isn’t divorce and remarriage an attack against “traditional marriage?”

Let us assume for just one minute that these Republican Candidates really believe what they are saying.  Let us for just one minute believe that these candidates are really that “religious.”  Shouldn’t that make the rest of us ask them the same questions that Kennedy faced?  Shouldn’t that make the rest of us believe that they will disregard the Constitution anytime they believe it conflicts with their religious beliefs?

The Constitution is very clear in its stance of the separation of church and state.  It even says you cannot force people to make a religious commitment to hold office.  Yet, all of these Republican Candidates are trying to do just that.  They are trying to force religion down our throats.  They are trying to use their “religious beliefs” as a rallying cry to openly deny civil rights to those who don’t follow their teachings.

The biggest difference between these candidates and Kennedy is that Kennedy never used his religion as a reason for his election.  Each of these candidates are pandering to specific religious sects in order to get their votes.  They are openly defying the basic principle of the separation of church and state.

That alone should be enough to disqualify every one of them from holding the office of President.  It is very obvious that these candidates are not interested in “Protecting the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.”  Rather they are all in favor of eliminating the Constitution from our lives.  Only their beliefs matter.  If you think differently, you lose!

I predict that if any of these Republicans win in November 2016, and their wacko friends are still in control of Congress, you will one day be walking down the street and a man in a leather coat will walk up and say “papers please.”  Forcing your religion on everyone else cannot be successful without real control over people’s lives.  That may be “religiously” acceptable, but it is unconstitutional.

 

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In a couple of weeks the Republicans will hold their first debate of the 2016 Presidential Race.  Yeah, I know, it is probably too early for such things, but after all, it is only about six months away from Iowa and New Hampshire.  So, with a total of 16 candidates, and probably more before the whole thing gets really going, they probably think it is time to weed out some of the less likely successful candidates.

The problem I am having with the current crop, isn’t that they are running.  It is what is coming out of their mouths.  A lot of people in the media, especially on the left, are calling a number of the current crop of Republicans “wackos” or “cuckoo-birds” or “clowns.”  Sorry, I won’t buy into that description.  It is far worse than that.

The problem I see is that these people are actually describing their vision of what America should look like.  They are actually, for once, being honest about their hatred for everything a democracy is supposed to be.  They are showing us, with their own words, that if there was ever a crop of candidates running for President that really hate America, they are it.

There is the vulgar, bloviated Trump calling immigrants “rapists” and disparaging former POWs.  We have the ALEC mouth-piece Walker telling America that unions should all be banned and we should be happy with whatever the company says we should be paid or how many hours we should work.  We have the Canadian Senator Cruz hating anything that has to do with governing or compromise for the common good.  We have the theocratic hypocrite Huckabee saying a deal with Iran “will lead the Israeli’s to the gas chamber.”

Then we have the more “moderate” Republicans like Bush, the brother of one of the worst President’s in our history talking about taking away abortion rights and reproductive rights from women and eliminating Medicare.   Then we have that outreach candidate Rubio who claims that “no one wants bad air or water” yet is calling for the elimination of the very agency responsible to protect our air and water, the EPA.  His reason?  It is hurting his rich donors who rely on polluting our air and water to make their millions.

The list goes on and on.  Everyone of these “candidates” seems to find something about democracy that totally disgusts them.  They constantly tell the American people, they are only trying to listen to the American People.  Yet, they continuously vote against the very laws that the vast majority of Americans want passed.  When I say “vast majority” I am referring to poll numbers at 70% or more.  How is that listening to the American People?  Simple, you are NOT  the American People, unless you belong to the top 1% of the income earners.

In several states, photo ID cards are required to vote in person.  Yet, these same states have very lax laws pertaining to absentee voters.  It is far easier to cast an improper vote by absentee ballot than at the polls.  Yet, they claim they are just protecting the ballot box.  Of course the only people who will have trouble getting their photo ID will be young people, poor people, and old people.  All people who Republicans don’t want to vote at all.

Women’s rights have been under attack since the country was founded.  Women have always been classified as “second-class citizens.”  They weren’t even allowed to vote until 1920.  Republicans want to control how they live their lives, how many children they must have, and what decisions they can make for themselves.  According to Republican candidates, women are not capable of putting together a “rational” thought.

If women are allowed to participate in the job market, Republicans say they must accept less money for doing the same job as their male counterparts who are doing the exact same work.  Why?  Because they are women, pure and simple.  They don’t have the same economic needs as men do.  Besides, women should be kept at home, barefoot and pregnant.  They should be totally dependent upon men for their lives.

Republican candidates are all up in arms about the Iran Nuclear Deal.  As mentioned, Huckabee claims it will lead to the next holocaust for the Jews.  The funny thing about all of this is that the largest area of anti-Semitism in this country is in the south.  You know, places like the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.  More synagogues and Jewish Cemeteries are defaced in the south than in any other part of the country.

I have always found it funny that the Republicans claim to be the biggest supporters of Israel when the vast majority of their constituency are mostly anti-Semitic.  Since groups like the KKK and Aryan Nation and others have their headquarters in these states, it doesn’t take a lot of thought to know this is true.

Republicans, led by their propaganda machine Fox News, has shown continuously that they don’t like the idea of talking about people of color being killed by Police.  They always turn the tables and say that if that person of color just followed the police officer’s orders, they “might” still be alive.  I like that “might” they always seem to throw in there.  When things like “Black Lives Matter” come up as slogans to stop police violence, they try to turn the tables and come up with things like “All Lives Matter.”

They then cry when someone calls out that it isn’t white people being systematically murdered by police officers.  They refuse to reasonably discuss the possibility that maybe, just maybe, these police officers are in the wrong and not the victims.  But that would mean having to actually acknowledge that this country still has a race problem.  Something they refuse to even consider.

Their latest gambit is their cry for “religious liberty.”  According to them, if your religion says it is okay to discriminate against someone else, then it is legal to discriminate against them.  If your religion says it is wrong to have an abortion, you must stop everyone else from getting an abortion.  If your religion says it is wrong to use contraceptives, then no one should be allowed to use them.  If you are a Muslim, you should be put on a “watch-list” since you are obviously a terrorist.  And to help things out here, you are not supposed to be allowed to immigrate here.

That is their definition of “religious liberty.”  To them, “religious liberty” means that they are free to believe what they want.  You on the other hand must believe what they do.  If you don’t, you get no civil rights.  If you don’t believe what they do, you are second-class citizens.  If you are a minority, you must “do as you are told” and not think for yourself.

The Christianity I was taught says we are supposed to “help” the poor.  The Republican idea of “helping” the poor is to eliminate the social safety net.  Medicaid?  Who needs medical insurance if you are poor?  Medicare?  No, get a voucher and spend thousands of dollars you don’t have to keep your insurance.  Social Security?  Why are so many people living so long?  If they outlive their “expire-by-date” let them just fade away.

According to them, Christianity is really all about helping the rich get richer.  It is all about making sure the poor louts stay poor.  It is about letting the sick and elderly just die away to save money.  It is all about cutting public education funding.  Poor kids are supposed to stay poor, so why bother to educate them.  Women should know their place.  They are nothing but homemakers and baby-factories.  Like children, women should be seen and not heard.  Their only purpose in life is to “serve” their man and spread their legs whenever they are told.

That is what these 16 Republican Candidates are offering our country.  That is what they believe America should be.  They want America to be a white society, run by rich white men, and bereft of everyone else.  That is their utopia.  That is their definition of the American Dream.  If you are a worker, you don’t have the right to the American Dream.  Just shut up and accept what pennies they throw at you for your labor.

Jobs?  Health Insurance?  Livable Wage?  Union Representation?  Women’s Rights?  Civil Rights?  Those are all “socialist” or worse yet “communist” ideas.  They have no place in America.  They have no place in our society.  They are all evil ideas put forth by “Satan.”  But, don’t take my word for it.  Just listen to the trash coming out of their mouths.

My first impulse is not to watch the first debate on August 6.  But, it is also like watching a train-wreck.  You hate what you are seeing, but can’t take your eyes off of it.  The problem is that if any one of these dangerous people actually make it to the White House, that train-wreck will be America.  That is the real danger facing us.

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The biggest unfortunate side of the Chattanooga, TN shooting of 5 service members is that it has become the cause celebre for all of the crazies.  Or, should I say all of the bigots and fringe groups.  Since that tragic day, the wacko bunch has come out of the woodwork faster than you can say “oh shit!”

One gun shop owner, a full believer in the Constitution of the United States announced that his gun shop is now “Muslim Free.”  He doesn’t say how he intends to discover who is and who is not a “Muslim” but there he was standing in front of his all-inclusive Confederate Battle Flag making his announcement.

We have lunatics calling themselves “patriots” in open-carry states now saying they will “defend” our recruiters.  They have started showing up in front of Recruiting Stations openly carrying guns declaring they would defend our recruiters.  This is because they believe that the Defense Department is “wrong” in not allowing recruiters to carry guns wherever they go.

There has been a large outcry on Facebook about the President not ordering the flag put at half-mast in honor of these servicemen.  They claim that the President is “disrespecting” our service members by not immediately issuing the order.

I simply don’t know where to start on this.  So, I guess I will take them one-at-a-time.  First, that gun shop owner who claims to have a “Muslim Free” gun zone in his gun shop.  He claims to have the right to refuse to sell guns to anyone he believes is dangerous.  But, there is no right to refuse to sell guns just because of a person’s religion.

What he is saying is that if you are an American Citizen protected by the Second Amendment of the Constitution and have a right to own a gun, you still cannot purchase one in his shop if you are a Muslim.  In other words he has taken on the task of defining who is and who is not a citizen protected by the Constitution.

The simple fact that he is standing in front of a Confederate Battle Flag shouts loudly exactly what he means by “Muslim Free.”  Since he claims he won’t be asking you what religion you belong to, the only way to determine if you are a Muslim is by skin color or name.  If you are not white, and have one of those “funny middle-eastern names” you will obviously be considered a Muslim and refused service.

On the other hand, if you are white, you will be gladly sold any weapon you want.  Apparently, he doesn’t know that there are millions of white people who are Muslims in the world.  Even right here in America.  I personally know dozens of white Americans who are Muslims.

The second one involves recruiters for our military branches.  We now have crazies “walking the beat” outside recruiting stations carrying all sorts of weapons from assault rifles, sniper rifles, and hand guns.  All without being asked by the Department of Defense to “protect” the recruiters.

One of the greatest things about our country is that our military doesn’t go around carrying weapons everywhere they go.  You will find armed soldiers in other countries, even so-called democratic countries.  I can guarantee you that if our military personnel have been carrying weapons in public before Chattanooga, these very same crazies would be screaming at the top of their lungs.  It would be the proof they need that the government is trying to “take over” the country.

This so-called “protecting our recruiters” is nothing more than a very sick publicity stunt to get their names and pictures in the papers and on news stations.  It serves absolutely no purpose.  As a matter of fact, it is probably going to hamper these recruiters from doing their jobs.

Not many people are willing to cross a line of armed men to walk into a recruiting office.  Additionally, the added publicity these wackos are creating only increases the possibility of another attack.  If that should happen, what is going to be said when these odd-balls start shooting and innocent civilians are killed in the crossfire?  It will be the responsibility of these “patriots” if that happens.  But, of course, they will claim they were just doing their “duty” to protect the recruiters.  Those innocent civilians were just “collateral” damage.

These same people are calling for recruiters to be armed.  To many that sounds reasonable.  However, there is a difference in the training of personnel to carry arms in a combat zone and carrying arms in a civilian area.  There are lots of rules and laws that must be met, even for the military.

That means more training for recruiters, many administrative personnel, has to be conducted before they can carry arms in the office.  It also means that armories must be built and established to house and protect those weapons when not being carried.

The Coast Guard, being law enforcement, has such training for personnel.  However, not everyone goes through it.  I did.  I even had to go through the “shoot-don’t shoot” training.  If you failed that test, you were not allowed to carry a weapon in public areas.

All of this costs money.  The Defense Department is facing calls for cuts in their budgets.  They are facing base closings and reduction in forces.  How can they afford to add the costs of the training and armories needed before recruiters are armed?

Even if this all happens, how can they go to a High School or College Campus with weapons?  If you ask recruiters, you will discover it is hard enough to get to these places already.  Not many of them will be happy if the recruiter shows up carrying a handgun.  As I said, this has more potential to hamper recruiting efforts more than help them.

Third, the issue of the flag at half-mast.  I don’t have a problem with the President ordering flags being flown at half-mast in honor of these men.  Actually, he has issued that order.  But, on the other hand, I have a problem with it being flown at half-mast for these men and not the rest of service members who have been killed.

Yesterday I wrote about the problems at the VA and how fixing it is the best way to “support our troops.”  What I didn’t put in that article is that a veteran commits suicide every 65 minutes.  That means about 23 veterans commit suicide every single day!  Are we to fly the flag at half-mast for them?

Where do you draw the line on that issue?  If the flag was lowered every time a service member was killed, we would never see the flag at full mast again.  That is just a simple fact.  You don’t “respect” servicemen by lowering the flag in honor of their death.  You show “respect” by making sure their families are properly taken care of after their great loss.

You see, once a service member dies, their families are basically cut off.  Just as one example, the survivors of a fallen service member must vacate military housing within 30 days of the funeral.  They lose most of their benefits.  They lose almost all of their “privileges” like shopping at the exchange.  They become just another survivor of a fallen service member.

I seriously mourn the five members who were killed in the senseless shooting.  I also hate it when these kinds of situations brings the crazies out of the woodwork.  These service members deserve better than that.  Their families deserve better than that.

Yes, security at recruiting stations needs to be reviewed.  The DOD says a report is due on Friday.  There are thousands of way to better protect our recruiters than with arms.  Especially when you consider that one “trained” recruiter accidentally shot himself in the leg when he began carrying a weapon.  What would have been said if he had accidentally shot a recruit?

Honor those who were killed.  Remember their families in your prayers, if you are prone to pray.  But, don’t praise these wackos who are looking for nothing more than publicity.  That is not honoring these brave men’s memory.

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I am not really sure what to say about the political environment today.  We have been ensnared into falling into two basic camps.  Conservative or Liberal.  But, as everyone really knows, that is insane.  The American people as a whole are neither conservative nor liberal.  I believe that the vast majority of the American people are in the middle.

There are arguments about whether or not we are middle-left or middle-right.  I really think it depends on who is running for office.  Yes, there are pockets where ultra-conservative and/or ultra-liberal politics wins out, but that is really a minority not the majority.

This is all coming to a head during this 2016 Presidential Election Cycle.  You can see it everywhere you care to read headlines.  Some “pundits” are calling for a more radical liberal agenda.  Others are calling for an ultra-conservative agenda.  Neither is even listening to the American People.

There are even those who are now claiming that Donald Trump is a “refreshing” political voice.  They argue that he is willing to speak his mind regardless of whom he pisses off.  They say we need more politicians like him to keep our politics from becoming too “boring.”

This is all stupid rhetoric.  What we really need is for our politicians to actually look at our problems and listen to the people.  That is not as hard as you may think it is.  However, it isn’t going to happen, especially on the Republican side, because they believe that the country is ultra-conservative.  They believe that the American people want to be able to discriminate against someone.  They believe that the American people want religious leaders to dictate policy.

Democrats are not much better.  They are very quietly saying things they have said for years.  They also listen too much to Wall Street.  Remember, Wall Street is where most of the money comes from in order to run for office.  As a result, both sides of the aisle have allowed for regulations on financial institutions to be relaxed again.  This is becoming the same old tired politics from our past.

Democrats seem to think that talking quietly is the correct choice to get elected.  Republicans think that being boisterous is the way to get elected.  The problem is that both sides are only looking at primaries and not the over all health of our country.  Instead of discussing how they foresee the country moving forward, they use 20 second sound bites to talk down the other side.  It is basically our fault.  We allow them to use such tactics because we refuse to ask the tough questions.

I said earlier it isn’t difficult to find out just what the American People want.  If you look at the polls, you can see a lot of issues where there is a majority opinion on lots of issues that politicians still try to divide us over.  Things like gun control, for example.  You will discover that the American People want to be able to own guns.  Yet, you will also find that the majority of Americans want reasonable control over who can own guns.  The vast majority of Americans believe in Universal Background Checks before being allowed to purchase a gun.

The majority of American people believe that same-sex marriage is protected by the constitution.  They do not want the government telling churches or religions that they must perform religious marriages, but they do believe that same-sex marriage is legal and should be protected.

You will also find that the vast majority of Americans believe that income inequality is a real problem in growing our economy.  They want a higher minimum wage.  They believe that the super rich should pay more in taxes.  They believe in Social Security and Medicare.  They believe in a woman’s right to choose abortion or not.

Put simply, the American People do not want anyone in government running their personal lives.  They expect the government to protect them from violence, crime, and robber barons.  They expect a fair chance to reach their own version of the American Dream.

But, instead of hearing plans about how we can best achieve the wishes of the American people, we hear about things that only matter to a slim minority of the electorate.  We only hear about what the Conservative Christian Cult wants to hear.  We have politicians calling immigrants “rapists” and other derogative terms.

This is not politics.  This is hate.  This is control.  This is pure stupidity.  As I said this is mostly our fault.  We fail to hold these wackos accountable for their stupidity.  We tolerate their ignorance and hate.  We just turn away and then say, well candidate A is less evil than candidate B.

Then we blame the candidates. We call them liars.  We say they are only interested in their own power.  We have mid-term elections where less than a third of registered voters actually show up to vote.  The next time you really want to blame someone for our political largess, look in the mirror.

The next time your elected official says the Affordable Care Act must be repealed, stand up and ask what is their plan to replace it?  Don’t accept 20 second sound bites as an answer either.  Make them spell out their plan.  The next time they say they support the troops, stand up and ask why they slashed the VA budget again.

The next time they talk about gun rights, ask them who should be allowed to own guns?  Should criminals and mentally impaired be allowed to own weapons?  If not, how are you going to keep them from owning guns without universal background checks.

These are just examples of things you can ask about.  Don’t let the fringe groups on either side take over the conversation.  Make your elected official and candidates answer serious questions.  Make sure they are held accountable and go to the polls.

Democracy only works when the people participate in it.  If you continue to stay home on election day, we will lose the very liberties you cherish so much.  And, it will be our fault!  I say it is time to “take our country back.”  We need to take it back from the crazies before it is too late for all of us.

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Another day, another mass shooting.  On the same day the Colorado movie shooter was convicted of mass murder, less than a month after 9 people were shot to death in a church in Charleston, SC, we have another mass shooting in Tennessee.  There is a difference in this one.  Four service members, all Marines, were killed in this incident.  And, the suspected shooter was reportedly born in Kuwait.

This one difference makes this, according to the right-wing, an act of terrorism.  None of the other mass murders that have taken place are acts of terrorism.  The shooter in Charleston has not been charged with domestic terrorism, but rather mass murder.  The guilty verdict in Colorado was not for domestic terrorism either.  But these shooters were both.  I guess that makes a big difference to the right.

The latest shooting in Tennessee may well be an act of terrorism.  But, so little is known about the shooter that we need to learn more before making any claims about that.  We don’t even know yet if the suspect is a U.S. citizen.  Just because he may have been born in Kuwait, doesn’t mean he isn’t a citizen.  He did graduate from a U.S. High School and the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga.

This could also be a case of revenge as well.  Maybe the suspect was turned down for recruitment in the military.  It would not be the first time service members were killed for that reason.  True, it doesn’t happen very often but it does happen.  We just don’t know yet.

The right-wing is also arguing that this shooting will be turned into the use of guns and more gun controls.  But, one does have to ask how the suspect got his guns?  If he is a citizen, then he has the right to get guns.  If he is not a citizen, then how could he get his guns?  That is something that also needs to be looked at.

This country has seen way too many mass murders of this type.  Some have been acts of terrorism, but almost all of them have been committed by U.S. Citizens and not foreigners illegally here.  That should raise some red flags as well.  The fact that the only time the right wants to label them as terrorist acts is when the suspect is supposedly a Muslim, also tells us something.

All acts of mass murder, in my opinion, are acts of terrorism.  It doesn’t matter to me who the suspect is or what religion he belongs to.  All that matters is that mass murder is simply an act intended to make people afraid.  That is terrorism.

Until we treat all cases of mass murder as terrorist acts, this will continue to happen.  This case has nothing to do with immigration or any other trivial matter.  It has to do with someone wanting to frighten people.  They are intended to make people fail unsafe in public.  That is the very definition of terrorism.

None of this matters to the right-wing.  This is the perfect example of ISIS coming to our shores and shooting us to death.  It is the very thing that they want you to be terrified about.  It is exactly what people like Donald Trump want to happen.  It allows them scream about the President and his so-called “lack of border control.”  It is another excuse to go to war.

As one right-wing nut tweeted:

We’ve been saying it forever; hit them HARD over there, or they’ll hit us here. Obama’s been playing footsie with ISIS, this happens.

In order to try to keep these things under better control, we need to start treating mass murder as acts of terrorism regardless of who commits the act.  The Charleston shooter should be charged with an act of terrorism.  We need to make sure that anyone committing such crimes, be charged with the real crime they are committing.

No more excuses.  No more sick attempts at getting headlines.  Terrorism is terrorism.  We need to prosecute it as such.  And, if gun laws wer violated in order to get the guns, those responsible for not following the law and selling these terrorists guns should also be prosecuted as accomplices.

Many on the right won’t like what I just said, but I don’t really care.  I am tired of seeing my fellow citizens being killed by terrorists, both foreign and domestic simply because it is too easy to get the guns they need.  We really need to have a real discussion on how to best make things like this less likely.  Reason usually wins out.  Unfortunately the right-wing nuts don’t know how to even spell reason, much less know what it means.  So, I guess I am just howling at the moon.

 

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There have been a lot of stupid things being said lately.  Of course, we have the whack-nut Trump calling Mexican immigrants rapists.  We have unintelligent people like Cruz agreeing with him.  We have the State of Texas refusing to issue birth certificates to immigrant children born in Texas.  We have a right-wing heavily edited lying video about Planned Parenthood “selling” fetus tissue.

The right is up-in-arms over the recently announced Iran Deal, without even reading it first.  There are still public employees who swore an oath to uphold the laws of the State and Country denying marriage licenses to people.  And, we still have Scott Walker saying the “minimum wage” is “lame” all the while eliminating the “living wage” definition from Wisconsin’s laws.

There have been some positives as well.  Obamacare withstood another frivolous law suit in the Supreme Court.  Same-sex marriage was declared constitutional by the same Supreme Court.  And, finally, the Confederate Flag has been taken down in South Carolina.

The conservative side just will not give up their “social” agenda.  The same Trump who calls Mexican immigrants “rapists” tweeted a nice picture with the American Flag and “soldiers” in one of the red stripes.  Problem was those “soldiers” were Nazi SS troops!  Of course, the Donald isn’t a fascist, some “young intern” was to blame for the goof.  I guess no one checked that “young interns” work before putting out the tweet.  Sounds very fishy to me.

We have seen polarization in this country for a very long time.  It really came to a head when Barak Obama was first elected President.  That is when the term “we need to take our country back” came into vogue.  But, why all of this polarization?  Why all of this hate being thrown about?

There is really only one answer to those questions.  F E A R!  You may ask, fear of what?  Fear of change.  As I have said before, conservatism is based on the principle that things were better in the past.  It is based on the premise that the “status quo” is the way we should live our lives forever.  Change is bad.  Moderation is bad.  Compromise is bad.

Unfortunately for the conservative movement, change, moderation, compromise, and a changing demographic is threatening their fairyland world.  Since the country is becoming less “white” that is bad.  Since the country is becoming more secular, that is bad.

Racism has been part of man’s existence since he first crawled from the cave.  Religion has been with us from the very moment that we started asking “what is the meaning of life?”  All of the religions of the world have the same things in common.  Every so-called “sacred text” is a conglomeration of another “sacred text.”  The new one just puts a different slant on who is right and who is wrong.

It is this mishmash of “sacred texts” that has caused most of our problems.  See, the real problem with religion isn’t religion itself.  It is the man-made laws that have been incorporated into religion that has caused most of our problems.  Conservatives are quick to use religion as their excuse for hate and discrimination.  They use religion to tell others how they are supposed to live.  How they are supposed to think.  And, how they are supposed to behave.

If you take the time to look at history, you will find that the “status quo” and “religion” is at the heart of every single dictatorship, monarchy, or empire the world has ever known.  The status quo is designed to make sure that power remains in the hands of the few.

Religion, or even an attack against religion, is used to show the “divine” right of the power broker.  Even the Nazis and Stalinist/Maoist Communists used religion to their advantage.  The Nazis created their own religion.  The Stalinists and Maoists used religion to show how it was holding back progress of the state and its people.

The bottom-line is that conservatism needs the status quo and religion to justify their power grab.  They need people to believe any change in these dynamics is bad to their very existence.  In America, conservatives use Christianity, or at least their interpretation of it to justify their arguments.  In Israel, Judaism is used.  In other Mid-East Countries, Islam is used.

Republicans love to use things like the phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance of “one nation under God” as proof this is a Christian Nation.  They don’t tell you that the words “under God” weren’t added until the 1950s during the big “Red Scare.”  Nor do they tell you that the words “In God We Trust” were added to our money in the 1920s when America was terrified that the Bolshevik Revolution that took place in Russia may gain ground right here.  Religion was used to differentiate us from them.

Conservatives will tell you that the founding fathers were ardent Christians.  Yet, neither in the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution of the United States of America is God mentioned even once!  They understood that “freedom of religion” for everyone was necessary to form the Republic, which later became a democracy, to exist.  Those documents do not cast disparaging comments against any religion of lack of religion.  That is how it should be.

But, that is what terrifies conservatives.  The point is that conservatism needs you to be afraid of something.  It needs you to be terrified that any societal change will cause you to lose everything you have worked to gain.  It needs you to want to look to someone for guidance and rules that make life easier.  And, they want you to believe they are that “someone.”

Conservatism hates change.  It hates progress.  It hates the very idea of democracy.  It thrives only when it can stir up anger, fear and hate.  It thrives only when it can make you so terrified of any imaginary terror that you are willing to give up your civil rights for “security.”  That is what conservatism is really all about.

The current crop of conservative candidates on the Republican side of the aisle is proof of this point.  The only time their numbers rise is when they create fear among their supporters.  In the past, the majority of Americans have dismissed them for what they are.  Let’s hope this election cycle is no different.

You cannot have freedom and democracy without tolerance of others.  You cannot have freedom and democracy by hating or being afraid of your neighbor.  Let’s face facts.  If you truly believe in the Christian Philosophy, there is nothing more Christian than a true democracy.  A political process where everyone has a voice.  Where everyone has the right to be who they are and believe what they want.

Tolerance isn’t agreeing with everyone and their beliefs.  Tolerance is allowing them to believe and live differently from us.  That is democracy, and in reality, that is Christianity as well.  Tolerance is a word that scares the living hell out of conservatives.  As a result, we have seen the polarization that fear and hate has created in our political process.  If it is not stopped soon, we will see the end of our democracy and the start of a new fascist state.

As Benjamin Franklin once said: “If you give up some liberties for the sake of security, you will soon find you have neither liberty nor security.”  That is a warning from one of our founding fathers that resonate very strongly today.

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The other day we discussed the GOP phrase of “leave science to the scientists” or at least their desire to tell the Pope that instead of themselves.  Now our nation’s Crazy Uncle Louie (Gohmert) thinks that the Pope is wrong in his encyclical about climate change.  He even went so far as to compare himself with Galileo.

See Crazy Uncle Louie said the Pope did not include a full objective opinion about climate change.  Apparently, Crazy Uncle Louis thinks that the Pope, who has a degree in chemistry by the way, should have included stupid arguments that Crazy Uncle Louie likes to spout.  Since the Pope did not include these wacko comments, it is obviously not a fair and balanced opinion.

Crazy Uncle Louie even went on to say:

The trouble is that [the pope] has been persuaded that climate change is something that is dramatically affecting the planet right now, he’s bought in to all this. We have had popes that made enormous mistakes that were influenced by the world around them.

But it got even crazier.  It was at this point that Crazy Uncle Louie compared himself with Galileo:

Since when does science not allow opposing viewpoints? Well, they didn’t allow Galileo to make an opposing viewpoint, there were a lot of accurate opposing viewpoints that were not allowed at the time that were later allowed to come in.

We already know that Crazy Uncle Louie is not a scientist.  We can also tell by his last comment that Crazy Uncle Louie is not an historian either.  For one thing, scientists of the time of Galileo did not argue against Galileo.  Galileo was a scientist.  It was the Church and the Spanish Inquisition that placed Galileo under arrest not scientists.  The charges against Galileo were not about science, but rather going against church teachings.

So, unless Crazy Uncle Louie thinks that the Pope will order his arrest for going against Church Teachings, I don’t think the comparison between him and Galileo is very apt.  But, Crazy Uncle Louie doesn’t need to be accurate.  He just needs to be loud.

Secondly, Galileo used the scientific method to prove heliocentrism. Crazy Uncle Louie probably can’t spell heliocentrism, much less define the scientific method.  I really believe that if you took a test lab beaker up to Crazy Uncle Louie, he would have to ask what it was or argue that he doesn’t need to take a drug test because he is a Congressman and they aren’t required to be given random drug tests.

This is all coming from a man who is terrified that God is going to be sending a storm of terrorist attacks against our country simply because same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states.  As a matter of fact, the same-sex marriage ruling is going to be front and center from now on.

Every time there is a natural disaster in this country, it won’t be because of climate change, it will be because God is punishing us for allowing same-sex marriage.  A very convenient excuse and argument for people like Crazy Uncle Louis.

Naturally, we will be hearing from others like the Canadian Senator Cruz, the unthinking Rick Santorum and others on the Republican climate denial band wagon supporting and defending Crazy Uncle Louie.  The unfortunate side to all of this is that Crazy Uncle Louie would be great comic relief, except for one thing.  He is expected to vote on issues like this that will affect the country and the globe for generations.  That is way too scary to be comic relief.

Since he obviously has his finger on the pulse of his wacko constituent, I do not foresee Crazy Uncle Louie going away anytime soon.  I don’t know, maybe the Pope should place him under house arrest like Galileo.  At least we would know where he was at all times.

 

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