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Archive for the ‘Things That Suck’ Category

We really know that the 2016 Presidential Election cycle is underway.  Candidates are beginning to form their own PACs to get ready for a run, Rep. King held his Iowa Freedom Summit, and the Koch Brothers have announced that they plan to spend $900 Million on the 2016 campaign cycle.

Remember, the Koch Brothers and their PAC are not the only players in the game either.  There is of course Citizens United, Conservative Victory Fund, National Conservative Political Action Committee, the NRA, and a host of others.  I am sure that each of them will add significantly to the money to be spent.

All of these conservative PACs were invented to purchase politicians in the first place.  Now, they are even going so far as to say how much money is up for grabs well before the election cycle officially opens.

With all of this money around for Politicians to take advantage of, I thought it would be nice of me to offer some suggestions on how much conservatives should charge these groups for their votes.  After all, if we are going to be selling our elections why not have a Price Tag on each vote?

I have only included figures for federal elections.  The columns run House, Senate, President.  The House and Senate may be different only because of the length of their terms.

  • Support Anti-Abortion and Anti-Birth Control
  • $10M           $15M             $25M
  • Eliminate Minimum Wage
  • $11M            $18M            $30M
  • Allow Export Of American Crude Oil
  • $15M           $20M            $40M
  • Sign Pledge Not To Raise Taxes On Wealthy
  • $20M          $30M            $45M
  • Privatize Social Security
  • $30M          $40M           $50M
  • Privatize Medicare
  • $30M          $40M           $50M
  • Eliminate Obamacare Replace It With Nothing
  • $45M          $55M            $60M
  • Permanently Shut Down EPA
  • $65M          $70M           $75M
  • Permanently Shut Down Department Of Education
  • $45M          $50M           $50M
  • Permanently Shut Down OSHA
  • $45M          $50M           $50M
  • Eliminate Immigration For All Non-Whites
  • $60M          $65M           $80M
  • Eliminate And Privatize Public Education
  • $20M          $25M           $25M
  • Eliminate Food Stamps But Increase Farm Subsidies
  • $20M          $25M           $25M
  • Pass Law Banning Unions As Communist
  • $50M          $55M           $60M
  • Ban Same-Sex Marriage
  • $55M          $60M          $65M
  • Eliminate Need For Gun Licensing
  • $60M          $70M          $75M
  • Overturn The Civil Rights Act
  • $40M         $50M          $65M

I am sure that you can think of other issues that could be on this list like tougher voter suppression laws or outlawing and deporting all Muslims.  But this is at least a start.  Plus, PACs can pick-and-choose which issue needs the most support in a particular state or region.

Isn’t “Democracy For Sale” a wonderful capitalist concept?

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As you may have noticed, I have avoided talking about the uproar about the movie “American Sniper”.  In honesty, I have not seen the movie, and I really don’t plan on seeing it.  I did attempt to read the book, but I gave up because I thought it was poorly written and full of self-aggrandizement which does not help tell the story.

The movie is based on the book of the same title written by Chris Kyle.  You all probably already have your own opinion about whether or not Kyle is telling the truth in his book or making things up as he goes along.  I am not going to get into this fight.  I am not even going to get into the argument whether the movie is honoring war or is anti-war.  Especially since I haven’t seen it.

The thing that bothers me most about the arguments that have exploded over this movie, is the hero/anti-hero arguments that are going on.  I have written before that we vets are not heroes just because we are vets.  Those of us who have served our country have done so because we believed that we were doing something honorable and because we believed in what we were doing.

Our service does not make us heroes.  It makes us people who chose a profession, did our duty, and served our country.  In short words, we did our jobs.  There are true heroes, of course.  Those who go beyond and above the call of duty.  Those who abandoned self-interest for the good of their comrades.  Unfortunately, most of them were killed in action.  Some survived, and they deserve to be called heroes.

The rest of us do not.  That detracts from the meaning of the word and the actions of those who really went above and beyond the call of duty.  Kyle was a sniper.  He was credited with about 160 kills.  That, in and of itself, does not make him a hero.

Sorry, but as a vet, I find it extremely offensive when someone like Sarah Palin says something like “Hollywood leftists are spitting on the graves of freedom fighters who allow you to do what you do.”  Or, when Bill Maher said the film was about a “psychopathic patriot.” It is obvious to me that neither has any idea why we serve our country.  It is also obvious to me that neither has any idea of who we are.

Those of us who wear or have worn the uniform are just people.  There are a thousand reasons why we joined the service.  In the old days most were drafted.  Some join out of a desire to serve our country.  Some join because we see it as a way to get a college education.  Some join simply because it is the best way out of poverty by learning a lifetime skill.  Very few I know join because they want to be “heroes.”

We are people with all of the good and bad habits that comes with being people.  Kyle was no different.  In all of the hoopla over the movie, you will see good and bad things about him.  I don’t really care about that either.  But, from what I read in his book, I think that he probably fell into the last reason for why he joined.  That was his choice and I am not going to argue for or against it.

The real problem with this gala of stupidity, is that everyone on both sides of the conversation are arguing for or against Kyle.  That is not what the argument should be about.  The argument should be about whether there is a real need for war or not.  The argument should be about the justification to wage any war.

I joined the service in 1970 during the Vietnam War.  Times were different then.  We still had a draft.  Most of those who served in Vietnam were draftees.  Protests were raging against the war.  Trust me, very few people called us “heroes” back then.  Over the years the attitudes towards us have changed.  Even people who were against the Iraq war supported the troops.  The war was being protested, not those serving our country.

It was once said that war is the result of failed diplomacy.  Yet, I do believe that there are times when we must fight a war.  When we were attacked at Pearl Harbor, we were justified in fighting WWII.  I even believe that the war in Afghanistan was justified because that is where our attackers were.  The war in Iraq I opposed because there was no justification for it, other than that the junior Bush wanted to finish the job that he thought his father didn’t.

The other problem with the nonsense over this movie, is the thousands of vets who were wounded or suffer from PTSD as a result of their service are being forgotten, again.  The hero worshipers always forget them in their conversations.  If they were not forgotten, they would not be pleading for help as many vets are.

I love organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project.  They have helped thousands of our wounded vets.  But, once again I must ask the questions.  Why are such organizations necessary?  Why do private non-profit organizations have to fill the gaps to help our vets?  The answer to both questions is very simple.  Because the hero worshipers just want to use us a propaganda.  They don’t really care if our lives were ruined.  They don’t care about the surviving spouses and family of those killed in action.  They believe that is our problem.  Especially if they are asked to throw a few extra tax dollars in our direction to give us the assistance we have earned!

Shortly after 9/11 the far right opened the Cathedral of Hero-Worship in America.  They love to call vets heroes and praise us for their political gain while criticizing anyone who doesn’t join them at the altar.  In the meantime, they simply want to throw us to the curb when our service is over and forget our plights.  This brouhaha over the movie “American Sniper” is really about the False Religion of Hero-Worship.  Yet, we supposed “heroes” are always the losers by the actions of those who claim to worship us.

Unfortunately, veterans in this country have endured pain because we have a very long history of forgetting our veterans.  We are an unpleasant lingering fact of what war is really about.  Plus, we cost too much.  For me, the False Religion of Hero-Worship makes that pain even harder to endure.

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It has been less than one month since Republicans took control of both houses of congress.  When they opened the new session, both the Speaker of the House, John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they were going to “get things done.”  Since then, they had to backtrack on bills because of an uproar in their own party.  The latest was this week.

As usual, the House does not want to vote on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill that was passed with a bi-partisan vote in the Senate almost 2 years ago.  No, they want to do their piece-meal bills instead.  The first that was to come up for a vote this week is called the “Secure Our Border First Act.”

The first thing this Act does is throw a whole bunch of money at “finally completing that darn fence.”  This Berlin Wall style fence is supposed to stop those damn illegals from simply walking across the border.  That is nothing new for Republicans.  They have wanted that fence completed for years.

But, here is where it all gets just a little tricky.  According to the Bi-Partisan bill that passed the Senate, the goal is to arrest about 90% of those trying to cross illegally.  This bill makes that number 100%.  Of course anyone with only half of a brain knows that 100% is impossible.  The bill gives the Department of Homeland Security 2 years to gain control of the heavily traveled areas and 5 years to gain control of the entire Southwest border.

Besides being unrealistic in its number of defining “gain control”, the bill takes another twist with the penalties that the Department of Homeland Security will face.

The border bill would require DHS to have the southwest border under “operational control” in five years. If the department fails at that objective, the legislation dictates that political appointees at the agency cannot travel in government vehicles, be reimbursed for nonessential travel, or receive pay increases or bonuses.

Rep. Mike McCaul, the Homeland Security Committee Chairman, calls it the “the toughest border security bill ever before Congress.”

So far, so good for the Republicans.  But there is an oops!  The right flank is upset with the bill.  They think it is too namby-pamby for them.  Sen. Jeff Sessions, the most ardent anti-immigration member of the Senate thinks the bill leaves too much “wiggle room” for the President to release apprehended undocumented immigrants.  In response the National Journal said “Such objections have Republicans and Democrats alike privately musing that this is the exact reason leaders had sought to rework the immigration system in a comprehensive manner.”

Other conservatives think this bill is a “trap.”  They see it as a tool that Boehner will use to get them to vote for full funding for the Department of Homeland Security next month when its money runs out.  But the real secret agenda, according to these fine people is that this bill is the first step in granting that evil “amnesty” to illegals.

Conservative critics don’t trust GOP leaders and fear the border security bill would be used as an excuse to move other legislation allowing more immigrants into the country to work and providing legal status for those already here.

“Consider the title: Secure Our Border First. First before what?” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. “Before we move on to the amnesty and expansion of guest worker programs that appears to be the real priority for top congressional Republican leaders?”

In their own words, “God forbid we let more immigrants into the country!”

As a result of this ongoing infighting in the GOP, the Secure Our Border First Act has been put on hold.  That also means that the funding the Department of Homeland Security needs by the end of the month may also be put on hold.  It makes so much sense to shut down the one Department in our government that is responsible to stop undocumented immigrants from entering the country.  I guess that would really show those “deportables”, as Rep. Steve King calls them, that we mean business.

I expect that at some point they will be able to pass this absurd bill.  I doubt that anything else will be done about immigration reform.  Plus, as I said before, what about all of those “socialist” Canadians who can cross the border and try to impose their “single payer” health insurance plan on us?  Shouldn’t we put a wall up between them and us too?  Remember, almost all of the terrorists we have caught came to us through Canada not Mexico.

I don’t know.  I believe that these “hiccups” the GOP has been facing just proves that they are incapable of governing in any way.  How in the hell to they expect the Democrats or the President to agree to anything they come up with if they can’t even come up with something they can get past their own caucus?

If this is the Republican definition of “governing” we are in deep doo-doo.

 

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I like football.  I don’t love football.  I played the game when I was young and enjoyed playing it.  On the other hand, I am not one to sit on the couch all weekend to watch football games.  I admit when my poor Bears are on TV, I will flip back and forth to see how they are doing.  I don’t think I have watched an entire game in years.

One of the reasons I don’t watch a lot of football is because, in my opinion, the game has changed so much that it isn’t football anymore.  Forgive me for being old, but the fundamentals of the game have just about disappeared.  I am sick of watching grown men making millions of dollars who can’t even tackle properly.

The rules have changed so much, to protect the players which is a good thing, that no one even knows what a penalty is anymore.  Including the referees.  The last two games involving the Dallas Cowboys proves that point, I think.  As a result, all we see during the games is a bunch of men running around trying to “slam into” the opponent instead of trying to “tackle” them.  It has become very boring to me.

We have instant replay to “get the call right” but things like penalties cannot be reviewed.  Which is why in those two games involving the Cowboys in the playoffs there was no review.  So much for “getting the call right.”  On top of that, players “trash talking” has gotten so bad, I feel like I am watching Pro-Wrestlers at the microphone rather than Pro-Football Players.

I don’t have anything against trash talking on the field.  But, when you bring it to the post game news conference, it is more like WWE than football.  All of this is going on when the NFL has a problem.  It has mishandled all kinds of situations that crept up during this season.  Look at the Ray Rice and the Adrian Peterson cases.

Before the Seattle Seahawks game on Sunday, the NFL said that if Lynch wore “gold-colored spikes” he would be disqualified for the game and fined to boot.  They said it would violate the uniform rules.  They have fined him thousands of dollars already for not speaking to the media, and threaten to fine him in excess of $50,000 if he doesn’t speak to the media during Super Bowl week.  Then they fined one of his teammates for giving an obscene gesture after a touchdown.

This brings us to what is becoming the infamous “deflategate” incident in New England.  According to reports, the New England Patriots were using under inflated footballs in the game.  One of the Colts complained after he intercepted Brady because he thought the ball felt funny.  It turns out that 11 of the 12 balls the Patriots were using were under inflated by 15%!

According to the rules, footballs must be pressurized between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI.  All of these balls were retested at halftime and were found to be at 11 PSI.  I grew up in the north and I know that weather affects PSI.  But, not at a 15% rate.  Besides, the footballs that were used by the Indianapolis Colts were not under inflated.  So, you should be able to rule out the weather being a factor.

I know this doesn’t sound like something very egregious.  Nor am I suggesting that the Colts might have won if the footballs were not under inflated.  Let’s face facts, the Colts stunk in the game.  But, having played the game, I can tell you that under inflating the ball does make it easier to grip it making passing easier and forced fumbles harder.  Especially on cold wet days like Sunday was in New England.

You must also remember that it was Tom Brady and Payton Manning who lobbied the league to allow each team to bring “their own footballs” to the game.  Before the 2008 season, the home team supplied all of the game balls.  But because quarterbacks each like the ball a little different, Brady and Manning lobbied the league in 2007 to change that rule.  Now each team plays with their own footballs during the game.

Besides, we have to take into consideration that this is not the first time New England has been discovered to be cheating.  Remember “spygate?”  If the NFL is truly out to “protect the integrity of the shield” as they claim, then the only correct thing for them to do is suspend Brady and Belichick for the Super Bowl.  During their news conferences yesterday, both men said “I have no idea what happened” over, and over.

In an ironic twist, Brady said he wants his footballs at 12.5 PSI, but then said he doesn’t feel any difference during the game.  That is a real stretch for me.  He says he can’t feel the difference in the one piece of equipment he handles all of the time, but thinks 12.5 PSI is the “perfect football.”  Look, I like Tom Brady, but I believe he just got caught in his own lie and needs to be punished.

Belichick claims he knows nothing about inflating footballs.  Yet he also contradicted himself when he said that he alters the inflation of the balls in practice so his players “practice under the most extreme conditions” like during the game.  Another contradiction that is hard for me to swallow.

During his news conference Belichick threw his quarterback under the bus.  His quarterback then threw the equipment staff under the bus in his news conference.  All the while standing in front of a backdrop that read “Gillette Flexball.”  Now there is a subliminal message if there ever was one!

To use Belichick’s and Brady’s own words, I would be “shocked” if anything was done to punish the New England Patriots before the Super Bowl.  Even if there was some kind of punishment handed out before the game, it will not include the suspension of either Belichick or Brady.

Even if both men are telling the truth that they don’t know how the balls were under inflated, which I find hard to believe, remember what Commissioner Goodell said during the news conference handing out punishment for the Saints in “bountygate”.  He said:  “ignorance is not an excuse.”

I know “boutnygate” was far more serious than “deflategate” but as he likes to say, “rules are rules” and must be followed by all.  Therefore, I see no recourse but to suspend both the coach and quarterback for the upcoming game.  Otherwise we will continue to see the NFL become more and more like the WWE.

I think you can only sum up this NFL season as a really shitty one for the league!  Only, they have no one to blame but themselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“This is simply no way to treat our oldest and first ally. President Obama should have stood with France in person, defending Western values in the struggle against terrorism and showing support for the victims of this despicable act of terror. Skipping this rally will be remembered as a new low in American diplomacy.” Rick Perry

Ever since the President decided not to attend the anti-terrorist march in France, the conservatives have been having kittens.  According to these conservatives, we have basically snubbed our closest ally.  We have shunned them in their time of need.  We have abandoned them at the very moment they need us the most.

Rick Perry is not the only one who is jumping on the bandwagon either.  We are hearing from all of those wacky conservatives about how important it should have been for the President to go to France for the march.  He should have walked arm-in-arm with the French President, German Chancellor, et.al.

According to conservatives, France is and always has been our closest ally and we should show more respect towards them.  After all, they have stood by us when we needed them.  They have always gone to war with us against the terrorists.

How quickly they forget.  Or, more appropriately, how quickly they deliberately change their minds for political gain.  Remember “Freedom Fries” or the House cafeteria “Freedom Toast?”  Remember when conservatives considered France as the worst European Country?  All because France declined to participate in the “partnership of the willing” in the Iraq Invasion during George W. Bush’s presidency.

How about when John Kerry ran for President against Bush.  Because Kerry spoke French, he was also labeled as “looking French” by his opponents.  Maybe you remember this 2004 New York Times report:

But perhaps the surest indication that the looming political season will be ugly has come from repeated Republican suggestions that Kerry “looks French.”

Not only that: the senator is said to betray a dubious fondness for things French, even the language. A recent comment from Commerce Secretary Don Evans that the Massachusetts Democrat is “of a different political stripe and looks French” was only the latest of several jibes, mainly from conservative talk-show hosts and columnists, that have included allusions to “Monsieur Kerry” and “Jean Chéri.”

For some months now, the Republican House majority leader, Tom DeLay, has been opening speeches to supporters with an occasional routine. He says hi, then adds: “Or, as John Kerry might say, ‘Bonjour.’”

The remark “always brings the house down,” said DeLay’s spokesman, Stuart Roy, who added that its purpose was to highlight “Mr. Kerry’s lack of support for the war on terror and the way he seems to be in agreement with the arguments of the French.”

Of course, that even minded Congressman Randy Webber of Texas just had to make the obvious comparison between the President and Hitler in a tweet.  In his tweet, since deleted, he said even Hitler knew the importance of going to Paris.  Yesterday, he apologized for the tweet.  Not that the comparison wasn’t apt, but because it may have offended some people whose votes they need.

“I need to first apologize to all those offended by my tweet. It was not my intention to trivialize the Holocaust nor to compare the President to Adolf Hitler. The mention of Hitler was meant to represent the face of evil that still exists in the world today. I now realize that the use of Hitler invokes pain and emotional trauma for those affected by the atrocities of the Holocaust and victims of anti-Semitism and hate,” Weber said.

According to that dove Lindsey Graham, the attack was “America’s Fault” and no one else.  He said:

“I fear our intelligence capabilities, those designed to prevent such an attack from taking place on our shores, are quickly eroding. I believe our national security infrastructure designed to prevent these types of attacks from occurring is under siege.”

So Lindsey Graham seems to think this was not merely an attack on Charlie Hebdo, it was an attack against our intelligence infrastructure.  He later explained on Hugh Hewitt’s show:

Here’s what I take from Paris. We should reevaluate our Defense policies on several fronts…We’re in a religious war. These are not terrorists. They’re radical Islamists who are trying to replace our way of life with their way of life. Their way of life is motivated by religious teachings that require me and you to be killed, or enslaved, or converted. The President of the United States tip-toes around the threats we face, and he is trying to diminish the religious aspect of this war. Why? I don’t know. And he is not engaging the enemy in an aggressive fashion, which makes it more likely we’ll get attacked. What he’s doing is pretending to want to destroy ISIL when in fact, he’s trying to get out of office without having to commit American ground forces to do the job as part of a team in the region, because he made a campaign promise. His campaign promises, Hugh, are getting a lot of people killed!

Of course no one is mentioning that the President is currently bombing the hell out of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.  Nor are they talking about his seeking an AUMF for that war with no timetable, geographical limitations or ban on the use of ground troops.  All of that is obviously just “liberal” wussiness.

Finally, the Canadian Senator couldn’t be left behind either.  He was up with a Time op-ed that said:

“The absence is symbolic of the lack of American leadership on the world stage, and it is dangerous. The attack on Paris, just like previous assaults on Israel and other allies, is an attack on our shared values. And, we are stronger when we stand together, as French President François Hollande said, for “liberty, equality, and fraternity.”

So, now that the conservatives have something to yell about, France is suddenly our biggest ally.  We snubbed them by not having the President there during the rally.  It was not only a snub, it was “dangerous” for him not to be there.  Very suddenly, France has gone from “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” to our best ally that the President has just thumbed his nose at.

And how did our oldest ally take all of this?  A spokesperson for French President Francois Hollande said that the French government was not offended by the president’s absence. “President Obama supported France in their common struggle against terrorism,” the spokeswoman said, calling Obama’s visit to the French Embassy to sign a condolence book “a rather exceptional gesture.” She said that Obama’s actions since last week’s attacks have been “very important” to Hollande.  Maybe the conservatives think they are just being overly nice.

This is the kind of idiocy that comes to the forefront when politics, not governing, is the only thing that matters.  Anything to get a headline is fair game.  Even changing sides when it comes to an ally you have hated and ridiculed for over 10 years so you can pick on the other side.

I wonder if the conservatives will remember all of this next month.  That is when they will have to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security for the full year.  You know, the agency most responsible for protecting us from these terrorists?  So far, that funding doesn’t look good.

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There was a deadly attack on a satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris the other day.  There is no doubt that the attackers were indeed Muslim.  They attacked the magazine because they were “offended” by the satire it used to describe Islam.  Yes, all of the pundits and politicians are calling it a “terrorist” attack, and rightly so.  But, they are ignoring one simple fact.  These terrorist attacks are religiously based.  And, followers of Islam are not alone in their terrorism either.

As you know, I have written several articles attacking the Conservative Christian Cult here in America.  Still, I usually try to be tolerant towards people with a belief in religion.  Yes, I am not a religious person in the definition of these religions.  But, I remember the teachings I received in my youth and try to be tolerant of other’s religious beliefs.  I am starting to get a different perspective on this issue.

I find it very difficult to keep believing that any institution that is based on any form of dictatorship is a viable belief system.  How can people, especially those who live in a democracy, continue to blindly follow any institution that is dictatorial on how we should behave?  That is an oxymoron that escapes me completely.  Religions still use words like “king” or “lord” to describe their god.  How Medieval!

None of the religions of the world are exempt from this either.  We see religion used to discriminate, subjugate, and even kill others who do not believe as the “leaders” of these religions want them to believe.  Yes, Islam has its radical sects that don’t worry about killing anyone who is not a follower.  It is also true that Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and even Buddhism have their sects as well.

Religion has been the cause of thousands of wars and conquests throughout history.  Why?  If, as all of the major religions teach, we are all children of some mysterious god, how can it be okay for us to kill each other in that god’s name?  How is it possible that rational people can actually believe in any religion that teaches it is okay to commit genocide against some other group who doesn’t believe what we believe?

That is the thinking from Medieval Times.  There were wars of conquest based on religion.  Crusaders had to “rescue” the holy land from the barbaric Moors.  It was not uncommon to slaughter men, women, and children during these Crusades either.  Even if they weren’t combatants.  Islam was spread across the Mideast and Africa through war and intimidation.  If you didn’t convert to Islam, you were killed.  Judaism was just as bad.  Both Jews and Christians look to the Old Testament or Torah and claim they are literal.

If that is so, then the god they worship is a genocidal maniac!  Remember the writing about the fall of Jericho?   The Bible clearly states that the Hebrews were ordered by their God to slaughter all of the inhabitants of the city, men, women, and children.  Today that god could be charged with “crimes against humanity” under genocide.  If humans understand that genocide is a crime against humanity, how can anyone believe in a god that orders them to commit genocide?

I am sorry, but that is not what I believe we are the earth to do.  We are not supposed to kill each other off in the name of any god.  To use the believer’s own words, how is that being “moral?”  My simple answer is that it isn’t!  Yet we continue to allow these wackos to keep in their ways without calling them out for what they are.  There is a simple fact in life that no one wants to say openly.  Religion fosters and encourages terrorism!

The real problem is that religion takes children and indoctrinates them into their way of thinking.  Whatever you call your religious classes, they espouse the theory that only your religion is the “right” religion.  This indoctrination has another name, it is called brainwashing!  Even Hitler understood this concept when he formed the Hitler Youth groups.  It is all the same to me.

The government defines terrorism as an act of violence that causes destruction and/or death to further a cause.  However, there are many forms of terrorism.  Denying people their civil rights because of religious beliefs is terrorism.  Turning up at funerals of military personnel saying they were killed by god in revenge of support for gay rights is terrorism.  Creating phony situations like the War on Christmas is terrorism.  And the list goes on and on.

I know that every act of terrorism is not necessarily religious based.  But, these forms of terrorism are the most prevalent in today’s world.  No, it is time to speak the truth.  As long as people are going to continue to blindly follow dictatorial religions, we will be cursed with terrorism.  That is because these ideas are the teachings of dictators who hate freedom and free thought.  Those are the two things that religious leaders hate the most because they are the two things that end their domination over people.

You have the right to believe in your god.  You have a right to believe in an after-life.  You do not have the right to discriminate against or kill others who do not believe as you do.  If you do, regardless of your religion, you are simply a terrorist!

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