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I am not sure which event yesterday is more disturbing.  As I wrote yesterday, nine people were shot and killed in an Historic AME Church in Charleston by a white man.  I outlined my arguments as to why this should be classified as Domestic Terrorism.

Since I wrote that article, there has been more information about the shooter.  This man, whom I refuse to name so he won’t get any ink here, was an avowed racist.  He let one woman at the church live so “she could tell the world what happened.”  It has also come out that he has been planning this attack for six months and wanted to start a civil war.  And, according to a witness he said:  “You rape our women and are taking over our country and you have to go.”

Now, after hearing all of this, I don’t know how anyone could classify it as anything but Domestic Terrorism.  Well, apparently I was wrong.  Yesterday, Fox News tried to call this another case that proves there is a “war on Christianity.”  That’s right, the white man who entered a church and killed nine black people because “You rape our women and are taking over our country” was really killing them because he apparently hates Christianity.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before such notable Presidential Candidates like Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, etc., were all chiming in with the same outrageous claims.  According to them, the real “hate” in this “hate crime” was a hate towards Christians.  Fox News host Hether Childers even said on-air:  “Could the shooter have been motivated by pure hatred for religion?”

President Obama spoke about the tragedy yesterday, too.  He even lightly brushed over the issue of gun control.  That was all the right-wing wackos needed to hear.  The outrage about how “one bad apple” is going to be used to “take our guns away” rantings began almost immediately.

Also, Ron Lott at foxnews.com said the main reason for this killing was that it took place in a “gun-free zone.”  He blames gun-free zones for all of the mass shootings that have taken place in our country.  Crackpots with guns aren’t the problem, gun-free zones are the problem.

Obviously, the most important part of any gun control law would be Universal Background Checks.  The purpose of Universal Background Checks is to ensure that everyone who purchases a gun must go through a background check first regardless of where the gun was purchased.

Currently, in most states, you can purchase a gun online, at a gun show, or from a private person and not have to go through a background check.  Why a background check?  Well, because even the NRA says criminals and people with mental health issues probably shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun.  Without Universal Background Checks, you never will know if the person you are selling a gun to falls into one of these categories.

But, no, not even something as sane at this is allowed to be even talked about after such an incident.  The wackos say it is just an attempt to take away their guns.  If thousands of people must die in this country each year by gun violence, so be it.  Gun ownership is more precious than people’s lives.  By the way, have you ever noticed that the people who cry the loudest about background checks always seem to be people who wouldn’t be able to get a gun if they had to pass one?

I checked Fox News website today to see how they are handling the reports of this man being a racist.  They have a headline that says he was a racist.  The piece that follows is something off the wires though.  There is no “opinion” about how racism was the motivation behind this attack.  I wonder why?  However, they were very happy to report that the President had attempted to pass meaningful gun laws after other mass attacks, but that those efforts failed.

If anyone had any doubts about there being a race issue in this country, Wednesday night’s event should cure you of that problem.  On the other hand, when you have news outlets like Fox News slanting the event into something they are trying to push, it is hard to overcome the real problem.  Fox News is pushing the war on Christianity as the real reason behind this attack because they want you to believe that there is no race issues in America.

Fox News is nothing more than a propaganda machine for the ultra-conservative movement.  Hell, even their Presidential Candidates fall in line very quickly with what Fox News says.  There are some people who are waiting for July 1.  That is when Rupert Murdoch steps down as head of his empire, which includes Fox News, and hands over control to his two sons.

It is reported that neither of his sons are very happy with Fox News.  There was even a report of a “smack down” of Roger Ailes by the sons.  Something that never happened before.   According to the reports, Ailes told his reporters at Fox Business to report that even though Rupert was stepping down, he – Roger Ailes – would still report directly to Rupert.  Later, a report from corporate headquarters at Fox’s empire said that Roger would report to the sons, and NOT Rupert.

I don’t know very much about Murdoch’s two sons.  I do know that the Murdoch empire has had some very sleazy news reporting around the world.  As a result, I am not as optimistic as others that Fox News will undergo a major change in the near future.  In the Murdoch empire, money talks very loudly!   I hope I am wrong because without that major change, stupid arguments like the ones being put forth at Fox about this event will not go away.

This is not the first, nor will it be the last attack on a black church.  There have been attacks against Mosque’s and Synagogues as well.  But you never heard Fox report them as part of an attack on Islam or Judaism.  This is the first time they even tried to report an attack on a black church as an attack on Christianity.  But, if you are wondering why they would try it now, just look at what Brian Kilmeade had to say in a lead up to this ridiculous claim:  “Is it a church that has white congregants as well as black?”

That is the key phrase behind all of this stupidity.  If a church has “white congregants” as well as black congregants, the reason for the attack cannot be race related.  At least in Kilmeade’s mind.  The bosses at Fox News must think the same way.  They hired this crackpot.

Fox News was never very good at “reporting” the news.  But, it has become more-and-more of a propaganda machine as the years have passed.  They don’t even try to hide that fact anymore.  The more outrageous the claim, the more they will sink their teeth into it and never let go.

The problem they have created in the Republican Party is exposed with one Presidential Candidate.  Lindsey Graham “told off” Fox News one day, and then he mouths the exact script put forth by Fox News another day because it suits his political agenda.

The attack at AME Church in Charleston was simply a domestic terrorist attack carried out by a white supremacist.  Nothing more, and nothing less.  But, the conversation about how to stop such attacks can not happen when a so-called news organization keeps changing the script about what it really was.  Fox News has really sunk to a new low in their reporting of this case.

I would say they should be ashamed of themselves, but in order to be ashamed of your mistakes, you must first have enough of a conscience to admit the mistake in the first place.  Since their “reporting” of incidents like this is very deliberate, you can be sure they have no conscience.  So none of them will ever be “ashamed” of their false reporting.

 

Last night a white man, said to be in his 20s walked into the AME Baptist Church in Charleston, SC and shot and killed nine people.  Included in the dead was the pastor of the church, who was also a State Senator in the South Carolina Legislature.

The Police Chief in Charleston has called the incident a “hate crime.”  He vowed to prosecute this crime as a “hate crime.”  What has not been said, at least as of this writing, is that this was by definition a Domestic Terrorist Act.  Why won’t anyone call it that?  Is it because the suspect is white?  Is it because the crime was against people of color?  Was it because there weren’t any Muslims involved?

Despite all of the talk by conservative talk shows that race is behind us, the vast majority of Domestic Terrorist crimes are committed by white people against minorities.  The problem is that the media won’t call it Domestic Terrorism.  They call it other things like a “hate crime” or one “bad apple” acting out in frustration.

It is not a coincidence that just prior to this shooting a white police officer in Charleston, SC killed an unarmed black man.  The police officer is facing charges of murder.  But, the shooting resulted in protests and highlighted racial tensions in the area.

The Mayor of Charleston said the shooting was:  “an unfathomable and unspeakable act by somebody filled with hate and with a deranged mind.  Of all cities, in Charleston, to have a horrible hateful person go into the church and kill people there to pray and worship with each other is something that is beyond any comprehension and is not explained.  We are going to put our arms around that church and that church family.”

Governor Niki Haley decried the violence:  “We’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another.”

All of these people, all public officials claim that this was an unspeakable act of violence, which it was.  None of them have called it what it really is, Domestic Terrorism!  But, to me, the worst act came from a Charleston reporter that was shown on MSNBC.  He asked African-American activists, community leaders what the black community could do to prevent events like the mass shooting at Emanuel Baptist.

So, according to this outstanding reporter, this act of Domestic Terrorism was the fault of the black community who just lost nine members of its community.  How can he even think that was an appropriate question.  He totally ignored the fact that this was a white-on-black murder of innocent people.  It was a Domestic Terrorist attack and nothing less than that.

I wonder what that reporter would have said if the response was that “we should arm ourselves for self-defense.”  I bet that wouldn’t have gone over well.  That is what a lot of white groups would have said.

I am sorry, but this shit has been happening since the Civil War.  Cowards who claim to be the “superior race” go around killing people just because they aren’t “white” and the media refuses to call it what it is.  Domestic Terrorism!  As a matter of fact, there have been more instances of this type of Domestic Terrorism than any other form of terrorism in America since 9/11.

I am sure that another bubble-head like Megyn Kelly will chime in that “well that pastor wasn’t a saint either.”  In the coming days, you will hear all about this “bad apple” and how “sick” he must be.  You will hear arguments that it wasn’t really a race issue, just one bad apple going nuts.  You will hear politicians talk about how tragic it is that such a crime could take place in a church.  But you will not hear any of these people in politics or the media call it “Domestic Terrorism.”

Until that happens, this form of violence will never be stopped and none of us will be safe.

The other day, the U.S. Supreme Court actually shocked me!  That is hard to do in most cases.  However, taking into consideration the conservative view of the current majority of the court, this one actually shocked me.  In case you haven’t heard, the court ruled not to review North Carolina’s Ultrasound Law.

A lower court and then the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law earlier.  This law was one of those draconian laws that forced women who wanted an abortion to go through an ultrasound with the doctor required to read a script detailing what she was seeing.  It didn’t matter of the woman wanted the ultrasound, or even wanted to hear what the doctor told her.  It didn’t matter if the doctor was against this procedure and script reading either.  If the doctor failed to follow the law to the letter, that doctor risked losing his license to practice medicine.

Handing down its decision, the Fourth Circuit stated:

Informed consent frequently consists of a fully-clothed conversation between the patient and physician, often in the physician’s office. It is driven by the “patient’s particular needs and circumstances” … so that the patient receives the information he or she wants in a setting that promotes an informed and thoughtful choice. This provision, however, finds the patient half-naked or disrobed on her back on an examination table, with an ultrasound probe either on her belly or inserted into her vagina… Informed consent has not generally been thought to require a patient to view images from his or her own body much less in a setting in which personal judgment may be altered or impaired. Yet this provision requires that she do so or “avert her eyes.”

Rather than engaging in a conversation calculated to inform, the physician must continue talking regardless of whether the patient is listening… The information is provided irrespective of the needs or wants of the patient, in direct contravention of medical ethics and the principle of patient autonomy. Forcing this experience on a patient over her objections in this manner interferes with the decision of a patient not to receive information that could make an indescribably difficult decision even more traumatic and could “actually cause harm to the patient.” … And it is intended to convey not the risks and benefits of the medical procedure to the patient’s own health, but rather the full weight of the state’s moral condemnation.

This refusal to review the case by SCOTUS is a potential major blow to the anti-choice forces.  One of the key elements of their fight against choice has just been rendered illegal.  There are several states that still have such laws on their books.  And, you can be sure they won’t go down without more legal wrangling.

The Republican base is all for telling people what to do and how to act.  We have seen this nonsense in various forms of stupid laws and legal wrangling in the last several years.  Besides this draconian law, the conservative base of the Republican Party wants to be the sole determining source for many of life’s biggest decisions.

Remember the fight in Florida about when a woman could be taken off of life support?  That was a huge political issue.  Remember the brain-dead woman in Texas that was kept on life-support simply because she was pregnant?  Remember the cases in Tennessee where women were charged with murder of an infant because they had a miscarriage?  These cases were all determined by conservative laws that tell the average person only the conservatives in this country have the right to make decisions for them.

The other factor that no one talks about in these types of cases is fiscal.  The states tell you what you may or may not do, and if you decide to go against them they tell you that you have to undergo very expensive medical procedures before you can go ahead with your decision.  Yet, even though you are forced to undergo these procedures, you are still stuck with the bill.

In the cases in Florida and Texas, the state did not “pick up the bill” for the added useless medical treatment they forced on these women.  None of the states that require an ultrasound prior to an abortion pick up the tab for that procedure either.  The patient and their families are required to pay for these procedures even if they don’t want them.

Let’s be honest, none of these procedures are cheap!  Unfortunately, this type of stupid law may not be limited to stupid conservative states.  Scott Walker is Governor of Wisconsin and is running for President.  Wisconsin passed a similar law to the one in North Carolina that was just struck down.  He said of his law:

I’ll give you an example. I’m pro-life, I’ve passed pro-life legislation. We defunded Planned Parenthood, we signed a law that requires an ultrasound. Which, the thing about that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea. Most people I talk to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time who’ll get out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, you know we still have their first ultrasound picture. It’s just a cool thing out there.

We just knew if we signed that law, if we provided the information, that more people if they saw that unborn child would, would make a decision to protect and keep the life of that unborn child.

Yes, the Governor thinks these ultrasounds are “a cool thing.”  But, he also tells you exactly why forced ultrasounds are necessary.  To convince women NOT to have an abortion.  No other reason, just to make women change their minds.

This is the kind of country we are potentially facing.  One where the government will decide what is “moral” and what is not.  If they consider something “amoral” based on its narrow interpretation of some ancient book, then they will tell you what you can and cannot do.  One thing fascists all around the world throughout history has advocated for is that women have as many children as possible.  It is the only way to ensure enough “soldiers” to fight their wars of aggression.

Maybe it is time to ask if these laws forcing people to undergo treatment they don’t want is really a step in that direction?  Thankfully, at least for now, the courts, including SCOTUS says this kind of law is illegal.  Maybe, just maybe, that is a step away from Republican interference in our personal lives.

There is a new budget proposal that Republicans are saying will save the government $4 Billion dollars.  They claim this money should be used for “more important programs” that will benefit the American People.  Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole said:  “This is a fiscally responsible bill that reduces discretionary spending by nearly $4 billion.  At the same time, by carefully reprioritizing where taxpayer dollars are spent, the bill increases funding for important programs that benefit the American people.”

That all sounds great.  Except, there is a major problem with Cole’s statement, and the proposal being put forth.  This “savings” will be at the expense of 4.7 million low-income people who rely on Title X for their preventative health services.  What it essentially does is kill Title X by taking away all of its funding.

Title X became official in 1970, under that great Republican Richard Nixon.  It helps connect these 4.7 million Americans to things like pap smears, cancer screenings, STD tests, birth control and counseling about how to space out pregnancies and plan for the families they want.  Title X was instituted for women who are not eligible for Medicaid and cannot afford to see a doctor.

In many cases, the services they receive at Title X clinics are literally life-saving.  “For many of these women and men, a Title X-funded health center is their only access point to the health system and the only health care they receive all year,” Clare Coleman, president & CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, said in a statement on the proposal.

But, in their current fever of denying poor people the Republicans on the Labor, Health and Human Services subcommittee say this is “discretionary” spending that the country can do without.  Besides including language to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, the language they put in this proposal is outright dreadful.  They added language that would eliminate Title X funding unless the program meets a certain ideological (read: abstinence-focused) criteria:

None of the funds appropriated in this Act may be made available to any entity under title X of the PHS Act unless the applicant for the award certifies to the Secretary that it encourages family participation in the decision of minors to seek family planning services and that it provides counseling to minors on how to resist attempts to coerce minors into engaging in sexual activities.

But just to make sure you have no control over your health care, they added other wording that allows your school or boss to determine which forms of contraception or other health care procedure you can be covered under because they man they may not like them:

Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no provision of this title (and no amendment made by any such provision) shall… require a sponsor (or, in the case of health insurance coverage offered to students through an institution of higher education, the institution of higher education offering such coverage) to sponsor, purchase, or provide any health benefits coverage or group health plan that includes coverage of an abortion or other item or service to which such sponsor or institution, respectively, has a moral or religious objection, or prevent an issuer from offering or issuing to such sponsor or institution, respectively, health insurance coverage that excludes such item or service.

The other thing that these Republicans have failed to recognize, is the financial benefits to the government, especially state governments that eliminating Title X funding will have.  According to the Guttmacher Institute, each dollar invested in Title X saves $3.80 in Medicaid expenses related to pregnancy and childbirth.  In other words, this $4 Billion spent each year results in a return of over $12 Billion.

Another Guttmacher analysis found that the services provided by Kansas’ Title X clinics in 2010 helped save the state more than $61,000,000 in public funds. “That accounts for savings from reduced maternity and birth-related costs, along with reduced costs related to miscarriage and abortion and savings related to [sexually transmitted infection] screening and cervical cancer prevention services,” according to the report.

In other words, it could easily be argued that Title X funding contributes to “family values” that Republicans are always claiming to support.  Yet, they are very willing to eliminate the program all together.  One can only ask, why?  Is it because they have an aversion to helping low-income women?  Is it because they are more interested in saving money than lives?  Or, is it simply they want to control your life?

I have said before I believe they simply want to control your life!  There is no other explanation for these constant attacks against programs like Title X.  Or, allowing your boss to decide what type of health care you are allowed to have under their plains.  Or, allowing your boss to decide if you actually need birth control, and what forms they are willing to let you use.

Low-income people will be hurt dramatically by these proposed cuts.  It is almost like the Republicans, led by Rep. Cole are setting up their own “death squads” when it comes to health care.  If you deny people access to preventative medicine, they are more likely to die form something that could have been prevented.

This is just another case of those “god fearing, good Christians” denying those in need the services they require.  How very Christ-like of them.

 

Every person who serves in public office, a judgeship, or any other government job is required to take an Oath of Office.  That Oath of Office varies depending on which position you are going to serve in.  When I joined the Coast Guard all those years ago, I took an Oath as well.

In that Oath, I swore to “defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”  I also swore to uphold all “legal commands” issued by senior authority and uphold the laws of the U.S.  This oath has been issued to service members for as long as I can remember, and far longer than that.

Even the President of the United States is required to take an oath as well.  I don’t know of a single position in federal, state, county, or local employment that is not required to take a similar oath.  These oaths are designed to ensure that all employees of the government are sworn to uphold the laws they are to serve.

That is until now.  In North Carolina, there was a law passed that was vetoed by the Governor, and then overridden by the State Legislature that allows Magistrates to disobey the law.  This is being dressed up under the guise of “religious liberty.”  But, in essence, Magistrates in North Carolina are allowed by law to violate the very laws they have sworn to uphold.

The law is known as SB2.  We all know that Gov. McCrory is a total nut-job himself.  However, even he was smart enough to veto the law when it was first passed.  SB2 states:  “Every magistrate has the right to recuse from performing all lawful marriages under this Chapter based on sincerely held religious objection.”  Note this particular part, the emphasis will be mine:  all lawful marriages.”  That is correct, a Magistrate can now recuse from performing all lawful marriages just by saying he has religious objection against it.

Now, we all know that this is intended to stop same-sex marriages.  But, the Legislature knows very well that would immediately draw a court objection striking it down since it would limit the action to only “some” marriages.  This law has more far-reaching consequences than you may think.

Just as an example, a Magistrate is Catholic.  That Magistrate does not believe in divorce and re-marriage.  As a result, that Magistrate could “recuse” himself from issuing a marriage license and performing a marriage that involves a couple where at least one of them was divorced.  Although this marriage is “legal” the Magistrate is allowed to take it upon himself to not perform said service.

This can run the whole gamut.  Inter-racial marriages, same-sex marriages, inter-faith marriage, all of which are “legal” but not recognized by certain “religious beliefs.”  What about a Magistrate who believes in polygamy?  That Magistrate  can now deny to perform a monogamous marriage based on his “religious beliefs.

You may read this and think I am being insane.  But, what would have happened back in 1967 when the Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia. It was in Loving—decided 48 years ago —that the court ruled it unconstitutional for states to prevent mixed-race marriages.  If SB2 had been on the books back then, a Magistrate could have denied to marry any inter-racial couple.

If you think I am kidding, in 1976, Carol Ann and Thomas Person, she white and he black, walked into their local courthouse in North Carolina to get their marriage license.  As she recently told the story in a column in the Raleigh News & Observer, the magistrate said no. A second magistrate on duty said the same thing, and one of them “took out a Bible and began to lecture us about their religious views and why Thomas and I should not be together.” This was nearly a full decade after Loving.

Religious Freedom is supposed to mean that you may believe or not believe in any form of religion you choose.  The one part of American History that the Conservative Christian Cult fail to remember is that the many of our Founding Fathers were not Christian as we now say.  They were Deists.  These included such figures as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and others.  Deists believed in the existence of god.  But, they did not believe in the story of Genesis.  They held that god started the universe and sat back and let nature take its course.  They did not believe in god’s interference in day-to-day life.

Since most of these Founding Fathers who were Deists were also member of the Free Mason’s it stands they would hold such beliefs.  In order to be a member of the Free Masons, you must believe in a god.  They call that god the “Great Architect”.  But, Free Masons do not necessarily follow normal Christianity.

As a result, our Founding Fathers put into our Constitution the Separation of Church and State.  They founded a “secular” form of government.  Democracy can only exist as a secular government.  Once Religion is brought into government, Democracy ceases to exist and you fall back to Theocracies that masquerade as Monarchies.  That was the one thing our Founding Fathers did not want to happen here.

As I wrote before, bigotry will not simply die and go away.  It must rear its ugly head and make life miserable for everyone.  Laws like SB2 are perfect examples of bigotry rearing its ugly head.  This law serves no purpose except to allow individual bigotry to invade the public trust.  It is allowing Magistrates to hide behind their religious bigotry and deny people “legal marriages” simply because they don’t agree with the couple wishing to be married.

It took until 1960 until a Catholic was elected President.  The primary rally against a Catholic becoming the President was because Protestants believed that a Catholic President would “take his orders from the Pope.”  John Kennedy needed to give his infamous speech telling the country that he was American first and that his religion would not hinder his allegiance to America.

Today, that “fear” has been turned on its head.  More than once, during an election cycle, I have been handed a list of candidates from people I knew.  They told me that I needed to vote for this slate of candidates because they were the “most God-fearing Christians” running for office.  These candidates were suppose to make sure God’s law was America’s law.  I don’t think I need say I did not vote for any of them.

Which brings me back to the main point.  Should a person’s Religious Belief trump their Oath of Office?  I say absolutely not!  When I took my oath, there was nothing that said “unless you have a religious belief against it.”  Neither should any other oath taken by any public official.

By not performing “legal” marriages in North Carolina, a Magistrate is violating that oath of office.  That Magistrate is supposed to “serve all of the citizens of North Carolina.”  They are bound by the State Constitution to do so.  If a Magistrate is so against performing “legal” marriages for whatever reason, he should resign his post.

In all honesty, if such a law were passed at the Federal Level, I would not hesitate to call it treasonous!  If you choose to work for a government, you are choosing to serve the people represented by that government.  Your religious beliefs have nothing to do with how you carry out your duties.  You are obligated to uphold all legal orders.

This law is a perfect example of how the right-wing is perverting our laws.  They are openly defying the very “law of the land”, the Constitution, that they claim they want to defend.  And, as I wrote before, this is how Fascism begins.

We hear it from conservatives all of the time.  They are terrified that America is becoming too “Socialist.”  But, what is it about socialism that really scares these conservatives so much?  As a matter of fact, what are the really talking about when they try to scare Americans about Socialism.

Well, I believe these views are all stemming from F.A. Hayek’s classic polemic, “The Road to Serfdom.”  In this tome, it is said that any government planning would lead to a totalitarian state.  Of course, that “government planning” he talked about was the New Deal.  Somehow, his view never did come to pass.

You must also consider that conservatives are really split into two groups of anti-socialists.  The first group is sure that a Stalin-type of socialism is headed our way.  Problem is, if you really look at Stalin-type of socialism, it really wasn’t “socialism” it was dictatorship.  I don’t care if a dictator wraps himself in right-wing policies or left-wing policies, he is still a dictator and that is neither democratic or socialist.

The other group is more interested in the theory that “socialism” is the result of pure laziness on the part of the working people.  This was never brought to light better than Bill O’Reilly’s rant the other day.  Trying to show just how bad Bernie Sanders would be for America, he said:

American public school students believe they can slack off in school and then somehow show up in the workplace and make big money. Pipe dream. […] Millions of Americans cannot even speak proper English. Their concentration spans are so short they can’t read a book or magazine article. They speak in crude ways. Sometimes they can’t even understand simple directions. How many of us have called a takeout place and had to repeat the order five times.”

So, according to O’Reilly, Americans are simply uneducated and living a pipe dream of riches without work.  But, he had to tie Sanders into the conversation since he was really wailing about him”

Mr. Sanders is a socialist who does not believe in capitalism. He essentially wants the federal government to regulate the private sector, providing money and assistance to those who are not competitive. And that is the play here. To convince Americans that market competition is bad, unfair, it’s a rigged deal. Sadly, that message is gaining currency — pardon the pun!

It is true that Mr. Sanders wants to regulate the private sector.  2008 proved what happens to the economy when the private sector is allowed to run amuck without regulation.  Ever since the Great Depression of the 30’s, government regulations helped keep our economy running fairly smoothly.  Once those regulations were withdrawn by Reagan and other Republicans, the economy soon collapsed.

You must also remember that Bernie Sanders is what is commonly known in the world as a Democratic Socialist.  He has even stated that he would love for America to follow the Scandinavian model  with high progressive taxation, and strong social welfare programs, like universal healthcare. Coincidentally, Scandinavians are consistently found to be the “world’s happiest.”

Conservatives like O’Reilly also talk about income inequality as a “sham.”  They say it is all a hoax in order to get the “lazy Americans” to support this “socialist agenda.”  Well, unfortunately, wealth inequality and income inequality are not shams.

Consider these simple facts.  Over the past forty years of neoliberal policies that O’Reilly and other conservatives advocate, inequality has skyrocketed. The top 0.1 percent’s share of wealth has more than tripled since 1977, from 7.1 percent to 22 percent in 2012, while the bottom 90 percent’s share has fallen from 36.4% in the early eighties to 22.8 percent in 2012. Today, the top 0.1 percent owns nearly as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent combined. It is not only wealth inequality, but income inequality. Since the eighties, most of the gains in income have gone to top one percent, while the rest have stagnated.

Additionally, a new New York Times/CBS News poll that was released last week, found that a strong majority believes our current state in inequality is a major problem.  57 percent felt that the government should do more to reduce that gap between the rich and poor.  A full 68 percent favored raising taxes on people earning more than $1 million.

Finally, 61 percent of respondents believed that in today’s economy, “just a few people at the top have a chance to get ahead.”  While a whopping sixty-six percent believed that wealth distribution in America is unfair and should be more even.  But, to O’Reilly and his conservative cohorts that isn’t the real problem.  The real problem is that our children are just “too lazy to get out there and work for an education.”

They also fail to mention that in places like Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, New Jersey, and other states, education budgets are being drastically cut.  Even with those cuts, our current crop of young people are better educated than ever before.  Yet, with outsourcing and other failed economic policies from Republicans, there simply aren’t enough jobs for them to get.

This meme from conservatives has been going on for thousands of years.  When O’Reilly and I were young we heard the same complaint about us from our parents and grandparents.  I am sure that when this current crop of young reach our age, they will complain about the young then, too.

Socialism in and of itself is not a bad idea.  Yes, I would not want it to become a totalitarian government.  But, Democratic Socialism has worked in other countries for generations.  Their economies are strong, and their people are happy.  Democratic Socialism does not prevent capitalism from working.  It does not prevent people from getting rich.  But, it does understand that the people working in their factories deserve more than the crumbs that conservatives want us to accept from their tables.

As a matter of fact, Democratic Socialism fits more with the so-called Christian Morality that conservatives claim they want America to follow.  So, why aren’t conservatives screaming for the same thing?  Because conservatives are only interested in what is in their pockets.  And, that is all that really matters to them!

Last week in McKinney, TX a white police officer was recorded on video body slamming a 15-year-old black girl to the ground.  When other teens moved towards him, he took out his gun and pointed it at them.  One teen leaned over to the girl and reportedly said: “it is okay.  We will call your mother.”  He was later arrested, the only person arrested in the incident.

This all happened in a suburban community near Dallas, TX that has a community swimming pool.  One of the residents, with permission from her mother who was present, threw a “pool party” for her friends as an end of school celebration.  The party was attended by multi-racial children.

Later police were called because someone claimed that there were teens “jumping over the fence and using the pool without authorization.”  Police Officer Cpl. David Casebolt arrived on the scene.  Another teen started to video the incident.  This teen, who is white, said Casebolt rushed passed him yelling at the non-white teens to sit down.  He said in a statement that he felt Casebolt passed him simply because he was white.

Apparently, a 15-year-old black girl did not respond quickly enough to Casebolt’s orders.  She may have even said something to Casebolt, but that isn’t on the video.  She was grabbed by him, forced to the ground, told to “put you face on the ground” and then had Casebolt’s knees placed on her back.

When a couple of black teens started moving forward to help this girl, Casebolt pulled his gun.  Other officers did arrive and told Casebolt to holster his weapon, which he did.  The video which was posted on You-Tube went viral.  The officer, Casebolt, resigned his position on the police force.

The Chief of Police in McKinney said Casebolt’s actions were indefensible.  His attorney says that Casebolt was suffering from distress when he arrived on the scene.  She claims he had been called to two suicide events just prior to this event and was “emotionally upset.”

Supporters for the teens are calling for Casebolt to be prosecuted for his actions.  Others, in their usual coded language, are calling Casebolt a “hero” for upholding the law.  The conservative movement is saying the kids should have listened to the police and then none of this would have happened.

Others are praising two white teens who attended the party for their “courage to tell what actually happened.”  They claim this shows that our youth are getting over the race issue.  To me both sides are just offering the usual excuses.  They are both missing the real point behind this incident.

This incident took place in a predominantly white suburban area of Dallas, TX.  This incident took place simply because two white women started it!  Remember that.  Two white women started the whole thing.  According to the reports, a white woman started yelling that these black teens “should go back to the Section 8 housing where they belong.”

The white teenage girl who was sponsoring the party went up to the woman and complained about her behavior.  According to reports, one of the women slapped the girl in the face.  This was the action that started the whole problem.  It has also been reported that some other teens, seeing the party, did jump over the fence to join in, as teens do.  That was what was said in the 911 call.

Casebolt over-reacted in my opinion.  The fact, as shown in the video, proves he was targeting the non-white teens and leaving the white teens alone.  I don’t know what his emotional state was at the time.  But, if he did attend two suicide calls prior to this call, the department should have pulled him from his patrol to make sure he was okay.  As a result, if he was “emotionally distressed” as his lawyer claims, that is the fault of the McKinney Police Department for allowing him to continue with his shift.

But, the emotional distress argument does not excuse his targeting non-white teens.  Yes, his attorney claims he “detained” a white teen but she was never arrested, and nothing was said about why he detained her.

The real question behind this incident is why the two white women, both adults, were never charged with inciting the problem in the first place?  Why are all the so-called pundits on both the left and the right ignoring this simple fact?  In the least, the woman who slapped the girl in the face should face criminal battery charges.

Yet, no one is talking about these two obvious racist women who instigated the whole situation.  No one is castigating them for their rude behavior.  No one is calling for their heads.  It is the behavior of these two women that should be the center of attention.  They should be shamed for their openly racist views.

But, no, they are kept in anonymity.  Their names are never mentioned.  Megyn Kelly says that the girl who was body slammed to the ground “was no saint.”  But, she ignores the real culprits in this case, the two white women who started the melee with their racist rants and assault on a teen-age girl.  I imagine even if Kelly did mention these two women, she would defend their “free speech” rights to hurl racial insults.

The real reason we continue to have to deal with racism and violence in our country is because we don’t put the blame where it belongs.  We continuously ignore the real inciter.  We ignore the cultural facts that some people are just plain racists and  pooh-pooh their racism as being “ignorant.”

Instead, the McKinney police should have investigated exactly what happened before they were called to the scene.  They should have discovered the battery of the teen-age girl by two adults.  They should have understood that these women started the melee, and they should have arrested them.

But, no, as usual the police targeted the teens.  They did no investigation into the ignition point, and simply believed that the teens were at fault.  The behavior of these two white women is what should be talked about.  But, in order to intelligently talk about them, we must face up to the truth that some people are simply racist.  That is something the media is not willing to openly discuss.

As a result, we will see more incidents like this one.  We always seem to let the real culprits off-the-hook.

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