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As expected, the Republicans have once again stalled the Fair Paycheck Act.    Scott Walker, that wonderful Governor who thinks unions are Satanists, says that pay inequality is a “bogus issue”.  Another “screw the poor” Governor, Rick Perry, says that the debate about fair pay is “nonsense”.  Then there is Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute, and supporter of GOP Governor hopeful Gregg Abbot, says that inequality pay is nonsense and backs up his statement  saying:  “Women prefer to stay home with their children.  And they also choose lower-paying jobs.”

Unfortunately, both sides of the argument are missing the whole point.  This isn’t just about pay inequality, it is about discrimination that has a lifelong effect on the people receiving less money than their counterparts.  Conservatives argue that the pay inequality is based on comparing apples and oranges.  They like to show how congresswomen receive the same pay as congressmen.  Of course, they fail to mention that is because it is the “law” that says women and men in congress get the same pay.

Liberals often cite reference material showing that women make as little as 77 cents per dollar compared to men.  Women of color make even less than their male counterparts.  These statistics are based on comparing like jobs among men and women.  Women often get less money for doing the same work as men.  That is pay inequality.

But, it goes even further than that.  Lower pay for women costs a whole lot more in future earnings than just their pay.  By making less money, women receive less money in their 401K plans, if they have one, and they receive less money from Social Security because their wages are so low.  If a woman makes less pay than a man does for doing the same job, their contributions to their 401K plan is automatically less than the man’s because they don’t have the money to put into the plan.  Plus, matching contributions from the company are less as well.  Since Social Security is based on lifetime earnings, they will receive less money in Social Security payments because they make less money.

That is a big deal.  Anyone can see that women who will be getting less income in their retirement will be forced to rely more on social service safety nets.  That means you can be forcing them to live in poverty their whole lives, including during retirement.  All because you don’t believe a woman should make as much as a man.  That is absurd!

Conservatives argue that there are already laws about equal pay.  But, they won’t let anyone enforce them.  They continuously cut budgets for the Department of Labor.  They continuously enforce archaic laws that require silence about pay among employees and no reporting of differences by the companies.  They continuously argue for “tort reform” which will limit the damages a company must pay for violating any laws.  They also have been arguing that these laws will cause “frivolous law suits”.  They are only frivolous if you think that women and men should be paid differently.

Besides, talk about frivolous, wouldn’t trying to eliminate a law of the land over 50 times be considered “frivolous”?   That is how many votes the house has held to reduce or completely repeal the Affordable Care Act.  That only proves that “frivolous” is solely dependent upon your view of what is right and what is wrong.  According to them, it is “right” to vote out a law that helps millions of people, but it is “wrong” to sue for equal pay for equal work.  That should tell you all you need to know about the Republican’s worldview.

Liberals need to change their tune when they argue for equal pay.  We need to stop just pointing out just the pay inequality at work, and start showing everyone how much it will affect women when they retire, or try to retire.  This isn’t just a woman’s issue either.  It is a family issue.  Married women are also affected.  Their comfort in retirement is on the hook, as well as their partner’s.  If a woman receives less than she should have during retirement because their pay was lower, then the whole family is affected.

No, pay inequality is not just a workplace issue.  It is a lifetime discrimination issue.  Republicans don’t seem to think that is a problem.  But, then what do you expect from a party who just passed a budget that cuts all safety nets for the poor, elderly, disabled, and veterans.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Bill.  There has been a lot of discussion on the “talking heads” shows about how Lyndon Johnson used his “power” to get the bill passed.  Johnson did twist a lot of arms to get the bill passed, and he deserves a lot of credit for that.  However, if this bill came to a vote today, Johnson would have been able to get it passed.

Even though there was a lot of bigotry and hatred in the sixties, there were also a lot of “cooler heads” in Congress.  Politics was just that.  Politics.  When legislation like the Civil Rights Bill came up, politicians were willing to at least discuss the bill, and look at whether or not it benefited the country.  Today, that type of politics is dead.  Therefore, I do not believe even Lyndon Johnson could get the Civil Rights Bill through the Congress today.

It is very easy to come to this decision.  Just look at all of the bills, similar to the Civil Rights Bill, that are languishing in Congress.  ENDA, The Fair Pay Act, Same-Sex Marriage, and the list goes on.  Why could Lyndon Johnson get the Civil Rights Bill passed and we can’t get these other bills passed?  Mainly because the Conservative Christian Cult has put theocracy above the constitution.  To be more blunt, they are putting their theocracy above the constitution.  Then when someone disagrees with them, they cry their “religious freedoms” are being attacked.

Many politicians of the day, especially the so-called “Dixiecrats” used similar “biblical arguments” against the Civil Right Bill that the Christian Conservative Cult is using to block these other bills.  They are famous for saying they are right because “the bible tells me so”.  They are also famous for trying to convince people that our country was founded on “Judeo-Christian” values.  Of course they are wrong.

In fact, John Adams, one of our founding fathers, said in the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797 that “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion”.  So much for the argument that the founding fathers used Christianity as the basis for our form of government.  That very argument falls in the face of fact as well.  Our government is based on what is supposed to be the “will of the people”.  Christianity, and all religions for that matter, are based on a dictatorship where the “leader” tells the “faithful” what they are supposed to do and how to act and what to believe.

The true divisiveness in politics today is not based on the difference of opinion of what is wrong with the country and how to fix it.  It is based on one side taking a theocratic approach to government.  “You only have rights if you believe what I believe.”  Since that it the total foundation of the Christian Conservative Cult, we still have unequal pay based on gender; we still have discrimination in marriage rights; we still have employers being allowed to fire someone because they believe that person is LGBTQ; we still have law suits against contraception coverage in health insurance because the “liberty” group wants to control women’s lives.

No, even Lyndon Johnson with all the leadership qualities he had would not have been able to pass the Civil Rights Bill today.  There is no way the Conservative Christian Cult’s view of American Theocracy would have allowed a democratic bill like the Civil Rights Bill to pass through Congress.   They would have cried, as they do today, that it violates their “religious freedom” to discriminate against anyone who doesn’t agree with them.  So much the worse for us!

I finally get it.  I humbly offer my Republican friends an apology.  I may even go so far as to apologize to the Tea Party, but that may be a mea culpa too far.  All this time, I figured that the Republicans are against equal rights.  Especially when it comes to pay.  I humbly admit I was wrong.

The Republicans have a great plan for the future of our country.  Under their plan, there won’t be any “class warfare”.  There won’t be any envy.  There won’t be any discrimination against any race, color, creed, or sexual orientation.  There will be equal pay for all working class Americans.

Why didn’t I see this before?  Why didn’t I realize that they just want to even the playing field for everyone.  Their policies are aimed at this equality, and it won’t require socialism to achieve it either.  The market will set pay for everyone.  It will set education levels for everyone.  It will solve all of our problems in one swell swoop.

Why these crafty Republicans didn’t open up about their wonderful plan is a mystery to me.  If they had, Mitt Romney might have been president.  They may actually control both houses of congress.  They might actually have achieved the power they all crave.  But, they must have made a horrible mistake somewhere along the way, because most of us just didn’t get it.

If you are still having trouble seeing their plan, here is how it will work.

  • If you are white, rich, and Christian Conservative, your children will get the best education available.  They will be allowed to go to private schools under “vouchers” paid for by taxes.  That way, they will be able to maintain their status.  Everyone else will be sent to underfunded public schools.  It will be all they need.
  • If you are wealthy, one of the makers, you will have your taxes cut in half.  You won’t have to pay any more, because all of those annoying safety-nets will be radically cut or eliminated.  Besides they won’t be needed.  Their plan will ensure full employment for everyone.
  • If you are a woman, you can do anything you want.  As long as the “man” in your life says it is okay.  But, don’t even think about contraceptives, abortion, or being a CEO of a company.  A woman’s place is in the home taking care of the “man’s” children.  If you are a single woman, you can work as a secretary or some other menial position like maid or nanny until you get married.
  • If you are LBGTQ, you will either be refused work, or you will have to take a position similar to women.  If you are an immigrant, you will have to “go back to where you came from”.
  • If you are a senior, you better have planned better for your retirement because Social Security will be slashed.  But, to be fair, we will give you a small stipend so you can buy health insurance on the private market.  With no guaranties of coverage, of course.
  • Here is the best part.  Everyone who works for a living will receive the exact same pay as everyone else.  There is no reason why companies can’t create new jobs and ensure full employment.  Everyone will make minimum wage!  That way, no one can claim a man is making more than a woman.  No one can say that race is a factor.  Yes, equal pay for everyone.  Plus, employers won’t have to supply any costly mandates like health insurance.

What a wonderful society the Republicans have planned for America.  Think about it.  No one will be able to complain that someone else who works for a living will have more than they do.  No one will have to go through bothersome law suits to get fair treatment at work.  It will be a wonderful utopia for all!  How could we not vote for something as wonderful as that?

There are a lot of things coming from the right that baffle me.  As hard as it is, I do try to listen to their arguments, but I find it difficult to follow their logic.  I often wonder if these people are looking at the real world, or if they are trying to facilitate some fantasy that we were better off in the 19th Century.  It runs the full gamut of politics and policies.

The right claims to be for “personal liberties” yet they continually want to tell women, and other groups, how they should live.  They claim they are for “religious freedom” yet they continually prove over-and-over again they only mean “their” religious beliefs.  They claim they want the economy to grow.  Yet they continuously attempt legislation that “deregulates” everything around so companies cannot be held accountable for illegal activities, bust unions, and reward companies who move jobs overseas.  They claim they want “opportunity” for all yet they repeatedly cut spending on education, which is supposed to be the great equalizer.

Somehow or other, they just can’t seem to come up with any solutions to the very problems they claim they want to fix.  Since Barak Obama became president, they have offered nothing in terms of policy to make things better.  They simply sit back and say “no” to everything.  Even things they originally proposed like the Affordable Care Act.  It is truly baffling.

They don’t even agree among themselves.  For example, today Steve Doocy on Fox said that the President is “changing the subject from the Affordable Care Act (he called it Obamacare)”, by signing two executive orders tomorrow that will address the “gender pay gap”.  Then he went into his histrionics by holding up his had and closing his eyes in an attempt to calm everyone down and said:  “Now I know, I know, women have gotten equal pay for decades!”

I guess Mr. Doocy didn’t read all the information from every source available that says women are getting paid 88 cents on the dollar compared to men in the same job.  Maybe, he figures that 88 cents on the dollar for women is equal pay.  But his co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck must have read the information.  She also must not have heard Doocy either.  She chirped in that there is a Gender Pay Gap, at least in the White House.  She said:  Shouldn’t that equality then start right in the White House?  Is the White House aware that female staffers get paid 88 cents on the dollar when compared to the men?”

Seems the right can’t make up its mind whether or not there is a Gender Pay Gap.  One “expert” claims women have been paid equally for decades, while his “expert” co-host says that isn’t true.  No wonder they can’t formulate a solution to any problems, they don’t even agree among themselves what the problems are!

The right is continuously railing against the level of poverty in the country.  One easy solution to help lift over 3 million people out of poverty is to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 as the President has proposed.  We know that these people are hard-working everyday employees of giant companies making billions of dollars in profits, yet pay their employees below poverty wages.  They even expect the government to pick up the bill for their medical care and food by telling their employees how to apply for Medicaid and WIC and Food Stamps. The Republicans oppose raising the minimum wage.  Why?  Because that would mean that these giant companies might not make as many billions of dollars in profits.  That might cut into their political contributions to Republican coffers.

Whether you are talking about social issues, economic issues, or even foreign policy these right-wing wackos just can’t seem to make up their minds about what the problem is.  If you support the LGBT community, you are anti-Christian.  If you support raising the minimum wage, you are a socialist trying to take away from the rich.  If you support abortion, you are an atheist.  If you believe that public education should be funded properly, you are against private enterprise who is willing to take it over, for a price.

But, if you support legislation that makes it more difficult to vote, then you are for “protecting the ballot box” even though there is almost no voter fraud at the polls.  If you support legislation that allows you to discriminate in the name of “religion” you are a true believer in “religious freedom”.    If you are against raising the minimum wage, you fully understand that all these people in poverty are there because they are lazy and shiftless.

To coin the “New Republican Party” theme, if you believe that the country was better off in 1890 than it is today, you are talking about the “New Republican Party”.  How very 21st century of them.

I keep wondering if there is anything that Republicans can talk about without putting politics first.  It doesn’t matter what the agenda is, they always seem to come up with the same talking points about “liberty”, “local control”, “it costs too much”, or “it should be covered by private funds”.

I wonder this because there is a perfect example of how crazy and, frankly, dangerous this kind of talk is.  Last May, several tornadoes hit Oklahoma in a short period of time.  The city of Moore, OK was devastated by a tornado and several children died at their public school.  Seven families whose children were the victims at Plaza Towers Elementary School gathered over 100,000 signatures on a petition for a ballot initiative to equip the state’s 1,800 public school buildings with storm shelters.  They actually drove around to Friday Night High School Football games to get the signatures.

A coalition called Take Shelter Oklahoma, which includes these families, proposed having the state sell bonds to raise $500 million to build school shelters or fortify existing buildings so they could can withstand tornadoes like the one last May, which killed 24 people.  In the meantime, their idea was to let schools start building shelters almost immediately.  They claim the state could pay off the debt with the $40 million to $50 million that it expects to collect each year from a recently reinstated tax on some companies in the state.

To a normal person, this sounds very reasonable.  Let’s build shelters for our children, school staff, and maybe even for local residents.  These shelters would save lives.  Losing everything you have in a natural disaster is bad enough.  Losing a child in one is traumatic.  This proposal would help alleviate that trauma.

But no, attorney general, Scott Pruitt, a Republican, rewrote the 200-word summary that voters would have seen on their ballots, emphasizing the business tax, and, his opponents say, all but dooming the ballot initiative to fail in deep-red Oklahoma.  David Slane, an attorney for Take Shelter Oklahoma said:  “It was biased, misleading and confusing to the voters.  These were really good people trying to do this. You had parents and teachers and educators from all over the state that got involved.”

Not to be outdone, the Governor, Mary Fallin, a Republican running for re-election said that the plan doesn’t offer enough control for local school districts and that it would take money out of the state’s general fund, meaning that other important programs — roads, public safety, education — would have to be cut.  Excuse me, isn’t building shelters at public schools part of “public safety and education”?

Of course, Take Shelter Oklahoma sued over the new language, but the Oklahoma State Supreme Court ruled that the Attorney General was within his rights to change the wording.  He gave Take Shelter Oklahoma 90 days to start over and get the 155,000 signatures needed to put it on the ballot.

So now Take Shelter Oklahoma is in a pickle.  Do they start over and rewrite the proposed ballot issue?  If they do, what is to keep the Attorney General from rewriting it again?  That would mean more delays.  Do they simply get the signatures necessary to include it on the ballot knowing full well that the new language will all but kill the initiative?

The Governor, in all her glory, has a plan.  She proposes a ballot initiative that would allow individual school districts to choose whether to raise their property taxes to pay for storm shelters.  “If you are in a part of the state that already has a storm shelter, you’re essentially subsidizing everyone else’s construction. There’s an issue of fairness,” said Alex Weintz, a spokesman for the governor. “Is it fair for one school to build a gigantic gymnasium that also happens to be rated as a safe room?”

I think we all know how quickly local property tax increases are voted down by the residents.  It doesn’t matter what the reason for raising property taxes is either.  There have been plenty of good proposals sunk because they relied on increasing local property taxes.  Republicans know all to well the surest way to kill a project is to tie it to increased property taxes.

So, as we enter spring of 2014, like everyone else in “tornado alley” Oklahomans will once again begin watching the sky.  But, even if they get the call that there is a tornado watch or worse a tornado warning, what are their options?  Should they risk being caught out in the open trying to get their children from school?  Should they just hope that their children will be safe at school?  I lived in several parts of “tornado alley” in the past.  These are not easy decisions to face.  Plus, you must make your decision very quickly or it will definitely be too late.

Having shelters in schools in this part of the country makes sense.  It is nice to know that new schools in Oklahoma are being equipped with shelters.  But what about the rest?  Instead of doing something positive to protect children, Republicans are playing politics again.  This time with children’s lives.  Which brings us back to the question, Is There Anything The Republicans Will Discuss Without Playing Politics?  I think this issue proves there isn’t!

The Supreme Court has taken another cap away from donors to political campaigns.  This was expected.  The conservatives on the Court seem to think that money is free speech.  That is how they base their decisions anyway.  So, looking forward, finance reform in our political system seems dead.  Except, there is a way we can eliminate the need for mass amounts of money in campaigns.

One aspect of the ruling that I still find hard to swallow is the idea that an individual can give money to whomever they wish.  Meaning, that a person in Texas can spend money in North Carolina campaigns.  I understand the free speech thing, but how can an election in North Carolina possibly be of any interest to someone who lives in Texas?  Unless the Texan wants to “buy” the candidates vote on certain legislation.

With that thought, maybe we could pass a law that you can only give to political parties, PACs, and candidates in your state.  I know that the parties and PACs will spend the money wherever they think it is needed, and I don’t have a real problem with that.  But, for someone outside the state to give money to a local candidate, even if that person is running for Congress, is ridiculous.  That person will not be “representing” the donor.  So, there is no apparent policy concern for the outsider.  Only a desire to control as many elected officials as possible.

But, we all know that the number one factor in the large amounts of money being spent in campaigns is for TV and Radio advertisements.  Both sides spent an obscene amount of money in the last election on advertisement.  The best way to reduce spending on campaigns is to eliminate advertising fees.  Of course, the stations carrying these advertisements wouldn’t like the idea of losing money like that.  So, in fairness to them, the number of advertisements each station is required to carry should be limited.  But, both side should get the same amount of air time.  Plus, no one will be able to “purchase” more air time than allocated.  These restrictions would have to include PACs as well.

By eliminating the cost of advertising, we would reduce the amount of money each candidate would need to effectively run a campaign.  By limiting each side to specific numbers of advertisements, we would ensure fair and balanced advertising on behalf of both parties.  That might actually allow voters to hear both sides of the equation before going to the polls.  Besides, with the number of television stations now, between on-air and cable/satellite, there will be lots of air-time for both sides to use.

To help protect private citizens from being overwhelmed by “robo-calls”, it should be part of the “do not call list” law that these calls are included.  We can already use the list to stop nuisance calls from other telemarketers, we should be able to block these political robo-calls as well.

There are a lot of other areas that require spending.  Like travel for the candidates, printing costs, etc.  But these are relatively small compared to the advertising budgets.  Once we get rid of spending on advertisements and make sure each side gets the same amount of time on-air, we can then look at other areas as well.

It is already nearly impossible to charge someone with bribery when they contribute to campaigns.  Just look at the infamous “Norquist Pledge”.  This is an open, and by most politicians own admission, quid-pro-quo contributions.  That constitutes bribery.  Yet, prosecutors are hesitant to pursue such corruption because of the difficulty in prosecuting the culprits.

As a result, since the Supreme Court thinks that giving money to outside elections is free speech, the only way to take money out of politics, is to eliminate as much money as possible from the process.  Otherwise, we will be faced with a small group of corporate billionaires “buying” the elections.

A little covered story has the potential of helping to raise the issue of false allegations being made by right wing nuts.  Maybe, just maybe if we are lucky, it will also spell the doom of one of the biggest ranting bafoons on air.  Unfortunately, I am not referring to the fat drug addict.  I am instead talking about that wonderful liberty loving Glenn Beck!

Abdulrahman Alharbi has filed a defamation lawsuit against Mr. Beck in Boston.  For those who have the good sense to stay from this moron’s radio show, here is a little brief background on the matter.  Mr. Alharbi was standing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the attack took place.  He was injured by the blast.

In the days after the explosions that killed three people and injured more than 260, Beck “repeatedly and falsely identified Mr. Alharbi as an active participant in the crimes that were committed on April 15, 2013, repeatedly questioned the motives of federal officials in failing to pursue or detain Alharbi and repeatedly and falsely accused Mr. Alharbi of being a criminal who had funded the attacks at the Boston Marathon,” the lawsuit alleges.

Since, Alharbi has been called a “murderer, child killer and terrorist” based on Beck’s statements, the suit says.  When he spouted his vile accusations against Alharbi, Beck had no evidence for his accusations.  I guess having a middle-eastern name was all he needed.  Alharbi, as mentioned, was injured in the explosion.  Authorities did question him, they even searched his apartment.  As a result, the authorities came to the conclusion that he had no involvement in the attack.

So far, neither Mr. Beck or any of the stations included in the lawsuit have commented on the matter.  Not surprising.  Besides, what would they say?  “Yes we lied to get higher ratings.”

This is a great example of an individual standing up to one of these lunatics.  When the fat drug addict called Sandra Fluke a “slut” and suggested she “tape her sexual activities so we could all watch” I thought she should have sued him.  Maybe, if more people stand up to these bullies, we may finally get some common decency in our political system again.

Making a living by spouting made-up information is reprehensible enough.  Calling someone a murderer on air thinking your “free speech” will protect you is abhorrent.  These clowns only think about how much money they are making.  Maybe a win in this case will help show them enough is enough.  Let’s hope that Mr. Alharbi wins his case.  Let’s also hope the penalties for Mr. Beck and the stations that put him on air are severe enough to finally shut the ignorant pig up!!!  One can only hope.

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