Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Religion, Conservatism, and Facts

There are times where I wonder what planet these people are from, but then I remember they are Christian Conservatives and it all makes sense.

US Congressman Todd Akins is the Republican candidate for United States Senate from Missouri, running to unseat Claire McCaskill. Recently he got himself in trouble by saying that the female body would reject a pregnancy caused by a "legitimate" rape.

Not surprisingly, many people on both sides of the aisle reacted to such an incredibly stupid remark.  Also not surprisingly, some people felt compelled to support Rep. Akins and say that he was right.  The spokesman for the American Family Association, Bryan Fisher emphatically agreed with Rep. Akins, and Republican Rep Steve King of Iowa said he had never heard of an incest or statutory rape victim becoming pregnant.

They were both speaking in response to questions about the latest attempt by House Republicans to limit abortion.  Apparently among Republicans there is a growing movement to remove the rape and incest exemptions from most laws regulating abortion.  And part of that movement seems to believe that victims of rape or incest seldom if ever get pregnant.
In other words they are idiots.

Deliberately so.  It’s not like they morons don’t have staffs that can research their arguments to make sure they are factually based, they don’t care if they are factually based.  Remember the US Senator who went speaking on the Senate Floor claimed that 97% of Planned Parenthood’s business was abortions?  When he was confronted with facts that proved him wrong, the official statement from his office was that the Senator’s statement wasn’t intended to be factual.
These people don’t believe in facts.

It’s something that seems to have infected the entire Republican Party.
It ranges from the ridiculous stuff like Obama isn’t an American or wasn’t born in Hawaii to the silly like he Hates American or wants to punish success to simply lying about what he has said or done like the Stimulus didn’t create any jobs and President Obama wants to ban your guns.

And it extends to serious issue of policy like Tax Cuts pay for themselves, and those people who make over 250,000 are job creators, and global warming is a hoax.  All things that are simply not true.  There are some smart Republicans, who can actually read so they probably know what they are saying is not true.  And the rest are just sheep, believing anything Rush and O’Reilly say.
And I blame religion, particularly Conservative Christianity.

This is an old problem.  Galileo was imprisoned by the Catholic Church for having the audacity to claim that the earth was not the center of the universe.
More recently you have Conservative Christians that reject Evolution because the bible tells them so.  They bend themselves into rhetorical pretzels trying to claim that Creation Science is equally as valid as Natural Selection/Evolution despite the reality that the theories behind Evolution describe what we observe in the world far better than any competing theory and Creationism just pretends things like the world is only 5000 years old and man and dinosaurs were on the planet at the same time and that the first human was created 5000 years ago.  There is no evidence to support their theory, but they believe it anyway because they must.

I think of Creationism as the gateway drug to mass belligerent ignorance.
If Evolution is wrong, and all those scientists are wrong based on no evidence other than the bible, it’s no longer a challenge to just pretend that other things you don’t want to believe in aren’t true, despite the facts and data.

50 years ago, companies hired actual Physicians to advertise Cigarettes.  Then as the evidence became clear that cigarettes were both addictive and deadly, the companies launched a massive campaign to lie to the American people.  It was like the line from the some old country song, who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?  They would pay some scientist to pretend that the science wasn’t settled.  They couldn’t find actually medical doctors to lie for them anymore so they hired anybody with a degree that would say want the tobacco companies wanted them to say.  Meanwhile the US Surgeon General and very medical group in the country and any scientist who wasn’t paid by the cigarette companies were all yelling at the top of their lungs that cigarettes would addictive and deadly.  Yet some, mostly conservatives, chose to ignore the real science, to ignore the people who actually studied these diseases, because once you decided that science is just this stuff that those guys with degrees made up but you can ignore it just like you ignore evolution, then its easy to believe the utter bullshit pushed by the cigarette companies.
Finally, 50 years and uncounted millions of deaths later, nobody, not even shills paid by the cigarette companies, disputes the science.  But millions died while they were lying as loudly as they could.

And now we have the debate over Global Warming.
And the same pattern is being repeated.  The Science is clear.  The global average surface temperature is climbing and most of the current increase in temperature is the result of human activity.  And if we don’t change our ways we are going to devastate the global economy and displace hundreds of millions of people.  There really isn’t any doubt.  But shills and politicians paid for by the Coal and Natural Gas and Petroleum companies are willing to stand up and say it’s all a hoax.  Ignore all the science and focus on the fact that it snowed a lot in New York City last winter.  Steal some emails, extract stuff from the emails that makes the scientists look dishonest and then ignore the 6 separate studies that all conclude that the scientists didn’t actually lie or distort their data or conclusions.  Facts don’t matter to these people.
This facts don’t matter attitude, this deliberate and belligerent ignorance, is the essence of religious faith and the fact free rejection of evolution.  And its dangerous.

So now you have members of Congress claiming that rape victims don't get pregnant as a result of what was done to them.

And we have idiots defending them.

Because they live in a fact free universe where things are only true if they want them to be.

I wouldn't care if they were just idiots, but these are idiots in positions of power.  They can decide what a woman can do with her body.  They can impose medically unnecessary requirements on abortion clinics, and require that women have get vaginally violated by a doctor to have access to a safe and legal procedure, they CAN REQUIRE THAT YOUR DOCTOR LIE TO YOU about abortion.

The idiots that want to ignore the reality of Global Warming are tying to kill us wholesale, but idiots that are trying to ban abortion just want to kill women one at a time.  But they are idiots with power and that makes them dangerous.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Voter Suppression - The Never Ending Story

If you listen to Republicans as they try to defend all these new laws they are passing that make it harder to vote, remember the problem that they are trying to fix.

It's the demon Voter Fraud.

And they have the numbers to prove it.

The Republican Lawyers Association has a listing on their website of all the cases of voter fraud that they can find across this country in the past 10 years.

Look at it here (http://www.rnla.org/survey.asp)

340 or so cases.

In 10 years


What an epidemic of illegality

And about half are Voter REGISTRATION fraud, which all their new laws do nothing to prevent.

And another bunch are Absent Voter Fraud, which all their new laws do nothing to prevent.

So what are we left with


In 10 years

Maybe 70 cases.

And in order to prevent these 70 cases, they are willing, eager even, to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters.

And they claim to have the purest of motives.  But their actions call them liars.

There is no doubt that these new laws affect the poor, and the young and the elderly far more than they do the rest of America.  Put another way, these laws stop mostly Democratic voters from voting.

To prevent 70 cases nationwide over 10 years scattered across the country.

In Ohio, the Republican Secretary of State has cast the deciding vote in a number of counties on what hours the polling places should be open for early voting.  In counties that lean Democratic, he has voted not to allow evening and weekend voting.  You have to vote during normal business hours.  In counties that lean Republican he has voted to allow voting in the evenings and on weekends.

Are you tired of being lied to yet??

Are you outraged about a deliberate campaign to suppress voter turnout??

You should be!!

Its time to get outraged.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Romeny's "Experience"

Its been interesting to watch Governor Romney head off on his foreign tour.  He didn't start out well, insulting his British hosts before he even got there and then committing two verbal gaffes that had the British press in a feeding frenzy.

What I find interesting in all this is what is says about Governor Romney.

This is a man who has been running for the Presidency for 12 years.  He is a man of wealth and education.  And yet, he starts off on a world tour by insulting his hosts.  This is a man who is running on his experience.  As Governor, as venture capitalist, as CEO of the Utah Olympic games.  He wants you to believe that he had the resume to supplant a sitting president.  And this is how he starts off his first foreign travel of the campaign.

If then Senator Obama had been equally as clumsy when he went on his foreign tour 4 years ago, the Republican noise machine would have had a field day and would still be talking about it.  Instead he gave addresses, especially in Berlin, that were widely praised.

The two gaffes say, I think, something Romney's management ability.  I am fairly well traveled, and I don't know that I would know how to address the leader of the loyal opposition.  But I would have someone on my staff that would know.  Someone who would make sure I knew how to address the opposition leader.  But he didn't.  And then he has a private meeting with the head of the British intelligence service.  This is something you are not supposed to talk about.  Yet he did.  Again, where was his staff.  Romney's campaign has been full of this kind of stupid stuff.  I don't know that it says good things about Romney's so called experience or about his management abilities.  If this is how he runs a campaign, how is he going to run our Government?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Where are you Liberal Mainstream Media

Liberal Mainstream Media,

I miss you!!!!

Its been so long I don't know if you ever actually existed

I have been told by Conservatives/Republicans that you are in the bag for Obama so often that I almost believed it myself.

Now I want it to be true and I want you back.

I want a LIBERAL MAINSTREAM MEDIA that will ask every Conservative/Republican that talks about Repealing and Replacing Obamacare, what would they replace it with?

     Would it forbid insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions?

     Would it forbid insurance companies from canceling your coverage when you actually get sick?

     Would it let us keep our kids on our insurance until they are 26?

     Would it close the Medicaid Part D donut hole left behind by Bush's Prescription Drug Benefit?

     Would it require that insurance companies pay out most of their income in claims instead of in administrative and marketing costs?

     Would it provide coverage (mostly by private insurance companies) to 30 million Americans that previously didn't have Insurance?

I want them to ask all those questions?  Cause nobody in the major networks is asking that now.

I want them to ask for a single example in American history where a massive tax cut that wasn't accompanied by massive spending cuts didn't explode the deficit?

I want them to ask where are the jobs since the Rich are Richer than they have ever been and Corporations are making record profits and are sitting on trillions of dollars in cash reserves?  Where are the jobs?

I want them to ask which program that President Obama initiated has increased the debt or the deficit other than the stimulus bill?

I want them to point out that the economy has consistently performed better under Democratic Presidents than it has under Republican Presidents.

I want them to point out that the stock market has consistently performed better under Democratic Presidents than under Republican Presidents.

When Conservatives/Republicans say that the President's policies on the economy have failed, ask them which of the President's policies that got passed have failed?  Ask them how many jobs bills Congress passed after the Stimulus bill?

And when they try to say that the Stimulus bill failed question their definition of failure since the stimulus created between 2 - 4 million jobs and increased GDP by 1.5 - 2% a year for the 2 years it was pumping out money.

When the Conservative/Republican they tries to claim that the President PROMISED that if the stimulus bill passed that unemployment would not go over 8%, explain to them the difference between a promise and a prediction.  Then point out that since the economy was clearly in worse shape in early 2009 that the President understood at the time, clearly a bigger stimulus bill was needed.  And then ask them why they have opposed every attempt by the president to kick start the economy with any of the jobs bills he has proposed even though he proposed ways to pay for each and every one of them.

Ask them if proudly saying that they would refuse a budget deal that included 10 parts of spending cuts and only 1 part of a tax increase, ask them how realistic that is and then ask them where they are willing to compromise or if they are willing to compromise at all.

That's the Liberal Mainstream Media that I keep hearing Republicans/Conservatives complain about.  The problem is I haven't actually seen many in the main stream media actually ask these questions.  Usually when some Conservative/Republican get on their show and just starts lying, they just nod and accept the lies without comment.

I wish we did have a Mainstream Media that would ask these questions

I would like that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Voter Suppression

One of the things Conservatives/Republicans have been doing the past few years that is quietly remaking America and not in a good way is actively working to suppress the votes of Democratic leaning voters.

In state after state, Republican led Legislatures with Republican Governors have passed bills designed to make it harder to vote.  And the way these laws have been structured has been designed to affect groups that usually vote Democratic more than groups that usually vote Republican.

The most widespread of these efforts are laws passed in many states requiring that people present a government issued photo ID.  They claim that all they want to do is protect the integrity of the voting booth by ensuring that you really are who you say you are when you show up to vote.  That almost sounds reasonable.  But consider who this law has the affect of targeting.  People in urban areas who don't own a car and therefore don't have a drivers license.  Poorer people who, again, don't have cars and therefore don't have drivers licenses.  Both groups of people who tend to vote Democratic.

And the types of ID's they will accept even has a bias.  In Texas, you can present a state issued concealed gun carry permit, but not a Student ID issued by any University, even state universities.  Now lets see, students and carriers of concealed weapons.  Who do you think is more likely to vote Democratic.

A significantly higher percentage of minority voters vote early or vote absentee.  You see its easier to vote on Saturday than on a day you are have to be at work.  One state eliminated voting the Sunday before election day.  Its must be a coincidence that many black churches load up the buses after Sunday Worship and head on down to the County Courthouse the Sunday before Election Day so they can vote early as a group.

Poor and minority voters are far more likely to be registered to vote in Voter Registration drives, so states are making it harder to run Voter Registration Drives.  In Florida, a High School Teacher was literally charged with a crime because she didn't turn in the voter registration cards for her Senior Students in the 48 hours allowed by law.  That bastion of Liberalism and even Anarchy, the League of Women Voters, is largely giving up on Voter Registration Drives in Florida because the law is so restrictive and the penalties so severs.

And then there is voter purging.  Republican Governors seemingly want to ensure that only people legally allowed to register are registered, so they hire company to search the voter rolls for people who have the same name as a convicted felon.  They then send the now suspect voter a letter demanding proof that they are legally eligible to vote and if the letter isn't returned quick enough, the voter is purged from the rolls.  They did this in Florida and ILLEGALLY disenfranchised around 8000 voters.  And guess what, most of those voters were poor and minorities.  Can you just imagine how the Florida vote might have turned out if those 8000 voters had been allowed to vote.
And, no surprise here, Florida is at it again.  The Florida Secretary of States office sent out voter purge lists so worthless that many county election supervisors simply refused to act on them.
Each of these laws, deliberately or not, makes it harder to vote and the burdens imposed by this law fall most heavily on those who would mostly vote Democratic.  I personally don't think that is a surprise.  Its got to be a good electoral strategy to suppress the turnout of your opponents voters.
Somehow Republicans/Conservatives want you to believe that they JUST HAVE TO TO THIS to protect the integrity of the voting process itself.

But when asked how many cases they know of people actually showing up at a polling place and trying to vote using someone else's name, they don't know.  The Bush II administration Justice Department made finding and prosecuting voter fraud a priority.  And yet, the best the Department of Justice could do in 8 years of trying was a couple of dozen convictions for voter fraud, and very few of those were for the kind of fraud that these voter suppression laws would prevent.

Here in South Bend Indiana, there was a real case of voter fraud.  But like most voter fraud this was wholesale.  The local supervisor of elections, and one of his minions conspired to rig the vote for their candidates in some local primaries.  And they did it the old fashioned way, they doctored the voting documents.  They didn't have to send 10's or 100's of fraudulent voters to the polls to vote as someone else, they simply made up the votes they needed and submitted the made up numbers as if they were real.  That the kind of voter fraud that actually happens.  That the kind of voter fraud that can really swing or steal an election.  But that is not what all the Republican Governors are attacking.

They are attacking the 80 year old Nun who had voted in every election since Truman.  But she didn't have a government issued ID.  She was a Nun.  But she wasn't allowed to vote.

And then about a week ago we get a bit of utter honesty from a Republican official in Pennsylvania.  he told a friendly audience that the new Voter ID laws were going to win the state for Romney.
The supposedly liberal main stream media isn't making any noise about this, and I don't know why.

Voter suppression is a crime, but they are getting away with it.

If you talk to a Conservative about this, ask them how much individual voter fraud, you know the kind these bills will prevent, how much of that fraud is actually happening.  They will dodge the question and make nice sounding statements about protecting the integrity of the voting booth and then probably ask you if you want illegal immigrants to be voting or some other such BS, but they won't actually answer the question.  Because there is no rash of voter fraud that would justify all of these new laws.  It isn't there.  But they can't admit that because then the only reason left to them is the real reason, the reason admitted to by the hapless Republican official in Pennsylvania.  These laws aren't about protecting anything honest and good.  These laws are about suppressing the vote of those they disagree with.

If you aren't outraged, you should be.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Unpolitically Correct

I just found the funniest Facebook Page called Unpolitically Correct

This is their favorite quote.

The Democrat Party's entire game plan can be summed up as follows:

1) reward those who are failures in life

2) punish those who are successes in life

And this is their profile picture

Wanna bet the only watch Fox News and read NewsMax and PajamaTV for their news.
This desire to remain blissfully ignorant, to not even hear a competing argument just astounds me.

Don't confuse this Conservative with the facts, their mind is made up!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

This Just In

It brings me no joy to report this.
But Arizona has taken the war on Women's Reproductive Health to the next step.
Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has just signed a new piece of legislation that allows Employers to ask their female employees why they have a prescription for Birth Control, and if the Employee does not have a Medical condition that the Birth Control Pill is useful for treating, the employees health plan will not cover the pills.
And the justification for this would be that the employer had some Religious objection to Birth Control.
I can't count he number of ways that this is wrong.

More good news from Small Government Conservatives wanting to control the lives of others.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

“Small Government” Conservatives and Women’s Bodies

I heard it said long ago that the difference between Liberals and Conservatives is that Liberals want to liberate people and control corporations while Conservatives want to liberate corporations and control people.
Like any broad statement, there are lots of exceptions on both sides.

But it does largely describe today’s Conservatives.

While insisting that (millionaires, billionaires, the top 1%, the Rich, those making over $250,000/year – pick your term) should not see their taxes go up in these economic times, while insisting that Corporate Tax rates are too high in a period of record corporate profits and a surging stock market while many very profitable Fortune 500 companies pay little or even no Corporate Income tax, these same Conservatives have decided that what they really need to be focused on is Women’s Reproductive Health.

While unemployment and budget deficits remaining frustratingly high, Conservatives across the nation, at both the Federal and State level have decided that what they really need to address is Contraception and Abortion and other issues of Women’s Reproductive health.

I have lost count of how many states have passed laws deliberately designed to make abortion, a procedure that is both safe and legal, as hard to get as possible.  You almost have to give them credit for a high degree of inventiveness in their cruelty.  They act like women do not already face an incredibly difficult choice of whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.  They act like women are just getting all these abortions on a whim without much thought or personal torment or regrets.  It’s like Conservatives think that women facing this choice do so happily and glibly.

I want people to read my blog so I won’t include my uncensored opinion of these Conservatives and their insistence on their right to force the government into the middle of this incredibly difficult choice.  Suffice it to say, I hold these Conservatives in the highest disdain.

So women who are already facing a choice that most of the realize will be life changing, that most of them realize will come with regrets either way, now have to run a gauntlet of new laws in order to be allowed control over their own bodies.

It started with waiting periods.  Some states passed laws that required women wait an arbitrary number of days between before they could get an appointment for the procedure.

Some states now require that a woman get counseling from a state approved (and anti-abortion) counseling organization.  In one state, that provision went into effect yet there were none of these counseling organizations licensed to do this counseling.

Many states have changed the laws regulating clinics that perform abortions to make their operations much more expensive.  There is no medical reason for the new laws, they just want to make it harder and harder for these clinics to operate.

Then some states started requiring the women get ultrasounds before being allowed control over their own bodies.  They had to look at the developing fetus or listen to its heart beat.  All designed to make an incredibly difficult decision even harder and more painful.  There is no medical reason for these test, and the women are required to pay for these tests themselves, raising another barrier to women controlling their bodies.

And now the latest outrage is laws in a number of states requiring that women have physically invasive procedures.  They are required to pay a doctor to stick a trans-vaginal ultrasound probe into their vagina though they are not actually required to look at the screen.


And it’s just one or two states, there are literally hundreds of these offensive laws being proposed in legislatures across the country and dozens of them are going into effect, all designed to make what is already a hard decision harder and more expensive and make it last longer.

And their next target is Contraception.  Senator Santorum, while running for President stated his personal opposition to Contraception.  Several states have proposed what are called Personhood Amendments that would attach the rights of personhood to the human embryo at the moment of conception.  This law would, among other things, have the effect of banning all hormonal contraception, the most widely used and most reliable form of contraception.

It will get worse unless we can throw these people out.

This is their idea of Small Government?

In these hard economic times, this is what Conservatives are focused on.  It’s as amazing as it is infuriating.

And it gets better.

Conservatives have now decided that Planned Parenthood is evil.

It started with a lie.

A lie told on the Floor of the United States Senate.

A Conservative Senator went on the Floor of the United States Senate and stated as if it was a fact, that abortions were 97% of what planned Parenthood does.  The real number is like 3%.  When confronted with this gross discrepancy, this Senator’s office issued a statement that what he said on the Floor of the United States Senate was, and I quote, “not intended to be a factual statement”.  Nice use of a thesaurus.  His office released a statement admitting that he LIED.

But now all of a sudden, Planned Parenthood was a target of these demented people.

90% of American women will make use of one Planned Parenthood service or another in their life time.  From Mammograms and other cancer screening, to contraceptive services to counseling, Planned Parenthood has been serving women in America but now these small government conservatives have decided that it’s evil and needs to be stopped.  Several states have stopped funding Planned Parenthood clinics.  They tried to get a federal funding ban and failed.  One conservative woman led the Susan Komen Foundation down this path and the foundation stopped its funding for Planned Parenthood.  I am happy to say that particular attack on Planned Parenthood failed.  In response to that move, many people made increased donations to Planned Parenthood, far more than the funding the Susan Koman Foundation was taking away, and money stopped flowing into the Susan Komen foundation and donors took their money elsewhere.

Some other these (unprintable) people have even decided that the Girl Scouts are evil because of their supposed link to Planned Parenthood and Girl Scout organizations around the world.

And this is their idea of small government.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Welcome to the Party

Just a note to the President.

I celebrate your decision to announce that you are now openly supportive of the Rights of Homosexuals to MARRY.

I suspect that you have felt this way for a while and just couldn't say so politically.  I understand that.  Politics is the art of the possible after all.  And despite your position 4 years ago, you have done more to advance the rights of Homosexuals than any previous President.

I just wanted to say.

Welcome to the Party.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Stand up for Being Liberal

It’s time to take back “Liberal”
It’s time to stand up and declare the Liberal is a Badge of Honor.  I badge I wear proudly.

What do Liberals have to be proud of?
The Voting Rights Act
The Civil Rights Act
The Affordable Care Act
The Environmental Protection Act
The Clean Air Act
The Clean Water Act
The GI Bill
Pell Grants
Guaranteed Student Loans

Shall I go on?

We can and should be proud of what we are struggling for even now
Equality for Homosexuals
Equal Pay for Equal Work
The Buffett Rule
Extended Unemployment Insurance

We have let the Republican Lie Machine take away a proud label and turn it into a curse and that had to end.
Any time you hear a Conservative/Republican tell you how proud they are to be Conservative, ask them what great things, positive things, Conservatives have done for this country.  The silence will be deafening.  They might try to tell you about all the things they are against.  They might try to tell you all the things they have stopped.  But I have yet to find a Conservative who could tell me the great things that Conservatives have DONE.  Actual Positive Accomplishments.

Ask them.
And remember why Liberals are and should be Proud of being Liberal.  We have done great things, things that have made this country greater, healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous.

And there is more to do.
Take back the proud label of Liberal.