Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bill Maher to the Teabaggers: The Founding Fathers would have hated your guts!

President Obama's statement on Religious Freedom Day, 2011

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 14, 2011

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Our Nation was founded on a shared commitment to the values of justice, freedom, and equality. On Religious Freedom Day, we commemorate Virginia's 1786 Statute for Religious Freedom, in which Thomas Jefferson wrote that "all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion." The fundamental principle of religious freedom -- guarded by our Founders and enshrined in our Constitution's First Amendment -- continues to protect rich faiths flourishing within our borders.

The writ of the Founding Fathers has upheld the ability of Americans to worship and practice religion as they choose, including the right to believe in no religion at all. However, these liberties are not self-sustaining, and require a stalwart commitment by each generation to preserve and apply them.

Throughout our Nation's history, our founding ideal of religious freedom has served as an example to the world. Though our Nation has sometimes fallen short of the weighty task of ensuring freedom of religious expression and practice, we have remained a Nation in which people of different faiths coexist with mutual respect and equality under the law. America's unshakeable commitment to religious freedom binds us together as a people, and the strength of our values underpins a country that is tolerant, just, and strong.

My Administration continues to defend the cause of religious freedom in the United States and around the world. At home, we vigorously protect the civil rights of Americans, regardless of their religious beliefs. Across the globe, we also seek to uphold this human right and to foster tolerance and peace with those whose beliefs differ from our own. We bear witness to those who are persecuted or attacked because of their faith. We condemn the attacks made in recent months against Christians in Iraq and Egypt, along with attacks against people of all backgrounds and beliefs. The United States stands with those who advocate for free religious expression and works to protect the rights of all people to follow their conscience, free from persecution and discrimination.

On Religious Freedom Day, let us reflect on the principle of religious freedom that has guided our Nation forward, and recommit to upholding this universal human right both at home and around the world.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 16, 2011, as Religious Freedom Day.

I call on all Americans to commemorate this day with events and activities that teach us about this critical foundation of our Nation's liberty, and to show us how we can protect it for future generations here and around the world.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.


h/t to Talk2Action

A very fine commentary by Frederick Clarkson is available here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Beyond the Palin

Thanks to Atheist Cartoons.

Words do matter!

The right-wing pundits and prognosticators have been busy decrying any connection to their words and the recent killing and wounding in Tucson.  There is no link, they say.  Don't blame us, they say.  The shooter was mentally ill, they say.

Well, they are full of crap!  Words do matter.  A billboard like the one above which uses the word, "shooter," and includes scattered bullet holes is a powerful message.  A picture of a politician in gun sights (and Palin can whine all she wants, but everyone knows they were GUN sights and not surveyors sights!) sends a powerful message to everyone who sees it.  When someone talks about a "second amendment solution," or the need to "reload" to gain headway in a political contest, that person is using language fraught with violent imagery!

It is my understanding that the above billboard was located just a couple of miles from where Congresswoman Giffords and others were shot.  It is also my understanding that this billboard was taken down shortly after the shooting.

Why is someone like Rush Limbaugh still on the air?  Certainly he has the right to his opinions, no matter how moronic and dangerous and plain stupid they are, but to give him millions of dollars a year to spin his lies and deceit to a mult-million member audience is unconscionable.  To allow Glenn Beck a platform to rant and rave and spew his vicious racism and bitter nonsense is beyond belief.

These creeps do make a difference.  One shooter specifically took after a Glenn Beck target!

I don't see a solution at the moment so long as the Murdochs of the world care only about power and money and so long as  many of our citizens are functionally illiterate, ignorant, and dumber than doorknobs.

Better batten down the hatches, there's more to come!

Open Your Eyes

Our thanks to Crooks & Liars for this fine video

And it seems to me especially appropriate to post this today because the teapot crackpots were out in force today along one of the major thoroughfares in our city:  Old, very stupid white people carrying brightly-colored signs proclaiming Obama to be a "socialist dictator," and that he shouldn't be president, and health care is a really bad thing, blah, blah, blah.

The sons-of-bitches never get the right message or the message right. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan) recap of violent rhetoric by right-wingers

Rep. Dingell, in this speech, reviews the violence-laced comments of right-wing politicians and pundits over the past couple of years.

h/t to

Monday, January 10, 2011

The vigilant mother

Thanks to Atheist Cartoons.

Jared Loughner not atypical in today's America

This is a guest post by my good friend, Bob Poris.

Jared Loughner, the shooter of  Representative Gabrielle Giffords, is not atypical.

He was disturbed but not enough to be institutionalized! He is not atypical at all. Many conspiracy advocates believe in a variety of wacky scenarios:  the so-called birthers insist Obama was born out of the country; others are convinced President Obama is a secret Muslim; some think that Socialists are taking over the government and that all liberals are socialists, etc. 

Many relatively respectable people either believe these things or are unsure as to their veracity. Some go too far and encourage violence by their speech or actions. We cannot arrest or isolate all of them.

Listen to Beck, Limbaugh and even Bachmann and Palin sometimes. They talk of people trying to take over the government or who have already taken it over, so WE have to take it back. What does that mean to the gullible - the ignorant and easily influenced? We saw some of them at various political rallies with their goofy signs.  We saw how they shouted down their opponents or used other means to intimidate them. 

It is reasonable to assume some of these folks have enough violence festering within them to go off the deep end. We have no way of knowing.  But what does it mean to them when they see members of the U.S. Congress encouraging mobs on camera! 

We saw this kind of intimidation in 2000 during the counting of chads in Florida.  Goons were flown in from Texas to intimidate the counters in Florida.  Someone paid them and organized them!  These people are the enemies of democracy and a danger to our country!  

There are always goons available.  Hitler had the Brown Shirts; Mussolini and Stalin had their followers ready to frighten any opposition.  Intimidation and scare tactics work! 

We must become better informed so as to be aware of dangers of organizations that have enough money to sway voters and elected officials. 

We need debate between opposing views without demonizing one side or the other.  Our politicians and our media must encourage responsible debate within reasonable boundaries.