Saturday, September 8, 2012

Is your religious liberty at risk

We found what follows at Crooks and Liars.  Please check out their website for more interesting and stimulating articles written on an adult level.

We hear a lot these days from fundamentalist Christians and Roman Catholic prelates as to how their religious liberty is at risk.  It's hard to imagine how that can be the case if you don't have a Catholic or fundamentalist mindset.  If you do have such a mindset, then you might think because other people might have access to birth control and you disbelieve in birth control, your religious liberty is at risk.

Welcome to the wacky world of 2012, where Up is Down, East is West and North is South.

A Unitarian minister by name of the Rev. Emily Heath has put together a questionaire which is very helpful for those who are feeling put upon and think that the atheists and liberals, et. al., have put their religious liberty at risk.  The Rev. Heath says:

"I'm a religious person with a lifelong passion for civil rights, so this is of great interest to me.  So much so, that I believe we all need to determine whether our religious liberties are indeed at risk.  So, as a public service, I've come up with this little quiz.  I call it 'How to Determine if Your Religious Liberty Is Being Threatened in Just 10 Quick Questions.'  Just pick 'A' or 'B' for each question."

1.  My religious liberty is at risk because:
     A)  I am not allowed to go to a religious service of my own choosing.
     B)  Others are allowed to go to a religious service of their own choosing.

2.  My religious liberty is at risk because:
     A)  I am not allowed to marry the person I love legally, even though my religious community blesses my marriage.
     B)  Some states refuse to enforce my own particular religious beliefs on marriage on those two guys in line down at the courthouse.

3)  My religious liberty is at risk because:
     A)  I am being forced to use birth control.
     B)  I am unable to force others to use birth control.

4)  My religious liberty is at risk because:
     A)  I am not allowed to pray privately.
     B)  I am not allowed to force others to pray the prayers of my faith publicly.

5)  My religious liberty is at risk because:
     A)  Being a member of my faith means that I can be bullied without legal recourse.
     B)  I am no longer allowed to use my faith to bully gay kids with impunity.

6)  My religious liberty is at risk because:
     A)  I am not allowed to purchase, read or possess religious books or material.
     B)  Others are allowed to have access [to] books, movies and websites that I do not like.

7)  My religious liberty is at risk because:
     A)  My religious group is not allowed equal protection under the establishment clause.
     B)  My religious group is not allowed to use public funds, buildings and resources as we would like, for whatever  purposes we might like.

8)  My religious liberty is at risk because:
     A)  Another religious group has been declared the official faith of my country.
     B)  My own religious group is not given status as the official faith of my country.

9)  My religious liberty is at risk because:
     A)  My religious community is not allowed to build a house of worship in my community.
     B)  A religious community I do not like wants to build a house of worship in my community.

10)  My religious liberty is at risk because:
        A)  I am not allowed to reach my children the creation stories of our faith at home.
        B)  Public school science classes are teaching science.

Scoring key:

If you answered "A" to any question, then perhaps your religious liberty is indeed at stake.  You and your faith group have every right to now advocate for equal protection under the law.  But just remember this one, little, constitutional concept:  this means you can  fight for your equality -- not your superiority.

If you answered "B" to any question, then not only is your religious liberty not at stake, but there is a strong chance that you are oppressing the religious liberties of others.  This is the point where I would invite you to refer back to the tenets of your faith, especially the ones about your neighbors.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Colonels in Mirrored Sunglasses by Greg Palast

Colonels in Mirrored Sunglasses

An Excerpt from Greg Palast's brand new book Billionaires & Ballot BanditsHow to Steal an Elections in 9 Easy Steps Greg Palast with comics by Ted Rall, introduction by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Chapter One: Colonels in Mirrored Sunglasses

Here are the facts, ma'am: In the 2008 election, no less than:
  • 767,023 provisional ballots were cast and not counted;
  • 1,451,116 ballots were "spoiled," not counted;
  • 488,136 absentee ballots were mailed in, but not counted.
Add it up: in the last presidential election, no less than 2,706,275 ballots were cast—and never counted. I have not included a quarter million (251,936) provisional ballots counted only in part (that is, for some offices). That's the official number I've calculated from the records of the US Election Assistance Commission. Approximately three million votes flushed away are ugly enough. But it gets worse. In addition to the roughly three million ballots cast and not counted, no less than:
  • 2,383,587 would-be voters had their registrations rejected;
  • 491,952 voters already registered were wrongly purged from the rolls; and
  • 320,000 properly registered voters were simply turned away from the polls when they tried to vote, mostly for not having IDs acceptable to a poll worker.
Add it up again and total grows to no less than 5,901,814 legitimate votes and voters tossed out of the count. Let’s call it the Missing Six Million. Karl Rove, when he was senior advisor to President George W. Bush, summed it up perfectly:
“We are beginning to look like we have elections like those run in countries where the guys in charge are, you know, colonels in mirrored sunglasses.”
Rove is not complaining, he’s boasting about his own accomplishments. But for strategist Rove, six million isn’t enough. Through several front organizations and affiliates, Rove and his comrades have launched a campaign making brilliant use of the tactics originating from the Red Scare and the War on Terror.

Now, instead of the communist lurking under your bed or the al-Qaeda sleeper cell next door, they’ve created a new monster to fear, to hunt, and to destroy: the Fraudulent Voter.

There aren’t any, of course. Or, to be accurate, so few you can literally count them on your fingers—about six in any year—not six million, half a dozen jerks convicted of voting illegally. In the whole country.

But in Rove’s echo chamber of fear, in the Voter-Fraud Hysteria Factory, these six become so threatening and dangerous that they will be used to take away the vote from six million. Tracking ballot-bending tricksters, figuring out how they game US elections and snatch the choice away from the electorate, that’s my job, my beat for more than a decade, for the Guardian newspaper and BBC television, and in 2008, for Rolling Stone.

I started covering the election games in November 2000 when I got my hands on two computer disks from the office of Secretary of State Katherine Harris of Florida. My team cracked the computer codes and found the names of ninety-one thousand criminals—felons—Harris listed to purge from voter rolls. We went through Harris’s list name by name. We didn't find felons. But most were guilty of VWB: Voting While Black. “Purging” is one way to get rid of legal voters. There are eight more tricks, and I’ll take you through each in turn. It was bad in 2000. It was worse in 2004 and 2008. But in 2012, it will be much worse. And in 2016, worse than in 2012.

Chapter Two:
"Why Obama is Likely to Lose in 2012"

"Why Obama Is Likely to Lose in 2012" is the title of a column Karl Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal in June 2011. It’s not Rove’s prediction: this is his plan to make sure Obama will lose. That's fine with me—if Rove prefers vanilla to chocolate, hey, it's a free country. But how Rove plans to take Obama down is contained in the subhead, and it gives me the chills...

... Read the rest in Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

There it is!!! Republicans just don't get it!

Eric Cantor, a Republican, the Republican Majority Leader, just doesn't get it.  He can't be stupid, can he?  Not long ago I read an article that described how the brains of conservatives and liberals differ. There's something missing in the brains of conservatives.  Maybe that's Cantor's problem.  Maybe that's why he just doesn't get it!

The New Civil Rights Movement explains:

One hundred and eighteen years ago, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation which set aside the first Monday in September as a day to celebrate the laborers among us.  Labor Day was made a legal holiday "in all states, territories and the District of Columbia."

This from the U.S. Department of Labor (A department many of our Republican nogoodniks wish to delete from the government):

"Created by the nation's labor movement and dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers, Labor Day is an annual yearly tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

One of the characteristics of the oligarchy that has ruled our country for so many years, is hostility toward the labor movement and our workers.  The Christian Republican Party carries on this tradition.  It's the wealthy who deserve praise on Labor Day, don't you know?

So, Eric Cantor, even though of the Jewish persuasion, remains a Very Important Representative of the Christian Republican Party.  Cantor, to commemorate this Labor Day, said:

"Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success."

The New Civil Rights Movement calls Cantor's statement "a shocking moment of tone-deafness and hostility to the accomplishments of unions and the working class. [...] a Labor Day message in support of corporations and management..."

Cantor, like most Republicans, just doesn't get it!  And there it is!!!

There it is!!! Republicans fear women!

And Bill O'Reily is a misogynist!  Among other things!

There it is!!!

Musings on Labor Day - 2012

The man representing the privileged class, from which comes the oligarchy who run this country, claims to be able to empathize with the middle-class, the poor, the sick and the elderly.

How does he do that?  Well, here's one example.  A few days ago, while touring the areas damaged by Hurricane Isaac, he responded to one woman's plea for help by telling her to go home and call 211!

And here's another.  From an article in the Huffington Post:

"Romney took a midmorning boat ride, pulling up to a dock to fuel up his 29-foot Sea Ray and pick up a jet ski that had been in for repairs.

"In his Labor Day statement, Romney said, 'For far too many Americans, today is another day of worrying when their next paycheck will come.'"

He failed to say how he would address the problem.  As usual.

With Republicans, it's all smoke and mirrors!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Republican Jesus

I'm sorry, but I can't remember the source of this photo.

What the hell could possibly go wrong

From a friend.

A Normal and Sane Republican Convention

This was stolen from Tengrain at Mock, Paper, Scissors. Thanks, Tengrain!