Aug 012014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 102.  It will be a difficult day, because I have physical therapy during a heat wave.  It is also the day I normally spend hours collecting the data for and compiling the Monthly Report for Politics Plus to post on the second.  Because of the timing, the Monthly Report will be a day or two late, and I may have nothing at all to post on Saturday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:54 (average 4:32).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: As much as people love sex, you’d think we’d know better! If we just got rid of myths like these, we’d feel a lot better about our bodies, our relationships, and our sex lives.

 

If you show this to Republicans, that are likely to become apoplectic. So many uninterrupted facts, without intervening lies is more than they can handle.  Now, if only I could remember what sex is.

From Daily Kos: If you haven’t seen this before, this really sums up what Republicans think of the Americans who work for a living.

0801Repub_takers

No Congress in US history has ever done so little.’

From TPM: Conservative rocker Ted Nugent published a lengthy and rambling rant hitting back at his critics on Wednesday, writing that the reason he’s been described as a racist is because he’s "doing God’s work."

Nugent’s comments came in a column posted [World Nut Daily delinked] on the conspiracy theory website WND, in which he reacted to the news that one of his concerts in Idaho had been canceled because of his incendiary rhetoric.

"For the lying freaks over at the Huffington Post, Moveon.org and the scammers at the Southern Poverty Law Center to go to such extremes to constantly lie about me is proof positive that I am not only on the right track doing God’s work spotlighting the current infestation of cockroaches amongst us, but that they are clearly scared to death of me and virtually incapable of debating me one on one," Nugent wrote.

Nugent was reported to have used the term "unclean vermin" when discussing the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s decision to cancel a casino concert he was supposed to perform. The tribe canceled the concert after being contacted by the Southern Poverty Law Center and made aware of some of his past remarks, including some in which he called President Obama a "subhuman mongrel" and a "chimpanzee."

From his perspective, spewing racial hatred is doing God’s work, because his God is Republican Supply-side Jesus, the exact opposite of the real Jesus.

Cartoon:

0801Cartoon

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Jul 312014
 

I fully support the First Amendment to the Constitution of the US, so I agree that an individual has the right to believe in a literal interpretation of the Old Testament, even though I do not.  However I do have a problem with public tax dollars being use to propagate Old Testament myths.  That is exactly what Kentucky Republicans are doing.

0731ArkA group that wants to build a Noah’s Ark theme park in Grant County [Pseudo-Christianity delinked] won preliminary approval Tuesday of state tax incentives of as much as $18.25 million to keep the controversial project afloat.

The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority voted unanimously to give preliminary approval of the incentives for the $73 million first phase of the biblical theme park.

An independent consultant for the state will take six to eight weeks to review the project. It then will come back to the state panel for final consideration of tax incentives…

Inserted from <Lexington Herald-Leader>

The Pentateuch is not without its uses.  I love the idea that I get to execute Republicans for eating a ham sandwich, and I still think I should get to own a Canadian, but I won’t ask others to pay to spread that belief.

Lawrence O’Donnell provided coverage.

International readers, who can’t view this video on MSNBC, can see it on YouTube.

Kentucky need to remember the Eleventh Commandment.

Thou shalt not commit TEAbuggery.

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Jul 152014
 

Every week, Republicans join a competition to see who can say the most outlandish things, and in the process, every week they push the envelope on just how deranged InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

0715RSSJ
Pastor Robert Jeffress is pretty sure Jesus would have built a fence to keep out those kids at the border.

People often ask themselves “What would Jesus do?” for guidance on issues both big and small. Sometimes they ask themselves whether Jesus would have salad or French fries on the side. Right-wing ideologues ask if Jesus prefers AK-47s or some other assault rifle. 

One such holy man, Texas megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress has prayed mightily to the lord and searched his own conscience to find a humane solution to the problem of unaccompanied minors from Central America coming across the border. That’s how much he cares. And he has concluded that what Jesus would do is suggest we build a fence. Maybe this is because Jesus was for a carpenter, and he wants more work.

But it is also because, as Pastor Jeffress told Fox News on Thursday, building a fence is the truly compassionate thing to do.

“What we are doing by having these unsecured borders is we are enticing children and mothers to make this dangerous journey,” the Christian leader said on Fox News this week. “The most compassionate thing we can do is secure the borders.”

Oh, so the whole serving the poor thing, washing their feet, feeding the multitudes and forgiving people their sins, those weren’t the most compassionate things?

No, not according to Pastor Jeffress, who has previously expressed the very compassionate view that President Obama is  preparing the U.S. for the Antichrist

Inserted from <AlterNet>

I guess Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians (the exact opposite of authentic Christians) never heard of the Good Samaritan.  The real Jesus would NOT be building a fence.

This is just one of six deranged Republican comments from lasi week alone.  Click through for the other five.

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Jul 092014
 

One of the things that make the Holly Lobby decision so frustrating is that there appeared to be little the left can do in the short term.  Boycotting Hobby Lobby is great, and I fully support all who do so, but in truth, shopping in one of their stores is something I would never have done anyway.  On the other hand, we can put a dent in the finances of Eden foods, because so many activists are also into organic foods.  They certainly deserve it.

0709Eden

Yesterday on my public Facebook page, I began following the story of Eden Foods (this is a good place to start), an organic food company whose products are beloved by many friends, especially my vegetarian and vegan friends (they make beans and soy milk, among other products).

In 2013, the company and their chairman and sole shareholder, Michael Potter, sued the federal government for the right to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees. Here’s the court filing.

The plaintiffs, Eden Foods, Inc., and Michael Potter, appeal from a denial of their request for a preliminary injunction that would forbid federal agencies from enforcing that mandate against them. They contend that offering such contraceptive services to the employees of Eden Foods would substantially burden the plaintiffs’€™ religious beliefs.

Potter refers to contraceptives as "lifestyle drugs. [pseudo-Christians delinked]" He has compared buying birth-control pills to Jack Daniels. He believes that "Obama’s in your bedroom" and that he a defender of freedom, and has also characterized Obama as a dictator. Moreover, he actually can’t identify which religious principle in particular leads him to object to providing birth control.

Two things interest me here. First, I have my doubts whether an organic food company can survive a boycott from progressives. Whole Foods has managed to be an anti-union corporation with CEO who likes to go on Obama-is-a-fascist rants (speaking as a historian, this is not what fascism looks like) and yet still thrive. I rarely shop there, but they seem to do alright, in part by providing the only option for high-quality insanely-expensive fancy foods in many area. Eden Foods has to compete with other, less offensive (in public anyway. EDIT: I assume few CEOs share my values), brands.

Second, I am always interested in the way that white wealthy Christians present themselves as victims (my public writing is coordinated under the general heading of "language, power, and privilege."). There is power in simultaneously claiming righteous might while also under assault by powerful and nefarious forces. It’s an old rhetorical move and remains widely spread among the American Christian right (see my CNN.com piece on Sarah Palin at the NRA). In response to the outrage at their position, Eden Foods has gone on the defensive-offense… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

In a separate article, Daily Kos has a petition to the CEO of Eden Foods.  It threatens a boycott, so it’s certainly worth signing.  But this isn’t the first time this company has ventured into the arena of Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian attempts to violated the rights of others to impose their own dogma.  I went to their own store locator and found six local businesses that carry their products.  I called them and have spoken with the managers of five.  One knew about this, and said the owners are making a decision on whether to stop selling Eden.  The other four did not even know about Eden’s involvement.  Two did not care, one said he would discuss the matter with the owners, and one was very angry that Eden would do such a thing.  She said that, if the owners would not pull Eden’s plug, she would advise her customers to choose different brands.

That’s what one tired old man can do.  Imagine what thousands of really pissed-off women could accomplish.

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Jul 032014
 

Injustice Alito, aka Scalito, promised that Hobby Lobby is a very narrow ruling that applies only to that one situation.  I think he is lying and in comments I made yesterday, here and elsewhere, I questioned the Republican Reich’s Reaction when a closely held company, owned by Muslims, refuses benefits to Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian employees, because of the owners had a sincere belief in Sharia.  Great minds fall in the same ditch, because I’m not the only one, who thought of it.

0703hobby…The Roberts and Scalia court is operating under an assumption that Christianity is the United States’ semi-official religion and that it should be legislated and protected in a way that other faiths are not. This is, of course, a misreading of the Constitution–despite what the deranged members of the Fox News Christian Evangelical Dominionist American public would like to believe.

Unintended consequences may lay bare the hypocrisy of the Right-wing and its agents on the Supreme Court.

How would conservatives and their agents respond if a company with Islamic beliefs (however defined) decided to impose its religious values on white, Christian, American employees?

Sharia hysteria would spread in such a way as to make the present day-to-day Islamophobia of the Right-wing echo chamber appear benign and muted by comparison.

What if a Black cultural nationalist organization such as the Nation of Islam or the Black Israelites claimed that they possessed a "religious freedom" to actively discriminate against white people in the workplace or elsewhere?

The White Right would explode with claims of "reverse discrimination" and "black racism".

The end game of the Supreme Courts’ surrender to the theocrats and religious plutocrats could be the complete dismantlement of the liberal consensus politics of the post World War 2 era.

Consider the following questions.

Is there a "religious freedom" to practice housing discrimination if you are a member of a white supremacist "Christian" organization that leases or sells property? Does "religious freedom" for corporate entities trump anti-discrimination laws governing gender, sexuality, disability status, or race?… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

Photo credit: dosomething.org

This is a small segment taken from the middle of a an extensive article.  I urge you to click through for a most interesting read.

Rachel Maddow illustrated this point well in two segments. In the first, she and Dahlia Lithwick explain why this makes no sense as a narrow ruling.

In the second she explores some of the "sincere beliefs" that have made their way to the Supreme Court and been rejected, until now. Then she discussed why this is not a narrow ruling with Rev. Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance.

I predict that America’s courts will be flooded with a variety of cases Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians hoping to used their beliefs as an excuse for discriminating against the people they hate or want to control.  I predict that Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) will take another bite from this apple.

And to answer my original question, there would be poop on the ceiling.

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Jul 012014
 

In 1982, Clarence “Teabag” Thomas, began an extensive, persistent and unwanted effort to get between Anita Hill’s legs.  He failed, but in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, he and the other four fascist Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) succeeded in placing themselves between the legs of millions of women.  The Republican effort  to do this has been even more extensive, persistent and unwanted.  At the came time they set an unconstitutional precedent by saying a corporation can have a religion, and that the beliefs of that corporation may be imposed on employees who do not share them.

0701HollyLobby

A divided Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Monday that closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraception coverage for their employees.

In an opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell that the Obama administration has failed to show that the contraception mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act is the "least restrictive means of advancing its interest" in providing birth control at no cost to women.

"Any suggestion that for-profit corporations are incapable of exercising religion because their purpose is simply to make money flies in the face of modern corporate law," Alito wrote, adding that by requiring religious corporations to cover contraception, "the HHS mandate demands that they engage in conduct that seriously violates their religious beliefs."

The Affordable Care Act contains a provision requiring most employers to cover the full range of contraception in their health care plans at no cost to their female employees. The Obama administration had granted an exemption for churches and accommodations for religious hospitals, schools and nonprofits, but for-profit companies were required to comply with the coverage rule or pay fines.

Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned craft supply chain store, and Conestoga Wood Specialties Store, a Pennsylvania wood manufacturer owned by a family of Mennonites, challenged the contraception mandate on the grounds that it violates their religious freedom by requiring them to pay for methods of contraception they find morally objectionable. The owners of those companies believe some forms of birth control — emergency contraception and intrauterine devices — are forms of abortion because they could prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.

Monday’s opinion was written narrowly so as only to apply to the contraception mandate, not to religious employers who object to other medical services, like blood transfusions or vaccines.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and mostly joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer. Ginsburg warned in her dissent that the decision was not as narrow as it claimed to be. "In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs," Ginsburg wrote.

Ginsburg argued that the government has a "compelling interest" in providing no-cost birth control to women. "Those interests are concrete, specific, and demonstrated by a wealth of empirical evidence," she wrote. "To recapitulate, the mandated contraception coverage enables women to avoid the health problems unintended pregnancies may visit on them and their children."… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

I did find some video coverage that was better than what I expected so early.

The Republicans won this battle in their War on Women.  Women can win the war with their votes.  I’m sure I’ll have more on this later this week.

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Jun 282014
 

Yesterday the Supreme Court handed down a rather surprising decision, disallowing the eight foot buffer zone around the entrances to Massachusetts women’s health centers that perform abortions.  I understand that it may well be Constitutionally correct, but from a practical point of view the decision could have tragic ramifications.  I do not understand why a much larger exclusion zone that protects the four Justices of SCOTUS and the five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) is not also unconstitutional.  The plaintiff claimed that they just wanted to have “quiet conversations” with their neighbors and fellow citizens.

0628Abortion-Hate

The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law that barred protests, counseling and other speech near abortion clinics.

“A painted line on the sidewalk is easy to enforce, but the prime objective of the First Amendment is not efficiency,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in a majority opinion that was joined by the court’s four-member liberal wing.

The law, enacted in 2007, created 35-foot buffer zones around entrances to abortion clinics. State officials said the law was a response to a history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994.

The Massachusetts law was challenged on First Amendment grounds by opponents of abortion who said they sought to have quiet conversations with women entering clinics to tell them about alternatives. “Petitioners are not protesters,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote.

The court was unanimous about the bottom line but divided on the reasoning, with Chief Justice Roberts writing a narrow opinion. The law blocked too much speech, he said, “sweeping in innocent individuals.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

I can understand their point that it is not Constitutional to exclude people with no intent to violate the women’s rights and innocent passers by, who may be transiting the zone for reasons that have nothing to do with the clinic.  Of course the problem, is that Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians are fanatical believers in a right to life that begins at conception and ends at birth.  They do not believe that abortion providers and others who assist women to exercise their rights have the right to life.   We know this, because they have murdered several.  If you believe that the extent of their “speech” will be those “quiet conversations”, see me about the wonderful bridge I am selling.  The one plus is that the decision leaves the door open to similar legislation that does not “block too much speech”.

The best coverage I have seen on this subject is from Rachel Maddow.  Sadly I cannot take credit for the added portrayal of Scalia at the beginning.

That covers it well.  I do not have a quick solution for this dilemma, but I do have an idea.  Someone needs to file a suit claiming that the exclusion zone around the Supreme Court violates the Consxtitution, because it “blocks too much speech” and is “sweeping in innocent individuals”.  Then we can see if the Justices and the Injustices think they should get to have “quiet conversations” with crazed wing-nuts with guns.

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