Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ohio quietly becomes part of the South.

               Texas, Arkansas and other parts of the Old Confederacy get the press for repressive abortion laws and voter suppression. However, Ohio is beacon of inspiration for those who wish to end access to safe legal abortions. Laws passed in Ohio are used as templates in places like Texas and Mississippi.

Here in Ohio the legislature has taken upon itself to rewrite medical definitions. pregnancy, in Ohio, now is defined as beginning at conception rather than implantation as it defined by the medical community.This puts the use of some contraceptives at odds with the law as they may prevent implantation. This would make an IUD an abortion causing medical device. Thus, a woman needing one will be required to have the forced ultra sound, the lecture that blames breast cancer on abortion (even if there is no evidence of causality).

Ohio requires abortion providers to have a transfer agreement with a local hospital to remain open. These agreements are to ensure prompt treatment of  any complications. Other medical out patient clinics are not required to have such agreements. These are popular anti-choice techniques used to limit access. Ohio goes one step further by forbidding public hospitals( e.g Ohio State University Hospital) from entering into such agreements. Now, since many of Ohio's private Hospitals have religious affiliation this can force clinic closure due to an inability to secure a transfer agreement with private hospitals.

A provider in Toledo is trying to arrange an agreement with a Michigan hospital just across the border. The State Health Department, which regulates abortion providers seems ready and willing to argue a Michigan hospital, no matter how close, is not a local healthcare provider and therefor unacceptable.

I mentioned a lecture earlier. In Ohio, a doctor must read from a State approved script which is rife with unfounded and debunked medical information. This accompanies the waiting period required before a procedure is performed. By the way, no other procedure is required to have a waiting period and lecture designed to have the effect of trying to have a patient to decline by changing their mind.

Ohio has also went with the regulation to require abortion providers to upgrade their facilities to those of an ambulatory surgical center. This is an expensive and unnecessary remodel. It is opposed by Ohio Doctors but was imposed by the Republican legislature in their superior wisdom.

The goal is closing all abortion providers in the State of Ohio. Mike Gonadakis, head of Ohio Right To Life reminds us that women can go out of State. There is no law about mileage or travel time in the definition of access.

Ohio is leading the charge to end safe and legal abortion.  It is weaving a web of regulation and restriction to stifle access in the State. It is doing so by pushing gray areas and moving up to the edge of Roe v Wade without flagrant violation.

The laws  passed in Ohio are being copied in Texas and across the old Confederacy. Even laws that haven't passed here are copied. The Heartbeat bill is one. It prohibits abortion after detection of a fetal heartbeat. This often happens before a woman even realizes they're pregnant.

Governor Kasich and the Tea Party /fundie legislature are up for reelection in 2014. Women's rights have been under assault here since 2011. It's time to remove the threat at te ballot box.It is time to restore Ohio's reputation as a moderate. sane political state.

Political disagreement and debate is a needed part of a representative Democracy. It does however require being based on facts. Codification of conservative Christian cults ideology is wrong and the antihisis of what our founders envisioned.

So, it is time to take back Ohio from the deranged right wing and return to sanity in our discourse. All politics are local. So, the beast way to say no is to vote a straight Democratic ballot. Donate. Volunteer and VOTE!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SCOTUS looks into a religious abyss. The abyss stares back at us all.

                 Corporations are an artificial legal construct designed to shield shareholders from liability. That's my understanding but not being an attorney, I may be wrong. Won't be the first time. And as usual it won't stop me from wading in and tossing out my two cents worth.

In this Hobby Lobby case there are so many issues swirling around it's hard to find a starting place or decide where to start to construct a coherent look. So, I'll just wade in.

As I mentioned above a corporation is a legal construct. It is by design separate from those who own, control and manage it. The shareholders are not responsible for its debts and the Corporation doesn't dissolve upon the deaths of shareholders. It is a shield for the owners.

Since it is designed to be separate from the owners how can Hobby Lobby and the others claim the owners religious beliefs are being infringed.? To do so will require a new definition so owners can be shielded on one hand and claim their religious beliefs are one and the same with their Corporation on the other. Is this SCOTUS willing to do this? Well they have discarded centuries of precedent and engaged in convoluted legal reasoning before.

Let's look back at the rise of the idea modern American Government is anti-christian and how it became such a loud voice full of sound and fury signifying little in the political landscape.

The unholy alliance of conservative Christians and the Republican Party dates back to Nixon's Southern Strategy. Unfortunately Nixon thought they could control the results.

In 1968 Nixon created the myth of the silent majority. The venal, manipulative psychopath played on the racial and social fears of blue collar whites as they were shell shocked watching their children reject everything they'd worked so hard for.

They saw Vietnam being fought for a draw and as WWII vets they were confused and dismayed. They saw the touchstones of their life being upset. Overt racism was being vilified. African Americans were demanding their rights. Truman had integrated the Military. Ike had sent troops into Arkansas to enforce school integration. They nodded in agreement as George Wallace barred the entrance of The University Of Alabama and shouted,"Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow and segregation forever!" These people cheered as Governor Reagan attempted to crush the rebellion of the counter culture and anti war movement.

Between the civil rights violence, the reaction by the entrenched White Southern power structure, the counter culture, music, the celebration of drugs and violent rejection of the war in Southeast Asia many were were confused and angry. And ripe for being taken in by a skilled huckster like Nixon.

The Presidential campaign of George Wallace was more overtly racist than Nixon's. Dick was more skilled at subtly leading the crowd to what he wanted while causing them to believe they arrived at their decision on their own.

Part and parcel of these disaffected were Conservative Christians who felt America was turning it's back on God. Canny snake oil salesman that he was, Nixon invited Televangelists into the tent. He invited such leading scholars like Jimmy Swaggert, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Unfortunately Nixon did not realize he was sowing the seed of the eventual destruction of the modern Republican Party.

Reagan solidified the influence of the Religious Right as he embraced their narrow world view giving lip service to their cause. All the while using them as he seldom attended church himself and exploited them for campaign cash and foot soldiers. The vicious Machiavellian political mastermind Lee Atwater guided these maneuvers leading those Christians into the Coliseum.

Something to remember is until the late Eighties, these reactionary Christians were marginalized and derided. Holy Rollers they were called. Outside of the Bible Belt their power and influence was marginalized. It was dismissed as an amusing aberration.

Eventually these Christian foot soldiers became resentful of being used and abused. Following the election of Barack Obama they mobilized. Carrying the Cross they wrapped themselves in the flag and took up the mantle of the Patriots of the Revolution. Unfortunately they had little understanding of the reasons the Colonists took up arms against the Crown.

Aided and abetted by the Right Wing media, the idea of a war on Christianity grew into a given. It seemed everything was an attack. Science in school was seen as a liberal, secular attack on the word of God. It did not matter that in a publicly funded school, Genesis has no place as a text.

Pseudo Historians tried to rework history as a false major propaganda piece to deny America was created as a Christian Theocracy.

Science is derided as lies from the pits of Hell by a member of the House Science and Technology Committee.

We now have a atmosphere where ignorance is worn as a badge of honor. Where intolerance is seen as the sacred word of God and the path to the salvation of America. It is in this arena of thought where any idea is given credence,as long as it is wrapped in scripture, that Hobby Lobby feels aggrieved.

What I find disturbing is it seems only conservative Christian thought seems to be defended constantly as being under attack. Mainstream faiths are actually derided at times as not really Christian.

Now, Hobby Lobby's objection to the contraception is that they consider IUD's and some other methods as abortion. So, not only do they claim their beliefs are under attack, their belief is in denial of science. However, the idea seems to be their ignorance is equal to and as valid as others knowledge. It is disbelief in the face of scientific proof.

The very idea that a Corporation has religious beliefs is not a new legal idea. It is however one that SCOTUS has rejected before. A Southern restaurant chain claimed that they felt it was their religious right to deny service to African Americans. That defense was rejected by The Supreme Court.

Now we have religious freedom as a defense to control what medical care can be offered to a woman. It it an employer's right to decide for the woman.

Now, as the women Justices did, one wonders what this idea will eventually encompass.

If one's religion rejects vaccines or blood transfusions, can the employer deny coverage for this? Christian Scientists reject medicine all together so can they refuse any coverage? Does an employer have the right to impose their religious views on the employee even if the employee doesn't share those beliefs?

Let's look further into this can of worms.

First off it appears that conservative Evangelical Christianity is becoming a preferred strain of a religion rife with various denominations. These range from the Unitarians on the left to the Westboro Baptist Church and their intolerant ilk on the right.

Not surprisingly the conservative media lines up in defense of the Evangelicals as they complain of persecution. Although it is hard to see how a dominant religion in a society(Christianity) can possibly claim persecution.

There is a constant barrage of examples of so-called attacks put forth on American airwaves. Right Wing radio calls this court case a lethal blow to religious liberty if sanity is allowed to win.

What is ignored is a person's religious freedom ends where my rights to believe or not begin. These sects have warped the ill informed public's view of separation of church and state as a myth. the belief we are actually a theocracy that has lost our way is a dangerous idea. It opens the door to a myriad of beliefs not subject to the rule of law simply by cloaking them in the Gospel.

Religion was once used as a justification for slavery. We have actually heard Republican office holders say slavery wasn't that bad due to it being in the Bible. It was used as a basis for racial purity laws and statutes to prevent mixed marriages. Religion in the hands of a zealot can be a terrible weapon.

If an employer believes, due to their firmly held religious beliefs, that unmarried women should not have access to birth control since they should be chaste, would that be acceptable? Perhaps, scriptural hatred of LBGT(which seems to be rampant) is an excuse for not hiring them or to refuse HIV/Aids treatment? And would such treatment be allowed to straight employees?

Perhaps since men are the head of the household in the Scriptures women should not receive any health coverage since their husband should supply it? Could a company refuse to hire women because they should be at home tending the hearth according to their beliefs?

If your interpretation of the Word says that blacks are inferior and the races should be kept separate could you refuse to hire or serve African Americans? Could you refuse to deal with LBGT customers or customers living together without benefit of marriage?

The use of faith to exempt secular, for profit Corporations from the rule of law is an invitation to chaos. It would put the courts and legislatures in the business of deciding what is a reasonable religious belief. Which in itself is unconstitutional.So we would see a hands off approach, which is the GOP/Tea party stance today anyway. They accept any claim of religious discrimination, no matter how far fetched as legitimate.

The legal idea of incorporation cannot allow the shareholders to reach out to claim a religious corporate identity and remain separate from the corporation for liability.

This case is more than contraception. It is,can a corporation push it's beliefs on it's employees and flout laws others in the business world must adhere to. Can religion be used to ignore law across the board. Religious objection can be raised and claimed on nearly any law by simple contorted interpenetration of scripture. And there are many churches out there adept at the linguistic, intellectual and logical contortions needed.

SCOTUS has to uphold the traditional legal definition of a corporation. Religious exemption from almost any law opens a road to hell paved with bad intentions. It will be a road to perdition paved with gleeful flouting of the rule of law and substituting religious dogma of all stripes as the law of the land. That can not happen. It is spitting in the face of those who labored to create a nation free of religious domination they saw in Europe.

It would embolden the right and ease the push to theocracy and overturning American traditions of religious diversity. A coup by any other name....

God help us all and save us from the man who is sure he is righteous.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cosmos. Knowledge vilified.

               Cosmos. I watched and marveled at it's first incarnation led by Carl Sagan. He examined and explained the Universe in ways the average could grasp. He brought his inherent sense of awe to the viewers. A generation of scientists were inspired by Cosmos. The show became an icon of PBS and science programming in general.

I was glad to see it's return hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, today's Sagan. He is a witty, erudite spokesman for the role of science in modern life. Tyson, like Sagan, makes science approachable and relevant. He shares his awe and wonder at the scope and beauty of the Universe and loves explaining it in a way that can spread that wonder. Neil is also an outspoken critic of forcing religion into science education. This makes him a reliable target for the wrath of Extreme Christians and science deniers.

The anti-intellectual strain of thought that has been evident in America since the beginning is at historic levels today. Theirs is a uniquely American view that their ignorance is equal to and as valid as other's knowledge Science itself is seen as having a Liberal and anti-Christian bias. It is attacked as an assault on religion. As Neil deGrasse Tyson has said, facts don't care if you believe in them .

So, I was dismayed but not surprised by the level of vitriolic attacks on Cosmos by the Religious Right. It was right on cue.

This is seen as central to the fights concerning Creationism as a legitimate part of science education anyone who actually supports facts as truth is demeaned as persecuting Christians and denying religious freedom.

Following the broadcast of Cosmos the social media universe lit up with attacks on Tyson, the show, the science and decrying it as an organized persecution and attack on Christianity.  My response was, What the actual fuck?

The mainstream denominations have no problem with science. Many scientists are people of faith. They do not react in outrage when Neil  deGrasse Tyson says the Bible is not a scientific text. Mainstream religion does not use Genesis as the basis for how the Universe works. They treat it as allegorical not literal. To believe in science is not an attack on faith. Ask a Catholic. Or a Vatican spokesman on the papal stance on science.

You can get a good science education at a Catholic school like Notre Dame or any other Catholic University. There is a tradition of Catholic priest/scientists making discoveries that expanded modern scientific knowledge. So, I would postulate science and religion is not automatically exclusive of each other.

However today in America we have an atmosphere that seems to elevate willful ignorance to a badge of honor to be worn proudly.

Climate change is denied. When it is accepted by the right they claim God will save us from catastrophic events. Or, it's punishment. Evolution is rejected as an attack on religious freedom. How dare we expect factual scientific teaching in PUBLIC schools?  How dare Fox air such a blatant attack on Christianity?

When the original cosmos aired there were no massive complaints that it was a violation of freedom of religion. It was not derided as a liberal, secular, atheistic war on the basic tenants of the Christian faith. People of reason saw it as an excellent example of compelling science programming. It made science accessible. Amazing the difference a couple decades makes.

Perhaps I am a cynic. It does seem that this new war on Christianity is being used by assorted conservative groups and Evangelicals as a fundraising tool. Do they believe this is a war or simply a way to dupe the faithful into opening their wallet? They use radio, television and the internet to demonize science as lies from the pits of Hell. These very platforms prove science works as predicted. It proves the scientific method works and is a correct look at the universe.

I have a suggestion to those who attack Cosmos as a planned attack on your your faith. Don't fucking watch it. Do not organize boycotts or other attempts to deny more the joy of watching a well done science program on American, commercial television. That happening is in itself a miracle.




Saturday, February 15, 2014

Equal means equal. And All means all.

              If you listen in the quiet chill air of a frigid February you may hear the explosions of intolerant heads across the country.

The United States District Court of the Eastern District OF Virginia overturned the Virginia Constitutional Amendment forbidding same sex marriage and forbidding the recognition  the same from other States. The usual right wing vitriol spewed forth on cue. As additional fodder the fact that Virginia's newly elected Attorney General, seeing the case as a loser decided to not fight the suit.

One thing to remember Attorney's General, like City, County and District Attorneys across America can decide not to prosecute a case. That is an executive decision on allocation of resources and the case's merits. No responsible prosecutor wants to try a weak case of dubious constitutional standing.

Naturally AG Mark Herring (a newly elected Democratic AG) took flack as being lawless like the President did over DOMA by not sinking money and personnel into defending theVirginia Amendment which likely would not withstand constitutional scrutiny.

Tony Perkins of The Family Research Council was furious at Herring. He declared the AG had not carried out his duty to vigorously defend the indefensible.  According to Perkins, Herring was required to uphold the laws and Constitution of Virginia. Perkins makes sure he mentions the Amendment garnered 57% of the vote in 2006 when it was passed.

This is always brought up wherever these Amendments are under siege. If being popular majority views were grounds to stop challenges, then there would still be slavery in the old South. The things about rights are they are rights,.They are not something subject to the whim of a vote. Perkins also says that this was not just a law,it was a Constitutional amendment.

Where to start, Tony? Sure it was an amendment to a STATE constitution. The Federal Constitution and law is supreme when in conflict with State or local law. Also, when a State joins the Union, the Constitution of that State is examined to ensure it is in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

Perkins also attacks Judge Arena L. Wright Allen who handed down the decision. Since the decision is something he disagrees with, Perkins hammered her as "Arrogant" and an "activist Judge". The usual tirade when the right loses a big one. SCOTUS' decision re; Citizens United, which scrapped more than a Century of precedent was just fine.

"It appears that we have yet another example of an arrogant judge substituting her personal preferences for the judgment of the General Assembly and 57 percent of Virginia voters. Our nation’s judicial system has been infected by activist judges, which threaten the stability of our nation and the rule of law."  * from Politicus*
Once more. Where to start?

A judge who rules against your views in not necessarily substituting personal views or ideas for law. Once more being passed by a legislature and having a majority vote does not exclude a law from being found lacking as to it's constitutionality.If anything judicial review enhances stability and rule of law.

Contrary to what Perkins believes Judge Wright Allen used what appears to be solid reasoning based on accepted views of the portions of the US Constitution she cites. Perkins continues to act as if the tyranny of the Majority is a good thing and somehow enshrined in American law.

James Madison one of the authors of The Federalist papers (written to explain why a strong Federal Government was better than what existed) and the Constitution was concerned by the issues presented by simple majority. To avoid the tyranny of the masses Madison and company created checks and balances to the simple whim of the majority which could undo what had been fought for. He knew in a Republic that balancing the rule of a majority against the rights of a minority was a dangerous tightrope that needed navigated carefully.

As usual Perkins rewrites history to his view so as to make it easy to use as a cudgel.

When the framers of the Constitution wanted to be vague, they would be. When they wanted precision they were precise. Perkins seems to see ALL as a simple rhetorical flourish that really meant conservative white fundamentalist Christians. Everybody else were the dregs of humanity and not worthy of the same rights accorded to others.

Perkins and his allies suggest Judge Allen Wright got to be an attorney and judge without understanding the Constitution. They contend by striking down discrimination based on sexual orientation the country will lose and be overtaken by inequality. Huh?

He continues by sliding further off the rails. It seems that same sex marriage sends the message that children are worse off in a same sex family. It will result in contempt for law and the courts. It undermines States right to discriminate. It also ignores The Constitution is based on the Old Testament.

Of course this decision is also called a social experiment conjuring images of the Commies and Nazis. Also the fact this Judge was appointed by President validates decision this as social engineering and validates all conspiracy theories.

This case was rightly decided on the Fourteenth Amendment. Equal Protection and Due Process. If, Virginia recognizes marriages performed in other States and Countries as valid, they must also recognize legal same sex marriages. The State can not show an overwhelming need not to and may not pick and choose what to recognize.. Equal is equal.

Judge Wright Allen imposed a stay pending appeals which of course are going to happen. Flog that dead horse.




The Right is spiraling out of control.

               Bouncing around on Facebook today I noticed more stories of Right Wing asshattery today than normal. They ran a gamut from insane to the absurd. Interspersed was sheer arrogance and pure disdain for others humanity.

The State of Kansas voted to legalize discrimination based on sexual orientation. All in the name of Religious rights. It basically boils down to if you being LBGT offends my tender faith based sensibilities, I can discriminate.

My restaurant does not have to serve you. I don't have to cut your hair or allow you in my theater. As an MD I don't have to treat you. As a business I don't have to hire you. As an EMT I can let you die on the street. Dental work. Eww. I don't know where that mouth has been. Don't even ask me to bake a cake.

The best thing is, I can't be sued for discriminating. Because this is all for my Christian belief systems. Good to see the old Confederate traditions updated for the 21st Century. Jim Crow is back. In the North this time.

A Missouri Lawmaker introduced a bill forcing schools to notify parents if evolution is going to be taught. He ten gives the parents an opt out. No. Really.

State Rep, Rick Brattin(R) went on to say the teaching of evolution violates  peoples belief systems. Proving he has absolutely zero grasp of how science is done. he reinforced that by claiming the Theory of Evolution was simply pulled out of thin air. Simply to annoy Christian's, I bet.

As Bill Nye has said we can't afford to have a generation of scientifically illiterate children. It will mean no further scientific innovation here. Allowing science to be taught a la carte is tantamount to child abuse. Facts don't care if they violate your belief system. Facts are facts. Beliefs are subjective.

On a related subject a National Science poll found 26% of Americans think the Sun revolves around the Earth. 39% went with The Big Bang. 48% believe in Evolution. About half know antibiotics don't work on a virus.

As usual a bitter, brutal, storm laden winter disproves Climate Change because...snow. They don't seem to care weather is not climate.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Klingon Empire) filibustered the bill to raise the Debt Limit passed by the House. he forced minority Leader Mitch McConnell and others to vote yes for cloture. This denied them the political cover they need at home by casting a yes vote to be able to cast a no vote on the bill itself.

Cruz said he did this to expose McConnell as a closet liberal. So, Cruz purposely did this to give ammo to those challenging from the right in primaries. I guess he wants to burn down the party and rebuild some appalling travesty on the ruins.

There was a time this behavior would be ridiculed and cost a politician his job and dignity. Now ignorance and intolerance is worn as a badge of honor. The more outrageous the belief or position the more likely it is said in front of mics and cameras.

What ever happened to the GOP that helped pass the Civil Rights Act and helped fund Mercury, Gemini and Apollo? What happened to sanity" The reign of raising our children to be fundamentalist science deniers will result in the demise of The US as a scientific leader. It's all done because they feel the have a right to ignorance as they burn us down. They set the fire, let the air out of the Fire truck's tires and say it's the government's fault. They stand ready to build a Christian version of the Taliban's world.

Monday, February 10, 2014

I'm not Anti-Christian. Honest

                   Those of you who have read my rants here or on Twitter and Facebook know I have some hot button issues that send me careening off on a rant.The teaching of creationism in PUBLIC schools is one. The attempts to ignore the prohibition of enacting Christian dogma as law is another. Some have asked if I am a person who hates the church. No. I am not. More on that later.  

The attempted reshaping of America as a Conservative Christian theocracy sends me right off the rails. It simply denies the founders vision of a republic free of the co-mingling of church and state. They had lived under a British Crown that had a State religion. The Church of England. These men had seen first hand how the church in Europe had abused its power and position by inserting itself into national affairs and policy decisions.

Madison and the other framers of the Constitution were clear about making laws establishing a state religion. It was clearly and strictly forbidden. They also forbade any religious test or requirement to hold office in this Nation. The language is not oblique or unclear on this issue.

These were the well educated elite of this fledgling Country.Products of the Enlightenment and the age of reason. There was a belief in the inherent goodness of humanity. The use of reason, rather than blind, dogmatic faith to preserve the basic freedoms gained with blood and treasure.

When the young United States was a fairly homologous population of European Christians there was a shared reality. The oppression of Christianity was a battle of  assorted denominations. The mainstream Protestant faiths marginalized Catholics and the newer evangelical sects. The Baptists. The Pentecostals and others. The dominate Protestant faiths and the Mormons waged actual running armed skirmishes for decades as the Latter Day Saints were pushed west. The Church of England became the Episcopalian Church to distance themselves from the Mother Church of England.

On the whole we escaped the bloody, widespread religious conflicts that plagued Europe for the Centuries following the Reformation. We avoided that trap by not having an official religion.

In the last century we saw fundamentalist, very conservative Christian Churches spring up across America. They were usually rural as was most of America. When the migrations from farm to city happened, these evangelical faiths came along, following the flock.

In the last half of the 20th Century and first decade of the 21st these fundamentalist faiths learned how to take control of cultural discourse in the public arena. They quickly became adept at using the new communication  technologies. First travelling preachers used newspaper advertising to bring in the flock to the tent revivals. Then they used radio, effectively raising their profile and raising money to support new national ministries. Then TV expanded the reach of their message.

These preachers were no longer locked into a small rural church and flock. The reach of their message was national and then global.

This growth was not lost on the Republican Party. Richard Nixon forged the first alliance of political party and conservative faith. It gave the GOP a solid base that could be counted on to staff campaigns with volunteers and the give the life blood of politics, money.

Following the fall of Nixon the party paid lip service to the important cultural issues that drove the Christian right's anger.

It took Lee Atwater and Ronald Reagan to forge the unholy alliance with the Falwell's, the Robertson's and their ilk to reshape the Republican party into a de facto political arm of fundamentalist Christianity.The pairing took aim at the progressive advances made since FDR and the New Deal. It was a merger of a political party, corporations and those who saw their idea of American values being rejected and attacked.

Reagan and his disciples adroitly fashioned the fears of these conservative Christians into wedge issues to drive turnout in elections. The politics of fear and division had gone mainstream.

This alliance spent the two Reagan terms waging a slash and burn agenda against the average American. They demonized the word liberal and secular. They invented a war on religion as a plot by secularists to destroy American ideals. The religious right supported the gutting of the social contract. The welfare queen was invented. The mentally ill were marginalized and thrown out onto the streets without treatment. Those who needed help were derided as lazy and shiftless.

The Unions were portrayed as thugs getting money for nothing and crippling commerce. Distrust of the educational system was promoted by claiming it was rife with liberal indoctrination. The seeds of today's rejection of science and history were sown with reckless abandon.

Since 1980 we have seen America morph into a nation where the rich and corporations are richer than ever. The working American is working harder and longer for wages that have stagnated. Pensions have been decimated in the name of the bottom line. The shift has been to IRA's and windfall profits for Wall Street.

The regulations that kept our environment, medicine, the work place and the food supply safe have been decimated in the name of profit. During this demise of the American dream the alliance held.

With the election of George W. Bush this began to change.

The Christian Right realized they had been taken for granted. Their issues were paid lip service during campaigns to ensure boots on the ground and money for the GOP. After the election they were pretty much ignored. Their social agenda was on the back burner.

So, having learned how to run a campaign the religious right mutinied.

They staged a coup by winning primaries with their candidates, pushing aside the established GOP office holders. They knew the path to victory ran from local elections up. The took school boards. County governments.State legislatures and then national offices.

They were zealots. Compromise was an obscenity.Unleashed from the moderating influence of old guard Republicans they pursued their agenda with a passion.

They went after abortion. They tried to establish creationism as a viable subject to be taught in schools. They pushed for Charter schools to fund religious schools.The political push is to attempt to force religious views as basis for law.

The religious views the right want codified are always the most conservative, fundamentalist ideals. You never see mainstream Christian dogma pushed as a model for legislation.

We see people in power that claim to be Christian. They wear the term as a badge of honor. They see themselves as soldiers in a war against modernity. This clique is Christian in name only.They always champion scripture from the Old Testament. They warn of a vengeful God sitting in judgement of America.

They decry independent women as a cause of America's decline. Office holders actually say women should be obedient to their husband. The result is tornados as punishment. The very fact LBGT rights are existent is punished by drought or other natural disasters. The intolerance these people spew as Gospel is not Christianity. They turn their back on the poor and downtrodden as they exult the wealthy. Faux Christianity is used as cover to say the most hateful rhetoric and implement policies that crush the neediest among us.

They have hijacked Christianity and shaped it into something the martyrs and saints would never recognize.

This is why I go off the rails. The New Testament describes a God of love and mercy. Jesus overturned the money changer's tables in the temple. He didn't hold them up as paragons of virtue. Christ fed the hungry and healed the sick and infirm. HE did not demonize them as lazy moochers. HE preached peace not endless war. According to these Christians in name only Jesus would be a socialist.

I understand true faith.A person's religion gives peace and a structure to live by. It gives comfort in times of loss or strife. Belief is a powerful thing. There is beauty in those parables. There is hope. All wonderful things. Worship as you will. All religions should be granted the same freedom to believe. Not just the chosen.

Where I draw the line is wanting the state to force a certain religious view on me against my will .Do not push me to the Cross using the power of the State. I tend to react badly. That is not how you correct the ills you perceive. Often pushing an unforgiving point of view is very counter productive.

I have dear friends who live their faith. We may debate but we treat each other with respect. That's all we should ask. Mutual respect and tolerance.

The bumper sticker sermons ask what would Jesus do? He would look at what many do in his name and weep.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Isn't Sedition a crime?

               Since the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States, we have seen numerous calls for impeachment, arrest, assassination and armed insurrection from so-called "Patriots" on the far right.

These people cry tyranny as they attempt to inflict their warped value system on the rest of us. They simply can't accept that President Obama has been elected twice by convincing margins. They view him as a usurper. After all he couldn't have been elected without massive fraud and assorted shenanigans.

The radical right has rejected the American electoral process simply because they don't approve of the results.

It seems the hateful, racist rhetoric is not enough. Now we have a Retired Army Major General volunteering to reluctantly lead a military coup. It is as if over night the USA has morphed into a third rate Banana Republic. The cacophony from the right is beyond amazing.

Retired Major General Paul Vallely has repeatedly spoken of a purge of Military general staff that feel POTUS is a tyrant. He has repeatedly called for his arrest. It seems General Vallely has forgotten the US Military is subservient to civilian authority.

Removing the President is not enough according to General Vallely. The Vice President and Congressional leaders of both parties must be forced to resign. Vallely calls for massive protests believing it will force resignations as it did with Nixon. He, like so many in the Tea Party fueled dwellers of an alternate reality sees creeping "progressive socialism" running rampant.

General Vallely declines to call for impeachment like so many of his compatriots because it can't be done politically. Thus, he rejects the will of the American people as shown in our last two national elections. He believes a new George Washington must come forth from the Military and lead America back to what he sees as better times. It doesn't matter the America he wants to restore never existed.

Vallely says we are in "a battle for America" and cites Senator Ted Cruz as saying the same. The General is calling for a groundswell of protests to force the President and congressional leaders to resign. I am amazed he feels the GOP leaders of the House and Senate are complicit in helping "progressive socialism" destroy America.

He cites all the imaginary scandals, Fast and Furious, Benghazi and the ACA. According to Vallely the administration is forcing political correctness on our Armed Forces, weakening us as a Superpower.

Now, as a true patriot, he told a Tea Party group in Surprise Arizona, he would reluctantly lead a coup, if called upon. He advocates surrounding the White House and the Capital building with 250,000 armed Marines to force mass resignations. He claims he has been offered this armed force by some in power who believe like him.

The question is, is Sedition still a crime? Vallely and others constantly call for overthrow of the duly elected Government of thee United States. He wants to reluctantly lead a military coup. Enough is enough. The First Amendment has limits and inciting treason is actionable. It is way past time to get these people's attention with arrest and indictments, followed by a trial.

Disagree with the Government? Fine, speak out. To call for rebellion because you don't like the Nation's course goes past any rational line of protected political speech. Major General Vallely is rejecting over 200 hundred years of American tradition by calling for a military coup. We have to show this type of demagoguery is unacceptable in a Republic. It is time to arrest these traitors.