“Conservative” ideology never helps any one except those in power who want to oppress those who may take it away or disagree with them. Whether in Israel, the USA, Germany or Australia, this is true, because that is what conservatism does and is.
God vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
“The myth that the Bible forbids homosexuality—the myth of “God versus Gay”—is behind some of the most divisive and painful conflicts of our day. In this provocative, passionately argued, and game-changing book, scholar and activist Jay Michaelson shows that not only does the Bible not prohibit same-sex intimacy, but the vast majority of its teachings support the full equality and dignity of gay and lesbian people, from the first flaw it finds in creation (“It is not good for a person to be alone”) to the way religious communities grow through reflection and conscience. In short, Michaelson observes, religious people should support equality for gays and lesbians—not despite their religion, but because of it.
With close readings of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, the latest data on the science of sexual orientation, and a sympathetic, accessible, and ecumenical approach to religious faith, Michaelson makes the case that sexual diversity is part of the beauty of nature and that the recognition of same-sex families will strengthen, not threaten, the values religious people hold dear. This is an important book for anyone who has wrestled with questions of religion and homosexuality: parents and pastors, believers and skeptics, advocates of “gay rights” and opponents of them. Whatever your views on religion and sexual diversity, God vs. Gay is a plea for a more compassionate, informed conversation—and a first step toward creating one”.
An Indiana teacher who says she was fired from a Roman Catholic school for using in vitro fertilization to try to get pregnant is suing in a case that could set up a legal showdown over reproductive and religious rights.
Pass this on to your anti-Democratic Party, anti-Secularist, anti-Liberal Friends:
“We in the United States, above all, must remember that lesson, for we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief.”
“We must never remain silent in the face of bigotry. We must condemn those who seek to divide us. In all quarters and at all times, we must teach tolerance and denounce racism, anti-Semitism, and all ethnic or religious bigotry wherever they exist as unacceptable evils. We have no place for haters in America — none, whatsoever.”
~ Ronald Reagan, Speech to Temple Hillel and Community Leaders in Valley Stream (October 26, 1984)
“She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is co…llecting veteran’s benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000. You may know her as West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska, Montana, or South Carolina.”
Source: Elitist Liberal Scum
Zimbabwe president to youth: Shun Western values
By Associated Press, Feb 27th 2012
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe wound up a week of celebrations marking his 88th birthday with a lavish gathering Saturday, Feb. 24, where he urged the nation’s youth to shun Western values, homosexuality, and greed.
Liberia’s Senate to consider anti-gay bill
By Associated Press, Feb 27th 2012
Liberia’s Senate will consider a bill to strengthen the nation’s existing anti-gay laws, a senator said, as another West African nation, Cameroon, announced the arrest of 10 women suspected of being lesbians.
Uganda police shut down meeting of LGBT activists
By Associated Press, Feb 21st 2012
An LGBT activist in Uganda says that the country’s ethics minister, accompanied by police, broke up a meeting of gay participants on Feb. 14.
UN chief: Africa leaders should respect gay, lesbian rights
By Associated Press, Feb 2nd 2012
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says African nations should stop treating gay men and lesbians as “second-class citizens, or even criminals.”
by Frank James, April 13, 2012
When President Obama recently complained to news media executives about their ostensibly even-handed “pox on both of your houses” coverage of the partisan battles in Washington, it might have seemed like, well, a partisan shot from a Democratic president.
After all, his complaint was that the GOP had moved so far right, and intransigently so, that it was wrong to create a false “equivalence” by blaming both parties equally for the Washington gridlock. To a skeptic that comment, coming from a Democrat, sounded suspiciously partisan itself.
But while the president was making the kind of argument you would expect of the nation’s top Democrat, he actually had the support of science — well at least political science research that maps that rightward GOP shift.
Keith Poole of the University of Georgia, with his collaborator Howard Rosenthal of New York University, has spent decades charting the ideological shifts and polarization of the political parties in Congress from the 18th century until now to get the view of how the political landscape has changed from 30,000 feet up. What they have found is that the Republican Party is the most conservative it has been a century.
US Politics AMERICAblog News:
By John Aravosison 4/26/2012 08:19:00 AM
Is the battle over student loans shaping up as a rerun of the payroll tax cut fight, which by all accounts badly damaged the GOP? Consider the parallels. Just as in the payroll tax cut battle, there’s a looming deadline: On July 1st, interest rates on federally funded student loans is set to double. Barack Obama and Democrats, confident that the politics are on their side, are signaling that they intend to remain on offense on the issue.
“You know who else wanted kids to go to college? Hitler. Kidding. But only just. This is sadly typical of the radical fringe running today’s Republican party. Every thing they don’t like is socialism (which, to their simple minds means, of course, Soviet communism). And everything they do like is Reaganism (even if Reagan, but today’s GOP standards, would be a socialist)”.
By David, April 03, 2012
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday said that President Barack Obama had taken his war on faith to the next level by wanting to establish a new “religion” for the purpose of rejecting all religious doctrines.
At an event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a supporter asked the candidate what the Obama administration’s motive was for mandating that the health insurance provided by all religious institutions cover contraceptives for women.
“I think there is in this country a war on religion,” Romney replied. “I think there is a desire to establish a religion in America known as secularism.”
“They gave it a lot of thought and they decided to say that in this country that a church — in this case, the Catholic Church — would be required to violate its principles and its conscience and be required to provide contraceptives, sterilization and morning after pills to the employees of the church. … We are now all Catholics. Those of us who are people of faith recognize this is — an attack on one religion is an attack on all religion.”
From ThinkProgress– here’s three of the eight:
1. Bush passed a huge tax cut plan, mostly benefiting the wealthy. Romney’s tax cut plan is four times larger, more heavily weighted to benefit ultra wealthy.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Passed $2.5 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years, 12.5% benefiting the top 1/10 of 1%. [ThinkProgress, 2/22/12; David Cay Johnston. 3/1/12]
MITT ROMNEY: Proposing $10.7 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years, 33% benefiting the top 1/10 of 1%. [ThinkProgress, 2/22/12; David Cay Johnston. 3/1/12]
2. Bush signed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. Romney supports repealing virtually all campaign finance laws.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Signed into law the landmark McCain–Feingold campaign finance reform, which put restrictions on “soft money” and limitations on spending from outside groups. [White House, 03/27/02]
MITT ROMNEY: Strongly defended the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which overturned key provisions McCain–Feingold. Supports repealing virtually all campaign finance laws. [Mitt Romney, 2/18/10; ThinkProgress, 12/21/11]
3. Bush supported comprehesive immigration reform, a path to citizenship for 12 million undocumented immigrants and provisions of the DREAM Act. Romney opposes all of it. GEORGE W. BUSH: Supported comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for 12 million undocumented immigrants and provisions of the DREAM Act. [Reuters, 6/29/07; White House, 10/24/07]
MITT ROMNEY: Opposes comprehensive immigration reform and opposes providing a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants and the DREAM Act. [Fox News, 04/03/12; ABC, 12/31/12]
A blitz of warrantless surveillance and imprisonments without trial
Edited by Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer
The founders (made of much stronger stuff than today’s political harpies) believed that genuine security for a democratic people comes from strengthening their right and ability to resist the autocratic impulses of the authorities. By deliberately placing “secure” in this key Bill of Rights passage, they certainly did not intend for it to be twisted into a meek call for ever-expanding police power to “protect” the citizenry, but instead to give citizens essential legal guarantees to protect themselves from police power.
It wasn’t political theory that shaped their phrasing–it was rough, real-life experience with King George III’s security forces. Thus, they wrote with unmistakable conviction: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause….”
Edited by Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer
Producing a profit is not the purpose of government– its purpose is service. And for two centuries–from 1775, when the Continental Congress chose Benjamin Franklin to be our fledgling nation’s first Postmaster General–until 1971, when Richard Nixon’s Postal Reorganization Act took effect–America’s nationwide network of post offices was fully appreciated as a government service.
In fact, the Post Office Department was considered such an important function of public affairs that it was explicitly authorized by the founding document of our nation’s government (Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution). The founders would’ve laughed their wigs off had anyone proposed that the existence of such an essential civic agency be dependent on its profitability. Be efficient and fiscally responsible, yes, but the bottom line for the Post Office was delivering a public service for the good of all the people.
But, Nixon happened. His presidency gave laissez-faire ideologues a long-sought opening to insert blasting caps into the structural framework of government. Their first big success was the 1971 “reform” that shattered the public service model by imposing a bottom-line profit mentality on the agency and installing a corporate form of governance over it. “Run it like a business,” was the political demand of the right-wing think tankers, Nixonians, and congressional fixers.
A corporate “foreign legion” has taken over America’s intelligence and military functions
April 2012, Volume 14, Number 4
Edited by Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer
On the last day of last year, Austin’s daily newspaper led with a story that it tagged as an “Internet Privacy” report. “Hackers leak Stratfor data,” hollered the front-page headline in bold type.
It’s likely that 99.9 percent of readers had never heard of Stratfor, Inc. (including me), and the story really wasn’t all that newsy. The main point seemed to be that the hack attack was pulled off by Anonymous. This amorphous global collective of incognito, anarchistic “hactivists” has shown a remarkable techno/ politico ability and agility, having penetrated deeply into the supposedly secure computer networks of a wide range of big targets, including Visa, the Church of Scientology, Monsanto, the Egyptian government, Universal Music, the Justice Department, the Tunisian government, Sony, PayPal, and the Bay Area Rapid Transit system.
According to the story, the group had grabbed and publicly released 860,000 email addresses and 75,000 credit card numbers of the obscure firm’s customers. While this swipe certainly could be a pain for the customers and an embarrassing mess for Stratfor, such computer invasions are hardly uncommon these days, and this one didn’t seem to be very large or significant (perhaps the story’s front-page placement stemmed from an editor’s civic pride: “By gollies, our little city is big enough to be hit by Anonymous.” More likely, Stratfor got top billing because this was a Saturday, New Year’s Eve paper with mighty slim pickings for news).
What Happened in Our History Books?
By Aimee Howley, Karen Eppley, Marged Howley
(Note: This article condenses a chapter to be published as “Restless pioneers push west: Settled farmers face hardships.” In J. Williams (Ed.), (Re)building memory: School textbooks, identity, and the pedagogies and politics of imagining community. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.”)
A study of textbooks over the past 50 years finds that high school students increasingly are being taught that rural America is a deprived and lonely place.
History of America The 1993 history text shows rural life as dreary and impoverished (without contrasting imagery) and then asks students to describe rural life “in their own words.” Thus, the text presents a negative image of rural life and then provokes students to make that idea “their own.”
In the same vein, the 1993 history text differentiated rural and urban by asserting that rural people adhere to religious fundamentalism — a curious claim, given that by the 1990s Christian fundamentalism, as is well documented, had become a pervasive force nationally.
The First Four President Of The USA and Two Other Founding Fathers:
Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Paine, and Franklin
George Washington, First President of USA:
“The United States of America should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy.”
“As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.”
“The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation,” Washington wrote. “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent national gifts. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”
A near-contemporary, the Rev. Dr. Bird Wilson, “perused every line that (President George) Washington ever gave to the public and (did) not find one expression in which he pledges himself as a believer in Christianity. … He was a Deist and nothing more.” Wilson judged all of the first six presidents to be “infidels.”
John Adams, Second President of the USA, was First Vice President under First President George Washington
“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” ~ Tripoli of Barbary. Art. 11. – Authored by American diplomat Joel Barlow in 1796, the following treaty was sent to the floor of the Senate, June 7, 1797, where it was read aloud in its entirety and unanimously approved. John Adams, having seen the treaty, signed it and proudly proclaimed it to the Nation.
“The Judeo-Christian religion is the most bloody religion that ever existed.” Adams’ treaty with Tripoli specified that the American government “is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the USA and Vice President to Second President John Adams
“Religions are all alike — founded upon fables and mythologies.”
“Let us, then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled, we have yet gained little if we counternance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of a bitter and bloody persecutions.”
“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are only injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
“Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.”
“The Christian god is a three-headed monster, cruel, vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three-headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites.”
“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.”
“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.” ~ Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to John Adams (April 11, 1823)
James Madison a.k.a. ‘The Father of the Constitution of the United States of America, and the Fourth President of the United States:
“The number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church and the State.”
“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.”
“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”
Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Most famous for ‘The Age of Reason’ (1794) and ‘Common Sense’ (1776). He immigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 in time to participate in the American Revolution:
“The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion”.
“Of all the systems of religion that were ever invented, nothing is more … repugnant to reason … than this thing called Christianity.”
“It is from the bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder, for the belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man, and the bible is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind”
“All national institutions of churches whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. … My own mind is my own church.” ~ Thomas Paine ‘The Age of Reason’ (1794)
Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass ‘armonica’. He formed both the first public lending library in America and the first fire department in Pennsylvania. Franklin earned the title of “The First American” for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity; as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies, then as the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation:
“I can not conceive otherwise than that He, the Intimate Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it.”
by Jessica Pieklo, April 25, 2012
[Welcome to Dispatches, your round-up of the latest news from the frontlines of the War on Women. Have a story from your state or an idea on how to push back? Share them here and fight back against the War on Women.]
It really never ends for Planned Parenthood, does it? To begin with there is the legislative campaign to drive them out of business by de-funding them. Then they are the target of a fraudulent and offensive smear campaign that wants to paint delivering health care to poor women is really promoting sex-selective eugenics. The amount of misinformation dispensed supporting a religious crusade against female autonomy is really nothing short of staggering.
Ann Romney waded back into the murky waters of the mommy wars, this time declaring she thinks its neat-o that some women don’t have a choice but work full time and raise their children and struggle immensely doing it.
She has help from fellow Republicans who have a curious way of trying to recruit women voters.
Fans of Ched Evans are a classy bunch. Evans is a successful English footballer for Sheffield United currently serving time for raping a teenager to drunk too consent to sex. After his sentencing his fans immediately went to Twitter to start shaming her in defense of Evans. Rape culture? What rape culture?
[NOTE: The USA is the country least like the image it projects. At least most other countries, we know who the “bad” guys are. In the USA, there are so many, their is no hope for Americans to ever live in a really free country.]
Yesterday, we reported on the fundraisers that lobbyists hold for Congressmen every day in Washington. Today, we hear what happens inside those events. The stories are part of our series on money in politics.
At a typical event, there’s a member of Congress and a member of his or her staff who is in charge of collecting the checks. This person is known as the fundraiser.
“The fundraiser is standing in the room, and the fundraiser has 35,000 bucks in checks sitting in her pocket right now,” says Jimmy Williams, a former lobbyist for the real estate industry. “And we’re going to talk about public policy while we take the checks.”
How much influence do those checks have over public policy?
Most of the time, checks don’t by votes, Williams says. But they buy access. They buy an opportunity to make your case.
What America Pays In Taxes
by Lam Thuy Vo and Jacob Goldstein
Last year, the federal government collected $2.3 trillion in taxes. Most of that came from two sources: Individual income taxes and payroll taxes.
Payroll taxes are deducted automatically from your paycheck, and paid in part by employers. Payroll taxes fund Social Security and Medicare.
Individual income taxes are what everybody is scrambling to file right now. Individual income taxes pay for most of what the government does other than Social Security and Medicare.
There Still Is No Social Security Crisis
By Richard (RJ) Eskow, April 23, 2012
“‘Medicare and Social Security’ don’t have a long-term problem: Medicare has a problem. No amount of spin or double-talk can change that. This year’s slight downturn in Medicare and Social Security finances was caused by the financial crisis of 2008, as lost jobs and wages led to lost revenue for the program. And that disaster was caused by the deregulation of Wall Street, which was carried out the same bipartisan crowd that’s now pushing cuts to these programs … Now they want ordinary Americans to take a hit to both their Social Security and Medicare benefits. A Social Security cut would be needless and counterproductive, and the nation would be better served with a benefit increase … What’s more, since Social Security is forbidden by law from contributing to the deficit, it’s absurd to connect its financing to discussions of the Federal debt. Medicare’s another story. Unless we address the runaway cost of providing health care to seniors, our Federal budget and are entire economy are in dire trouble. Notice, however, that we said ‘address the runaway cost’ and not ‘shift the runaway cost,’ as the Republican proposal would do.”
,…, “Social Security is essentially healthy, and its long-term issues can be fixed by lifting the payroll tax cap. A “Grand Bargain” to cut Social Security and Medicare will only make things worse. What we really need an overhaul of our health system to remove the corrosive effects of the profit motive on our medical economy – but they don’t want to talk about that.”
,…, “The report released today by the Trustees of the Social Security Administration has already occasioned some of the usual nonsense from the wealthy and highly-funded insider group represented by Clinton and his peers in both parties”.
“The Truth About the 2012 Social Security Trustees Report”
Strengthen Social Security explains “The Truth About the 2012 Social Security Trustees Report”: “The Social Security Trustees Report shows that our Social Security system works just as intended, even in difficult economic times. Unlike the banks, which nearly brought the economy to ruin, Social Security didn’t need a bailout. The most important fact revealed in the 2012 Trustees Report is that our Social Security system has a large and growing surplus.”
ObamaCare is strengthening Medicare, according to trustees’ report. TPM: “… the trustees believe the Affordable Care Act strengthened Medicare — and project, as they did last year, that the program won’t exhaust its hospital insurance trust fund until 2024. But there’s significant uncertainty surrounding that estimate.”
Jared Bernstein says the trustees report shows the need for economic growth: “The movements in the Social Security trust fund have been more of function of the economic and demographic assumptions … the best thing to do in the near term is everything we can to get the recession behind us and get back on a stronger growth path.”