Holy Hell and Despots

I read somewhere recently that hungry hearts willingly eat lies, or something to that effect. This simple statement stuck with me and I wondered how many different situations it might apply too.

Certainly in our personal relationships. All of us at one time or another have fooled ourselves or allowed ourselves to be fooled because of our own need for love, safety and security. Maybe we simply allowed our hungry heart to override our intellect diving into the shallow end head first even knowing it was ultimately going to hurt. We eat the lies fed to us, the lies we need to hear for our hearts survival.

Now I come to the real crux of my meandering thoughts on why this simple statement has stuck with me. The real question I have been asking for days, weeks, months even; can entire groups of people become ‘hungry’ and swallow lies? Swallow them whole and without question, without challenge. Is this how cults are born? Is this how the souls of nations are lost? Is this how despots are lifted up as saviors while heroes are cast down and spat on, kicked in the head and sullied for their contributions and sacrifices.

If this is true, what has caused this starvation at the heart of our nation? Truly, I ask this in all sincerity. What is the worm that has eaten away at our national pride? What has turned us from the beacon of hope and the shinning city to the era of Governing by Tweeter proclamation, personal animosity and Reality Show Carnage.

If this is how it happens, this hunger that will eat any lie no matter how outrageous, no matter how contrary to previous norms, ethics and values I fear for us all. I think of the cult following of Jim Jones that resulted in 918 people who willingly murdered their own children, loved ones and selves  while shouting Hallelujah. I compare them to all the many once respectable Republicans of Washington who willingly heap praise on the singularly most ignorant President in our history and his quest to ‘Make America Great Again’.

I consider friends, family and others who I know well and who willingly turn a blind eye to the corruption of this administration. I wonder what would cause them to do this, why would they support this tyrant despite all the evidence of who and what he is. None in my circle are racists, none are bigots, none have ever abused a child or a woman; these people love America just like I love America. Once upon a time they were true Conservatives, now I don’t recognize them or their politics. Now when we talk, the discourse turns ugly. Now when we disagree the rally cry is “I am for Trump” and “you can leave if you don’t like it”. Now when we talk, forbid there is anything at all that challenges this President’s competency, decisions, or his leadership on any scale, immediately the gloves come off and the name calling begins. This, from friends and family.

Civility has left the building. The shining city on the hill has turned the lights off and closed door. France has asked for the Statue back and Canada has  kidnapped the Bald Eagle to protect it from us.

We are not the laughing stock of the world, we are something far worse. We are a source of fear and anxiety. This president has aggressively pursued a systematic destruction of long-held alliances. He has insulted heads of states without consideration to how his personal perverse piss-off of the day affects world-wide relationships. We have, thanks to this president entered an era of isolationism and exited the world stage right leaving it in the hands of those who will run with it, economically and politically leaving us poor and strangled on our own miasma and a willful failure to engage. What does the world think of us?

We lose, if we don’t demand the two arms of government intended to provide checks and balance on the Administrative arm begin exercising their authority rather than cowering in fear, we lose. The GOP has shown they are willing to kowtow to the pressure of the Trump Cult rather than speak out, to stand up. They have shown they are afraid of the Cult of Trump, the ‘base’ of ginned up terrified White folk. Because of this fear we will lose this nation and our position in the world for generations to come.

Civility is gone. Common decency is gone. Alliances are going, maybe forever. Now, SCOTUS will be gone, by two seats and possibly by two more before the end of Trumps first term. While we look for the President to represent what is best in us on the world stage, this president is everything that is and has ever been what is the worst in us, he is the incarnation of our worst angels.

Donald J. Trump is the personification of 246 years of slavery

Donald J. Trump is the personification of 100 years of Jim Crow

Donald J. Trump is the personification of the Immigration Quota Act of 1924 establishing quotas based on national origin and limiting numbers specifically from Asian nations

Donald J. Trump is the personification of the turning away of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany as a ‘danger’ to the security of the US, 1939 St Louis is the most prominent case

Donald J. Trump is the personification of the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans beginning in 1946

This is just the short list. Donald J. Trump has a desire to ‘Make America Great Again’, what this means to him is an unknown but based on his history all of us can guess, can’t we? Worst than his daily horror show though, is his cult following, all too willing to repeat and even act on his lies.

Hungry hearts eat lies. A nation ate the lies of a con man and in so doing sent us down a slippery slope with an despotic leader at the helm and no one willing to hold him accountable. Donald J. Trump is the accumulation of all our worst inclinations, our worst actions and worst moments in history. He is the very personification of all that has ever been horrifying in our past embodied in a single person and he has a cult following willing to resurrect those times to ‘Make America Great Again’.

28-June-2018

Citizens and Zealots, Wherefore

OpEdO Patriots and Christians, wherefore art thou claiming the name Patriot? If you will not defend others with the same vigor you defend your own, should they then turn away, accept the brutality, or are you instead forsworn.

When other US Citizens are denied their fundamental rights to worship, why are you not shouting from the steps of the Capital in their defense? When other US Citizens are denied employment because of they wear a hijab, why were your voices not lifted in fury. When Mosques are blocked by gun toting thugs in your name, why are you not demanding their terroristic actions be stopped?

The list goes on; the facts add up to one simple idea O Patriots and Christians. You are forsworn in your duty to your fellow Citizen, to the Constitution you claim to love; even to the God you claim to love.

Shall I tell you what brings me to this conclusion? Wherefore I am drawn toward these dark thoughts of my fellow man (and woman), my fellow citizen.

Freedom of Religion Restoration, yes several states in these United States believe it is important they provide the means for individuals within their borders to use religion to act out their fear, biasFFP and bigotry. Standing behind the Bible they can now refuse service to anyone they choose. Of course, this was intended to focus only on those who had the gall to demand entry into the circle of full enfranchisement of citizenship, the LBGT community but in fact these acts allow a Christian to claim their faith demands bigotry against all comers.

To be clear, those who have gleefully passed these acts; pandering to their Christian base have received the lashes they deserve from business especially. They have had to walk the language of their Restoration Bills back, disavowing their original intent. This is what happens when politicians run, without understanding the true history of this nation or the capitalism they profess to love, with a Bible stuck up their ass trying to Restore us to the Christian Nation we never were intended to be.

In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.

Thomas Jefferson, to Horatio G. Spafford, 1814

O Christians, who are so blinded by your own ignorance and righteous fear you would stand before other houses of worship, gun toting, sign waving and spewing messages of fear and hate. Wherefore art thou in thy ascension to heavenly favor so filled with anger? Where, pray tell is Sharia Law being applied to your daily life, that you must stand before a Mosque in the light of day images (4)and disrespect your fellow citizens, their faith and their places of worship? What gives you the right to show up with guns, signs and a cartoon contest in an attempt to spark another act of violence; then call those peaceful citizens the terrorist? You, yes you are the bad element in this scenario. You are not protecting the US from anything. You are not acting in good faith. You are not acting in accordance with the Bible or the Constitution you claim to love. You are the Thugs you are Christian Terrorists.

In our country are evangelists and zealots of many different political, economic and religious persuasions whose fanatical conviction is that all thought is divinely classified into two kinds – that which is their own and that which is false and dangerous.

Robert H. Jackson, American Communications Assn. v. Douds, 339 US 382, 438; 70 SCt. 674 704 (1950)

O Zealots, yea of Faith and Patriotism, where were you with signs waving and demands for religious freedom, when Samantha Elauf was denied a job at Abercrombie & Fitch for wearing hijab. Where were you when her religious freedom was denied? Did you stand up for her? Did you demand her rights be protected as your own? Or are her rights, as a Muslim woman somehow not as imagesimportant, not as due to her because of the God she worships. Did you know, Zealots and Patriots, her God is the same God you worship, the God of Abram, the God of the Old Testament, the God of David. Did you know, all you zealots you when you pray for the destruction of the other side, you pray to their God.

[5]And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
[6] But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
[7] But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
[8] Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Jesus, Matthew 6:5-8

angry-godDo you think I rant? I do. I am ranting. SCOTUS did a good thing by sending the Elauf v. Abercrombie & Fitch case back down to the circuit courts for review. The problem though, it doesn’t end there. The real problem is there are still so many in this nation who truly believe they can hide behind the shield of their ‘faith’ their ‘religion’ to do terrible things. Only yesterday North Carolina passed bill that would allow public officials to refuse marriage licenses to anyone they disagree on moral grounds, that is based on their personal religious views. This despite the federal court striking down their anti-gay marriage laws. Now, a public official, sworn to uphold the law and the Constitution decides he/she doesn’t want to issue a license to a couple of different religions, of different races, of same gender based on their ‘sincerely held religious belief’ they are protected.

O Christians, O Zealots, wherefore art thou so ignorant of your own history and the book you stand so firmly upon. Shed the scales, remove the plank; join the rest of us in trying to make this a better world or be forsworn, truly.

You are not a Christian

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have a bit of a bug, just a small itch I need to scratch. I tell you my dander is raised, my scalp needs to be scratched; all day I have been thinking of our Supreme Court and just how un-Supreme they truly our. I truly do believe it is time for all of us to take a long hard look at who we are as a nation, get up off our proverbial and begin to do something about the nation we want to be rather than simply complain. If we are unwilling to do something, we have absolutely no right to complain about the outcome.


 

No Corporation is a Christian and I can prove it, here are the core principles of being a Christian or living within the body of Christ.

  1. Professing a belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and following his teachings.
  2. Baptism into the body (church) or religious fellowship (it should be noted this is not required in all Christian sects).
  3. Evangelize and bring others to the body of Christ.
  4. Attend all church assemblies and give (tithe).
    1. Follow Church discipline
    2. Follow the will of God, as defined by the Church
    3. Read the ‘Word’ (Bible) regularly
    4. Pray frequently, confessing your sins to God and / or the Body (Church or its representative)
    5. Live an upright and moral life, giving up all worldly goods and desires to follow the teachings of the “Word”.
  5. Follow proper relations with other people including:
    1. Family
    2. Community, people in need
    3. Civil Government
    4. Church, religious government
    5. Business

There is no Corporation, not a single solitary one that is a Christian or for that matter any other Religion, what we have is human people who have decided the Constitution doesn’t matter unless it is convenient. What we have are five members of the Supreme Court who have decided they will strip any person with a uterus of their right to self-determination in favor of satisfying the political machinations of the Right and the racist intent of those who would do anything to deny this President a legacy.

Hobby Lobby = Hypocrisy

Hobby Lobby does business with China in fact nearly their entire inventory has a ‘Made in China’ sticker on it somewhere. Yes the nation with a low human rights rating for the manner in which people, especially women are treated, this is Hobby Lobby’s primary trade partner. Hobby Lobby somehow holds their nose despite, or maybe it is because of the execrable way in which China treats women, going so far as to encourage selective abortions, eliminating females in the womb.

Hobby Lobby does business with a nation that encourages abortion to the tune of approximately thirteen (13) million per year.

David Green, CEO Hobby Lobby

David Green, CEO Hobby Lobby

Nevertheless, when it came to providing for women’s health, providing birth control to their employees Hobby Lobby and their proselytizing CEO, David Green had something else entirely in mind and that was simply, “No”. Not just No, but Hell to the No. Never mind his 401K invested in Pharma companies that make all the methods and drugs he refuses to cover for his employees, including two that cover surgical abortions, that doesn’t count. Never mind the insurance he provides his employees covers Viagra and Cialis (can’t have a problem getting it up now can we). But damn those women if they should want to preserve their body integrity, their ability to raise the children they have, their health or their future.

Screw them, literally.

The Supreme Court of the United States of America listened to the arguments and decided Hobby Lobby; a corporation is human enough to hold religious beliefs and can impose those beliefs on others. In this case, those beliefs include denial of specific birth control methods including the following:

‘Morning After Pills’, Ella and Plan B, and two intrauterine devices (IUDs)

Last, I checked, I could be wrong mind you, but last I checked the first Amendment of the US Constitution said the following:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Unless I am crazy, I might be, this would mean Hobby Lobby and its hypocritical proselytizing CEO do not get to impose their crazy azzed religious beliefs on others. Mind you, I know I could be wrong, I could be sitting in my own version of Hope Land, resting in my garden of Lavender surrounded by the sounds of birds and water fountains, but as much of an idealist as I am I don’t think I wear blinders. I believe I am reading the Constitution correctly, which means there is something far more nefarious at work.

Supreme_Court_US_2010

What could it be that causes a body, in this case the Supreme Court of the United States to act in a manner so contrary to what we know is consistent with the law, common sense and all of this nations principles to now. What could cause case after case since 2009 to shift so far out to the Right, away from what is best for the majority and towards an ever-shrinking minority? What is the single element that has changed and what can we trace that change too?og-ab844a_schob_g_20140630134413

On 20-January-2009 Republican leaders held a secret meeting during which the agreed to sabotage the US economy and the success of President Obama’s administration. Since that time, Congress both House and Senate have done everything and anything within their power to do so. During this same time, SCOTUS has colluded openly and without restraint to provide aid. One only need look at the record of decisions handed down on Voting Rights, Women’s Rights, Workers Rights including the most recent Harris v. Quinn.

The list of goes on, our losses go on and we remain seated in our chairs. We remain apathetic, tired and seemingly powerless.

Three branches of government colluding to destroy one man and his legacy. We sit and watch.

Three branches of government and their minions, the ignorant of our nation whipped into a frenzy because one Black Man dared to dream and dared to cause us to dream with him. Don’t want to hear it, yet I believe it might be true, three branches of government full of old, fearful and mean Caucasian men and women who see their power being lost and trying desperately to hang on determined to destroy the first African American President, his family and his legacy by any and every means necessary.

The rest of us? We are collateral damage.

Want to stop this before it is too late?

VOTE, in November VOTE. Don’t stay home but get out and VOTE. If you stay home we lose.

 

Impeachment Process, Free Republic

The Plot to Sabotage the Presidents Administration

The ObamaCrat’s Take on SCOTUS Decision all the information is here

Justice for Sale

NewJusticeWe were handed a stunning blow as citizens of the United States of America, SCOTUS said our voices were less than those of great wealth, less than the voices of anonymous corporations, less than the voices of those who were able buy our once great Republic. On 1-January-2010, the people of the United States of America were told in no uncertain terms, our voices would count for less and our nation would change to accommodate the will of whose money could buy seats at the table.

We stomped our feet. We complained. We talked among ourselves and pointed our fingers at those we knew were behind the scenes pulling the strings. We rung our hands and cried, ‘woe is us, what now?’

We Blinked

We allowed what we knew was an ethically and morally challenged court to remain seated and continue to hear cases that would change the course of this nation. We watched as case after case went before what we knew were politically motivated justices, in bed with politicians, PACS and lobbyists (in some cases literally in bed with them every night) and we did nothing. Well nothing isn’t entirely true, is it? We whined, we created cute memes and posted them on Facebook hoping they would go viral, we had battles of wits with our opponents on the other side of the divide, we wrote scathing blogs and we wrung our hands. Nevertheless, in fact, we did absolutely not one blessed thing to change the tide.

Meanwhile, ALEC, Heritage Foundation, American Crossroads, American Family, Citizen United, Freedom Watch, Family Research Council, John Birch and Freedom Works; naming just a few of the big ones intent on undermining your and my way of life and our opportunity at the American Dream, have worked hard to get every challenge heard in the highest courts in the land. Their stooges, like Shaun McCutcheon, do their bidding, becoming the face of our diminished democratic processes, the focus of our ire. Meanwhile those truly holding the purse strings gleefully sit back, observing the destruction and plotting the next strike against the Republic.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hand Wringing and Weeping

The truth is we could be doing more if we weren’t so stuck on the idea we can do nothing. If our backbone weren’t so weak, so gelatinous we could be demanding the same loyalty of our elected officials with our confirmed moneyed speech the 1% demand of theirs. Rather than hanging our heads and wringing our hands, we should remember we ‘own’ our elected officials; we are the people who stand in line to pull the lever and put them in the position to direct or misdirect our lives through their actions in office. This is true whether they are Red, Blue, Green or Purple. This is a true statement whether they believe it or not. Those officials, from the President of the United States down to the lowest Dog Catcher are beholden to you and I for their seat at the table, they represent us not the special interests who would see our Democratic Republic become something other than a nation for and by the people.

Roberts Court

These are not elected officials

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Consider the problems of this court and then ask yourself does it makes sense.

Justice Scalia, who regularly and publicly castigates the President of the United State, speaks at Conservative forums without shame and shows extreme bias in his questioning from the bench. This is a man who makes no bones about his position and uses that position to do great harm.

“Can’t scare me,” he told a reporter who got on line with audience members to ask a question. “I have life tenure.” Justice Antonin Scalia, Medford, MA Tufts University 10/20131220px-Antonin_Scalia,_SCOTUS_photo_portrait

Next, let’s take a peek under the robe of Clarence Thomas (shudder) and his wife Virginia. Nominated to the bench by George H. Bush in 1991, Justice Thomas was tainted before he was sworn in. Despite the testimony of Anita Hill regarding his sexual harassment, despite the witnesses waiting to testify who were never called Clarence Thomas was passed onto the Supreme Court and continues to serve, for Life. He never asks a question, he also never recuses himself from any case. Prior to his time on the highest court of the land, he represented Monsanto for four years, thereafter moved back into the political arena.

220px-Clarence_Thomas_official_SCOTUS_portraitWhile Justice Thomas has many questionable ethics it is truly who he lays down with every night that should make us all cringe. Not because she is simply mean, but because she has used her association with him to further her own political agenda and they have both benefited by his seat on the bench. A short synopsis of Ginny’s connections:

  • 1985 – 1989 Attorney for US Chamber of Commerce, one of her efforts included advocacy against the Family Leave Act. She was considered highly successful within certain circles because of her personal commitment and passion.
  • 1991,  Legislative Affairs Office of the United States Department of Labor, during this time she argued strong against equal pay for equal work, specifically to close the gender gap. Thereafter she went to work for Congressman Dick Armey ( R ), as a policy analyst until 2009. Though her time in this role raised conflict of interest challenges for her husband during his confirmation hearings.
  • 2000, our Ginny found her calling with the Heritage Foundation a Right Wing Think Tank and lobbying group. Ginny Thomas was at the forefront of the effort to gather and submit resumes for the Bush administration,
    In her glory, Ginny Thomas

    In her glory, Ginny Thomas

    during the time the Supreme Court was deciding Bush-v-Gore. Can you say Conflict of Interest? Many did.

  •  2009, finally Clarence must have had enough Ginny opened her own shop though it went through a couple of make-overs before settling into its current operation, Liberty Consulting, Inc. With strong ties to the Tea Party and no shame in selling her connections in ‘high places’, she is a frequent guest on Fox, including Hannity and others. In addition to her ‘consulting’ company our Ginny is a member of Groundswell2.

Should I say it one more time? Can you spell Conflict of Interest? Yet, he continues to sit on the bench.

I have to ask again, what is wrong with SCOTUS? We have always sought to have ‘our’ guy, meaning the President in office when a Justice retires so we can balance the court in our favor. There isn’t anything unusual in this strategy. Sometimes we win; sometimes we lose and the court shifts slightly. However, currently we have a court so blatant in their disregard for their position as one of the branches of Government, the arbiter of final Constitutional interpretation that slight shift is wreaking our democratic process. The Robert’s court has aligned themselves with the Right Wing of the Legislative Branch and sold our Republic a Bill of Goods with no Return and no Refund policy. Worse, they make no bones of their agenda, with their choice of cases or their questions from the bench.

It is Time to Stop our Hand Wringing and Bitching

A Supreme Court Justice can be impeached; their jobs are not for life. They can be removed if it can be shown they have not acted according to their oaths of office. Article III of the US Constitution says the following:

“The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior…”

These are not elected officials, they do nonetheless serve at our pleasure, they are public servants. This means despite their obvious disdain, they are the people’s servants. It is time for a groundswell of our own, it is time to stand up and demand a change. Not just in Congress, but throughout this corrupt system, including here in the courts even this, the highest court of our nation.

It is time.

1 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/02/antonin-scalia-government-shutdown_n_4033524.html

2 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/07/groundswell-right-wing-strategy-group-members-photos?slide=7

For Donor tag 1: http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/

The entire Federal Law on Campaign Finance: http://www.fec.gov/law/feca/feca.pdf

The 2013-2014 Limits on Campaign Contributions: http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/biennial.shtml

Top group donations by Party: http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/topcontribs.php

Top individual donations with partisan bent: http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/topindivs.php

Wake Up Citizens

wordle2

I am a bit annoyed. Truthfully, I am more than a bit annoyed, I am over the top, heels over ass pissed the hell right off. What is wrong with people? By people, I do have specific people in mind.

markmeadows

Seditious Mark Meadows, Jr Congressman North Carolina (R)

I could list the seventy-nine seditious ass clowns who signed the letter initiated by North Carolina Junior Representative Mark Meadows; instead, I will simply provide you the link to his site, which includes the letter and the signatures1. I want to talk about something other than the shutdown of the United States government, though my subject is closely tied to this one.

I don’t want to talk about those subversive son-of-bitches in D.C., they simply do not care; keeping in mind, they are still collecting their pay. Don’t be fooled by their sad eyed bullshit, they got their checks on September 30 through Direct Deposit and are not expecting another until October 30. They cannot ‘defer’ their own pay; no indeed not, it is all a great big lie. The only thing they can do is donate it and very few of them are doing that.

So let’s talk about what is equally important, what is critical to the function of our government and your and my voice in the future. We don’t have much of one left because the last time something this important was before SCOTUS we blinked. If we blink this time, we lose our voice, perhaps forever.

McCutcheon v. FEC

With Citizen United v.FEC the door was opened to corporations, giving them the same voice citizens had in the workings of our government. Now of course this isn’t true, corporations, especially multi-national corporations, have a great deal more money than you and I thus they had more to give. In essence, what SCOTUS said with their ruling, money is speech, corporations just like you, and I have the same First Amendment Rights to Free Speech. Citizen United broke the dam, opened the floodgates and the money poured in as the legislators at every level (federal, state and local) draped  “For Sale” signs around their necks and stuck their hands out. The voice of the citizen, it was drowned out by the voice of the big business and their CEO’s, as it never had been before.

We were asleep. We let this happen. Only after the fact, have some of us woken up to what this meant to our political systems, to our democratic republic. Now, only after the fact we do we bemoan the loss of our voice in Congress. Now, as we watch the Koch funded Tea Party terrorist shut down the government do we shake our head in dismay and question our reasoning. Now, as we watch those sleazy and ignorant knuckle draggers obstruct the appropriate workings of our government and threaten the economy of this nation and the f’ng world, do we realize what it meant to cede our authority and our voice in the government “by the People and for the People” do we realize what ‘money as speech’ means. Unfortunately, there are still those, even those without a pot to piss in or window to throw it out of, who continues to defend Citizens United, the Tea Party and those who would strip the very meat off their bones.

So, let us quickly talk about McCutcheon v. FEC, which was argued before SCOTUS on 8-October to raise further individual campaign limits to $3.5M per donor to a single party’s candidates, parties or committees. Previously, a single donor was limited to $123,000 in direct donation to parties or committees, or $2,600 in individual contributions to 17 candidates for a total of $46,200 and an additional $70,800 to a political action committee (PAC) or group within a two-year federal cycle. Keep in mind this is only on the federal level, these wealthy donors are not similarly limited at the state or local level. Mr. McCutcheon though, he is outraged his voice is limited, his ability to buy his own personal Congressman or woman is limited in this way.

Those who have joined in his suit, they are also similarly outraged. They are:

  • The Republican National Committee
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joining as an outside party

Oh, did I forget to mention Shaun McCutcheon is a little known multi-millionaire from Alabama who is active in conservative circles? Yes, indeed our friend Mr. McCutcheon is another one of the ‘big’ donors who likes to buy up legislators to make certain his personal agenda is well represented at the expense of all the rest of America’s citizens. He is the CEO of Coalmont Electrical Development, an engineering firm specializing in mining. He is according to the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, Bill Armistead, a sincere Republican and Activist. This sincere member of the 1% first broached the idea of his lawsuit to further strip your and my voices from the public forum at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)2.

We need too really think hard about this one for just one minute, currently a single donor can give $123,000 in any two-year cycle. This amount is twice what the average American family earns, that is two times what the Average American Family has to pay their bills with, save against catastrophe with, save for their children’s future education with, pay for their healthcare with, feed themselves with and contribute to political campaigns, candidates, committees and parties from. Consider some of this:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A bit of history is important, limits were put in place to prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption after Nixon and the Watergate scandal of the 1970’s. Watergate led to changes in campaign financing, as well as, the Freedom of Information Act in 1974. In addition to these legislative changes, it became expected that candidates would disclose personal finances including tax filings. In fact, Mitt Romney was the first presidential candidate since that time to balk at the release of personal financial information, wonder why that was.

So we must ask the question, like so much else we achieved to move this nation forward toward equality in the past one hundred years, why this why now? I think I can answer this question, we have the perfect storm, we have a court that will continue to strip away, every progressive accomplishment and every citizen’s right we have gained. Someday, those at the top will look back and it won’t be Ronald Reagan they will worship it will be George W. Bush, who tipped the scales of the Supreme Court in their favor.

Supreme_Court_US_2010

Are you willing to see this happen? I am certainly not prepared for the slide backward, not in my lifetime. I am constantly astounded when anyone who is barely able to meet their rent or mortgage defends the likes of Shaun McCutcheon, the infamous Koch brothers or for that matter the GOP and their slimy Right Wing minority the Tea Party contingent. Is it not clear yet? These people are not your friends, their version of the American Dream is an American Nightmare for 99% of us, this Shutdown is only a taste of what is to come under their vision of our future.

Tell SCOTUS, tell your Representative, tell the Administration: Enough is Enough. Return America to the People. Restore Campaign Finance.

Tell the Supreme Court No: http://www.demos.org/mccutcheon-v-fec-new-citizens-united

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

1http://meadows.house.gov/press-releases/meadows-sends-letter-encouraging-house-leadership-to-defund-obamacare/#.UlV_9FDoZ8F

2http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/08/meet-shaun-mccutcheon-the-republican-activist-trying-to-make-history-at-the-supreme-court.html

Election Spending: http://www.demos.org/publication/election-spending-2012-pre-election-analysis-federal-election-commission-data

Complete Analysis: http://www.demos.org/publication/stop-next-citizens-united

Brief filed with court: http://www.demos.org/publication/amicus-brief-supreme-court-mccutcheon-v-fec

Report Special Interest over National Interest: http://www.demos.org/publication/billion-dollar-democracy-unprecedented-role-money-2012-elections

Super Pac money Auctioning Democracy: http://www.demos.org/publication/auctioning-democracy-rise-super-pacs-and-2012-election

Millionaire Megaphones: http://www.demos.org/publication/million-dollar-megaphones-super-pacs-and-unlimited-outside-spending-2012-elections

SCOTUS, Naked Emperors

Let’s talk in real terms about what happened last week at the Supreme Court. Not the MEME’s floating about, not the BS floating hither and yon depending on what news you turn on and tune in but the reality of what all this might mean to you and me.

Supreme_Court_US_2010

First SCOTUS that is the Supreme Court of the United States. Those odd birds who unlike all other branches of government are appointed for life and truthfully have far more impact on our lives than we give them credit for. As a nation we were riveted by their big decisions last week;

  • Obliteration of Section 4 of Voters Right Act of 1965 aka 15th Amendment. To be clear, this section of the act provides the formula for whether a State or even a voting jurisdiction within a state uses a ‘test’ or other ‘device’ to determine a citizen’s right to vote. The formula determined the numbers of eligible citizens registered to vote and how representative of populations within districts were after maps were redrawn. The original formula was  established in 1964, they were evaluated and confirmed in 1982 and again in 2006 through a bipartisan vote of Congress.1
  • DOMA that special legislation where Congress and then President Bill Clinton really stepped in proverbial shit yes I said it. Finally, someone challenged it and shockingly SCOTUS by a small margin agreed DOMA had no Constitutional validity, based only on state definitions of marriage. Make sense? No, it doesn’t to me either, what the court has done is defined marriage as a ‘legal’ definition based on State standing, all 965 places in the federal law that mention marriage will apply to all marriages. If you are married in a state that allows same sex marriage, the federal government will recognize your marriage as legal, however, no states are bound by these rules and it is up to each state to determine whether they will recognize same sex marriage; today twelve states recognize same sex marriage. 2
  • Along these same lines the court sent Hollingsworth-v-Perry packing based on a simple standard, the defendants did not have standing. When Perry, et al sued the State of California because they were denied marriage licenses, then AG Jerry Brown and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to defend Prop 8. Hollingsworth, et al including multiple backers stepped in to defend Prop 8 since the State would not do so. The backing for Prop 8 came from the following groups:
    • Campaign for California Families
    • Protect Marriage

These groups were backed by:

  • Family Research Council
  • California Family Alliance
  • Focus on Family
  • Knights of Columbus
  • California Catholic Conference
  • Catholics for Common Good
  • The Church of Latter Day Saints

Those were the big ones, the rulings those of us who watch the court were waiting for, in essence the court split hairs. No big wins for anyone really, though on the surface striking down DOMA and sending Hollingsworth and the Zealots packing felt pretty good, this wasn’t really a win just a tie.

Obliterating Section 4, well that was a blow for anyone who understands we do not live in a society that is Color or Gender Blind, or economically fair. No less than two (2) hours after this decision was announced by those ScaliaQuotemyopic naked emperors on the highest bench of the land then Governors began to announce they would redistrict and implement voter ID laws previously turned down in federal courts; Rick Perry of Texas is a perfect example of this one. Of course, if you have political stooges on the bench it is impossible not to have results such as this.4

Thanks to SCOTUS Texas now have the most stringent Voter ID laws in the nation and the model for all other states. Thanks to SCOTUS, Rick Perry and his old white man brigade will wipe the slate clean, redistrict the state and maintain the status quo insuring no woman or minority who doesn’t tow the party line is ever elected to high office. Good on you; you parochial Azzhats.

Texas Attorney General

Texas Attorney General

These were not the only decisions handed down by SCOTUS last week; these were not the only game changers. It is important we not lose sight of what else happened and how these decisions affect us.

The court weighed in on adoption and parental rights, specifically on the rights on non-custodial parents in the Indian nations. This is important as it shows money can still buy persons, even when deception is used as part of the argument. There is both case law and federal law in place to protect the Nations from loss of children through adoption placement; the court intentionally read the law to favor the couple attempting to adopt the now nearly three-year-old child. The State Court denied the adoption when the father asserted his rights originally when the child was 4 months old. It is a sad and convoluted case.5

Well so much for States Rights on this one! Proves the States only have rights when big business and big government isn’t involved. In this case, a woman was terribly harmed, her doctor admitted he hadn’t read all the possible outcomes of the medication he prescribed to her and she had the very worst. The state law, which required the pharmaceutical company to list all possible risks of any drug whether name brand or generic. Unfortunately, the state law ran counter to FDA rules and SCOTUS the ruling came down in simple terms as follows, “(a) Under the Supremacy Clause, state laws that conflict with fed­eral law are “without effect.” This ruling left a woman who is forever disabled without means of support. So much for small government, so much for STATES RIGHTS. 6

Finally, we come to the last weakening of protections for women and minorities, SCOTUS pulls more threads out of the EEOC. The court narrowed rather than broadened the definition of supervisor in this case, despite the changes in today’s workplace. The plaintiff in this case brought her complaint based on a hostile work environment, her nemesis was in a position to direct her work but not in a position to ‘hire’, ‘fire’ or affect her pay. By this definition, the conservative bench determined it was not possible for there to be created a hostile work environment and relied on the definition of ‘supervisor’. It appears now, an employer only needs to slap the hand of a bigot at work to perform their duty.

There you have it, the key cases of SCOTUS last week and how they have further eroded our nation and our protections. Despite the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions, this truly was not a good week for those of us who are not middle aged White Men who vote Republican. Between Congress and the conservative court, we are slowly but surely getting all of our protections getting kicked out from under us. Worse still, we don’t realize it and thus, we are unable to fight back.

Is this truly the nation we want to live in? Is the truly the nation we want our children to inherit?

1 Voter Rights: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-96_6k47.pdf

2 DOMA Decision: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-307_6j37.pdf

3 Prop 8 Decision: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-144_8ok0.pdf

4 Oral Arguments: http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/12-96.pdf

5 Adoption: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-399_8mj8.pdf

6 State Law vs Federal Law Disconnect: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-142_8njq.pdf

7 Weakens EEOC and Labor: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-556_11o2.pdf

C.Thomas Dissent Encourages Privacy for Sex Offenders: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-418_7k8b.pdf

DOMA Dammit

soapboxpileDOMA, The Defense of Marriage Act, signed by President William Jefferson Clinton on 21-September-1996 to protect ‘marriage’ and the government. No, Bill Clinton does not get a pass on this despite his current stand in support of Gay Marriage, despite his ‘Don’t do as I did, do as I say now.’ DOMA was then and is now an over-reach by the Federal Government based on Christian standards of marriage being between a one man and one woman, this despite there being nothing anywhere in the Bible to support this view, in fact if we want to be specific the Mormons had it right didn’t they? There are plenty of examples sprinkled throughout that tome our friends in Washington and all their little legislator whisperer’s like to point to when in doubt of marriage being between One Man and plenty of women.

Now that is today, in 2013 the social tide has shifted tremendously and the majority of the public isn’t so certain it is fair or even right to withhold Civil Rights from their fellow citizens simply because they are different. Different as in, they want to marry the same gender versus the opposite gender, nothing more or less that is really the only difference. They are now and always have been part of our society, they do now and always have paid taxes, fought in our wars, lived next door to us, had families, formed long-lasting and monogamous relationships. What they haven’t had, what we have prevented them from accessing is all the rights and privileges we take for granted, things like;

  • Rights of survivorship
  • Inheritance
  • Immigration
  • Next of kin, medical decision making and the right to visit a loved one in the hospital
  • Parenting children born in the relationship after the death of the natural parent
  • Tax benefits
  • Healthcare benefits
  • Social Security survivorship benefits
    • And a host of both private and public benefits marriage allows

All this because there are some people within our society, predominantly within the Christian

scene outside the Supreme Court day 1

scene outside the Supreme Court day 1

Evangelical Right who gained a heavy foothold in our government

and demanded their rights supersede the rights of others.  These

Christians demanded their religious standards and beliefs be written

into the law and be enforceable based on their interpretation of the

Bible. This despite the First Amendment of the Constitution, guaranteeing our individual right to be free to worship and free of a state sponsored religion.

Thus far, eight (8) Federal Courts have found section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional, this includes both the First and Second Courts of Appeals. Today was the second day of oral arguments before the Supreme Court in United States vs. Windsor. It is important to note, the Administration and the Justice Department refused to defend DOMA, John Boehner, Speaker of the House used House Rules to convene the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group and subsequently hire a private law firm to defend DOMA before SCOTUS. I suppose the GOP just can’t let go.

Nevertheless, on to my real issue, where do these idiots come from? What rocks do these azzhats crawl out from under? Really, this one is presumably educated, talented, knowledgeable and highly respected in his field. This narcissist gives me a true case of the red ass I must say. He became the darling of the right wing simply by showing he had no class, by taking the President to task in a public forum; big f’ng deal you are classless. But then, so are most of those you are attempting to emulate you fit right in.

Let me just ask how did you get through medical school and not ‘believe’ in evolution? How do you teach at Johns Hopkins and not know the most recent findings on homosexuality?

How can you a presumably educated and compassionate person say this (3:40 is relevant to this)

Never mind, I know. Because you are so steeped in your personal prejudice, your personal bias you fail to step out of your box. I do not give two plugged nickels how many surgeries you perform successfully every year. Personally? I wouldn’t allow you to attempt to put the head back on my Barbie doll.

I think SCOTUS is going to find in favor of Ms. Windsor, I think they will find section 3 unconstitutional and strike down DOMA. This will mean we still have a very long ways to go, each state will still be putting the rights of our fellow citizens to a vote but it is at least one step in the right direction.

DOMA and the government report Justice Kagan referred to in her questions yesterday: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-104hrpt664/pdf/CRPT-104hrpt664.pdf

Notions, Odds and Ends

soapboxpileIt has been a long slog through the muck. There were things left undone as my attention was diverted by both Campaign 2012 and blogging for Race 2012. I admit it, I love politics it is both an intellectual distraction and a philosophical passion, sometimes futile I admit but this time, I think we all learned a few things. Does the end of the campaign and the re-election of POTUS 44 mean I will stop bombarding you with politics?

Well no, probably not but what it does mean is I will stop blitzing you quite so much. My earlier intent to look at and compare the platforms of the two parties moving forward from 1900 to today hasn’t changed, I think this is remains an interesting subject. What about you?

The world we live in remains disrupted by stand your ground ideology on both sides of the aisle. For those of us who voted for the winning side, we can celebrate today but the heavy lifting is only just beginning. For those who voted for the opposition, I am sorry your team lost. I know you are feeling despondent even today the loss is still sinking in. The problem is we are all Americans; we have to find common ground and move our nation forward. We cannot afford to allow those we sent to Washington to set the agenda against our collective best interest.

We are not:

  • African (Black) Americans
  • Hispanic (Brown) Americans
  • Native Americans
  • Asian Americans
  • White Americans
  • Gay Americans
  • Young Americans
  • Older Americans
  • Female Americans
  • Male Americans
  • Christian Americans
  • Muslim Americans
  • Buddhist Americans
  • Mormon Americans
  • Atheist Americans
  • Deist Americans

Nor are we any other flavor of American the pollsters or for that matter, the Census Bureau can think of. We truly need to begin to think of ourselves not as special interests groups, rather simply as Americans, citizens of this nation. Do not mistake me, I fully agree we have not achieved equality and Civil Rights across the board remain elusive for many of our citizens. Some continue to believe Civil Rights should be a ballot measure, granted only if your neighbor pulls the lever and agrees you as a citizen should have the same rights they have.

This past few years has been ugly. We have seen billions of dollars poured into campaigns, dollars that could have been better spent to feed and educate children, create jobs, research new technologies or study new cures. Instead, these dollars were spent to divide the nation, spread fear and lies, clog our airways with party ideology that did nothing to move us forward, nothing to solve our nation’s very real problems. I along with others, watched in outrage and horror as SCOTUS passed Citizen United and the Super Pacs came onto the political field. My repulsion grew exponentially as gerrymandering became de rigueur and new voter laws begin to pop-up with regularity where there was no reasonable cause.

Worse still, we missed it we missed the most important SCOTUS decision possibly of the century in 2000, in Bush v. Gore while we rung our hands and whined the election had been stolen we failed to see the writing on the wall, the future of our great nation hanging in the balance with these simple words:

 “the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote.”

The state has preeminent rights, greater than individual citizens and greater than the federal government to direct voting. We, the people (remember us) do not have an affirmative right to vote in federal elections! Yes, you read that correctly. There are Constitutional Amendments, namely the 15th, 19th and 26th that prevent discrimination on the basis of Race, Gender and Age. These wonderful Amendments nevertheless do not provide an affirmative right to vote as an American Citizen, they only prevent discrimination where the State allows voting to occur.

What does this mean? Well, think of it this way, as a citizen you have the following:

  • A positive Right to own a Gun
  • A positive Right to Free Speech
  • A positive Right to Assembly and Protest
  • A positive Right to practice your Religion
  • A positive Right to Free Enterprise

You do not have the RIGHT TO VOTE. The right to vote, who will vote or how the electors to the Electoral College for your state will vote is in truth in the hands of your Governor and your Secretary of State. How do you like them apples? Everything the states did leading up to the Presidential Election of 2012, was legal. We might not have liked it. We might have recognized it for what it was and found it repugnant, but it was within the law.

What do we do now? SCOTUS said November 9th, they will hear a case on whether Congress exceeded its authority when they reauthorized the 1964 Voters Rights Act, specifically Section 5. This section requires States with a history of discrimination, gerrymandering and disenfranchising voters to submit changes to their voter laws to the Federal Government before they are enacted. Is there a correlation between the Courts decision to take this case up and the reelection of POTUS 44? The possibility certainly exists and we the people of this nation need to be watching this case along with others they have agreed to hear that quite possibly will change the will of the people as they legislate from the bench what is not the will of the people.

We have allowed this, in some cases encouraged this scourge on our national dialogue. We the people failed to see through bile being spread before us as Truth and the American Way instead we repeated it. We were sucked in. We engaged our friends and family members as if they were foes on the battlefield, all too often forgetting to dull the edge of our sharp tongues, forgetting sometimes we catch more fly’s with honey.  I am as guilty of this as many others, having had to fall on my sword more often than I can count. Having had to apologize to many I love for my acerbity.

We are a nation still divided. I am saddened by this great divide within our country. Separated not because we are really so different but rather because we have allowed those who do not have our best interest at heart to convince us we should be enemies. We have drawn lines in the sand and called them race, religion, gender, sexual orientation; what they really are the boxes others have placed for us to crawl into preventing us from getting to know our neighbors, preventing us from learning we might be friends. We have aligned behind ideologies, believing the talking points without digging down and asking questions and thus defending the indefensible. We have in fact allowed our great nation to be hijacked by two Parties the DNC and the GOP, two sides of a coin Heads I win Tails I lose, nothing in between no diplomacy, compassion or negotiation. Two sides embittered and embattled wanting nothing but power for powers sake, never mind the bodies left on the field in their wake.

Truly, is the middle so hard to find? I wonder, I do. So will I continue to write about politics, I will because I can’t help myself, it is my passion this nation of ours. It won’t be my only subject though, there are other things I think about, other passions I have.

So, for those I insulted with my acidic and barbed tongue, I hope you will forgive me. Believe me as often as I snap (I do I know despite my attempts to do otherwise) will be just that often that I will fall upon my sword and grovel for you forgiveness. My comments are never personal (well mostly never personal) and are never meant to attack anyone personally (mostly not).  

%d bloggers like this: