Posts tagged 2012
Posts tagged 2012
Mitt Romney was officially glitter bombed yesterday as he approached a stage at a Minnesota event hosted by Tim Pawlenty. Romney had GREAT day-, first he told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that he’s “not concerned about the very poor,” ( a statement he is still trying to defend ) and then he was greeted with a face full of glitter. If we could get every poor person in America to team up with every gay person in America, we could have the glitterbomb of the century and maybe even wipe out the whole damn GOP. boom!
We should throw glitter and nets.
Please stop assuming I will back Ron Paul because I’m progressive, support ending the drug war, and wish to abolish our current imperialist system of meddling in world affairs.
There’s numerous reasons to not support Paul. I’m going straight to a sampling of the legislative record.
H.R.875 - Marriage Protection Act of 2011, co-sponsored by Paul and 12 other representatives, introduced March 2, 2011.
This bill sought to amend Title 28, Chapter 99 of the US Code to read:
“No court created by Act of Congress shall have any jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court shall have no appellate jurisdiction, to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, section 1738C.”
Here’s Section 1738C:
“No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.”
That’s the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA], which is currently facing several constitutional challenges in federal court. Basically, Mr. Constitutionalist Ron Paul sponsored a bill to ban federal courts (including the Supreme Court) from having any kind of jurisdiction over constitutional review of DOMA. Eighth grade civics says differently. Remember that whole checks and balances thing?
H.R.358 - Protect Life Act, co-sponsored by Paul and 144 other representatives, introduced 1/20/2011. Passed the US House October 13, 2011.
This bill sought to ban private health insurance companies from participating in federal exchanges if the company offered coverage to women for abortion or abortion-related services as part of an insurance policy, and also states if people receive federal healthcare subsidies to purchase private insurance plans, they cannot use the subsidy to purchase private comprehensive health insurance plans that cover abortion. If a woman wanted her insurance to cover abortion, she would have to purchase a separate policy to cover abortion - basically, an abortion rider.
This bill would limit private enterprise from providing something consumers want. Seems contradictory to what a free-market denizen would advocate. But that’s not the worst part. This is:
And finally, it overrides protections for pregnant women under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. EMTALA was enacted in 1986 to ensure public access to emergency services regardless of ability to pay, including women in active labor. Under EMTALA, hospitals must stabilize a pregnant patient who, for example, is facing an emergency obstetric condition or life-threatening pregnancy and either treat her—including an emergency abortion—or if the hospital or staff objects, to transfer her to another facility that will treat her.
H.R. 358 overturns decades of precedent guaranteeing people access to lifesaving emergency care, including abortion care and says its ok that a pregnant woman fighting for her life be left to die.
Paul is an OB/GYN and knows emergencies can arise during pregnancy requiring termination, making his co-sponsorship of this bill especially shameful. Read Mikki Kendall’s Salon article, “Abortion Saved My Life”, for an example of what happens when doctors refuse to treat women.
H.R.1095 - Freedom to Bank Act, sponsored by Paul with no co-sponsors, introduced March 15, 2011
The bill’s stated purpose:
“Sunset Federal laws and regulations which treat the American people like children by denying them the opportunity to make their own decision regarding control of their bank accounts and what type of information they wish to receive from their banks.”
So what’s that mean? Well, Paul thinks “no creditor, depository institution, or credit union shall be required to provide periodic statements of account to any customer.” Your bank would no longer be required to provide account statements or other information about investments or accounts unless you specifically know to ask for it.
Do I even need to go into how bad this idea truly is?
H.R.2040 - National Right-to-Work Act, co-sponsored by Paul and 71 other representatives, introduced May 26, 2011
Right to work is one of those warm and fuzzy newspeak names for something quite terrible. Here’s information on right to work states:
- The average worker in a right to work state makes about $5,333 a year less than workers in other states ($35,500 compared with $30,167).
- Weekly wages are $72 greater in free-bargaining states than in right to work states ($621 versus $549).
- 21 percent more people lack health insurance in right to work states compared to free-bargaining states.
- Maximum weekly worker compensation benefits are $30 higher in free states ($609 versus $579 in right to work states.
- According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of workplace deaths is 51 percent higher in states with right to work, where unions can’t speak up on behalf of workers.
Oh, and my own state of Wyoming is a right to work state. Currently, Wyoming has the highest wage gap of any state, and is one of the deadliest places to work in the nation. Ron Paul thinks it would be super cool if we enacted a policy that contributed to these conditions nationwide. Because freedom.
H.R.1830 - To authorize the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products that are packaged for direct human consumption, sponsored by Ron Paul and three co-sponsored, introduced May 11, 2011
Wasn’t the milk pasteurization question settled awhile ago? Anyhow, Paul believes “a Federal department, agency, or court may not take any action (such as administrative, civil, criminal, or other actions) that would prohibit, interfere with, regulate, or otherwise restrict the interstate traffic of milk, or a milk product, that is unpasteurized and packaged for direct human consumption.” In other words, selling unpasteurized milk is a-OK because Salmonella, Listeria, Q-fever, and E.coli are just the risks you take in a free society.
H.R.1164 - National Language Act of 2011, co-sponsored by Paul and 22 other representatives, introduced March 17, 2011
This bill would declare the official language of the US to be English. It would require all government business be transacted in English, and further state that “no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English.” Income tax forms would no longer be available in Spanish or any other language, nor information on government programs or benefits. This would even include information on joining the military and could potentially include the right to an interpreter when arrested or conducting business in the courts, i.e. divorce.
Further, this would affect voting rights by repealing Section 1973AA–1A of the Voting Rights Act of 1965:
The Congress finds that, through the use of various practices and procedures, citizens of language minorities have been effectively excluded from participation in the electoral process. Among other factors, the denial of the right to vote of such minority group citizens is ordinarily directly related to the unequal educational opportunities afforded them resulting in high illiteracy and low voting participation.
The Congress declares that, in order to enforce the guarantees of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the United States Constitution, it is necessary to eliminate such discrimination by prohibiting these practices, and by prescribing other remedial devices.
A covered State or political subdivision for the purposes of this subsection if the Director of the Census determines:
- That more than 5 percent of the citizens of voting age of such State or political subdivision are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient
- More than 10,000 of the citizens of voting age of such political subdivision are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient
- Or in the case of a political subdivision that contains all or any part of an Indian reservation, more than 5 percent of the American Indian or Alaska Native citizens of voting age within the Indian reservation are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient
- And the illiteracy rate of the citizens in the language minority as a group is higher than the national illiteracy rate.
This bill will prevent people from voting. Period. And don’t give me any whining about voters who are not proficient in English don’t know anything about the candidates, issues, etc… First off, do you think native English speakers are well-informed? Second, even his supporters recognize the need for campaign materials in a language other than English. Check out Vota Ron Paul and this thread on the Ron Paul Forums. A few quotes:
- From California: Los Angeles County has (before redistricting) 18 Congressional Districts. Spanish is heavily spoken (and advertised). It would be helpful to us here in the third world, if the campaign would create a slim jim in Spanish. It would be great if the campaign could provide an official translation. Without Spanish materials, we are limited in who we can recruit.
- From Wyoming: I am also interested in spanish campaign materials…there is a large population here…let no stone go unturned…
- From Pennsylvania: This would be about as well recieved in the GOP primary as putting out official campaign materials to promote an end to the war on drugs. It’s probably something best handled at the grassroots level.
So there you have it, Ron Paul fans. Ron Paul is more concerned about my right to drink unpasteurized milk than whether I would potentially die after being denied life-saving care based on a doctor’s religious conviction. He’s more concerned that my bank not be forced to provide me a bank statement than if the Defense of Marriage Act violates the constitution he claims to live and breathe. This is just from 2011 - and what I could turn up in 60 minutes. Don’t prod me to make a weekend of it.
P.S.: Check out the Family Protection Act from 1980, sponsored by Ron Paul with no co-sponsors. I did. And I was disgusted. The act provides no federal penalty or implementation of guidelines “for determining whether a private school has forfeited its tax-exempt status by the adoption of racially discriminatory policies.”
Emphasis mine. Lets make it our year guys.
*A side note about the term “coming out” being used by atheists. A few months back I watched an argument got back and forth with the claim made that atheists were stealing it from the LGBT community. When I publicly declared my atheism, a good friend posted Diana Ross’ I’m Coming out on my Facebook page. Not wanting to be insensitive in using the term, I asked him what he thought about what was going on here on tumblr. He said it was ridiculous. He reminded me that the “closet” had always existed as a place for hiding secrets long before it was associated with the gay community. He said that’s where people always hid their “skeletons”, be it an crime committed or other secrets. He was not offended by atheist using it, nor was his husband. They were the ones that reminded me that most people considered it worse for you to be an atheist than being gay. We have plenty of reasons to stay hidden in America. ~ Kim
“Coming out” now may be a clichéd term, but as the “We Are Atheism” project has shown, it hasn’t entirely lost its currency. The new organization encourages others to be open about their atheism, an act that is more than a confession; it holds the real risk of losing family and friends.
By affirming “it’s OK to be an atheist” and encouraging video testimony from those who have already made the journey out into the open, “We Are Atheism” hopes to help others do the same. There are, however, serious hurdles for the no-longer-closeted to overcome.
According to the recent Public Religion Research Institute’s “2011 American Values Survey,” 67 percent of Americans are “somewhat uncomfortable” with the idea of an atheist as president, with 48 percent being “very uncomfortable.” Muslims fare better here than atheists, and in the current political climate, that’s saying something.
Even more shocking, a recent study by the University of British Columbia showed that when it comes to trust and atheism, “only rapists were distrusted to a comparable degree.”
Being an open atheist, then, is a path toward marginalization.
I am certain there are religious people in my own community and elsewhere who welcome these numbers, but I suggest three reasons to reconsider that reaction and to resist the urge to silence the atheist voice. Underlying each of these points is The Golden Rule: to treat others as you would have them treat you.
Firstly, open atheism not only helps the religious understand “the other,” but it is also a tool for understanding oneself. Atheism may not be a religion, but the life of an atheist is often birthed within the walls of the religious. For many atheists, part of the path to disbelief is not only the conclusion that there is no evidence for God, but also the experience of being among those who have given them little reason to reconsider. In other words, if you want to understand why people leave religious communities, either for rational or experiential reasons, then dialogue with an atheist is essential.
This was evident to me the first time one of my graduate religion students interviewed an atheist for a class assignment that I’ve dubbed the “Listening to Others Interview Project.” He expected his interviewee, a non-theist, to be morally problematic; his paper was clear on this and I suppose this placed him within the 67 percent mentioned above. What he discovered, however, was someone whose sense of right and wrong was not all that far from his — someone who also operated out of The Golden Rule. The student not only gained a fresh perspective on why someone would choose atheism, but also a window into his own soul and presuppositions.
Next, consider the social consequences when one forces the atheist into silence.Spend some time in the forums of Think Atheist, for example, and one can get a good look into the concerns of real people who are trying to understand how, after coming out, they can salvage relationships with friends and family who have ostracized them. They often feel severed from those closest to them.
Maintaining relationships is not the problem of the atheist alone; religious family and friends can set that tone as well. We should enable positive contributions from members of our families or communities; we should not marginalize those whose crime is honesty. If the shoe was on the other foot, how would you like to be treated?
Lastly, inviting atheists into the open is an investment in the future, which currently appears to be a world of religious decline. Admittedly, this last one is the most selfish use of the Golden Rule. If there is anything the history of Christianity has taught me, it is that suppressing other voices never works. Christianity began as a small, marginalized group oppressed by other religious systems that were supported by the empire, but eventually was transformed into the religion of the empire under Constantine. The tide can, and usually does, change.
Under Henry VIII, for example, closeted Protestant reformers like Thomas Cranmer eventually established the Church of England. The next chapter in that story involved the new Protestant majority pushing — sometimes violently — other Protestant and Catholic communities to the margins, until eventually toleration had to be legalized to maintain a stable society.
Today, polls seem to indicate that tight controls on religious belief eventually give way to a society with God-fatigue. The “British Social Attitudes Survey” published in 2011 shows those who describe themselves as “non-religious” rose from 31 percent in 1983 to 51 percent by 2009. And a poll of England and Wales released earlier this year shows that 48 percent (less than half) of those who accepted the label “Christian” actually believed that “Jesus Christ was a real person who died and came back to life and was the son of God.”
Surveys in the United States are indicating a similar future. The Barna Group’s survey released in August 2011, for example, showed an 11 percentage point decrease in church attendance in America by women—-historically considered the pillar of attendance for religious services. “You can’t force someone to be a Christian, only a hypocrite,” the Protestant missionary William Carey once said. Perhaps many are no longer able to live as hypocrites. And why should religious people want them to?
Maybe I’m too much of a realist, but resisting the future is not as valuable as accepting and working with the present. A Gallup poll tracking survey of 2011 shows that 15 percent of Americans identify themselves in the category of “none/atheist/agnostic” on the question of religion, compared to 23.6 percent who identify themselves as Catholic, a population considered large in the United States. As Gallup puts it, their “methods of measuring religious identity have changed over the decades, but one major trend that is clear from Gallup’s and other organizations’ surveys is the increase in the percentage of Americans who do not have a formal religious identity. Some 60 years ago, in 1951, for example, just 1% of Americans in Gallup surveys said they didn’t have a religious identity.”
What could 2012 hold for atheism? Could these numbers soon surpass those of Catholic Christians?
If religious folks need a selfish reason to accept their atheist neighbors, consider this: it may not be too long before the shoe is on the other foot and the religious minority will be the ones hoping for a place at the social table. What I can say for sure is that inviting atheists to be open and engaging them as valuable neighbors is not only best for all involved, but also, simply, a better practice of The Golden Rule. Don’t suppress the voice of others if you do not want them to suppress yours.
Your “Yes, really” of the day.
Is he even still a serious candidate or…?
A top Bank of America executive was caught on camera yesterday whispering to Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), “Bank of America. We’ll help you out,” as the GOP presidential candidate attended New Hampshire’s Politics and Eggs breakfast. The executive has been identified by the financial website Zero Hedge as James Mahoney, Director of Public Policy for the bank. Mahoney is on the board of directors for the New England Council, the sponsors of the Politics and Eggs breakfast.
Over the years Gov. Perry has benefited greatly from Bank of America’s financial support, and it appears that largesse will continue as he seeks the presidency on a platform of — coincidentally enough — bank deregulation. His gubernatorial campaigns have received $125,900 from Bank of America’s PAC and executives since 2003. During the 2010 cycle alone, Perry’s campaign received $30,160 from the bank’s PAC and executives. According to Texans for Public Justice, Bank of America has also given generously Republican Governors Association, which Perry led until recently and just happens to be his largest donor, contributing $4 million between 2001 and 2010.
Oh, I’m sure they’ll help him out just fine. Let’s not forget, some of Obama’s biggest donors also were from the financial sector/Wall St.
Americans have a long, proud history of adopting titles that they didn’t earn. Think Dr. Pepper, Doctor Octagon, and Dr. Laura. You can add Michele Bachmann to that list. As Tim Murphy reports, the Minnesota congresswoman spent five years touring the state in the late ’90s and early ’00s under the name “Dr. Michele Bachmann”—although she never obtained nor sought a Ph.D.
Yep, she’s not a congresswoman but she plays one on TV, too.
Minnesota, back me up here, bros. What has she done for you lately? Or ever?
I mean besides embarrass you; that much is obvious.