Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Some Dixieland Jazz and a Great Trombone Solo, Holland Style...

Open Thread...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

I happened to run across the following list while surfing the net this afternoon. So, being in an inquisitive mind stopped to read it and give a few moments thought to each and every one of the twenty five items. Can't say I agree in total but there is much that I do.

Given the current mood of the combined GOP, particularly the tea party, neo con, and religious fundamentalist wing I thought it would be fun to run this post without comment moderation for a day. Perhaps thoughtful, reasonable, intelligent, and rational republicans will stop by and posit intelligent comments as to why they disagree (or agree) with certain or all items on the list.

Have fun and please keep it clean...

25 Reasons Why I’m Thankful That I’m Not a Republican (in no particular order):
  1. I respect the civil rights of all Americans, not just those I choose to agree with.
  2. I understand basic economics that consumer demand creates jobs, not tax breaks.
  3. I know that while mental health does play a part in gun violence, guns are still part of the problem.
  4. I understand that science isn’t some form of liberal magic trick.
  5. I know that women deserve the same rights in the workplace (and everywhere for that matter — see #1) as men.
  6. I know that racism isn’t natural, it’s a learned behavior — and skin color says nothing about the content of ones character.
  7. It doesn’t matter if John wants to marry Jane or Jake, it’s none of my business.
  8. I know Christianity is about hope, love and compassion—not fear, hate and judgement.
  9. When someone needs help, I ask “What can I do?” not “Why?”
  10. Health care is a right, not a privilege.  Our ability to live healthier lives shouldn’t be determined by how much we can afford.
  11. I understand capitalism can create great things, but it can also destroy them without proper regulations and oversight.
  12. I don’t believe that “freedom of religion” means the freedom to force Christianity on every American.
  13. I believe diplomacy should be attempted before war.
  14. I understand the the government is extremely flawed—but it’s not the enemy.
  15. Our right to vote should be made easier, not more difficult.
  16. I believe being “pro-life” means supporting all life, not just a fetus before it’s born.
  17. Women should determine what they do with their own bodies, not the government.
  18. A higher education shouldn’t just be for those who can afford it.
  19. I believe in actual history, not the version I wished was real.
  20. I understand that we’re not all created equal and some of us need more help than others.
  21. I know that there are people who abuse our welfare programs, but that doesn’t make all people on welfare lazy moochers.
  22. I believe teachers, fire fighters and police officers are heroes–not overpaid government employees.
  23. I feel that unions protect workers rights, they don’t inhibit them.
  24. I know climate change is real, and it’s caused by man—not God’s wrath over legalizing same-sex marriage.
  25. I believe education is an asset, not a tool for liberal indoctrination.


Monday, September 28, 2015

A Less Secure and Shrinking Middle Class...

If Western countries want to disprove the dire forecasts of Karl Marx, we must think creatively about how to make the middle class more prosperous and secure

Capitalism is arguably the economic system that has created opportunity for millions, created the greatest wealth of any economic system devised, created the largest middle class ever known to humankind, and improved the quality of life for millions. Even Karl Marx acknowledged that capitalism was the most productive and best economic force (system)designed up his time in history.

Marx also realized that unless the power of capitalism was harnessed and driven to provide growth, security, and benefits for the society as a whole (think successful and growing middle class)at some point in the history of capitalism it would collapse, a result of its own blindness. In other words if capitalism was driven by greed, its focus being to create enormous wealth for the benefit of a miniscule percentage of society, while keeping wages and benefits for everyone else as small as possible, eventually the social and economic upheaval would result in the collapse of capitalism.

Those who are capable of, and willing to move beyond the paradigms they have accepted for years about capitalism, including the false claims of trickle down economic theory, (actually where I was at for some time), and expand their thought process as Marx was able to do in the mid to late 1800's they will see the danger inherent in capitalism because of human motivations and their accompanying behaviors.

The following article was printed in The Wall Street Journal. It is timely and touches on many valid points.

For capitalism to remain a force for growth and wealth creation it must also provide economic opportunity that leads to eventual security that insures social stability for a much larger segment of the population. Really, the health of capitalism depends on a thriving middle class.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Rightwing Absurdity Continues To Grow...

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Purveyor of Truth

Pope = Christian, Catholic, Democratic Socialist.

His positions against intolerance, greed, polarization, lack of concern for the planets eco system, and income disparity does not threaten an enlightened capitalism. But capitalism continued on its present trajectory certainly poses a threat to itself.

Reading conservative commentary and listening to conservative rhetoric, as well as reading fringe rightwing weblogs that have been trashing Pope Francis for being, in their myopic view a Marxist and a commie, has convinced that there are indeed large numbers on the right who have lost their ability to think and reason. It is impossible for the thinking women and man to gasp the thought process of those folks because of the absurdity of it all.

Another reasoned commentary on this subject can be found HERE.


For an example CHECK THIS OUT.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Cruz At It Again...

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Purveyor of Truth

THE HILL - Sen. Ted Cruz is gearing up for another showdown with Republican leaders in Congress.

The presidential candidate, a conservative Republican from Texas, is deploying arguments similar to those he used two years ago in rallying Tea Party lawmakers to block a government funding measure. Back then, the focus was on
ObamaCare. Now, it’s on Planned Parenthood.

Cruz has invited House conservatives to meet in his Dirksen Building office while ratcheting up criticism of GOP leaders in recent days.
Cruz’s message is simple and a repeat of 2013’s: President Obama and the Democrats will deserve blame for a shutdown, not Republicans.

“President Obama’s position is that if Congress funds 100 percent government that he will nonetheless veto funding for the government, unless Congress also gives $500 million to Planned Parenthood,” Cruz told reporters, noting the group is not part of the government and under investigation. “That is a radical and extreme proposition.”

On Tuesday he accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) of capitulation after news broke they planned to move a spending bill stripped of language that would defund the family planning group, which has been engulfed in controversy since the release of undercover (selected editing of emphasis mine) videos detailing its fetal tissue program.

“Republican leadership’s position has been, in effect, to surrender across the board,” he said in a fiery floor speech.

He is urging colleagues to use the expiration of government funding as leverage.

While Cruz and others may choose to believe the electorate will place the blame for a government shutdown on the Democrats and Obama the opposite is quite true. Of course we all know the tea party conservatives never the truth get in the way of it's agenda.

Read the rest BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum

What Goes Around Comes Around...

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Media-ite - The media world was waiting for it and Donald Trump delivered Wednesday night, performing his now nightly Twitter assault on Fox News after announcing his boycott of the network earlier in the day.

This time, the GOP frontrunner’s outrage came after the National Review’s Rich Lowry suggested that Carly Fiorina “cut [Trump’s] balls off with the precision of a surgeon” at the CNN Republican debate, much to host Megyn Kelly’s shock. “You can’t say that,” Kelly said. For once, she and Trump agreed.

Look at Donnie, his feelings are hurt. Must be awfully hard for Donnie to face the truth of the matter. What a joke Donnie is. Nothing more than a narcissistic bullying fat as* demagogue and when someone speaks precisely what millions are thinking he gets himself all pissed off and expects an appology. Donnie had it coming and it's about time he got it.

Let the truth be told about Domnie and to hell with political correctness. Right Donnie ole boy?

Read the Trumpster's tweets BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeoranmdum

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Donald Whining Again...

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Purveyor of Truth

POLITICO - The on-again, off-again feud of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump with the media has taken another turn.

Trump, in a tweet, announced that he “won't be doing any more Fox shows for the foreseeable future," as the channel “has been treating me very unfairly.”

Once again we witness the whining narcissist in action. Crying about not being treated fairly. Golly gee Donnie ole boy, just know that no sane person really gives a damn because you're fragile feelings are hurt.


In a statement, a Fox News spokesperson said that Trump's tweet was sent after the channel canceled his appearance on O'Reilly's show.

"At 11:45am today, we canceled Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance on The O’Reilly Factor on Thursday, which resulted in Mr. Trump’s subsequent tweet about his ‘boycott’ of FOX News," the statement reads. "The press predictably jumped to cover his tweet, creating yet another distraction from any real issues that Mr. Trump might be questioned about. When coverage doesn’t go his way, he engages in personal attacks on our anchors and hosts, which has grown stale and tiresome. He doesn’t seem to grasp that candidates telling journalists what to ask is not how the media works in this country.”

Hey Donnie ole boy, there is an old saying, If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. Looks like maybe it's time for you to do just that.


Trump is known to regularly watch cable news, and takes critical comments of his policies or persona very personally. He previously engaged in a tiff with Fox following its GOP debate, in which moderator Megyn Kelly asked Trump about his views on women. Trump took the question as a personal attack, and relentlessly criticized Kelly on Twitter and in interviews elsewhere.

In this situation, as in all other similar one Donnie resorts to his usual whining and or bullying. Hey Donnie ole boy, what goes around generally comes around.


Trump has previously accused CNN, NBC News and a number of other outlets of not being fair to him, though that has not necessarily stopped him from appearing on their programming.

My gosh! What a surprise eh?

Via: Memeorandum

Monday, September 21, 2015

Conservative Ignorance...

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Purveyor of Truth

This found on one of the Right Wing's most degusting gutter weblogs.

Reporting On The GOP Clown Car Positions...

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Purveyor of Truth

Monday Evening Wacko Roundup.

Despite backlash, Ben Carson is not backing down from his opposition to a Muslim president

Marco Rubio: Women Being ‘Pushed’ Into Abortions For Fetal Tissue Profits

'I'm One of You': Donald Trump Vows to Protect Christians, Religious Liberty

First Read: Trump's Negative Impact on the GOP Race

Governor Huckabee Demagoguing It Again...

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Purveyor of Truth

Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said on Monday that President Obama's administration is "the most anti-Christian in American history," according to The Iowa Statesman.

Huckabee was upset over Obama inviting transgender activists and the first openly gay Episcopal bishop to the welcoming ceremony for the pope at the White House. The Vatican criticized the invitations and said that photographs of the pope and these individuals might suggest approval of their decisions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Huckabee called Obama's decision a "politicized cattle call" in his statement.

“President Obama’s classless decision to transform Pope Francis’ visit to the White House into a politicized cattle call for gay and pro-abortion activists is an insult to millions of Catholics," according to the statement. "Why is it that Obama goes to extremes to accommodate Muslim terrorists but shows nothing but disdain for Christians? This is a new low for an administration that will go down as the most anti-Christian in American history.”

In the jaundiced eyes of Governor Huckleberry, oops so sorry, I meant Governor Huckabee, apparently not all of "God's" creatures are deserving of the same respect, dignity, and understanding afforded by "God" to proper straight Christians.

It certainly reaffirms, at least in my thought process, that an atheistic humanist view is far superior (as well as more rational) to the mystical human created sky god that according to religionists would discriminate against and even punish some of her or his own creations.

Via: Memeorandum

Is Climate Change Real? Or Just a Delusion Created By Liberals?...

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Purveyor of Truth

At one time being a skeptic of climate change (global warming) is what seemed to be a reasonable position. It even sounded plausible to me that left leaning scientists (most are for explainable logical reasons) were in cahoots with left leaning politicians who saw climate change as an avenue to enact legislation (cap and trade) and an pathway to exact more taxes on business. Taxes which could be used to fill the coffers of government so government could spend more on social programs that may ultimately lead to greater dependendency on government.

Sound familiar?

At this juncture in my thought process (aided by evaluating factual data) the narrative now seems more geared to preserving the bottom line profit motivation of companies whose business it is to grow exceedingly wealthy by exploiting and expanding fossil fuel consumption. Of course my re-evaluation has been an evolving process over time. But given the following (which certainly supports my new found premise) continuing skepticism just seems like the elixir of the fool.

The New Yorker - Wednesday morning, journalists at InsideClimate News, a Web site that has won the Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on oil spills, published the first installment of a multi-part exposé that will be appearing over the next month. The documents they have compiled and the interviews they have conducted with retired employees and officials show that, as early as 1977, Exxon (now ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest oil companies) knew that its main product would heat up the planet disastrously. This did not prevent the company from then spending decades helping to organize the campaigns of disinformation and denial that have slowed—perhaps fatally—the planet’s response to global warming.

There’s a sense, of course, in which one already assumed that this was the case. Everyone who’s been paying attention has known about climate change for decades now. But it turns out Exxon didn’t just “know” about climate change: it conducted some of the original research. In the nineteen-seventies and eighties, the company employed top scientists who worked side by side with university researchers and the Department of Energy, even outfitting one of the company’s tankers with special sensors and sending it on a cruise to gather CO2 readings over the ocean. By 1977, an Exxon senior scientist named James Black was, according to his own notes, able to tell the company’s management committee that there was “general scientific agreement” that what was then called the greenhouse effect was most likely caused by man-made CO2; a year later, speaking to an even wider audience inside the company, he said that research indicated that if we doubled the amount of carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere, we would increase temperatures two to three degrees Celsius. That’s just about where the scientific consensus lies to this day. “Present thinking,” Black wrote in summary, “holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.”

Those numbers were about right, too. It was precisely ten years later—after a decade in which Exxon scientists continued to do systematic climate research that showed, as one internal report put it, that stopping “global warming would require major reductions in fossil fuel combustion”—that NASA scientist James Hansen took climate change to the broader public, telling a congressional hearing, in June of 1988, that the planet was already warming. And how did Exxon respond? By saying that its own independent research supported Hansen’s findings? By changing the company’s focus to renewable technology?

That didn’t happen. Exxon responded, instead, by helping to set up or fund extreme climate-denial campaigns. (In a blog post responding to the I.C.N. report, the company said that the documents were “cherry-picked” to “distort our history of pioneering climate science research” and efforts to reduce emissions.) The company worked with veterans of the tobacco industry to try and infuse the climate debate with doubt. Lee Raymond, who became the Exxon C.E.O. in 1993—and was a senior executive throughout the decade that Exxon had studied climate science—gave a key speech to a group of Chinese leaders and oil industry executives in 1997, on the eve of treaty negotiations in Kyoto. He told them that the globe was cooling, and that government action to limit carbon emissions “defies common sense.” In recent years, it’s gotten so hot (InsideClimate’s exposé coincided with the release of data showing that this past summer was the United States’ hottest in recorded history) that there’s no use denying it any more; Raymond’s successor, Rex Tillerson, has grudgingly accepted climate change as real, but has referred to it as an “engineering problem.” In May, at a shareholders’ meeting, he mocked renewable energy, and said that “mankind has this enormous capacity to deal with adversity,” which would stand it in good stead in the case of “inclement weather” that “may or may not be induced by climate change.”

The influence of the oil industry is essentially undiminished, even now. The Obama Administration may have stood up to Big Coal, but the richer Big Oil got permission this summer to drill in the Arctic; Washington may soon grant the rights for offshore drilling along the Atlantic seaboard, and end a longstanding ban on oil exports. All these measures help drive the flow of carbon into the atmosphere—the flow of carbon that Exxon knew almost forty years ago would likely be disastrous.

We’ve gotten so inured to this kind of corporate power that the report in InsideClimate News received relatively little coverage. The big news of the day on social media came from Irving, Texas, where the police handcuffed a young Muslim boy for taking his homemade alarm clock to school; all day people tweeted #IStandWithAhmed, and rightly so. It’s wondrous to see the power of an Internet-enabled world shining the light on particular (and in this case telling) injustice; there’s a principal and a police chief in Irving that will likely think differently next time. But we badly need the same kind of focus on the long-lasting, underlying abuses of corporate might. As it happens, Exxon is based in Irving, Texas too.

No doubt the rightwing corporatists, and politicians who are getting well greased by corporate money, will deny this and point to it as just another leftwing lie and attempt to manipulate the perception of the general public. These folks know a great deal about manipulation. They've been doing it for decades.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Helping To Make America Great Again...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

To the reasonable, rational, and concerned republican and GOP party members.

Dump Trump
America's Biggest Narcissist,
Demagogue, and Bigot 
Make America Great Again!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Run Joe Run!...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

With the growing interest in a Biden run it is apparent that the once presumable shoo-in to the democratic nomination has failed to ignite the kind of enthusiasm that will likely be needed to insure a democratic victory in November 2016. As the reasons for this are rather obvious there seems no need to point them out.

With HRC at 46%, Sanders at 27%, and the yet unannounced Biden at 16% there is the possibly that if Biden announces he would draw a sizable number of tepid HCR supporters away from the ex Secretary of State and he and Sanders would occupy the 1&2 slots. This would be a very positive development. A contest between two individuals who are genuine and unabashedly so. As opposed to HRC who is aloof, has questionable integrity, and really is a very unlikable person.

Imagine a head to head with Sanders and Biden down the finish line! Sanders would push a conversation that needs to occur and the more moderate Biden would have to respond, in which case the democratic voters would be faced with a real choice in the primaries. Should Sanders take the nomination that important conversation would be taken to the moribund GOP who has yet to understand a changing world.

I for one would relish this scenario.

Reuters - A group of prominent Democratic Party fundraisers on Friday began circulating a letter to encourage a hesitant Vice President Joe Biden to enter the 2016 race for U.S. president.

The letter, signed by nearly 50 people, calls the Obama-Biden administration a "spectacular success." It cites job creation, a lower unemployment rate, new health insurance policies for nearly 9 million Americans and the end of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"To finish the job, America needs a leader who is respected both home and abroad, and who understands the real challenges facing American families. In our opinion, the next president must be Joe Biden. If he announces he’s running, we’re all in. It’s a campaign we know he will win," the letter says.

The signers are donors, Democratic activists and friends of Biden who have yet to throw their full support behind Hillary Clinton, the presumptive front-runner for the Democratic nomination to the November 2016 election. Their call is the most provocative yet for Biden to take her on and suggests a broad network backing the vice president is beginning to take shape.

The letter makes no mention of Clinton.

John Maa, a member of the Democratic National Committee’s national finance committee who is among the signers, said he was contacted this week by another finance committee member to see if he would support Biden financially.

Maa replied he would be happy to raise funds for Biden but that donors were becoming impatient. “Time is precious,” Maa said.

“I know many people who will gladly contribute, and I will absolutely try to organize,” he said.


Jon Cooper, the finance chairman of Draft Biden, a political action committee formed to advocate for Biden's entry into the race, said Biden has further support.

"For everyone who signed that letter, there are at least one or two more ready to commit to him the moment he says he's running," said Cooper, a Long Island, New York, businessman who raised funds for President Barack Obama's reelection campaign in 2012.


"Obviously, the race may be shaping up not as some people have expected and obviously Secretary Clinton has had some real issues with her campaign," said Asher, chief executive officer of William Hill US, a betting and gaming company in Las Vegas. "But you know I’m not a supporter of Joe Biden because I’m anything other than thinking that he’s the guy, the best person for the job."

Mary Lyndon Haviland, a global health consultant from Lyme, Connecticut, called Clinton an "amazing leader" but said she doesn't connect with "everyday" Americans.

"Right now, I remain concerned that even some of her greatest supporters find it hard to find enthusiasm for the election," Haviland said.


In a five-day rolling Reuters/Ipsos poll ending on Sept. 15, 46 percent of respondents favored Clinton for the Democratic nomination, versus 27 percent for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Biden received 16 percent despite not being a declared candidate. The poll had a credibility interval of 4.7 percent.

Via: Memeorandum

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Polls Show GOP Would Be Held Responsible If They Cause a Government Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood Defunding...

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Purveyor of Truth

The Hill - House GOP leaders are trying to convince their rank and file it would be a bad move to risk a government shutdown over blocking funding for Planned Parenthood.

At a closed-door conference meeting on Thursday morning, leadership presented their members with polling data from the House GOP's campaign arm showing Republicans would be blamed for a government shutdown.

“They showed us some polling data about shutdown versus defunding Planned Parenthood and obviously showing in their opinion that it would be a political bad move,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), a conservative who has pledged not to vote for Planned Parenthood funds.
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), another conservative who wants to defund Planned Parenthood through a government-funding bill, also said GOP leaders think the data showed Republicans would be responsible.

“They’re trying to let us know that if we submit a bill to the president that defunds Planned Parenthood and he says he’s going to veto that, that we’ll be blamed for a shutdown and that the American public doesn’t support that,” Salmon told reporters.

As the controversy swirling around Planned Parenthood is largely a manufactured and bogus claim, which a majority of the American public realizes, the GOP position is most assuredly not going to go away. The American electorate will remember the GOP push to defund an organization that does many very good things in the pursuit of women's health and reproductive issues.

Via: Memeorandum

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Trump, The Media Created Candidate...

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Purveyor of Truth

It is apparent the media, in this instance CNN, is a prime promoter of the narcissist and demagogue that is Trump. There certainly are far more qualified (and serious) republican candidates than Donald Trump yet none come even close to the exposure given the Donald.

When the GOP candidates assemble on CNN's stage Wednesday night, they will be appearing on a network that has virtually ignored most of them, while spending vast amounts of time covering the now-frontrunner, businessman Donald Trump.


To put that in perspective, Trump’s 580 minutes of coverage averages out to more than 25 percent of total programming for the ten days analyzed (after you subtract commercials, each hour-long broadcast takes up roughly 45 minutes). This study looked at prime time (7pm through 11 pm) weekday news coverage on CNN for the two week period from August 24 to September 4, including Erin Burnett OutFront, Anderson Cooper 360 and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (the 9pm hour was either a second hour of CNN Tonight or a second hour of AC360, depending on the day). Three Trump campaign events were broadcast in their entirety during these two weeks, not including replays of press conferences that had already occurred. No press conferences for any of the other 16 candidates were broadcast. CNN even bumped its own special commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to cover a Trump press conference in Iowa.

This CNN coverage mirrored the campaign coverage on the broadcast networks. During the same time frame, the evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC spent almost 75 percent of the total campaign coverage on Trump...

Rather than a balanced exposure, with the purpose of giving serious GOP candidates that actually have serious ideas reasonable exposure the media has chosen to focus most of their time on the CLOWN thereby fueling the Trump Circus Act.

Full article BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

If You Care About Your Country Consider This...

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Purveyor of Truth

What follows is highly worth reading, re-reading, and then examining closely the words of 2016 democratic presidential Bernie Sanders. There is much truth in his words and regardless of ones political affiliation truth is truth. Our nation at some point must come to grips with the issues he highlights. In a rational political environment a frank, honest, and open discussion including all political parties would be had and decisions would be made to address the growing threats to the nations social well being. Unfortunately, and to our countries great detriment, rather than having the needed discussion and working together to truly make our nation great again battle lines are already drawn and one party and movement in particular has no interest in resolving these issues and again creating a great middle class explosion.

U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders
Sept. 14, 2015
Lynchburg, Virginia

Thank you very much for inviting me to be with you today.

You know, and I know, that the views that many of you here at Liberty University hold are very different than mine – whether those issues relate to women’s rights, gay rights and other issues. That’s no secret.

I came here today because I believe that it is important for those with different views in our country to engage in civil discourse – not just to shout at each other or make fun of each other. It is very easy for those in politics to talk to those who agree with us – and I do that every day. It is harder, but not less important, to try and communicate with those who do not agree with us and see where, if possible, we can find common ground. In other words, to reach out of our zone of comfort.

Liberty University is a religious school. It is a school which tries to understand the meaning of morality and the words of the Bible, within the context of a very complicated modern world. It is a school which tries to teach its students how to behave with decency and honesty and how to best relate to their fellow human beings. I applaud those goals.

So let me take a few moments to tell you what motivates me in the work that I do as a public servant and as an elected official. I am far, far from perfect human being but I am motivated by a vision which exists in all of the great religions –Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and others – and which is so beautifully and clearly stated in Matthew 7:12. “So in everything, do to others what you would have them to do to you, for this sums up the Law and the prophets.” The Golden Rule. Do to others what you would have them do to you. Not very complicated.

Let me be very frank. I understand that issues such as abortion and gay marriage are very important to you, and that we disagree on those issues. I get that. But let me respectfully suggest that there are other issues out there that are of enormous consequence to our country and the world and that maybe, just maybe, we don’t disagree on them. And maybe, just maybe, we can work together in trying to resolve them.

Amos 5:24; “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

Justice. Treating others the way we would like to be treated. Treating all people with dignity and respect.

It would, I think, be hard for anyone in this room to make the case that the United States today is a “just” society or anything resembling a just society.

In America today there is massive injustice in terms of income and wealth inequality. Injustice is rampant. We live in the wealthiest country in the history of the world but most Americans don’t know that because almost all of that wealth and income is going to the top 1 percent. We are living at a time where a handful of people have wealth beyond comprehension – huge yachts, jet planes, tens of billions of dollars, more money that they could spend in a thousand life-times, while, at the same time, millions of people are struggling to feed their families or put a roof over their heads or find the money to go to a doctor.

When we talk about morality and when we talk about justice we have to understand that there is no justice when the top one-tenth of 1 percent own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. There is no justice when all over this country people are working long hours for abysmally low wages, $7.25 an hour, $8 an hour, while 58 percent of all new income being created today goes to the top 1 percent.

There is no justice when, in recent years, we have seen a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires while, at the same time, the United States has the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world. How can we talk about morality when we turn our backs on the children of this country? Twenty percent of the children in this country live in poverty and that includes 40 percent of African-American children. There is no justice when, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, children in our country go to bed hungry.

There is no justice when the 15 wealthiest people in this country in the last two years saw their wealth increase by $170 billion dollars. That is more wealth, acquired in a two-year period, than is owned by the bottom 130 million Americans. And while the very rich become much richer, millions of families have no savings at all and struggle every week just to stay alive economically, and the elderly and disabled wonder how they stay warm in the winter. That is not justice. That is a rigged economy designed by the wealthiest people in this country to benefit the wealthiest people in this country at the expense of everyone else.

There is no justice when thousands of people in America die each year because they don’t have health insurance and don’t get to a doctor when they should, or when elderly people are forced to choose between food or medicine because our citizens pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. That is not justice. That is not morality. That is simply an indication that we are the only major country on earth which does not guarantee health care for all as a right.

There is no justice when low-income and working-class mothers are forced to separate from their babies one or two weeks after birth and go back to work because we are the only major country on earth which does not have a paid family and medical leave policy. That is not justice. That is an attack on family values that everyone in this room should be appalled at.

There is no justice in our country when youth unemployment exists at tragic levels – with 51 percent of African American high school kids unemployed or underemployed. No. We apparently do not have the funds to provide jobs or educational opportunities for our young people but we sure do have the money to throw them into jails. Today, the United States has more people in jail than any other country on earth, and many are serving time in inhumane conditions. That is not justice. That is the destruction of human life.

I am not a theologian or an expert on the Bible or a Catholic. I am just a U.S. senator from the small state of Vermont. But I agree with Pope Francis when he says; “The current financial crisis… originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose.”

He also states; “There is a need for financial reform along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone. Money has to serve, not to rule.”

In his view, and I agree with him, we are living in a nation and in a world which worships the acquisition of money and great wealth, but which turns its back on those in need. And that must end. We need to move toward an economy which works for all, and not just the few.

Throughout human history there has been endless discussion and debate about the meaning of justice and the meaning of morality. And I know that here at Liberty University that discussion and debate will continue.

I would hope very much that as part of that discussion and part of that learning process some of you will conclude that if we strive toward morality and toward justice, it is imperative that we have the courage to stand with the poor and working people of our country.

Bernie Sanders' democratic socialism may not be the ultimate answer but; neither is the snake oil a certain party and movement are selling the American people.

Via: Memeorandum

Monday, September 14, 2015

Kim Davis' Attorney Making a Huge Stretch...

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Logic in a convoluted religious fundamentalist tea party sort of way.

Raw Story - Mat Staver — a lawyer from theocratic law firm The Liberty Counsel — said on Sunday that his client, Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis, is like President Abraham Lincoln because of her stand against marriage equality for all Americans.

Staver made the remarks in an appearance on C-SPAN after which a caller said that Davis should do her job or step down.


Via: Memeorandum


MOREHEAD, Ky. — Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk who was jailed this month for defying a court order that she issue marriage licenses, said Monday that she would not block her employees from processing licenses for same-sex couples.

But she warned that the licenses would be issued without her authorization — she said they would note that they had been processed pursuant to a court order — and she raised questions about whether they would be legal. Ms. Davis, an Apostolic Christian, has objected to processing marriage licenses for same-sex couples because of her religious beliefs.

Full capitulation to the forces of equality and civil rights. Davis and her attorney along with the rest of the fundamentalist religionists will however likely continue their self righteous crusade against marriage equality. Their crusade will no doubt have the backing and full support of Fox News et all and their paid demagogues.

Full text of story BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum

Friday, September 11, 2015

Vice Presient Joe Biden... A Man Of Sincerity, Honesty, and Integrity

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After listening to the GOP/Tea Party 2016 presidential candidates essentially spend their time blowing smoke (or perhaps its gas; especially in the case of Trump, Huckabee, Cruz, and perhaps Carson), and listening to a damaged and in many people's opinion a dishonest HRC, a Biden candidacy is something many would welcome. He is an honest, sincere, and dedicated knowledgably public servant. A man who the record will show has served his country and its people well. This person has not voted for a democrat for president in over 30 years but if Vice President Biden decides to run there is better than a 55/45 chance he'll get my vote. The interview below has me hoping he decides to jump in and run like hell.

Follow this link to read The Washington Post article.

Via: Memeorandum

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Looking At the Kim Davis Religous Fundamentalism Rationally...

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The Kim Davis controversy exists because, as a culture, we have elevated respect for religious sensibilities to an inappropriate level that makes society less free, not more. Religious liberty should mean that no set of religious ideals are treated differently from other ideals. Laws should not be enacted whose sole purpose is to denigrate them, but, by the same token, the law shouldn’t elevate them, either.

Above is taken from The New Yorker. In one short paragraph Lawrence M. Krauss has stated what the rationally thinking American knows to be true.

The problem, obviously, is that what is sacred to one person can be meaningless (or repugnant) to another. That’s one of the reasons why a modern secular society generally legislates against actions, not ideas. No idea or belief should be illegal; conversely, no idea should be so sacred that it legally justifies actions that would otherwise be illegal. Davis is free to believe whatever she wants, just as the jihadist is free to believe whatever he wants; in both cases, the law constrains not what they believe but what they do.

In recent years, this territory has grown murkier. Under the banner of religious freedom, individuals, states, and even—in the case of Hobby Lobby—corporations have been arguing that they should be exempt from the law on religious grounds. (The laws from which they wish to claim exemption do not focus on religion; instead, they have to do with social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage.) The government has a compelling interest in insuring that all citizens are treated equally. But “religious freedom” advocates argue that religious ideals should be elevated above all others as a rationale for action. In a secular society, this is inappropriate.

Of course the fundamentalist religionists that believe their biblically held beliefs, based entirely on their definition of "religious freedom" will no doubt continue believing their religion gives them the right to discriminate based on what their good book, written in antiquity says, or if need be their interpretation of it says.

At any rate Kim Davis who frankly probably views herself as a martyr for Jesus Christ has managed to elevate the issue of same sex marriage, and the fundamentalists argument of "religious freedom", back to front and center on the national stage. At the heart of their efforts lies the desire to force their religious tyranny on those they disagree with.

Please follow this link to the full text of The New Yorker article. It is well worth the read.

Via: Memeorandum

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

As Right Wing Religionists Continue the Fight To Deny Marriage Equality...

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Kim Davis, released from jail vows to continue to deny marriage licensees to same sex couples in violation of our secular law. Davis certainly has the right to stand on her convictions that are based in biblical antiquity. She has the right to carry signs and give speeches supporting her biblical beliefs and she has the right to appear on television or radio espousing her biblical beliefs. What she does not have the right to do, while being paid by the taxpayers of Kentucky is to refuse to issue marriage licenses to ALL couples who wish to get married. Same sex people pay taxes as well and our secular law allows for their union in marriage.

If her convictions are that strong, and they obviously are, and if she had integrity she would resign from her position. She is in violation of her oath of office which requires her to serve all Kentuckians in her present capacity. Simply put, if she cannot execute all the requirements of her job she should seek employment elsewhere.

Of course the rightwing religionists, the ones who scream religious freedom without understanding what that actually means, are supportive of her violation of her oath and federal law, likely because they erroneously believe biblical beliefs trump our secular law. Law, which by the way, our Founding Fathers enshrined in our federal Constitution. But the religionist demagogues won't let that truth stand in the way of their mystical beliefs.

Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel attorney who is representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during her ongoing refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, appeared on the "WallBuilders Live" radio program today, where he said that requiring Davis to issue such marriage licenses is like requiring her to provide licenses to "sodomize children."

"A clerk provides licenses to do something," Staver explained. "A license to operate a motor vehicle on the road, a license to build a particular facility or a license to do this or a license to do that or a license to operate a business. So that person is licensing someone to do something and in this case, they're licensing what? They're licensing something that is directly contrary to the core of their religious convictions, to engage in sinful activity among same-sex relations and sanction something that is contrary to the Scriptures and that is marriage of two people of the same sex."

"To force someone like that to give a license for something that will legalize, that will put a stamp of approval on something that is absolute rebellion against God, sinful, then that is a direct collision of unprecedented magnitude," he continued, saying that requiring Davis to do her job is like requiring her "to grant a license to engage in pornography, to grant a license to sodomize children or something of that nature."

Via: Memeorandum

Monday, September 7, 2015

For the Black Lives Matter Movement it Must Turn to Constructive Rather Than Destructive Efforts...

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Juan Williams is a journalist/news commentator that while not always agreeing with him there was never a question as to his intelligence or integrity. Putting blind partisanship aside Mr. Williams is capable of analyzing issues and seeing both sides clearly while recognizing the best most productive approach to addressing very real problems. His article below is an example of this in which he discusses the very real danger that the Black Lives Matter movement may find itself in unless it turns to constructive ways to get its message across and work within the system to effect the needed changes.

#BlackLivesMatter is fast becoming its own worst enemy.

It lacks an agenda, it is antagonizing the black community’s top white political allies, including Democrats running for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination, and it is not finding common ground with any of the Republican majority in Congress.

The catalyst for the movement was outrage over the deaths of young black men like Freddie Gray, Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police officers who arguably used excessive, even deadly force. But where is the list of solutions to the injustices it so often decries?

The movement’s failure to get its collective act together carries real danger for the political clout of the African-American community in the 2016 elections and beyond.

With the movement potentially discouraging black American trust in Democrats, #BlackLivesMatter is increasing the odds of a sharp drop in black voter turnout in 2016. Already Democrats privately worry that without President Obama on the ballot, the black vote will decrease the turnout needed to keep the White House and win back the Senate.

That is more likely to happen if black voters get caught up in the anger that the BlackLives movement has directed at the political structure. The potential absence of black voters who have become discouraged — about a quarter of the nation’s Democrats — would be more devastating than any Republican plan to require voter identification, reduce the number of polling places in black neighborhoods or cut back on early voting.


Meanwhile, they are not finding common cause with Latinos, even as immigrants are being attacked by the Republican candidates for the presidential election. Have you seen BlackLives interrupting Donald Trump’s events? Where is the outreach to Republicans?

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is one the most outspoken leaders in either political party on the racial inequities of prison reform. “I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally and any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed,” he said in his announcement speech. If change is the goal, where is the alliance with the senator?

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor, has declared on the campaign trail that “the war on drugs has been a failure.” He told an audience last month “everyone makes mistakes” and that society needs to “reach out” and “embrace those people and say, ‘If you’re not a violent offender, if you’re not dealing drugs to our children, we need to get you treatment rather than prison.’ ”

Earlier this year, the Brennan Center for Law and Justice published a collection of essays highlighting the bipartisan consensus among national politicians that there is a need for sentencing reform, called Solutions: American Leaders speak out on Criminal Justice. Clinton, O’Malley, Paul, Christie and fellow presidential candidates Jim Webb, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio each penned essays for the Brennan Center on the need for reform.


A bipartisan bill, the Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Effective (SAFE) Justice Act authored by Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, has about three-dozen bipartisan co-sponsors in the House already. If #BlackLivesMatter protesters were chanting “Pass the SAFE Justice Act now!” they could find themselves in position to make significant change. Somehow they are blind to the opportunity.

It has been said that politicians see the light once they feel the heat. If only the energy and passion of #BlackLivesMatter protesters could be harnessed in something constructive rather than destructive.


I am reminded of something my father, who trained boxers, once told me.

He said even the best fighters know fear is like fire. It can cook your food and light your home. It can also burn your house down and kill you. The key to controlling fear or fire is turning it to a constructive purpose.

Now if only #BlackLivesMatter will harness its own fire into the urgent cause of criminal justice reform.

Via: Memeorandum

Approaching and Era of Silence...???

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Silencing Speech

Two terms have risen quickly from obscurity into common campus parlance. Microaggressions are small actions or word choices that seem on their face to have no malicious intent but that are thought of as a kind of violence nonetheless. For example, by some campus guidelines, it is a microaggression to ask an Asian American or Latino American “Where were you born?,” because this implies that he or she is not a real American. Trigger warnings are alerts that professors are expected to issue if something in a course might cause a strong emotional response. For example, some students have called for warnings that Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart describes racial violence and that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby portrays misogyny and physical abuse, so that students who have been previously victimized by racism or domestic violence can choose to avoid these works, which they believe might “trigger” a recurrence of past trauma.

Some recent campus actions border on the surreal. In April, at Brandeis University, the Asian American student association sought to raise awareness of microaggressions against Asians through an installation on the steps of an academic hall. The installation gave examples of microaggressions such as “Aren’t you supposed to be good at math?” and “I’m colorblind! I don’t see race.” But a backlash arose among other Asian American students, who felt that the display itself was a microaggression. The association removed the installation, and its president wrote an e-mail to the entire student body apologizing to anyone who was “triggered or hurt by the content of the microaggressions.”

This new climate is slowly being institutionalized, and is affecting what can be said in the classroom, even as a basis for discussion. During the 2014–15 school year, for instance, the deans and department chairs at the 10 University of California system schools were presented by administrators at faculty leader-training sessions with examples of microaggressions. The list of offensive statements included: “America is the land of opportunity” and “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.”

The press has typically described these developments as a resurgence of political correctness. That’s partly right, although there are important differences between what’s happening now and what happened in the 1980s and ’90s. That movement sought to restrict speech (specifically hate speech aimed at marginalized groups), but it also challenged the literary, philosophical, and historical canon, seeking to widen it by including more-diverse perspectives. The current movement is largely about emotional well-being. More than the last, it presumes an extraordinary fragility of the collegiate psyche, and therefore elevates the goal of protecting students from psychological harm. The ultimate aim, it seems, is to turn campuses into “safe spaces” where young adults are shielded from words and ideas that make some uncomfortable. And more than the last, this movement seeks to punish anyone who interferes with that aim, even accidentally. You might call this impulse vindictive protectiveness. It is creating a culture in which everyone must think twice before speaking up, lest they face charges of insensitivity, aggression, or worse.

The above is an excerpt from The Atlantic and clearly and accurately expresses the views of this weblog. With the increasing attention to and focus on whatever anyone might find to be offensive speech one can not avoid thinking that America is becoming more and more anal with each passing month.

Racism. bigotry, hate speech, and misogyny are of course wrong and attempts to educate and sensitive people to the ugly wrongness of them is proper and desirable. As is having appropriate laws on the books to deal with physical acts of aggression that are driven by any of them.

Speech is the verbal conveyance of information, knowledge, or expression of ideas. Attempting to silence ideas and or phrases that someone or a particular group finds offensive is fool hardy. Silencing what some find offensive will not make the idea or thoughts go away but will serve to create tension which my very well erupt in a even less desirable way.

A more effective way to approach handling insensitivity and offensive speech is through open rational discussion that exposes the racism, bigotry, and etc. that is deemed offensive and therefore inappropriate. Most people when confronted with truth and reason choose the path of both. Attempts to shield, or "protect" young adults from words and thoughts that might cause emotional distress or hurt their self esteem ultimately will result in greater division and polarization within our multi-cultural society.

Reasoned based education is the answer to combating irrational beliefs.

Via: Memeorandum

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Trump Supporters (as well as others) Still Hold President Obama Is A Muslin, Not Born In The USA...

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Our new poll finds that Trump is benefiting from a GOP electorate that thinks Barack Obama is a Muslim and was born in another country, and that immigrant children should be deported. 66% of Trump's supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim to just 12% that grant he's a Christian. 61% think Obama was not born in the United States to only 21% who accept that he was. And 63% want to amend the Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship, to only 20% who want to keep things the way they are.

Trump's beliefs represent the consensus among the GOP electorate. 51% overall want to eliminate birthright citizenship. 54% think President Obama is a Muslim. And only 29% grant that President Obama was born in the United States. That's less than the 40% who think Canadian born Ted Cruz was born in the United States.

Trump's supporters aren't alone in those attitudes though. Only among supporters of John Kasich (58/13), Jeb Bush (56/18), Chris Christie (59/33), and Marco Rubio (42/30) are there more people who think President Obama was born in the United States than that he wasn't.

Trump, a birther himself, and the dude that blustered about presenting a YOOOOOGE surprise about President Obama back in October 2012, a surprise that never materialized by the way, must have convinced a large number of low information folks of his idiotic birtherism.

Via: Memeorandum

SCOTU Rules Against Clerk In Kentucky That Refused To Issue Marraige Licenses To Same Sex Couples...

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In ruling against a Kentucky clerk who, because of her deeply held religious convictions, refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples the SCOTUS reaffirmed marriage equality and the rule of law. Under the guise of holding sincerely held religious belief homophobes have been attempting to argue religious freedom as grounds for discrimination against same sex couples.

The U.S. Supreme Court late Monday rejected an appeal from a county clerk in Kentucky who said she could not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of her religious objections.

Kim Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, "holds an undisputed sincerely held religious belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, only," her lawyers said in asking the court to block a lower court order directing her to issue the licenses.

But the Supreme Court denied her request without explanation in a brief one-line order. No dissents were noted, and the court acted without seeking a response from the state.

It was the first legal skirmish to reach the Supreme Court since it declared on June 26th that the Constitution guarantees gay couples the right to get married.

Immediately after that ruling, Kentucky's governor, Steve Beshear, ordered all the state's county clerks to comply with the decision and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Equality and just treatment can only be served under secular law such has always existed, and continues to exist today in the United States of America. While many well meaning citizens advocate for church and state to be somehow joined we must, if we wish to remain free, forcefully continue to resist the efforts of those who wish to rule us all based on biblical beliefs and the prejudices they advocate.

Video and full text of article BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum


MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — A county clerk in Kentucky who has invoked "God's authority" and is defying the U.S. Supreme Court by refusing to license same-sex marriage has been summoned along with her entire staff to explain to a federal judge why she should not face stiff fines or jail time.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning moved swiftly Tuesday after a lesbian couple asked him to find Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in contempt. Davis told several couples and a crowd of supporters and protesters that her religious beliefs prevent her from sanctioning gay marriage, and then retreated again, closing her office door and blinds to the raucous scene outside.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene Monday night, leaving Davis no legal ground for her continued refusal Tuesday morning. Lawyers for the two gay couples who originally sued her asked the judge Tuesday to find her in contempt, but punish her with only financial penalties, not jail time.

"Since Defendant Davis continues to collect compensation from the Commonwealth for duties she fails to perform," they asked Bunning to "impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous" to compel her immediate compliance without delay.


In addition to my desire to serve the people of Rowan County, I owe my life to Jesus Christ who loves me and gave His life for me. Following the death of my godly mother-in-law over four years ago, I went to church to fulfill her dying wish. There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God.

I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s Word. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our history is filled with accommodations for people’s religious freedom and conscience. I want to continue to perform my duties, but I also am requesting what our Founders envisioned – that conscience and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I am asking. I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position. I have received death threats from people who do not know me. I harbor nothing against them. I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience.

There it is folks. Religion, in the minds of many religionists, should trump civil rights and it's okay to defy the law of the nation.