Monthly Archives: February 2015

Every Conservative Is An Enemy

This is exactly right and if we cannot convince a large part of the population this, we are screwed.

Armory of the Revolution

Capitalism has done a remarkable job of convincing Americans that “capitalism” is synonymous with “freedom” and the “American Way of Life.”

Socialism has been demonized since the end of World War II. Capitalism has been promoted for almost 150 years. Despite the injustices of capitalism, it’s pernicious control of government, it’s infectious effects on public policy, the fleecing of consumers, the larceny of the banks, the exploitation of working people, the vast accumulation of wealth by a handful of oligarchs, the runaway power of international corporations, the depletion of natural resources, the degradation of the Environment, and the subsidies of the taxpayers, few Americans are aware of the truth.

Fewer still are brave enough to declare that the emperor has no clothes.

Most people cannot envision a socialist society. They have been convinced that they one day could become millionaires, so they do not want to tax the rich. They…

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Is Obama Doing Right Economically?

We are all connected to the economy and that’s just a fact. There is a lot of what the current administration done that has created a lot of jobs. The numbers don’t lie (unless you are watching Fox News) and they are very good. Despite all that our economy, and the economy of the world could be sensing a false sense of a true recovery when there are still a lot of things that could and should be better.

We live in a global economy where what happens in one country affects some things in other countries. We have to face that fact. The world is an ever-changing place.

The problem is that the United States and other countries with leading economies are starting to make some of the same mistakes that were made prior to the collapse of 1929. We are not at that point, yet. What we can see is that things haven’t changed that much from the way they were before the 2008 downturn (I use that word cautiously).

The United States cannot still be the masters of the world economic status like they have (sometimes) been in the past. The U.S. has a lot of debt and even though the deficits (by ratio) are less than they were previously, the fact remains. Also part of this is the unnecessary (in my view) Iraq war which conservatively cost us about 3 trillion. I could go into how so much was wasted mostly through no bid contracts (think Haliburton), but that is for another article.

Then is comes to global trade. The rest of the world has come to the realization that their economic recovery will come sooner and easier by selling exports to the U.S., creating a lopsided trading system. So while these economies are dependent on American demand, at the same time America is losing (good paying in many instances) jobs to industry overseas. We cannot continue in this manner and think we can get away with it.

One way our trading partners are gaining ground is that these countries are devaluing their own currencies so their exports will be cheaper than American products. The U.S. trade deficit is on the rise as a result.

The president might be oblivious to this as he is looking at another so-called free trade agreement , the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. The president (through his advisers) is claiming it to be a job creator when that may be just a pipe dream. The claim is that it would create 650,000 jobs but the true number is much less and could even be zero or even a negative number. It’s based on faulty math.

As he takes this bill to congress for approval (the fact remains that he might not ask for its approval, given the correct motive, which could be public outcry) there are some in congress (on both sides of the aisle mind you) that are resisting approval unless we stop our trading partners from currency manipulation.

That might just be the deal breaker we must have, but could make the agreement unworkable for the others. This has its own ramifications. So what else is blocking a true recovery? Fundamentally it’s a lack of consumer demand and the large debt, not just here in America but everywhere. We need to write off a lot of private debt. We bailed out Wall Street, now it might be time to help homeowners  and credit card holders too.
The financial community caused this but if you think they are the ones to solve it, we should talk. I have some very attractive deals for you (large smile).

By listening to them I and others believe Mr. Obama is getting bad advise. Much like letting the fox tend the hen-house. Reforms are necessary. There are big problems in the global economy and it must be taken seriously.

I guess that will be for another time as well. I would sure hate to see this as the President’s legacy and even with his success with the ACA, it could overshadow him.

Probably much of the needed reforms will not be accomplished given the tenuous situation between the President and this (narcissistic, obstructive) congress.

For now all we can do is sit and watch as it is going to be a difficult two years (for everyone, but especially the President) and then the next band of “leaders” will inherit this.

Jerry Bierens

The big elephant in the room that nobody’s talking about

republican victories in state capitolsI’ve begun to notice a trend that seems to have escaped most political news coverage in recent years. Since 2010, Republicans have made massive inroads in state legislative chambers and governors’ mansions across the country. This is especially true after the most recent elections in November.

While most mainstream media coverage was focused on the partisan battle for control of the Senate, the GOP made massive gains in state legislatures in all regions of the country. The motions of statehouse politics might not be as sexy or headline-grabbing as the constant drama seen in D.C. in recent years, it is arguably more consequential for American politics in the long-run.

According to Ballotpedia, Republicans now control a significant majority of state governments across the country. Of the 98 partisan legislative chambers in the United States (a number which excludes Nebraska’s nonpartisan unicameral legislature), Republicans now control 67.

republican victories in state capitols

In terms of governorships, Republicans are in charge of 32 after the 2014 election, leaving Democrats in control of only 18. Most strikingly, these numbers mean that Republicans have control of both legislative chambers and governorships (a “trifecta,” as described in the image on the right) in 23 states, whereas Democrats have complete control of just 7 states.

This significant Republican advantage at the state-level poses serious long-term problems for the Democratic Party’s ability to compete in future elections. Unless Democrats engage in serious efforts to reinvigorate themselves in state and local elections, they may well find themselves trapped in a world where they can only compete effectively for the White House.

While the presidency is an undeniably powerful office, it is of little use when the other levels of government are out of your hands. If Republicans continue to control one or both Houses of Congress or a significant majority of state governments, Democrats may one day be locked in the Oval Office as if it were a prison cell.

Some see a trend that will favor the Republican Party for decades to come. I am hesitant to endorse such a pessimistic vision of the Democratic Party’s future, but I am also significantly less bullish than many liberal activists seem to be. If they are to continue to compete as a viable national party, Democrats must remember that there is much more to effectively controlling the country’s political machinery than just winning the presidency every four years.

There are a number of benefits that these Republican successes grant the Party. Most obviously, it gives them a substantial head-start on using the lower levels of government as laboratories for their preferred policy issues which they will likely one day try to bring up to the national level.

Examples of such policies have already been on display in recent years. One need only look to the current budgetary debacle in Kansas created by Governor Sam Brownback or the kerfuffle over union bargaining rights started by Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin for illustrations of what is likely to come if the GOP makes further gains at the national level.

Another benefit is the deep bench of experienced political operatives that the GOP currently has. With so many new conservative politicians entering the ranks of state legislatures, the Democrats will find themselves powerless to stop an emerging experience gap between their legislators and those aligned with the GOP.

This numerical superiority in experienced legislators will give the Republicans a major advantage in picking candidates for national races while Democrats are left to pick through the aging scraps of their ranks. This dynamic will only serve to accelerate a vicious cycle in which the GOP’s advantage at these lower levels of government reinforces itself and produces an even greater crop of potential national candidates for years to come.

republican victories in state capitols

One final effect of their growing control over state governments is the GOP’s ability to redraw district lines to favor their own congressional candidates. State legislatures are responsible for drawing congressional district in most states, so the party that controls them can choose the voters they want to represent.

Prior to the 2010 elections, the Republicans put a massive amount of resources into their state-level electoral efforts with the knowledge that the 2010 Census was a brilliant opportunity to seize the reins of the House of Representatives. This gerrymandering provided the GOP with a fundamental electoral advantage that undeniably contributed to their successes in congressional elections in 2012 and 2014.

I have seen the adverse effects of one-party dominance firsthand during my work in the 2014 midterm election cycle. When one party takes total control of the levers of power in a state, officeholders often find themselves tempted to alter electoral rules and regulations to favor their own party.

A prime example of such gross partisan manipulation can be seen clearly in my own home state of Kansas. Our current Secretary of State, the infamous Kris Kobach, is currently attempting to change electoral rules to allow straight-ticket party voting and impose further difficulties for people attempting to register to vote or cast their ballots.

It may be too late for the Democratic Party to halt the coming GOP wave that appears only to grow with each new election. 2016 is likely to favor the Democrats in the Senate and the presidency given the Party’s coalitional advantage in presidential election years and that more Republican Senate seats will be up for grabs than was the case in 2014.

Until Democrats invest in state and local party building in the way that Republicans have in recent years, however, they will likely find themselves locked out of state legislatures and, consequently, the House of Representatives, for many years to come. And unless they can do so and see measurable results before 2020 when the next Census occurs, the GOP will be able to lock in the gerrymandered congressional advantage that they currently enjoy until at least 2030.

I don’t have much hope that they will do so in time.

Cognitive Dissonance

by Damien Lee Thorr, 02/19/2015

Today I would like to discuss cognitive dissonance. Specifically about how theists reject science in spite of the overwhelming evidence and how to keep their ignorance out of law, government, schools and our bedrooms.

We need atheist unity to combat politicians who attempt to sneak their beliefs into our laws and violate our freedoms. It made me very angry today when I read the news about the Arabian rape victim who was sentenced to 6 months in prison and 200 lashes. All because by Muslim law, a woman is forbidden to engage in sex before she is married. Clearly, the injustice speaks volumes about how mythological beliefs and ignorance must be kept out of government, courtrooms and laws.

When arguing with a theist, does anyone else ever think things like “if I had a dollar for every time I hear ‘I don’t care how much evidence you have, I’ll never give up my faith’, I would be pretty wealthy”?

One of the many things I encounter with people who believe in mythology (Christianity, Islam, Judeism….), is that no matter how much scientific and archaeological evidence there is out there that debunks their beliefs, they reject it as “opinions”. Isn’t that a pretty good example of ignorance?

Archaeological research indicates that there are NO writings outside of scripture (which are all mythological accounts), that document anything about Jesus.

There were several writers during the first century who reported the current events of the time (political, social, natural disasters and artistic) and not one mentions anything about him.

Additionally, if he was so famous, raising the dead, curing cripples, walking on water, turning water into wine and raising a ministry of hundreds of thousands and so angered the Jewish people and Romans alike, there would be much reason to report something about him….. but there is silence.

There are not even any Roman court documents that mention him in spite of the fact that scripture suggests he was tried by Pilate himself. Keeping in mind, the Romans were meticulous at keeping records of everything they did to demonstrate to their superior intelligence to reinforce their hold on the people they conquered. Everything was accounted for.

One must also keep in mind that there are no birth records, death records, tax records (as the Romans taxed everyone in the region), rabbi records and there is not even any record or mention of a last name. There are simply no documentations or any real life accounts about him during his alleged existence.

He is basically another man-invented deity attached to allegorical stories like the rest of them: Thorr, Horus, Osiris, Zeus, Odin, Metzli, Xenu, etc…..

I constantly hear evangelists and apologists cite Josephus but it is irrelevant. Josephus was not a contemporary and NEVER wrote anything about him.

For a start, Josephus was born in the year 37 CE (Common Era) and the alleged crucifixion took place somewhere between 29 CE and 34 CE. In other words, he was not around to document or witness.

There is a paragraph where he is mentioned in a much later version of the Josephus writings copied by christian scribes under the influence of Eusebius (235-339 CE), who arbitrarily edited the text and added a small paragraph about christ in the middle of two paragraphs where it clearly does not reflect relevance. It is evident by the paragraphs that follow which show zero relevance.

Additionally, if Christ was so famous and so important to the Jews and early Christians of the time period, why only such a short paragraph? And why only ONE, for that matter?

This has been determined by ALL scholars to be a forgery, especially since the passage does not appear anywhere in the earlier versions of the writings by Josephus, therefore, no writings of jesus exist outside of scripture. Therefore, it is all mythological.

The so called “eye witnesses” that Christians claim as evidence were born long after 34 CE (common era), the estimated date of the alleged crucifixion. So how could they have been witnesses to the resurrection if they were not even yet born to witness it? Christians are notorious for misrepresenting the facts.

Here are the facts regarding the “eye-witnesses” that Christians lie about: Flavius Josephus 37-100, Clement of Rome 38-102, Ignatius 35-107, Pliny 62-113, Suetonius 75-160, Tacitus 55-117, Polycarp 69-155, Justin Martyr 114-167, Lucian 125-180, Clement of Alexandria 150-211, Tertullian 155-230, Origen 185-254, Cyprian of Carthage 208-258, Eusebius 235-339. These findings have been confirmed and verified, yet, they reject it.

Sources: Oxford University Press, Dr. Bart Ehrman, Dr. Richard Carrier, Dr. Robert Price and David Fitzgerald.

As for Judeism, there is no evidence outside of scripture that Moses existed. No Egyptian records ever mention him nor a mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of jews and there is no archaeological evidence to corroborate that they were slaves and wandered through the desert for 40 years. That legend is a lie. Jews have tried using the defense that the Egyptians never documented their losses or defeats but that is not true since their defeat and conquest by the Romans has been well documented as well as the burning of Alexandria and many other defeats.

Muslims believe that the Qur’an contains a message from an all-powerful, all-knowing, infallible god. If this is true then it should not contain any errors or information that contradicts known facts about the universe. If even one error exists in the text of their holy book, then the claims of divine authorship and infallibility are not true. An objective evaluation of the Qur’an shows that it contains numerous scientific and historical errors and reflects a pre-scientific, 7th century view of the natural world.

Some apologists will contest those scientific errors in the Qur’an by appealing to metaphor, alternative meanings, or supernatural interpretations of the text. Even if we accept that alternative explanations were possible in every case, the wording and content of the verses often mimic the popular mythology and unscientific misconceptions of the time in which they were written. The author makes no clear or unambiguous statements that differentiate his understanding of the natural world from the common folklore of the people living in that era.

If the Qur’an was delivered by an all-powerful, all-knowing god, then he would have been able to foresee how such misleading statements would be understood by future generations and the doubts and confusions they have caused. This alone should be reason to reject any claims to divine authorship.

The worst part is that most theists are not at all interested in viewing the evidence that debunks their beliefs.

The problem with believers is that they cannot accept our atheism (they often feel threatened and they resort to insults and name-calling) because they feel they have “proof” to back up their claims in spite of evidence that debunks it all. The church controls gullible followers (who never question anything) with horror tactics, such as the threat of eternal burning hell. The facts remain that archaeological evidence demonstrates that it was man, in all cultures, who invented god/s to interpret and answer what he could not understand before we had science for valid, satisfactory answers.

When there is zero evidence to prove your imaginary god is real, that, within itself, is evidence he does not exist. However, apologists cling to their faith and one gets the feeling that a discussion with them is pretty much like administering medication to a corpse.

Turning water into wine, a woman getting pregnant without a man’s sperm, walking on water, a talking snake, raising the dead, the building of an ark to shelter and feed two of each species for more than a year, a woman transforming into a pillar of salt, a man swallowed alive by a whale for several days, the world being only six thousand years old, and resurrection…… These outrageous, untrue and impossible claims are nothing more than story-telling myths and should be the very first clue that the bible is not a newspaper from the past and in no way evidence of a god.

This doesn’t even touch the contradictions it is overwhelmed with!!!

Bottom line:

They all only believe their mythology because they have been lied to. They are clearly the product of the falsehoods their organizations teach and closed to the reality that there is no god, suspending rational judgment.

Long ago Christianity became the major mythological belief due to its gargantuan violence against those who opposed it. It was never about how true or divine it was because it never has been.

Today the Islamics use threats of violence in the same manner but they should know this:

WE WILL NOT YIELD TO ANY MORE MYTHOLOGICAL INSANITY THAT MASQUERADES AS REALITY!

The Terrorists Are Winning by Remote Control

By Jerry Bierens, February 18, 2015

Think the president or anyone in congress or any budding candidates for office in the future know what to do with this terrorism? They have missed the point that the extremists are using to affect nearly all that we try to do to stop/contain them. Here’s my insight as to what is really happening:

I believe that these Islamic extremists know exactly what they are doing to America. They are as cunning as a master criminal, in that they are using their false religion and insane terrible acts to inflame the religious right in the U.S…

They know full well that it will enhance the chances for more and more laws getting passed and imposed on the American people that are of the (Christian Sharia type) religious nature. As a secular nation, this is the greatest threat to our democracy and freedoms. They have been eroding now for a decade and a half.

We have to go through extreme measures to fly on an airplane, we have surveillance by our own government, on our own citizens, we have had a deep wedge driven between the two major political parties that is leading to even more and more dysfunction and more laws proposed that are of this nature.

To them it must be great fun to watch us flail around and not have a clue as to what their intentions are and to not have a clue that this is their ultimate goal.

Be aware my friends, we are certainly under an internal attack as well.

The right wing crazies are just what the terrorists want to get into control of our government. We can see it in the voter restriction laws being passed, the fact that corporations (speciffically the Koch Brothers) can pump billions into getting their bible thumping, puppet candidates elected, a SCOTUS that might as well be working directly for them, attacks on women’s rights, the LGBT community and on freedom and equality in general.

It must be understood that if we are do not to stop this tide of extreme right wing nut job proposed laws and candidates and elect those that will stand up for our freedoms and total equality, we will soon cease to be anything close to a democracy.

We must get this corporate money out of our elections, be informed about candidates true intentions (sometimes they’re not so evident) and desires to turn this country into a form of a theocracy (it doesn’t work there now or ever and never will). These terrorists can only be defeated when and if we ignore their extreme acts and not let them remotely dictate to us how to act and how we react to their nonsense.

Think about it.

Jerry Bierens

Stephen Harper’s New Anti-Terrorism Bill

Posted by on Monday, February 9, 2015 ·

Using fear, Prime Minister Harper is trying to coax Canadians into accepting George W. Bush’s failed policies

anti-terrorism bill, Stephen HarperRepublicans in the United States are often referred to as the Party of Fear. They prey on the fears of the public to get votes on matters where little danger exists. As we’ve seen over the past decade and a half, they do it very well.

They use the media to stoke fear in the hearts of Americans concerning Ebola, Healthcare, and of course terrorism. Anywhere the public can be fooled into trusting conservatives to protect them.

In the decade plus that has passed, fear has been used in the United States as a propaganda tool to invade or assault sovereign nations and spy on American citizens. The so called war on terror has done virtually nothing other than exacerbate the military industrial complex and enable the American security state.

Last October, I wrote a piece called “The Ottawa Shooting is not a National Tragedy” in response to the terrorist attack in Ottawa that left Cpl. Nathan Cirillo dead. The basic premise of the article was to tell people to calm down and not overreact to the actions of a lone wolf Jihadist.

Naturally, rational though within Canada’s governing party was nowhere to be found. Instead what Canadians were given this past week was Stephen Harper’s new anti-terrorism bill, Bill C-51. A broad and over-reaching bill condemned as an assault on privacy and free speech. A bill that can be likened to the American Patriot Act.

For instance, it would allow for the removal of “terrorist propaganda” from the Internet, give law enforcement more powers and expand no-fly-list provisions. Critics also say the new laws could be used to stifle dissent, remove due process and lead to the creation of a secret police force. Scary shit when you consider we live in a supposed democracy.

I have advocated Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories in the past (not with violence mind you). Knowing our Conservative Government’s hard-on for Netanyahu, will this bill allow some of my articles, critical of Israel, to be seen as “terrorist propaganda?” Terrorism is a broad term, and every industrialized country could be considered guilty of it to some extent.

C-51 also lowers the threshold for arrest, meaning law enforcement agencies will be allowed to arrest somebody if they think a terrorist act “may be carried out,” instead of the current standard of “will be carried out.” The new law would also allow court proceedings to be sealed at any given time. That sounds just a little shady.

I personally think this bill is an overreaction to one mentally ill individual’s actions and will do little to stop terrorist activities. But it also gives false piece of mind to Canadians who are worried about terrorism simply because our Prime Minister tells us to fear it.

And telling us he is. “A great evil has been descending upon our world, an evil which has been growing more and more powerful: violent jihadism,” Prime Minister Harper said after the bill was tabled. “(It) is one of the most dangerous enemies our world has ever faced. In parts of Asia and Africa, jihadists are finding shelter in failed states and ungoverned territories.”

You start to get the feeling that Harper hired one of George W. Bush’s speech writers. He continues; “And under their influence attacks and plots outside these regions have become more frequent and more dangerous in Australia, in France and in Belgium just recently, and of course here at home in Canada. We cannot avoid the stark reality. Jihadist terrorism is not a future possibility, it is a present reality.”

That same message was driven home in the latest weekly video posted online by the Prime Minister’s Office, the narrator describing a “growing threat” to Canadian families.

The reasons behind this new anti-terrorism bill is complete and utter nonsense of course, as is the rationale behind Canada’s bombing of ISIS in Iraq. They will not make Canada or the rest of the world safer.

anti-terrorism bill, Stephen HarperUnder Harper’s leadership, Canada is currently going down the same road the United States drove on following 9/11. And like Bush, he may be doing it for pure political reasons. Many polling firms describe terrorism as a winning issue for Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party. A party behind in the polls and facing re-election in nine months.

For the record, I believe it’s important to point out that just as Democrats passed the Patriot Act following 9/11, the Liberal Party of Canada is also supporting this new Anti-Terrorism Bill. I believe the words “chickenshit liberal” are beginning to hold meaning in this country.

As a people, we foiled two terrorist plots in Canada before Cpl. Cirillo was killed. Not by passing a freedom killing anti-terrorism bill or bombing a foreign nation, but by engaging in the Muslim community.

Canadians should fear the words coming out of Stephen Harper, not the jihadist rhetoric itself, but the end results of it. If Canadians don’t wake up and smell the bologna soon, that result will be another election win.

The Truth about Personhood Bills

The consequences of personhood bills will go far beyond the abortion issue

personhood-movementI have seen the term Personhood when politicians are talking about certain bills or amendments. My understanding was that these bills were about protecting a fetus as a live person. They include birth control, the morning after pill, IUD’s and abortion.

Oh, nothing about condoms, by the way. Or Viagra, male enhancement devices and/or pills, or anything applying to men at all. Once again, the right-wing Christian establishment (which is male-dominated) is trying to remain in control of the uterus of the American female. Not to mention that this would include letting women die during childbirth and determining what or what does not constitute the cause of a miscarriage.

I mean, hey, they’re just women, right? What do they know about being a woman? Silly women, listen to your men, like it’s supposed to be.

The House of Representatives tried to jam through a Personhood bill in July of 2012 and it failed. So now State Personhood bills are pushing to get through harder than ever. The definition of personhood, incidentally, is “The quality or condition of being an individual person.”

Since this term became used over and over, I’ve been considering it more and more. I’ve read stories about women arrested because something happened out of their control to an unborn child. Yes, including miscarriages. I don’t plan on having anymore children so it doesn’t apply to me personally, but it’s alarming that Personhood bills are gaining such traction. I feel very sorry for pregnant women, especially those that struggled to conceive.

That raised more questions. What about in-vitro fertilization? What about parents who are trying to have a child and need fertility treatments? Frozen fertilized eggs obviously aren’t living and breathing humans but would a personhood law forbid this medical technology? According to many politicians, again, mostly males, yes.

I came across a website called Resolve.org while preparing for this story. This organization protects the rights of parents who are desperately trying to conceive but need medical intervention. The Resolve organization watches for these reckless bills state by state and fights against them.

The mission statement on their site reads: “The National Infertility Association, established in 1974, is a non-profit organization with the only established, nationwide network mandated to promote reproductive health and to ensure equal access to all family building options for men and women experiencing infertility or other reproductive disorders.”

personhood-map-0521So far, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, and New York have bills, not yet laws, that protect fertility treatments. Resolve.org supports these bills. Minnesota, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, however, have bills that Resolve.org opposes. New Jersey and Virginia have bills that Resolve.org is still reviewing.

In California alone, 858,579 women, regardless of marital status, have experienced physical difficulty in getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to live birth. Is there a law requiring insurance coverage for fertility treatments, also known as an insurance mandate? Yes! Hopefully, more states will follow California’s lead on this issue.

This brings us to stem cell research, another issue Personhood bills dishearteningly concern themselves with. This research is so very important and uses extra in-vitro eggs that a couple may have not used. It’s harmless. Personhood bills take up the case of these frozen eggs, as apparently they cannot speak for themselves. Ridiculous as this may seem, these bills use this premise to put pressure on the state to shut down stem cell research.

The dissolution of stem cell research would be disastrous and heart breaking to thousands of individuals. It would cause researchers to leave states where these Personhood bills become law. And it’s all based on a misunderstanding or denial of the science involved. Scientific advancement, parental dreams, jobs, and economic growth, all dashed over ignorance.

According to Bruce Olwin of the University of Colorado, “Alienating an entire contingent of researchers would have dire consequences on America’s ability to compete globally in the field. Because of the overarching intrusion of religion and politics on science, I think it’s going to drive the United States into a Third World science country. We will not be anywhere near the leaders.”

Bernard Siegel, the founder and director of the Genetics Policy Institute, agrees that the Personhood movement represents a potentially major setback.

“Microscopic cells in a lab dish, that by a couple’s decision will never be implanted in a womb, should not be defined as ‘people,’” Siegel said. “Any state aspiring to become a center for biomedical research and biotechnology should not touch a Personhood bill with a 10-foot pole.”

The prime motivation for Personhood bills are religious beliefs. Those that forward such legislation think that a frozen egg is a person. It’s beyond ridiculous, yet it’s advancing along nevertheless.

If a physician is fertilizing an egg in a laboratory for a couple, and the egg is destroyed, is the physician a murderer? No, of course not. That egg is not a person. But according to Personhood bills, it is a person. It’s insanity. By that very same logic, masturbation is mass murder.

In closing, it seems so odd and hypocritical that politicians such as Rand Paul believe that parents should be able to opt out of vaccine mandates but support theseinsane bills. I implore you to visit the Resolve.org website. See for yourself what they stand for.

There is a wealth of information about this, and more Americans need to become aware of the unrecognized and disastrous consequences of this type of legislation. The rapid expansion of state level Personhood bills is sobering, to say the least. The United States must not ever pass laws such as these. Those who advocate doing so absolutely do not have our best interests at heart.

Why You Can’t Blame Immigrants for Measles Outbreaks

Posted by on Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mo Brooks inserts himself into a national issue with his trademarked ignorance

imageIt had been a few minutes since Mo “There’s a War on Whites” Brooks had said something stupid and hateful. So naturally the Alabama Republican jumped into the vaccinations and measles stories to blame recent outbreaks on undocumented (his words were actually“illegal”) immigrants. Good old Mo thinks these people are to blame for America’s epidemics.

It can’t be pointed out enough that Mo Brooks is a stupid and hateful man, with a history of saying stupid and hateful things, in order to play to a stupid and hateful base. Every time we try to move past the stupid and hateful element of the Republican Party, one of their many stupid and hateful personalities opens their stupid and hateful mouth.

What we’re saying is that Mo Brooks is not a credible source on this issue. We doubt that Mo Brooks is a credible source on very much. But we’ll humor everyone here, and point out why he’s wrong. We’ll also point out how to take Mo Brooks at his word, you would also have to be stupid and hateful.

The problems with your theory are manifold, Mr Brooks. Central and South American countries have consistently high vaccination mandates for their populations, for one.Mexico is even better than the USA at it. Yes, that includes measles. Chances are very low that undocumented Mexican (because come on, you want to specifically blame Mexicans) immigrants are to blame.

Not to mention one of the measles outbreak centers was Disneyland. That place ain’t cheap, and if those poor diseased illegals you imagine are sneaking over the border, it’s ludicrous to believe they are subsequently dropping large bills in Mickey’s world.

The Disneyland outbreak appears to have an overseas connection, but if more people in California hadn’t refused vaccination, measles wouldn’t have been able to take hold as it did. The California outbreak was traced back to 34 people, 28 of whom were not inoculated.

Where there are more vaccines, there are less diseases. Where there are less vaccines, there are more diseases. End of reasons for the measles outbreaks.

The reason there are so many outbreaks is due to the high amount of unvaccinated Americans. Don’t bother arguing any Anti-Vaxxer talking points on this, we defeated them previously here. And until you came along Mo, we’d forgotten it was possible for anyone to out-stupid Anti-Vaxxers.

imageSo good job, Mr. Brooks. You’ve helped identify just what kind of people are the problem in this country. It’s not the undocumented immigrants you love to hate so much, it’s the stupid and hateful among us who look to ignore reality and blame issues on parties that had little to do with them. Just because you don’t like them.

Blaming undocumented immigrants is stupid and hateful. It is not only blatantly incorrect, it is an excuse to enable the racist and the ignorant to spew more bile. Adding a problem to another problem makes no sense, and should not be abided by anyone. But not only do we let Republicans get away with this, we give this tactic of theirs a cutesy name; a dog whistle.

Oh, just in case you think I’m being all mean to Mo Brooks, who doesn’t deserve to get his fee fees hurt, Africa is making fun of him too. Yeah. A Nigerian comedian took Brooks’ lead and is suggesting they screen visiting Americans for vaccinations now.

The only thing worse than the stupid and hateful are the people who believe them and double down on their ignorant statements. Looking at you Ben Carson. Right afteryou’d been a voice of reason for vaccines while your colleagues jammed their feet into their mouths, too. Disappointing.

Well, Ben, at least you had a day or so of being seen as rational. That’s pretty good for Republicans these days.

Prison Inequality: Women and Race

Posted by on Saturday, January 31, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Gender inequality isn’t limited to wages, it’s also alive and well in our justice system

Prison InequalityWith all the news in the past few months stirring up racial hostilities and strong emotions, I cannot help but ponder the racial/ethnic issue from a different but relevant viewpoint. I have long considered myself a feminist, although I suppose feminist women would say I am a feminist-supporter. I always find myself considering issues that women encounter, regardless of their race or ethnicity.

Rather than focus on the media events these last few months, I want to bring up what I consider a serious issue of social inequality. It is statistically recognizable that women and minorities experience blatant social inequality in our judicial system, perhaps more so than outside of that system.

I wonder if you are aware that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 2.2 million people in prison or jails, and 4,781,300 people were on probation or parole in 2012, for a total of 6,937,600 people in America under some form of criminal justice supervision. I imagine one may see this as a good thing, but I’m not one of those people. But I’ll leave that rant for another day.

Here I want to talk about two specific (and overlapping) groups of people in those numbers, and I believe it is important to understand the social aspects of the U.S. judicial system. One sociological perspective stresses “just as the social classes differ in opportunities for income and education, so they differ in opportunities for crimes.” I believe the same is true for women and racial minorities when it comes to crimes, and the severity of punishment of those crimes.

As well, I believe women and racial minorities experience obvious, and inexcusable, inequalities compared to whites during their incarceration, as well as subsequently in their lives after confinement, under the supervision of the judicial system, including those on parole and probation.

I don’t want to bore anyone with lots of numbers and statistics, although I think it is imperative that I share just a few to corroborate the accusations of injustice and inequality I am making.

Prison InequalityAccording to The Sentencing Project, in their fact sheet on Incarcerated Women, about 200,000 women were serving sentences in 2012, and more than 1 million were under the supervision of the criminal justice system, which included those on parole and probation. They also state that with the lifetime likelihood of imprisonment for women being 1 in 56, it varies significantly with race. It becomes 1 in 19 for African American women, 1 in 46 for Hispanic and 1 in 118 for white women.

The website continues with more statistics, including in 2011, black women were incarcerated at 2.5 times the rate of white women and Hispanic women at 1.4 times the rate of white women. As a study by Sandu and associates asserts “So a Black female offender is more likely to be incarcerated rather than placed on probation, as compared to her White counterpart, and also more likely to be incarcerated as compared to her male counterpart. Both her gender and her race seem to work against her.”

I hope you don’t get bored quite yet. There’s a reason I’m sharing this next set of statistics, and I think it’s important you understand why I think the way I do. Perhaps you might open your mind to seeing it from my perspective for just a few moments.

Data from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections by a Special Task Force regarding the characteristics of female prisoners revealed the following:

  • 30% don’t have high school diploma or GED
  • 81% have children
  • 25% are married
  • 71% had been in an abusive relationship
  • 48% had received social assistance
  • 75% were incarcerated for drug and non-violent crimes
  • 50% of the women have history of, or exhibit symptoms of mental illness, twice the rate of men
  • Of those with mental illness, 68.3% were incarcerated for drugs or non-violent crimes

What this suggests to me is that women may require more positive social support beforethey resort to committing crimes. Over 2/3 were in abusive relationships, and we can imagine that they likely turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with it. Only 1 out of 4 were married, but 4 out of 5 had children. This suggests to me that many unwed mothers trying to support themselves and their children turned to illegal acts to compensate and/or cope.

How about the fact that half of these women have or have had history with mental illness, but where was the critical help for them before they ended up in prison? One paper written about Oklahoma’s drug & alcohol treatment states “Only a small portion of [prevention and treatment] programs serve females… it appears that gender-specific treatment, while potentially beneficial to women in need, is lagging behind.”

Better social support for women is essential in this country. Wages need equalizing, and domestic abuse needs more severe penalties for those men who serve only to demean their women and force them to turn to alternative situations, many times illegal activities, to cope. For women, better educational support, substance abuse support, and enforcement of child support are all critical issues that need addressed.

The judicial system needs an overhaul, and there needs to be more equality in sentencing, not only concerning gender and race, but with social classes, such as the “white collar crimes” with their lenient 6-months sentences, and the poor person’s crime with sentencing of years in prison.

It is clear that we, as a nation, have a further need to improve on gender and racial considerations, and we need to begin bridging the gap of inequality within all of society, including with incarcerated men and women.