Category Archives: education

The NAACP is concerned and so am I

In what alternate universe do for profit charter schools make sense?

The only answer I got was, NONE!

One concern that I have is from a statement that (boy, this is hard to say) Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos made to the effect that vouchers to charter schools is a good way to put “god” back into education. She doesn’t respect our secular laws as to the separation of church and state and IMHO she is unfit to “serve” in that capacity.

I’ll leave the explaining to this article written for Education Votes. Be informed, not just opinionated. Click on the article….

http://educationvotes.nea.org/2017/07/26/naacp-seeks-ban-profit-charter-schools-increase-local-control/?utm_source=EdVotes&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=072917EdVotesEmail&utm_content=NAACPCharters

A Rant to my State Representative

Needless to say I was not happy with his canned answer as to why the legislature is dragging it’s feet on marijuana legalization….

This:

Well Jim, I see that you are towing the (hateful party line) and still are singing the same old tune about a pathway to harder drugs…..people like you are so uninformed that logic is useless.

In fact, I’ve seen several testimonies where people profess that by smoking marijuana they were able to get off dangerous prescription pain killers, alcohol and other hard drugs (that I vehemently object to, like crystal meth and crystals of another kind [I’m not totally up on all that, I just know that they are there]). But cosmos forbid that helping them is akin to enabling them…..

You and your kind are only interested in major drug company profits, DAMN the damage they inflict.

The assault on our public education systems (in favor of for profit charter schools thanks to (governor Rick Snyder) “robbing’ $1.2 billion from our public schools [was that Betsy DeVos too?]),  the refusal to support a livable minimum wage, or even a guaranteed minimum stipend that keeps people off the streets from being homeless destitute individuals, and, cosmos forbid (again, but seriously, I’m atheist), a monthly payment that allows them to have an address so they can actually apply for a job and hopefully support themselves without public assistance.

THAT would be “enabling them”… (bullshit!!!)….

Not many that are forced by unseen, and by no fault of their own most times, to be on welfare want to be on it, but they are just so behind the “eight ball” that getting out of this endless cycle of poverty that they simply, in many cases, just give up.

It’s time for some real change…. not the theocracy based (no work, no food) attitude of the fake ass evangelicals who are delusional, but real social democratic change.

If you are in this country there should be absolutely no reason for you to be homeless or hungry.

This is the richest country in the world and we are (sadly) a country that lets kids go to bed hungry, not have access to a good basic education, access to free state sponsored healthcare, we incarcerate prisoners at a rate that even the worst dictatorships cannot match (fact: the United States of America has only 5% of the world’s population, yet we incarcerate 25% of the world’s prison inmates [incidentally, non-proportionally minorities]) and have to watch those in congress refuse to lift a finger, to make their needs (and all Americans needs) a priority and actually address our most urgent, basic needs like clean air and water is tantamount to murder.

We actually need to put you people in prison instead……

I am appalled that we can waste trillions on a fighter jet that can’t even fire it’s own weapon (still after several years) and spend more (55% of our national budget) on a military that is so bloated that since 1998 they have over 8 trillion dollars that they cannot account for, and yet we have a non-responsive (bloated) congress (state AND federal), infused with millionaires, who have the ultimate healthcare, pensions that keep them millionaires  for life and no positive/progressive actions are even remotely considered.

Time for the people to take control of the military and forcibly remove all the people in congress that have a track record of voting against any and all of these positive measures.

I realize that what what I’m advocating could be construed as treason, but I respectfully have to say, that that is exactly what our forefathers said should happen in this extreme circumstance.

I give you Donald John Trump who in a matter of days, what he has done, make what Hitler did in the 1930’s pale by comparison.

This is not a time for timid and spineless, bow down to the establishment, cowering, but a time that we are faced with the total destruction of the country (and democracy) we all (even the right wing idiots that have been fooled into supporting this fascist agenda) love.

There may not be another chance…..

There is not only an infestation in our federal government, but is goes all the way down to the local and state level.

You sir are part of the problem…..

Excuse me if I sound disrespectful, but that is my intention, because you and your kind deserve no respect.

Put me on a dissenter list if you want, but that will only give my voice a platform to expose all the corruption that exists and will continue to exist until these kind of actions are taken. (I will print out a copy of this email and register it with an independent organization…)

The answer you gave to my email, that was based in altruism and concern for the welfare of this country is unacceptable, and I will do every thing I can to see to it that this is you last term on the state government teat.
Fascism is not going to happen, sincerely,

Have You Talked with Your Kids About Pledging Allegiance?

The original Pledge salute was eerily similar to the Nazi salute, so it was changed to hand-over-heart.

Are you a bad American if you refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance? Are you a bad parent if you encourage your child to opt out of the Pledge in school?

Not at all. In fact, sitting out the Pledge of Allegiance, and encouraging your children to do so as well, can be seen as an affirmation of certain important values that are sadly lacking in modern America. One could even argue that sitting out the Pledge is itself a noble act of patriotism – or, at least, that those who opt out are by no means any less patriotic than those who participate. (Note: the right to refuse participation in the Pledge has been guaranteed by the United States Supreme Court(link is external).)

It would be a mistake to assume that the Pledge of Allegiance is an exercise that somehow unites all good citizens. Most Americans – liberal, moderate, or conservative – are decent and loyal citizens who appreciate at some level the nation’s core values: freedom, equal rights, democracy, and the fundamental principles embedded in the Constitution. They may often disagree about how to define and apply those values, but that’s simply the nature of a pluralistic, open society. With such a diverse population and a wide range of viewpoints, it shouldn’t be surprising that many see little value in a pledge exercise.

At a minimum, parents should talk with their kids about the Pledge – about what it means, what it doesn’t mean, and even its history. For starters, kids should understand that the exercise is voluntary, because many schools don’t inform them of this. And whether individual children decide to participate or not, all kids should understand that nonparticipation is not unpatriotic or disrespectful in any way. The reverse side of the same coin would point out that participation doesn’t make one a patriot.

In fact, serious participation in the exercise might require a child to make affirmations that run contrary to a child’s core personal beliefs or matters of conscience – and this of course could be unhealthy and problematic. Some families may not believe that the nation is “under God,” for example, whereas others may not feel that we truly provide “liberty and justice for all.” Others may simply have objections to pledging to anything. Families grappling with such issues are part of the fabric of the nation, and they should be appreciated and supported, not criticized.

For any humanist family, and for many others as well, there are numerous issues relating to the Pledge that are worth discussing. A few of them would include:

The Loyalty Oath Problem. No matter how much you love your country, you could question the wisdom of any recitation that essentially amounts to a loyalty oath. To be good citizens, must we visibly and publicly pledge our allegiance? And must even childrendo so – on a daily basis? It’s interesting that the Founding Fathers never felt it desirable to promote such loyalty recitations from citizens. (In fact, the Pledge wasn’t even written until 1892(link is external), a full century after the founding era.) The framers, as men of reason with Enlightenment values, most likely would have been aghast at the idea of citizens being expected to regularly recite a loyalty pledge.

Promoting Nationalism. We can love our country while still being skeptical of nationalism. We can agree that America is a marvelous place, from sea to shining sea, and that the principles upon which it was founded are worthy of exaltation – but that doesn’t mean we should constantly encourage widespread feelings of nationalism. History shows that national pride (in America and elsewhere) can be overdone, that it can lead to militarism and a diminished appreciation of outsiders. Nationalism can be seen as a manifestation of the human tendency toward tribalism, and such “we-are-so-great” thinking is hardly an impulse that should be encouraged. Beyond our borders are fellow human beings whose worth and dignity should not be disregarded. As such, maybe we shouldn’t instill our children with a daily dose of national superiority.

Racist and sexist roots. Liberty and justice are fine values, but they are hardly a comprehensive statement of important American values. When Francis Bellamy, a socialist, originally wrote the Pledge in 1892, he considered including the values of equality and fraternity in the recitation, but he was discouraged from doing so. It seems that too many Americans – particularly those in leadership positions – were opposed to equality for women and African Americans, so inclusion of those values would have been too controversial. Thus, by excluding those values, the Pledge as it appears today reflects not-so-subtle invidious attitudes of racism and sexism – reason enough to pass on participating in it.

The ‘Under God’ Problem. Many Americans don’t even know that the “under God” wording was added to the Pledge in 1954, during the McCarthy era. Interestingly, in asurvey released this week(link is external) by the American Humanist Association, when Americans are informed about this history over one-third support removal of the words and a return to “one nation, individible.” Obviously, a statement that the nation is “under God” is contrary to the sincerely held beliefs of atheists, humanists, and other religious skeptics. That didn’t bother the Knights of Columbus(link is external) and other religious groups that lobbied for inclusion of the phrase, but it obviously bothers many nonbelievers The survey showed over 90 percent of atheists oppose the affirmation, as do more than one in five believers. As the Pledge currently reads, it defines patriotism by drawing a circle that excludes millions of atheists and humanists who of course are perfectly good citizens. That alone is reason for many to opt out.

The Rote Recitation Problem. In an age where critical thinking is hardly a widespread phenomenon, it’s hard to see how the act of reciting any pledge in unison with a large group does much good. Even if the Pledge of Allegiance were a perfect statement of national values – which it is not – it certainly isn’t a reflection of independent thinking. Group activities can indeed sometimes have value in an educational environment (reciting the alphabet, for example, or singing songs). But they are usually done for a short time – a few days, or perhaps a few weeks – until the lesson or the song is fully learned and appreciated, and then the class moves on to something else. However, a daily recitation of a pledge of national loyalty, for 13 years, is an indoctrination, not an education.

A Declaration of Independence. Just as participation in the Pledge exercise discourages independent thinking, nonparticipation is an act of independence. The nonparticipating student is making a statement of sorts – not a statement of disloyalty, but a statement that tells others that he/she will not be herded and given words to recite. The intelligent, independent thinker knows what her values are – and certainly does not need a dailygovernment-sponsored exercise to define them or instill them.

These are some of the reasons that good, decent Americans are sitting out the Pledge of Allegiance. Critics of nonparticipation might object, and they might even accuse nonparticipants of disloyalty. The late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, famous for witch hunts that, not coincidentally, were occurring as the Knights of Columbus was lobbying for insering “under God” into the Pledge in the early 1950s, would have called such nonparticipants disloyal and subversive. This, however, would prove my point. If those claiming to be the “real” patriots can accuse nonparticipants of disloyalty merely for opting out of a recitation, we have forgotten the meaning of patriotism. If anything, such accusations should encourage even more critical thinkers to opt out.

Humanists know that recitation of words does not make a patriot, nor does waiving a flag or putting a yellow magnet on one’s car. If you want to be a good American, talk is cheap – but there’s nothing unpatriotic about critical thinking and personal independence.

Follow on Twitter: @ahadave(link is external)

David Niose’s new book is coming out this fall. Preorder Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason

Are You Afraid of Critical Thinking?

The extremists that now make up the bulk of the GOP, brought to us through the fringe faction, called the Tea Party, have nothing to add to the progress and advancement of America or the human race. They are delusional and their participation in a democracy will only cause considerable damage. There is no upside with these people.
Because of them and their propensity to claim that ‘god’ “talks” to them (why does god only talk to stupid people?) and because of my agnostic view of religion, (I’ve had since I was about 5 or 6 years old), I have come to the realization that all religion and every “god” is imaginary and are all man made myths and fairy tales. And also that a democracy has no room for this fractured type of doublethink.
I firmly believe in the 100% separation of church and state. You are free to believe all the myths you want to, just keep them out of our government and laws (and lawmakers).
Going to the next step, with much research and a completely open mind, has brought me to the fact that, knowing these things, I find that Atheism is the only answer that makes any sense at all.
Here is a thought that I believe to be a valuable tool for theists to stop their doublethink and come to a new realization in the way they view this world, their religious beliefs, and how critical thinking is not a threat to them, but a new honest path to living.
Think about positive change worldwide and how it is possible with the right examination of what is provable and what is merely mythological. Here is a profound statement, writer unknown.
The way to change the world is to change people’s minds. As more and more people openly discuss the fact that “God” and “Allah” are completely imaginary, the world becomes a better place. The people who believe in “religion” look sillier and sillier. Eventually, religion becomes a fringe activity that is meaningless.
More can be found at this at this site and here;
If you truly are a good person, can allow new reasoning and critical thought, then you have no valid reason to not go there and read and evaluate the proven evidence we now have through science that proves that all gods are imaginary.
So if you’re a reader of this article and think that you possess an open mind, now is the time to prove it to yourself, or are you afraid of critical thinking?

Elect Bernie Sanders in 2016

by Jerry Bierens

The pipeline from our public schools and more recently charter schools, (that are under no restrictions as to cirriculum and inspections) is nothing but the first step in the “dumbing down” process of our youth. The de-funding our public school system (to claim that it’s failing) is a big part of the GOP plan to “privatize” everything they can.

Next step in this process is through the racially biased judicial system and then directly to another government service that should never be privatized, private prisons.

I can’t believe that people are not aware and outraged at these three things. They obviously need reform.

In the case of the judicial, we need new more humanistic (without minimum mandatory sentencing) laws. No one should ever get 20 years or even a life sentence for a victimless crime like drug possession or sales.

Charter schools (for profit) and private prisons (for profit), and on through the (bad, racially tainted) court system are nearly an automatic pipeline to prison for many young people, and a majority of them are blacks and “other brown skinned” indivduals. It’s just plain wrong and you have the GOP to thank (blame) for it.

Charter schools AND private prisons are products of the “conservative” agenda, The result of not enough public input, done with backdoor sweetheart deals, to help wealthy friend(s) to profit from them. Never, never, should prisons or schools be a part of capitalism and done for profit. That’s why they (schools and prisons) have traditionally been PUBLIC services run with PUBLIC tax money. It’s what makes a social democratic society. It’s a fair system that served us well, until the oligarch(s) got their hooks into our government.

It’s all in the RWNJ plan to keep the sheep ignorant, and in line, which benefits the rich and their sponsors, in the legislatures, at the federal and state levels (look up A.L.E.C.)…. These bought and paid for politicians are supported with enormous donations so they can spread their lies and instill enough fear to stay in power so they can further the planned path to a fascist oligarchy…………

It’s past time to forget what the democrats and republicans used to be. Now it’s down to only one party if we are to save democracy and have a chance at an America that is fair to all it’s citizens, and not just the rich 1%.

And it sure isn’t the republicans!!!!

#FeeltheBern

Religion Has No Place in Education

Here’s some good news on the separation of church and state front.
We must remain vilgiant as these delusional types are continually trying to intertwine their (fake, man made) religion into our secular government.

As an atheist, I believe that we need to see more of this kind of progress. Then someday possibly a widespread awakening that all religion is fake and has no place in our governments worldwide will be the order of the day.

Theologies NEVER WORK!!! They harbor ancient myths as law and oppress and violate the rights of billions everyday. We must change if we are to save this planet and have a population free from discrimination and hate.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/07/13/mississippi-school-district-forced-to-pay-up-after-violating-court-order-and-repeatedly-promoting-christianity/?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_m

Get you very own clean energy here: 

https://myenergy.arcadiapower.com/referral/by/jerry2380

Why America Needs Bernie Sanders

America needs to elect Bernie Sanders for president of the United States of America.

His consistency and steadfastness in his vision of what America needs has been and will remain as it has for over thirty years. He has never wavered from what that is and that is refreshing. He is just what this country needs in the White House.

But little can be done in a progressive way without a supporting congress to make it to happen, therefore, we must get the Democratic voters out in earnest to vote in 2016. Without a democratic congress to help, the possibility of addressing what is most needed in America cannot get done.

The thought of a republican in the White House with a supporting congress scares the hell out of me. Can you envision a fascist government with theocratic overtones?

My advise is this, the GOP clown car is overloaded with a lot of non-viable candidates right now, but by this time next year many of them will be gone, (perhaps even some in prison, where they belong) and the chaff that is left will, in my opinion, be Rand Paul, Scott Walker (his candidacy is the one that is most under the control of the Koch brothers and their billions, even though he also faces legal problems too) and dear old Jeb (the Nazi created dynasty) Bush.

Of these I think that Rand Paul has that best chance of getting the nomination for the GOP (Greedy Old Pricks) and his appeal to the younger voters I have been talking to, posesses a clear danger to our democracy.

These younger voters may be mesmerized by Paul’s stance on a few issues (I may even agree with him on some of them) that they are familiar with and these young people are (understandably) not as aware of the danger underneath, and that is that Paul sides too much with the general GOP agenda of NOT raising the minimum wage, NOT taking on the military industrial complex (is it ever), NOT securing universal healthcare for all, NOT improving our justice system so it is fairer for everyone, NOT getting rid of charter schools (that take public money for uncontrolled private schools), or private prisons (that are nothing more than modern day slavery), NOT canceling these so called religious freedom bills that are surfacing on an ongoing basis today, and possibly most importantly, NOT taking on the big oil companies and addressing the massive problem of climate change.

There will be a lot of things going on in the coming months but by late next summer the picture should be somewhat clearer. Until then, keep learning as much as you can about the policies of the candidates and what the whole picture of another GOP presidency would likely be.

In this writer’s humble opinion America’s democracy will not survive another republican in the White House and that is what scares me the most.

The NRA: Responsible for Firearms Irresponsibility

BY ON MAY 16, 2015

The NRA: Responsible for Firearms Irresponsibility

0

The National Rifle Association has become a liability to the safety of all Americans

I am a mother and this mom is pissed off. I have had enough of the gun control measures being voted down by Congress. There’s been enough domestic shootings, mass shootings, school shootings, police shootings, unintentional shootings involving children, and police officers getting shot. Recently, felons with illegal firearms have murdered officers in Idaho, Mississippi, and New York. Much of the blame for this can be laid at the feet of theNRA.

nraIn 2013, of the 25 officers killed by gunfire, 50% of the shooters were individuals barred from owning a firearm. All were felons with prior convictions or mental health issues. Although most people assume these firearms are stolen, they are more often obtained through straw buyers or even more commonly, trafficked from states with lax background checks, either through the Internet and/or unlicensed gun dealers.

Although federal gun laws stay the same in every state, each state has their own laws and some of them are very “gun friendly.” These states are: Alaska; Florida; Arizona; Idaho; Kentucky; Montana; New Mexico; Texas; Utah; Wyoming; Louisiana; Wisconsin; North Dakota; Kansas; Georgia; and Mississippi. The NRA has their fingerprints all over these pro-gun states.

Gun shows are a huge problem when it comes to straw purchases. Although gun show dealers are ostensibly supposed to run checks, many don’t, and will sell guns to buyerswithout even checking ID. This practice is so common that terrorist leaders overseas call for their followers to just go get guns and begin opening fire on people.

Thanks to the National Rifle Association, background checks have become cursory and the waiting period is much shorter in these states. Not only that but background checks at gun shows are basically non-existent. Since 2013, 102 officers in the line of duty were killed from 2014-May 15, 2015. That’s up from 76 police fatalities in 2013 or 20% increase. Of that 20% increase, 38% are from gunfire with illegal guns.

How is this actually happening? How have these cop killers actually obtained their illegal weapons? Guns are from all over the country are smuggled into areas where there is a demand. This  includes rural and urban neighborhoods. They are used to barter for drugs and other contraband, and are even cheaper on the streets than from licensed gun dealers in many cases.

For a good example, look to the recent killing of Officer Moore in New York City. The murder weapon was traced to a gun shop in Georgia that was broken into, with those same firearms traveling up the “Iron Pipeline” to NYC. Even though New York’s gun control laws have resulted in it being one of only four states reporting a drop in gun homicides from 2003-2013, the lax gun laws in Georgia, where there’s been a marked increase in gun deaths, have directly affected the Empire State in lethal ways.

Similarly, Chicago suffers from a plague of gun violence. The NRA and other pro-gun advocates point to this is an example of how firearms restrictions, as that city has in place, do not work. But this is a fallacy.

Gun laws in one relatively small geographical area are rendered ineffective if the surrounding areas don’t share those restrictions. This is the case in Chicago. It’s easy enough to step outside city limits, get firearms illegally, and drive right back in.

New York City enjoys effective gun laws due in no small part to the fact that its outlying areas share the same legislation. It’s a little tougher to acquire guns illegally in The Big Apple, but it’s certainly not impossible. Felons just need to go farther, like to Georgia.

Oh, that Georgia gun shop that got robbed? All it took to get inside it was a crowbar. How’s that for safety? Real responsible gun ownership there, huh?

After the Sandy Hook tragedy on December 14, 2012, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg started a group called Every Town for Gun Safety. Bloomberg pledged to raise $50 million dollars and tightened gun control issues.

The President of Everytown, John Feinblatt, has also had enough. Feinblatt previously served as Chief Policy Advisor to New York City Mayor Michael R.Bloomberg. He previously served as the Criminal Justice Coordinator for the City of New York and was the founding director of the Center for Court Innovation, the country’s leading think tank devoted to problem solving justice.

In a statement, Feinblatt said, “Police officers are on the front lines of protecting our communities each and everyday – we owe it to them to close the loopholes that make it easy for criminals to dodge background checks an easily get their hands on guns.” Feinblatt went on to say that, police officers are, “vulnerable because of the weak gun laws in our country.”

According to the study from Every Town for Gun Safety, there are a total of 665,129 law enforcement officers in the United States. Of those officers, 322,163 live in states that require a background check for private handgun sales. 342,966 officers live in states that do not require background checks for private handgun sales. Nationwide, a total of 676 officers were killed in action and 551 involved a firearm.

The officers from States with stricter background checks had 272 fatalities compared to states with no background checks and 404 fatalities. Law enforcement officers killed with a handgun that was not their own was 114 and 233 respectively. That is a difference of 48%. That’s huge. Feinblatt calls this a “loophole big enough to drive a Mack truck through.”  FBI data indicates that the number of officers killed feloniously with firearms rose 77 percent since 2013.

We need to restrict the right to bear arms so that those who are convicted felons, people who are psychiatrically distressed, or proven hotheads have this right revoked. As an example, when a domestic abuser is given a restraining order to keep him away from his wife or girlfriend, his right to keep and bear arms should be revoked. Too many women have died because men like this retained their access to guns. Ideally, they should have all guns confiscated and go a in a database preventing from getting new ones, from any source – gun shows included.

When a person demonstrates reckless behavior or brandishes a gun, he or she should lose the right to own it. Just as we do with cars, to borrow a favorite comparison tactic from the NRA and other gun lobbies. The right to bear arms is not absolute, and must be revocable in cases in which the individual displays lack of responsibility. That seems to be common sense.

nraUnfortunately, common sense goes right out the window once the NRA becomes involved. They lobby constantly to repeal and undermine gun laws nationwide, and they’re responsible for the uneven patchwork of laws and regulations from State to State.

In short, the NRA works to make sure gun laws can’t work, in order to say that gun laws don’t work. See how that works?

It is no secret that their money has bought them nigh unlimited power in Congress, and their spokesman, Wayne LaPierre, stated his organization’s direct opposition to Hillary Clinton while making thinly veiled racist jabs at President Obama.

Think about that for a moment; the NRA is openly announcing that they will decide the Presidency of the United States. All the while they claim to be representing patriot Americans but that’s a smoke screen. The NRA actually represents gun manufacturers, not regular Americans. They wave a flag, play a recording of Charlton Heston, and their followers swallow it hook, line, and sinker.

Slowly but surely, people are beginning to shrug off the rhetoric of the NRA. More and more Americans are realizingthe need for greater restrictions of firearms. Organizations like Everytown and Moms Demand Action for Gunsense in America have gained a lot of traction in the last few years. And while their critics love to point out how small the movements can seem to be, it can’t be denied that resistance to the NRA was something considered impossible not very long ago. The times are changing. People are pushing for expanded background checks, tougher gun laws, and universal enforcement of all of this.

Still, it won’t be an easy thing for America to shake itself loose from the influence of the NRA. Their supporters rabidly harass anyone speaking out against gun lobbies. Facebook fanpages dedicated to gun culture will direct swarms of trolls to articles they don’t like, or to skew online polls about gun laws. The NRA commonly cites the fraudulent John R. Lott, as well as others who say what they like to hear, regardless of their lack of credibility.

But it’s the NRA’s money which is their greatest weapon. They have bought and paid for politicians at every level, the majority of whom are Republican, to pass gun-friendly legislation at every opportunity. Just as an example of the type of madness they push through, did you know that Iowa allows the blind to carry guns? What could go wrong with that?

The Second Amendment was written as being necessary to the Security of the State. As defined by the NRA, it is Contrary to the Security of the State. The irresponsible are being enabled to own firearms. Criminals use their rhetoric to flaunt their guns under the guise of Open Carry groups. Gun laws are weakened, repealed, and the nation is kept under the thumb of gun manufacturers. That is not freedom.

Americans need to resist the lies, intimidation tactics, and propaganda forwarded by the NRA. We will never be truly free until we do.

Additional material provided by Chad R. MacDonald.

Republicans, Rights And Responsibilities

BY ON MAY 7, 2015    NEWS, POLITICS

Republicans need to take responsibility for the rights they hold dear as well as the rights they do not

Fringe groups of the Republican Party are quick to point out the rights afforded to them under the United States Constitution. Freedom of religion and the right to bear arms are two of their favorite topics. Anyone who dares to regulate either one is in for one hell of a fight. Yet the very same group is loath to admit that with any set of rights comes an equally important set of responsibilities.

Every American citizen is born with “rights’ under the Constitution. For example, we have a right to free speech. However, we also have a responsibility not to threaten people or to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater. When choosing to live in any society we are charged with certain expectations to help that society thrive. Yet it is the groups that yell the loudest about their “rights” that in turn are the most selfish about giving back to the country they claim to “love” so much. It is this denial of responsibility that is taking its toll on our country.

Taxes

No one enjoys paying taxes. However, American corporations and freedom loving Tea Party groups have taken this dislike to the extreme. Who can forget the several days standoff withCliven Bundy, the right-wing nut who refused to pay taxes for his grazing cattle for over twenty years and is estimated to owe the U.S. Taxpayers over $1 million dollars? Rather than pay the tax he issued a call to arms and gun nuts from across the country ran to his side in an effort to fight for his “freedom” to screw the government out of his fair share of taxes.

American corporations in turn are not much better than Bundy when it comes to freeloading. A corporation will go to great lengths to reduce its tax burden to the lowest percentage possible. Corporations such as Boeing and General Electric paid no income tax at all over a five year period. While the average citizen pays anywhere from 5-35% in taxes each year. Meanwhile we struggle with ways to pay for repairs to our crumbling infrastructure and provide decent public school education programs to our youth.

Health Care

When Obama introduced his signature healthcare plan nearly 47.3 million people lacked health insurance. Nearly 1 in 6 people were forced to declare bankruptcy due to mounting medical costs from a catastrophic illness that left them unable to work. Several years after the passage of “Obamacare” 9 out of 10 Americans now have some form of health insurance. The burden to hospital emergency rooms mandated to treat patients regardless of ability to pay has been greatly reduced.

Yet despite its success the Republican-controlled House has vote to repeal “Obamacare” 56 times to date. The reasons why they are so hell-bent on its repeal are many. Mostly it boils down to the simple formula that government-mandated healthcare amounts to taking from the rich to give to the poor. Even though every advanced country has some form of universal healthcare simply because it’s the right thing to do and it lessens the overall burden to society.

Voting

There are 206,072,000 people eligible to vote in America and of that number just 146,311,000 are registered to vote. In a presidential election year just 64% of registered voters turn out to vote. In primary elections the percentage of voters is drastically lower and estimated near 20% or lower. The result of low voter turnout has far reaching consequences for everyone.

Primary election voters decide who will run in general elections and when voter turnout is low special interest, fringe candidates often advance to run against the chosen candidate from the opposing party. In heavily controlled Republican districts, this radical candidate will win easily. It is how candidates like Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott manage to win elections even though both have clearly broken with reality.

Abbott recently convinced himself that the Federal Government was set to take over Texas. He has mobilized the Texas National Guard to “fight” off an invasion meant to seize the guns of law abiding Texans. Abbott’s panic stems from routine exercises performed by military personnel over seven states. Abbott believes that this is a cover by Obama for an invasion staged from Walmarts in Texas that are closed for remodeling. Keep in mind, this is the governor…

Not to get lost in all the nuts, but the bottom line here is voting rights. If Republicans really cared about the people in this country and their so-called rights, you would think they’d be making it easier for people to exercise the most fundamental of rights, the right to vote. It is well understood that Republicans have been doing the opposite with voter ID laws, gerrymandering districts, etc.

It has become clear over the years that the Republican Party isn’t really quick to defend their rights so much as they are quick to defend their own interests. That’s why they are always willing to defend your right to own a gun and preach the gospel, but could care less about your right to an abortion or get married to a member of the same sex.

It is equally clear that the Republican Party has little desire to be responible. Their misguided beliefs in favoring war, the wealthy and trickle down economics has led to enormous deficits, massive income inequality, crumbling infrastructure, and the American corporate oligarchy.

So, when a Republican gets in you face about their rights, be sure to ask them about their responsibilities. I wonder how many will tell you it isn’t their problem. For Republicans and Libertarians, it’s always someone else’s responsibility.