Liars to the Left of me . . . Liars to the Right

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It’s a lie, but in some ways understandable when, to gain political points, a politician twists the meaning of something his opponent says . . . but it’s tragic when other politicians validate that lie.

The perfect example of a lie that has been validated thru the media and by other politicians is the reaction to Indiana Senator Richard Mourdock’s uncalled for platitude in a televised speech last week:


“Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, it is something that God intended to happen.”

Granted that sentence was poorly worded and could be interpreted to mean that the rape itself was intended by God but who in their right mind would HONESTLY interpret it like that?

Which brings me to my point: A politician who uses a lame argument like that to support his own beliefs about the evils of abortion is probably NOT in his right mind. To take it a step farther, ANY politician (and it’s mostly the “Conservative” ones that do this) who even broaches either of the two most controversial social subjects: abortion and gay rights, is doing a grave injustice to the public, to his or her party and to the American political system.

At the Federal level, every Senator and Congressman swears an oath upon taking that office that he or she will “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter” and every one of the “duties” involved in that office is intended to serve the people of their state or district. Not just the people who share that politicians religious and social views but ALL the people. Religious and social issues should be “off the menu” in every election, in every political speech and in every piece of legislation. Elected officials are elected to serve the people, not to shamelessly promote their own social/religious beliefs.

Reference:

Washington Post: “a href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/richard-mourdocks-sick-and-twisted-critics/2012/10/25/3440966c-1eea-11e2-ba31-3083ca97c314_story.html”> Richard Mourdocks ‘sick and twisted’ critics

From “Big Bird” to “Binders” to “Not Optimal”

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Are campaign advisors really all 12-year olds, as the Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker suggests or do they really believe that we’re that stupid?

Today we have Republicans supposedly “outraged” because President Obama joked with Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” that the deaths of four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, as responses to terrorist attacks go, was “not optimal.” Will all you outraged Republican’s please take a break, unclench and get a grip. This was the Daily Show where light and less than reverent responses are the norm. Jon Stewart led the president into the “not optimal” response by noting that the administration’s response to the attack had seemed “confused” and not “as optimal” as it could have been. This is coming from Jon Stewart who’s last truly serious moment occurred so long ago, no one remembers it, so naturally the president picked up on Stewart’s ironically understated “not as optimal” response and used it.

Just before that day (actually up to THIS day) the Democrats were pounding Mitt Romney and calling him insensitive to women because, in the last debate, he defended his attempts to get more women on his staff by noting that he had “binders full of women” to choose from. Of course he could have said that a professional recruiting firm was hired and supplied him with binders full of resumes of qualified candidates. Any reasonable person, Republican or Democrat understood right away that that was exactly what he was talking about but the again the 12-year old mentality of the political ‘spin doctor’ spun it their way. Worse yet, these juvenile minds expected us to believe them.

Has it occurred to either party that we, out here in the real world, are for the most part intelligent enough to put remarks like “not optimal” and “binders full of women” in the proper context ourselves? We all understand that these men (Obama and Romney) are imperfect human beings like the rest of us and they will say some things imperfectly from time to time so don’t insult our intelligence by trying to twist what a candidate “meant” when the actual meaning is obvious.

Its Bigger than DOMA

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This post points out that today’s Second Circuit decision has much more potential impact than the headlines suggest,

Without Prejudice

The twitter and blogospheres are lighting up with the news coming out of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs has ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.  As a conservative judge appointed by H.W. Bush, with a Clinton judge, Chester Straub[1], dissenting, the opinion turns the perceived ideological divide of the debate on its head.

Upon the first blush, more striking to me is the reasoning rather than the result.  Chief Judge Jacobs did not take the states’ rights position to void DOMA; he ruled it unconstitutional under the equal protection clause.  In doing so, he altered where the classification of homosexuality sits on the tripartite equal protection scheme.  Determining that homosexuals as a class have “A)…endured persecution and discrimination; B) homosexuality has no relation to aptitude or ability to contribute to society; C) homosexuals are a discernible group with…

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D.O.M.A. Unconstitutional!: A Victory for Common Decency . . .

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Today, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court that the abomination known as D.O.M.A (Defense of Marriage Act) is unconstitutional because it denies federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

Just on the surface, it’s clear that this law ignores the fact that lesbians and gays are protected minorities under all federal non-discrimination laws.

Just beneath the surface, however, it gets scary! D.O.M.A.s existence is a monument to the fact that the Republican legislators who have been fighting in the courts to keep D.O.M.A. alive have been convinced (by Christian institutions and Christian lobbyists) that the clause in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment that prohibits “impeding the free exercise of religion” implies that religious freedom overrides the rights of citizens who choose not to recognize the church as the dominant power in this country. They need to be thoroughly disabused of that notion.

This clearly immoral law will next be ruled on by the Supreme Court — and who will again be in the front lines trying to keep it alive? The bigots in the Republican party who have categorized gay people as second-class citizens to be punished under Federal law, solely because of the sexual orientation they were born with.

. . . But Wait! There are Much “Bigger Fish” to Fry!

In this election year, as important as gay rights and reproductive rights are, the party of choice for people who love America and want to see the last four years erased from memory must be the Republican party.

As much as the Republican ‘social agenda’ chaps my a**, I know that their economic agenda and their “peace through strength” initiatives are absolutely vital to our continued existence as a free, vital and powerful country. As I see it, we have no choice but to ‘dethrone’ Barack Obama and send him back to Hawaii.

Leveling the playing field, the heart of the Barack Obama philosophy of life, sounds nice — but if it means bringing our economy down to the state of the Greek economy or allowing the United Nations to tax our citizens or allowing continuing unanswered challenges to American strength and sovereignty by the likes of rag-tag terrorist groups that wants us all dead, it doesn’t sound ‘nice’ any longer.

The stupidity and intolerance the Christian Right displays in the areas of gay rights and a woman’s freedom to control her own body, while a vitally important fight to fight, must not override concerns that effect every U.S. citizen; especially in this election year when the Democratic party has the country on the brink of economic collapse and in this era of increasing threats to our national defense. Any successful person will tell you that one of the most important rules in life to follow is to “choose your battles wisely.”

Paul Ryan on Abortion: ‘I believe this to be true and it doesn’t matter what YOU believe’

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“I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life.”

That was Congressman Paul Ryan beginning to answer the question: ‘What role has your religion played in your own personal views on Abortion?’

Ryan was obviously answering a different (unasked) question: ‘How do you justify your public position on abortion?’ That is the more interesting and relevant question but I find it revealing as well as disturbing that a Congressman who is elected to serve a diverse constituency, is unable to separate his personal religious beliefs from his sworn oath to “faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.” One of the duties of the office of Congressman is clearly NOT to serve your own personal needs by forcing your religious beliefs on others with different beliefs.

That’s religious arrogance, and it is the hallmark of most religions: “I believe this to be true and it doesn’t matter what YOU believe.” That is also a personal arrogance that is not appropriate for a public servant, especially one who is elected to a Federal office.

The Conservative ‘talkers’ on the radio this morning unanimously agree that Ryan’s “it doesn’t matter what YOU believe” position is the absolutely correct position for a Federally elected official. Just like Ryan, and the vast majority of those who call themselves Conservative, they want their religion front and center — ‘in your face those of you who have different beliefs, like it or not, my church is your church.’

How they can feel that this is an appropriate position in a ‘free country’ is baffling and unbelievable. It’s obvious that Conservatives believe that a Theocratic form of government is perfectly appropriate as long as Christian doctrine is the theology being pushed.

Congressman Ryan, if you don’t believe in abortion fight against it at home, in your family, among your circle of friends and when the subject is brought up in public meetings fight against it there; but don’t tell the American voter that they HAVE TO agree with you because that is the “policy of the Romney administration.”

It’s not your choice to separate your public life from your private life Paul, it’s your DUTY as a Federally elected official.

By contrast, Vice President Biden gave the perfect answer to the abortion question:

“with regard to abortion. I accept my church’s position on abortion as a == what we call a (unknown Latin word) doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the — the congressman. I — I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I’m not going to interfere with that.”

In spite of how much I agree with Obama/Biden on this one issue, I see them as inadequate on almost every other issue when compared to Romney/Ryan. Vote Republican, I certainly will!

Reference: For the full debate transcript one of the many places you can go is:

documentcloud.org

The VP Debate – My Thoughts

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How do you successfully debate a propaganda machine? Paul Ryan found out tonight that you can’t!

How do you successfully debate a ‘grinning idiot’ that doesn’t respect the rules of debate? Paul Ryan found out tonight that you can’t.

Ryan did successfully, however, make important points that said everything that needed to be said:

= President Obama came into office with a staggering National debt and complete control of both the Senate and the House. He never even attempted to put a plan in place that would reduce that debt, instead he worked methodically to increase that debt and increase the power of the Federal Government at the expense of American taxpayers.

= Since taking office, President Obama ran with his motto: “Level the playing field for the middle class” which was not only out of place and irresponsible in that fiscal environment, it didn’t even begin to work. The middle class in America is even more poor, more dependent on government and more unemployed than it has been in many decades.

So ‘vote for us’ Joe Biden says, because we care about the middle class! They may care but they certainly didn’t do the most important thing they could have done for the middle class: put them back to work.

Vice President Joe Biden, aside from being obnoxious and disrespectful, did mount a very strong defense for his president and for his president’s actions for the last almost 4 years but that was hardly unexpected. Joe Biden is a very experienced ‘back alley’ debater and, as every VP is, he a pawn of the administration.

In the end, Paul Ryan’s twice stated point (stated twice because he was repeatedly interrupted) rang very true: ‘When you are running on a poor record all you can do is try to convince the voters that they should run away from your opponent.”

Joe Biden accomplished that vilification very well and, as result, most viewers will probably feel that Joe Biden won the debate. For the good of our country and for the future of our generation and following generations I hope those viewers also understand that, debating points aside, President Obama has failed at virtually everything he promised to do and, if reelected, he has no plans to change his failed strategy. Four more years of an Obama administration and this country may be too far behind to ever catch up.

Abortion

Personally I feel that the last question — the one about the candidates abortion stands — was totally inappropriate — it should not even have been there as part of the debate. Joe Biden, however, won that point hands down and he is exactly right — a politician’s feelings about abortion should have an impact on that politicians life but should not have any effect on every woman’s clear right to control her own body.

Maybe some day it will dawn on Conservatives that their religious ideas are THEIR ideas and not those of all of the American people — and they are sworn to serve ALL of their constituents, not just the ones who attend their church.

If abortion was the only question under debate, Obama/Biden would have my vote but there were many more far-reaching and important questions being debated and on those, Obama/Biden are losers.

It’s Time to Start “Bullying” the B.S.A.

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Times change! Meanings of word also change but how the B.S.A. can call itself a “Christian” organization by teaching intolerance and exclusion is well beyond my understanding.

Ryan Andresen (pictured above) was a good boy scout for about 10 years! Ryan had his heart set on becoming an Eagle Scout and worked tirelessly to accumulate all the necessary badges and complete all the required projects; he had only one problem! When he got into high school he realized that he was gay — he was still a good citizen and still a good scout, still a good person and still the same Ryan Andresen as the one who had been in scouting for all those years, but he was suddenly a pariah!

When the Boy Scouts of America (B.S.A.) learned of Ryan’s sexual orientation, he was allowed (for some reason) to remain a scout and stranger yet, allowed to continue working toward his goal of Eagle Scout but then, after completing all the qualifications, he was denied the Eagle Scout rank based solely on his sexual orientation.

The B.S.A. organization, apparently ‘proudly,’ teaches their scouts that homosexuality is valid grounds for the effective expulsion from descent society and a valid reason to ignore any good a person has done.

In Ryan’s case the leadership turned their back while the “good” scouts, i.e., the ones who were not gay, harassed Ryan, called him names and even, at one point, held him down and wrote the word “FAG” on his chest. These, the supposed ‘children of God,’ rejected and humiliated a fellow scout based on who he was — not on the basis of bad, indecent or criminal behavior — just solely on who he was.

We all realize that the B.S.A. is a private organization and, as the Supreme Court has decided, they do not HAVE to accept gay members or leaders but what they are doing is worse than not accepting gays into their membership — they are teaching the children they do allow into their organization to be bigoted and homophobic. Just based on those teachings THEY, the B.S.A. organization, should be the pariahs of society and every descent citizen should loudly protest their policies.

Parents who allows their children to be infected by the homophobic policies of the B.S.A. need to be made aware of the harm that they are doing to their children’s growth as responsible citizens.

As descent American citizens we should all reject any organization, private or public, that discriminates based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. That rejection should be very public and very loud. Discrimination is not, or at least should not be, what America is about. As Christians, you should seriously reevaluate your definition of Christianity.