Archive for: February, 2012

The Republicans' Misogynistic Mandates Ignite A Wildfire Of Voter Rage

Feb 29 2012 Published by under Featured News

One of the inherent rights of American citizenship is individual freedom and it transcends nearly every benefit those fortunate enough to live in a free society enjoy. Republicans in states and Washington believe so strongly in individual freedoms, that they support eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate requiring all Americans to carry healthcare insurance and have taken the mandate question before the Supreme Court to settle the issue. Republicans detest mandates of any kind as government intrusion into American’s personal lives nearly as much as they claim to hate big government. However, as the Senate prepares to vote on whether or not an employer can opt out of offering contraception coverage if it violates their religious beliefs, a Republican victory will be tantamount to government imposing a religious mandate that violates women’s individual liberty.

Since the start of the 112th Congress, Republicans have assailed women’s individual liberties with relentless disregard that has as its basis religious dogma of the Catholic Church and evangelical extremists. The Senate bill introduced by Missouri senator Roy Blunt gives any employer the right to deny contraception coverage (among others) in health plans whether they are affiliated with religious organizations or not, and serves as a mandate that eliminates a woman’s choice of how many children they give birth to. President Obama summed up the effect of the proposed law back in 2005 when he said, “A woman’s ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and opportunity for all women.” The United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and extremist evangelical Christians disagree with the President’s sentiments and directed Republicans to impose their religious mandate on women in America; especially poor and low-income women.

The Republican’s forced-birth agenda is not the only government-enforced religious mandate on women. In many Republican-controlled states, religious extremists are forcing government mandates on women in the form of state-sponsored rape (transvaginal ultrasound) laws. In Virginia recently, Republican governor Bob McDonnell backed off signing a state-rape law after intense pressure, but seven other states such as Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas already mandate rape-ultrasounds and Pennsylvania is in the process of passing a law mandating transvaginal ultrasounds.

The Republicans have become so ferocious in the assault on women’s right to choose their own reproductive health that, in Oklahoma, they are proposing a mandate that forces women to listen to a Doppler fetal heart rate monitor if a woman is at least eight weeks into a pregnancy. The problem is that at eight weeks, a fetal heartbeat is inaudible with Doppler and the general guidelines suggest waiting until 13 weeks to be certain one is apparent. It is another flagrant example of why Republicans should not be permitted to mandate medical care. It is egregious that any woman should undergo medically unnecessary ultrasounds whether it is with Doppler or vicious state-mandated rape ultrasounds.

The enforcement and mandate of religious-based discrimination against women is hypocritical of Republicans who claim to hate government mandates unless they target women; especially poor and low-income women who are hard-pressed to afford food and shelter much less a new child every year. Make no mistake, although the Republican religious mandates target low-income women, Blunt’s senate amendment targets all women by allowing employers to opt-out of covering a multitude of procedures and treatments in the Affordable Health Act besides contraception coverage and if, for example, a male employer objects to providing HIV/AIDS screenings, Type 2 Diabetes treatments, cancer tests, maternity coverage, or new baby coverage, they can simply opt-out claiming moral conscience objections. In the case of women’s healthcare, moral conscience objections is code for misogyny.

Republicans claim to hate government mandates unless they target women and particularly women’s health.  The drive to eliminate contraception coverage, and ultimately contraception itself, is nothing more than Republicans imposing religion on women. Rick Santorum recently said he is not attempting to impose his religious beliefs on the country, but his campaign against contraception and coverage in healthcare insurance belies his fallacious claim. Supporting a mandate to restrict access to free or affordable birth control is imposing his religion on poor and low-income women; for now. Santorum, like the USCCB, opposes contraception and promises to tour the country preaching about the dangers of birth control his religion opposes, and he supports the mandate allowing religious extremists to deny contraception coverage for their employees.

It is no coincidence that the hypocrites in Republican-controlled states suing the federal government to eliminate the individual mandate to carry health insurance all have forced-birth and rape-sonogram mandates against women. Roy Blunt’s Senate bill is not solely about contraception coverage, but about restricting women from access to crucial health screenings and medical procedures in the ACA. Republicans mandating medically unnecessary Doppler and transvaginal ultrasounds are not only guilty of state-sponsored rape, they are forcing violated women to bear the expense because health insurance does not cover unnecessary medical procedures and tests.

These outrageous misogynistic mandates by Republicans enforcing religious edicts against women are inflaming men and women alike. In the short term, the Republican mandates are aimed at poor and low income women, but if employers are allowed to withhold contraception coverage in their health plans, then all women will suffer and that is the Republican goal. Like the lunatic Quiverfull movement, the Catholic bishops, extremist Christians, and misogynists in the Republican ranks are mandating that all women stay home, clean men’s chamber pots, and give birth until they die. Republicans and their masters in the USCCB  and extremist Christians do not hate mandates, they hate women.

 

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Dominionist Fantasy Unveiled: Michiganistan

Feb 29 2012 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Michiganistan? Really? Remember what I said about Islamophobia here yesterday? Yeah..about that. It seems Michigan is about to become Michiganistan – the first Islamic state in America. Or that’s what they want you to believe. All that hysteria over Muslims in Dearborn has been put to good use by Christian bigots, who apparently won’t be satisfied until we can jump-start the Crusades, most likely with American Pope-to-be Rick Santorum leading the way. After all, he has already instructed us not to hate on the Crusades. Who better? But this story has more to do with prayer-nuts than with Santorum zaniness. We’re talking Cindy Jacobs/Rick Joyner action here – hardcore off the deep-end thinking (if it can be called that). Those sanity watch-dogs at Right Wing Watchare reporting these gems (get your aluminum Pope fish-hats out):

  • The United States Reformation Prayer Network, an organization of “prophetic voices” using “strategic targeting coordinates for reformation prayer” founded by Cindy Jacobs, sent out a prayer alert for Michigan’s Tuesday primary which warned about the state’s Muslim community;
  • Rick Joyner of the Oak Initiative previously warned that “there is actually an attempt to make Michigan our first Muslim state“;
  • And in the prayer alert from Anita Christopher of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network and the West Michigan Prayer Center made the same claim today: “There seems to be an underlying agenda by Islam to have Michigan become the first Islamic state in America.”

As Right Wing Watch helpfully points out, “Michigan’s Muslim community represents approximately 3 percent of the state’s population.” Facts don’t matter though; never did, never will. All that matters is belief, which is why Rick Santorum doesn’t want you to go to college and discover that there are such things as facts (facts, as he realizes, really mess with belief). It is difficult to escape this conclusion: Cognitive dissonance seems to be to Republicans what red flags are to bulls. So here’s what dominionist Anita Christopher wants people to do:

Michigan has suffered great economic hardship for many years due to foreign competition and costs of doing business. We have historically historically [sic] been an anti-Semitic state, and hold one of the largest population of Muslims outside of the Middle East. There seems to be an underlying agenda by Islam to have Michigan become the first Islamic state in America. … • Declare that Godly men and women will be elected who carry a Biblical worldview and have moral integrity. • Declare that our elected leaders will stand with Israel. • Declare that our elected leaders will uphold traditional marriage and the sanctity of life. • Declare our elected leaders will preserve our God-given Constitution. • Cry out for the wind of awakening to come into this region. • Cry out for revelation for the Church to see Michigan’s issues with Kingdom mindsets. • Decree that Michigan will come into its Kingdom destiny. • Decree the government of Michigan will shift and begin to make covenant decrees over the people.

I could weep for the people of Michigan. It is not fair that this cup should have been passed to you, that you should be first afflicted with dictatorial emergency managers, have democracy suspended, and now this, an all-out assault not only on your sanity but the aesthetics of sound thinking and the fabric of reality itself. On the other hand, you could look at this as an opportunity to laugh until you pee in your pants. I’m kinda on the fence right now, almost weeping, almost pee-ing. There are strong arguments to be made for either response. I mean, f*ck, people thought H.P. Lovecraft wrote horror stories. How can the threat of Cthulhu and the “Great Old Ones” be crazier than the threat of Wolverine Islamization? I mean, let’s look at this rationally: on the one hand I have these ancient gods –  AzathothCthulhuGhatanothoaShub-NiggurathYog-SothothNyarlathotep and Yig –  cosmic horrors that make strong men wet their pants and their crazy cultists here on earth, and on the other, well…some crazy cultists who say a few thousand Muslims want to turn Michigan into Michiganistan. What to do? What to do? Pick your fantasy, I suppose. I’m kinda thinking Cthulhu and his buddies might be better for Michigan’s economy. And they’d certainly get rid of those emergency managers, though I suppose to Taliban might too. But Cthulhu… I mean, what’s not to like about “A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque scaly body with rudimentary wings”? I mean, would that make Cindy Joyner, Rick Jacobs and Anita Christopher wet their pants or what? Of course, it would all be blamed on Obama as some sort of liberal conspiracy to turn Michigan into the first Cthulhu state in America. But really, the idea is no more ludicrous than Michigan becoming the first Islamic state in America. And we can have so much more fun with Cthulhu. I mean sure, YHWH can do fires, but Cthulhu’s buddy Cthugha is an actual living conflagration! How great is that? And look, really…there is about as much chance of Michigan falling under Cthulhu’s sway as there is it falling under Allah’s, so really, we ought to call on the people of Michigan to stand up to Cthulhu’s threat, maybe even start up a petition.

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Right Wing Privilege and Paranoia Gang up on Equal Rights

Feb 28 2012 Published by under Featured News

If you can muster the wasted graymatter, antacids and self-control, plop yourself on a couch and watch a few hours of coverage from the Republican primaries. The right-wing choir harmonizes disturbingly around a few major notes: ranging from war-mongering and billionaire-coddling to overt sexism and economic fallacies of every conceivable bigotry and proportion. As if anyone needed a reminder of America’s perpetual class war it seems as if this year Republicans are hell bent on taking every opportunity to not only shelter the crimes of billionaires in a spectacle of gilded talking points but also to show off how out of touch they are. Ready to demonize and belittle any socio-economically  disenfranchised group available for the abuse, America’s right-wing is directly appealing to the paranoid at the behest of the privileged.

This demonizing of America’s less-than-privileged classes has taken many forms. In its plasticity, “other-ing” as a socio-political mechanism of divide and conquer is nothing new to the right wing, so it’s with an expert hand they work this tool. The mechanism works off two key engines. Firstly, the paranoid class (e.g. let’s imagine a conservative demographic living in a government-insured home off a taxpayer-bought highway that actually receives more in taxes than it puts in, but whole-heartedly believes the government is overtaxing and over-regulating it) has to be made to believe that it shares common interests and motivations with the privileged class. Sometimes this shared interest is imagined by the Horatio Algers-type hallucination that one day the poor man may indeed be as rich as the rich man. Yet other times the shared interest is imagined through shared geographic, racial, religious, gender or sexual-preference similarities. In either case, once this “shared interest” engine is secured, then the privileged class works on the second engine of their mechanism, warning the paranoid class of all the dangerous, dirty people waiting to take away the paranoid class’ somewhat limited historic privileges (imagine something like lessened personal criminality, better schools and a far higher likelihood of securing a homeloan). That’s why, say the billionaire mouthpieces, a United Front must be made between the paranoid and privileged. If not, the “others,” the foreigners, minorities, women,  activists or the plain old poor, will come and steal (note the use of “government taking” instead of “taxation” in right wing circles) everything the privileged and the paranoid have built together.

Traditionalism, with it’s combination of faithful obedience to the abstract unquestionables of religion and the real unquestionables of authority, happens to serve those who would further concentrate their wealth and authority. It also serves as the philosophical meeting ground and launch point for this twisted mechanism. So the culture wars are born and the engine of paranoia must be constantly fed lest the paranoid wake up to the manipulative hustle being pulled on them.

The image-pumping is non-stop. The message, and the paranoid voters it wins over in the ballot box, must be secured if the Right Wing wishes to continue its domination of our government.

So far in 2012, the rights of women have been the most consistent target of right wing politicos looking to score points with their traditionalist base. Besides being a long-standing target for the patriarchy dictatorship model that harkens back to bigots of thousands of years ago, women as a target also offer the political advantage of being massively under-represented in our government. As ThinkProgress explains

Women make up 50.7 percent of the U.S. population, but they only make up 15 percent of the Senate and 16.6 percent of the House, according to a Congressional Research Services report.”

So the Right-Wing has been on a hit-parade of sexism, with the jewel of their political crown being the state sponsored rape laws that force vaginal penetration on women if they are opting to have an abortion in the first trimester of a pregnancy. This of course follows closely on the heels of their outrageous attempts in 2011 to codify into law the most reprehensible forms of sexism, which included but was not limited to

  • redefining rape to make it easier for rapists to get away with it
  • the “Protect Life Act” which ironically would have led to the deaths of thousands of mothers by allowing any hospital that receives federal funding to deny an abortion to a patient even if her life is in danger
  • introducing “personhood bills” which actually stripped the rights of pregnant women in favor of the rights of the zygote or fetus they were carrying
  • the attack on Planned Parenthood as the scion of an imagined abortion culture, when in fact over 95% of Planned Parenthood’s work for the community has nothing to do with abortions but rather with providing the very expensive ob-gyn care that is so often lacking in impoverished neighborhoods

The craven bigotry of their political stances matters little in the final calculus for the Right-Wing, now an alloy of privilege and paranoia tempered in the repeated political victories of manipulation-via-traditionalism. Women are sub-humanized in this construct, the citizen that can be most heavily regulated. Half of our citizens would thus be turned into powerless pseudo-citizens. Thus half of our potential working-class solidarity-in-action is sold out by our own paranoid members with a touch of arrogance and testicular supremacy.

While there are some hopeful signs that the billionaires and bigots have finally stepped over the line and awoken America’s sleeping democratic giant, this sort of constant sexist, traditionalist messaging further shows itself as just another tool in the Class War against the 99 Percent.

It’s not hard to see that there are corporate benefits beyond the fundamentalism at work when billionaire-backed traditionalist candidates rail against the counter-traditionalism of a secular state. Take for example Rick Santorum‘s statement that:

Of all the great and necessary freedoms listed in the First Amendment, freedom to exercise religion (not just to believe, but to live out that belief) is the most important; before freedom of speech, before freedom of the press, before freedom of assembly, before freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances, before all others.

Swimming in Santorum-Land, nothing is more important than Christianity. Nope, nothing. Not having the right to speak what’s on your mind, not the right to assemble and protest, not having the right to demand accountability from your employees, the government. All of that is, conveniently enough for the billionaire, marked off as a secondary level of rights to be preserved only for those who have achieved the first level of rights, namely obedience to White Male Profit-Lovvin Christian God. Traditionalism, whether through the humanity-destroying crucible of unquestioning obedience or by destroying half our solidarity in one sexist swoop is the meeting point between fear and profit, privilege and paranoia, oligarchy and the mechanism of a manipulable democracy. It should also be noted that traditionalism has often been the last refuge of failed socio-political systems, leveraging the agitated bigotries of others to maintain their own supremacy. The systemic weakness of our present avarice-based systems have, alas, become clear to even those who control and benefit from them.

Image: Samuel Wynn Warde

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Fighter In Chief President Obama Gives Epic Speech to UAW- Full Video

Feb 28 2012 Published by under Featured News

Allow me to introduce you to your fierce, pissed off fighter-in-chief, President Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama took the stage today in Washington speaking to the United Auto Workers to wild cheers of “Four more years!” And let me tell you something…. This was an epic, genuinely passionate speech about Obama’s betting on the American worker and his faith in the spirit of Americans who are their brothers and sisters keepers.

The President promised workers, “As long as you have an ounce of fight left in you, I’ll have a ton of fight left in me.” This is a side to this President he doesn’t often show, but foes are unwise to discount and supporters are remiss to gloss over.

You have to watch the entire speech. You just do. Because here it is, here he is – here is what lurks beneath the cool exterior, the pragmatic diplomat and legislator extraordinaire. Here is the man who came up from nothing. A man who knows your pain. A man who values your hard work and thinks you deserve the same opportunities as everyone else. This is a man who isn’t guarding his privileged status at the golden gate, but swinging the gate wide open and proudly yelling, “Come on down!” to all Americans who are willing to work hard. And contrary to the fearful Republican Party’s belief about most Americans, most Americans are good people who want a job they can be proud of and enough to pay their mortgage and send their kids to college.

This is a man who believes in the goodness of the American people. And his speech today will show you just how deeply angry he is about the obstruction and the lies coming from “some folks”.  But it will also show you how a skilled politician and leader uses that anger to bring Americans together in the spirit of looking out for one another, uses that energy for a greater good – the good of this country.

The President started off reminding the unions of their contribution in history, “It’s unions like yours that fought for jobs and opportunity for generations of American workers.  It’s unions like yours that helped build the arsenal of democracy that defeated fascism and won World War II.  It’s unions like yours that forged the American middle class — that great engine of prosperity, the greatest that the world has ever known.”

Then Obama moved on to the good news of today, “So you guys helped to write the American story.  And today, you’re busy writing a proud new chapter.  You are reminding us that no matter how tough times get, Americans are tougher. …You’re showing us what’s possible in America.  So I’m here to tell you one thing today:  You make me proud.  You make me proud.”

The crowd went wild as the President expressed his pride in their hard work, cheers and applause rose up in a swell of emotion.  This writer may have even had a tear in her eye. These have been tough years and it’s inspiring to have our President tell workers he’s proud of them, instead of denigrating them and demeaning them as “entitled”.

Let’s go into full script mode here, because you have to get the audience reaction in order to fully appreciate this speech.

THE PRESIDENT: A few years ago, nearly one in five autoworkers were handed a pink slip — one in five.  Four hundred thousand jobs across this industry vanished the year before I took office.  And then as the financial crisis hit with its full force, America faced a hard and once unimaginable reality, that two of the Big 3 automakers  — GM and Chrysler — were on the brink of liquidation.

The heartbeat of American manufacturing was flat-lining and we had to make a choice.  With the economy in complete free fall there were no private investors or companies out there willing to take a chance on the auto industry.  Nobody was lining up to give you guys loans.  Anyone in the financial sector can tell you that.

So we could have kept giving billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars to automakers without demanding the real changes or accountability in return that were needed — that was one option. But that wouldn’t have solved anything in the long term.  Sooner or later we would have run out of money.  We could have just kicked the problem down the road.  The other option was to do absolutely nothing and let these companies fail.  And you will recall there were some politicians who said we should do that.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Some even said we should “let Detroit go bankrupt.”

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  You remember that?  (Applause.)  You know.  (Laughter.)  Think about what that choice would have meant for this country, if we had turned our backs on you, if America had thrown in the towel, if GM and Chrysler had gone under.  The suppliers, the distributors that get their business from these companies, they would have died off.  Then even Ford could have gone down as well.  Production shut down.  Factories shuttered.  Once-proud companies chopped up and sold off for scraps.  And all of you, the men and women who built these companies with your own hands, would have been hung out to dry.

… Not just your families, but the schoolteachers, the small business owners, the server in the diner who knows your order, the bartender who’s waiting for you to get off.  (Laughter.)  That’s right.  (Applause.)  Their livelihoods were at stake as well.

And you know what was else at stake?  How many of you who’ve worked the assembly line had a father or a grandfather or a mother who worked on that same line?  (Applause.)  How many of you have sons and daughters who said, you know, Mom, Dad, I’d like to work at the plant, too?  (Applause.)

These jobs are worth more than just a paycheck.  They’re a source of pride.  They’re a ticket to a middle-class life that make it possible for you to own a home and raise kids and maybe send them — yes — to college.  (Applause.)  Give you a chance to retire with some dignity and some respect.  These companies are worth more than just the cars they build.  They’re a symbol of American innovation and know-how.  They’re the source of our manufacturing might.  If that’s not worth fighting for, what’s worth fighting for?  (Applause.)

So, no, we were not going to take a knee and do nothing.  We were not going to give up on your jobs and your families and your communities.  So in exchange for help, we demanded responsibility.  We said to the auto industry, you’re going to have to truly change, not just pretend like you’re changing.  And thanks to outstanding leadership like Bob King, we were able to get labor and management to settle their differences.  (Applause.)

We got the industry to retool and restructure, and everybody involved made sacrifices.  Everybody had some skin in the game.  And it wasn’t popular.  And it wasn’t what I ran for President to do.  That wasn’t originally what I thought I was going to be doing as President.  (Laughter.)  But you know what, I did run to make the tough calls and do the right things — no matter what the politics were.  (Applause.)

And I want you to know, you know why I knew this rescue would succeed?

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  How did you do it?  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  You want to know?  It wasn’t because of anything the government did.  It wasn’t just because of anything management did.  It was because I believed in you.  I placed my bet on the American worker.  (Applause.)  And I’ll make that bet any day of the week.  (Applause.)

And now, three years later — three years later, that bet is paying off — not just paying off for you, it’s paying off for America.  Three years later, the American auto industry is back. (Applause.)  GM is back on top as the number-one automaker in the world  — (applause) — highest profits in its 100-year history. Chrysler is growing faster in America than any other car company. (Applause.)  Ford is investing billions in American plants, American factories — plans to bring thousands of jobs back to America.  (Applause.)

All told, the entire industry has added more than 200,000 new jobs over the past two and a half years — 200,000 new jobs. And here’s the best part — you’re not just building cars again; you’re building better cars.  (Applause.)

….

Thanks to the bipartisan trade agreement I signed into law  — with you in mind, working with you — there will soon be new cars in the streets of South Korea imported from Detroit and from Toledo and from Chicago.  (Applause.)

…. America has the best workers in the world.  When the playing field is level, nobody will beat us.  And we’re going to make sure that playing field is level.  (Applause.)

Because America always wins when the playing field is level. And because everyone came together and worked together, the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, good-looking cars in the world are once again designed and engineered and forged and built — not in Europe, not in Asia — right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

The President’s voice cracks with emotion, raw and uncensored, as he speaks of his pride in the American worker. And here is where he sets the place on fire:

THE PRESIDENT:  I’ve seen it at GM’s Lordstown plant in Ohio — (applause)  — where workers got their jobs back to build the Chevy Cobalt, and at GM’s Hamtramck plant in Detroit — (applause) — where I got to get inside a brand-new Chevy Volt fresh off the line — even though Secret Service wouldn’t let me drive it.  (Laughter.) But I liked sitting in it.  (Laughter.)  It was nice.  I’ll bet it drives real good.  (Laughter.)

And five years from now when I’m not President anymore, I’ll buy one and drive it myself.  (Applause.)  Yes, that’s right.

AUDIENCE (bringing down the house with wild cheers):  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:…. I’ve got to admit, it’s been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet.  (Applause.)  The same folks who said, if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, “you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.”  Now they’re saying, we were right all along.  (Laughter.)

Or you’ve got folks saying, well, the real problem is — what we really disagreed with was the workers, they all made out like bandits — that saving the auto industry was just about paying back the unions.  Really?  (Laughter.)  I mean, even by the standards of this town, that’s a load of you know what.  (Laughter.)

About 700,000 retirees had to make sacrifices on their health care benefits that they had earned.  A lot of you saw hours reduced, or pay or wages scaled back.  You gave up some of your rights as workers….. You want to talk about sacrifice?  You made sacrifices.  (Applause.)  This wasn’t an easy thing to do.

Let me tell you, I keep on hearing these same folks talk about values all the time.  You want to talk about values?  Hard work — that’s a value.  (Applause.)  Looking out for one another — that’s a value.  The idea that we’re all in it together, and I’m my brother’s keeper and sister’s keeper — that’s a value.  (Applause.)

….They think we should keep cutting taxes for those at the very top, for people like me, even though we don’t need it, just so they can keep paying lower tax rates than their secretaries.

Well, let me tell you something.  Not to put too fine a point on it — they’re wrong.  (Laughter.)  They are wrong.  (Applause.)  That’s the philosophy that got us into this mess.  We can’t afford to go back to it.  Not now.

Fired up, the President reached a crescendo.

THE PRESIDENT: We’re fighting for an economy where everybody gets a fair shot, where everybody does their fair share, where everybody plays by the same set of rules.  We’re not going to go back to an economy that’s all about outsourcing and bad debt and phony profits.  We’re fighting for an economy that’s built to last, that’s built on things like education and energy and manufacturing.  Making things, not just buying things — making things that the rest of the world wants to buy.  And restoring the values that made this country great:  hard work and fair play, the chance to make it if you really try, the responsibility to reach back and help somebody else make it, too — not just you.  That’s who we are.  That’s what we believe in.   (Applause.)

… America is not just looking out for yourself.  It’s not just about greed.  It’s not just about trying to climb to the very top and keep everybody else down.  When our assembly lines grind to a halt, we work together and we get them going again.  When somebody else falters, we try to give them a hand up, because we know we’re all in it together.

I got my start standing with working folks who’d lost their jobs, folks who had lost their hope because the steel plants had closed down.  I didn’t like the idea that they didn’t have anybody fighting for them.  The same reason I got into this business is the same reason I’m here today.  I’m driven by that same belief that everybody — everybody — should deserve a chance.  (Applause.)

So I promise you this:  As long as you’ve got an ounce of fight left in you, I’ll have a ton of fight left in me.  (Applause.)  We’re going to keep on fighting to make our economy stronger; to put our friends and neighbors back to work faster; to give our children even more opportunity; to make sure that the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth.   (Applause.)

Thank you, UAW.  I love you.  God bless you.  God bless the work you do.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do it. That is how a real leader takes a crisis and uses it for the good of the country rather than pure political gain. This is how you do it. You appeal to the best in the people rather than their fear. You inspire them by your leadership and faith in them. You empower them to get up and fight and stake a proud American flag on their work.

This is the spirit that is getting our country out of the mess we’ve been in, and this is the spirit that will rebuild this country on a solid foundation as a country that produces things other countries want. A country that leads rather than merely borrows and buys.

President Obama is a true leader of the people. He is far from perfect, but he isn’t playing a part when he speaks from the heart about his faith and belief in the American worker or when he backs the people against Wall Street. He is sure not able to do all that he’d like to do and the office is riddled with roadblocks, but one thing Americans have in this President is a real, honest-to-goodness fighter for the middle class. Someone who’s been there and didn’t slam the door shut behind him.

It’s my belief (and I don’t often go out on a limb to make predictions) that one day long from now, this President will be hailed as one of the best. He was given a load of crap and a desperate opposition party, but he has never given up on us. He has been fighting for long term paradigm shifting legislation that restores America to a country where the middle class can thrive and where all Americans have opportunities. Yes, there are a thousand things to be angry about, but there are also a lot of things to celebrate. And this President’s full engagement with the working class is one of them.

Some fearful folks call this class warfare; I call it American exceptionalism.

Source: Link to full transcript here

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Romney Calls Santorum's Robocalls to MI Democrats 'Outrageous and Disgusting'

Feb 28 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

Mitt Romney flip flops again. Today Romney told Fox and Friends that it was “outrageous and disgusting” for Santorum to try to get Michigan Democrats to vote in Republican primaries in order to push the seemingly unelectable Rick Santorum to the top.

Rick Santorum, who doesn’t support bailouts of the auto companies or Wall Street, jumped on board the already existing Operation Hilarity,  and is using Mitt Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout to court Michigan Democrats in a robocall supported by the Santorum for President committee.

Cue the clown car driving right over the cliff.  Here’s Mitt Romney’s outrage on Fox today:

Romney protested, “Well, it’s a dirty trick. It’s outrageous to see Rick Santorum team up with the Obama people and go out after union labor in Detroit and try to get them to vote against me. Look, we don’t want Democrats deciding who our nominee is going to be, we want Republicans deciding who our nominee is going to be. I know why Obama doesn’t want me to face him, but I just think it’s outrageous and disgusting, a terrible dirty trick at the last hour, by the way, late in the afternoon on the day before the election, maybe hoping no one would notice, they start sending out calls to Democrats, union members, telling them to go into the Republican primary and vote against Mitt Romney. This is — this is reminiscent of the dirty tricks in the past and it’s got to end and I think Rick Santorum has a lot of explaining to do.”

But at the Florida debates in January of this year, Mitt Romney defended his own history of voting for Democrats as a dirty strategy afforded to him as a registered independent, claiming he never voted for a Democrat when there was a Republican on the ballot, “(I)n my state of Massachusetts, you could register as an independent and go vote in (whichever) primary happens to be very interesting. And any chance I got to vote against Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy, I took. …”

Of course, that’s not exactly true either. PolitFact rules Romney’s statement as never having voted for a Democrat when a Republican was on the ballot as half true. Sigh. Listen here to the Santorum robocall courtesy of Talking Points Memo:

The fact that Santorum is trying to court “Reagan Democrats” in Michigan is an indication that the Santorum campaign has no idea just how far the Republican Party has tilted right since the heady days of Reagan. Reagan Democrats are a thing of the past. What polls show is that there are now Obama Republicans.

But what makes Santorum’s use of the auto bailout against Mitt Romney even more disingenuous is that Santorum doesn’t support the auto bailout either. Santorum says both bailouts of Wall Street and the auto companies were wrong.

Digging into the muck even further, Mitt Romney often tries to claim credit for President Obama’s successful auto bailout, moving the goal post until he can assert that Obama basically took his idea.

The truth is that Romney said we should let Detroit go bankrupt and he blamed unions for the failure of the auto companies, but somehow did not blame the rich boys of Wall Street for their failures or point a finger at the rich auto company CEO’s. Romney should know better, hailing from Michigan and furthermore, having a father who saved an auto company by cutting CEO salaries by 35% in hard times.

The Republican primaries are turning into a bloody battle with Rick Santorum thinking he can court Michigan Democrats not only for the primary but also for the general election. Santorum’s dirty tactics only serve to smear the establishment’s assumed golden boy, Romney, and cast further doubt on whether Romney can give Obama a fight.

The manufacturing base, to which Santorum is trying to appeal, will be a deciding vote in 2012 and winning their support will be an indicator of strength if Santorum can pull it off in the Michigan primary. However, with the mischief-makers afloat (Daily Kos’s Operation Hilarity underway ), a Santorum win in Michigan will not necessarily translate to his ability to get that same support in a general election.

Yesterday, I spoke with a Michigander who is a former Independent leaning Republican voter turned Obama voter in 2008 to get a sense of her feel for the Republican candidates. She said Rick Santorum “frightened” her, and while she would never vote for Mitt Romney, she’s afraid to push Rick Santorum because the idea of him winning the White House by some fluke was too terrifying to contemplate.

This Catholic woman actually used the word “evil” to describe Rick Santorum.  Her thinking offers insight into what makes an Obama Republican or Obama Independent. While she does not agree with Obama on everything, she sees that he’s trying to fix things, whereas the Republicans have turned into a circus of obstruction and cynical, ugly politics of race and fear.

If Santorum wins Michigan tonight, it will say more about Michiganders’ long-standing bitterness toward their home state betrayer, Mitt Romney, than it will about Rick Santorum in a general election.  But even if the race is as close as it appears right now in polling, it tolls nothing but bad news for the Republican Party, whose desire for a last minute White Knight candidate is palpable.

Mitt Romney grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth thanks to the auto companies in Michigan, and when they needed help, he turned his nose up at them and gleefully announced that they should be allowed to die. In a state where almost everyone’s income is impacted by the auto industry (from realtors to line workers), this kind of betrayal won’t soon be forgotten and Mitt’s attempt to co-opt Michigan voters by announcing that he and his wife drive four American cars, two of which are Cadillacs, only drives the knife in further.

As Rick Santorum goes dirty on his equally dirty Republican opponent in a game of who can mislead the public the most about their policies in order to appeal to union members and Democrats, the Republican Party and indeed, American voters, mourn the loss of a viable Republican candidate.

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Primary Preview: The Nutbag Express Rolls Into Michigan and Arizona

Feb 28 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

ALL ABOARD the Nutbag Express with stops in Michigan, Arizona and Washington. Yes, the Washington state caucuses are held the same week as the Michigan and Arizona primaries, but have been given scant media attention. Even though the caucuses are non-binding and yield no delegates, all four republican presidential primary hopefuls are going to pay this campaign outlier a visit.

The near-term action is, of course, the Tuesday battle for primary votes in Michigan and Arizona. The pollsters say it’s close with Romney edging ahead in his home state and Santurm making a move in Arizona. I think Arizona is the wackier of the two, so Santorum may have a chance, though a number of Mitt’s fellow Mormons might tilt the final results in his favor.

As has been our practice in this hallowed space, let’s take a pre-primary look at the clot of extremist candidates. Santorum is always a good place to start. His strategy seems to be to out-extreme the far-right religious zealots. Examples abound on this site. Fair enough, he’s courting a certain segment of the vote and looking like they shouldn’t  let him out on weekends to do it. Hold on. This is a man of parts. I think he actually believes some of his asinine views on women and contraception and such, but I think the real calculation here is to lock up a voting block that will actually vote. He wants to establish himself so deeply in their wheelhouse that they’ll give him the same percentage of their votes that the black population gives democratic candidates.

Bubbling below the surface and largely unnoticed by reporters are Santorum’s bonds to his corporate masters. Take his two consultancies – Consul Energy and the American Continental Group. Consul is one of those Mother Nature rapers that has its hooks into coal, natural gas and timber. A typical cough, cough, wheeze, wheeze, frack, frack, clear-cutting destroyer of the environment The Feds once fined them 5 ½ million for a massive fish kill in West Virginia. The company spends major lobbying money to perpetuate their heinous craft because they don’t want the EPA breathing down their greedy necks.

Santorum doesn’t necessarily want to abolish the EPA, he wants to abolish the laws that enable the agency do its job of protecting citizens from the Consul Energy’s of our world. Of late, he’s been highly critical of an EPA regulation limiting mercury emissions from coal-fired plants. Just kissing up to boss, Consul. All mercury emissions do is bring on asthma and heart attacks. These emissions also damage the brain and nervous systems, especially in children and those precious fetuses. Precious politically but as a practical matter, fetuses take a distant second to corporate money in Santorum’s pocket. Speaking of pockets, the EPA estimates savings of upwards of $90 billion annually through the avoidance of missed work days and hospitalizations due to Mercury pollution. But I thought Santorum wanted to save dollars at every turn. Repeat after me – not when it involves corporate money in Santorum’s pocket.

Rancid Rick also puts in time as a consultant to a consultant. American Continental Group spent $7 ½ million in lobbying last year and part of that money landed in Santorum’s wallet. They consult special interests right-leaning clients such as the democrat-hating U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Pfizer, Blue Cross and the ‘elite’ media powerhouse, COMSAT. Among the services listed on the ACG Website – ‘Legislative Advocacy’, a polite word for “lobbying” and his title of consultant notwithstanding, Santorum is a lobbyist.

In the upper right hand corner of the ACG homepage, you can click on the word, Chinese. I did and by golly there were the entire contents of the homepage in Chinese. So Santorum is likely playing a major role in giving away even more of the U.S. to our number one competitor. Is that the patriotic Santorum or the ‘owned by corporations’ Santorum?

With a 20 to 30% base of loonies locked up, Santorum needs to attract at least 25–30% of some other voting bloc. I suspect he’s making some outrageous promises to the corporate power boys to try to acquire those votes. A Santorum presidency? What a frightening prospect.

There’s been an interesting development in Newtville.  Casino magnet Sheldon Adelson is seriously considering dumping $100 million of his $25 billion estimated worth into the coffers of a pro-Newt Gingrich Super Pac. Mitt has apparently lost some of his political cache with the fickle Adelson after his ongoing less than stellar performances in Michigan. We’ll see where this ancient asshole’s money lands. It could be the fiscal defibrillator Newt needs to get the heart of his campaign pumping again.

Last and co-least, along with Newt, is Dr. Ron Paul. I’m worried about Paul. I recently observed that he looked dog-tired in the Mesa debate. At 76, Paul is at the cusp of the average U.S. life expectancy. In fact numerous sources put the life expectancy of a doc at 58 years; If true, that’s pathetically low.

Dying is the eventual failure of a complex amalgam of cells, DNA, telomeres and other stuff most of us know nothing about. When oxides such as ethylene, sulphur and nitrogen (environmental pollutants, anti-EPA nutbags) and free-radicals start their menacing advance on cells;  replication and division starts messing up and the old hayflick limit kicks in and Poof – start writing the eulogies.

A national campaign takes an incredible physical and emotional toll and that appears to be the case with Paul. Romney, no spring chicken at 65, looks to be bearing up well (HGH anyone?). Likewise  Santorum, whose laid-back demeanor bodes well for such a task. Gingrich is a little older (69 in June) and heavier (probably south of 250) than Rick and Mitt and may be at risk himself. But Paul is the most likely to fall prey to something nasty. I’d like to see him abandon his hopeless presidential quest before he slumps over during some speech and dies. I’m serious.

Michigan and Arizona won’t tell us much, barring a dropout. We’ll have to wait until March 6th for the real gauge of this race.

 

 

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Obama's Higher Education Plan Is A Death Sentence For The GOP

Feb 28 2012 Published by under Featured News

One characteristic that distinguishes human beings from single-celled organisms is the ability to think critically. Critical thinking is the process of thinking that questions assumptions that lack factual information, and it is a way of deciding whether a claim is true or false, or sometimes true or partly true. Ideally, a country’s population that thinks critically sifts through mountains of propaganda and misinformation politicians emit during campaigns to decide, based on facts, which candidate will best serve the country and its populace. One indisputable way to build a population that thinks critically is through comprehensive education that gives the public the necessary tools to assess the veracity of campaign rhetoric, buzz-words, and catch-phrases that permeate candidates’ statements.

Republicans’ worst nightmare is an educated population because armed with facts and data, most intelligent Americans would avoid any GOP candidate like plague. In the past few weeks, Republican presidential hopefuls have provided ample evidence they are appealing to voters who lack critical thinking skills, and how terrified they are of an educated populace.

Last week at a Koch brothers’ Americans For Prosperity rally, Rick Santorum thrilled teabaggers by assailing President Obama’s plan to make college more accessible to all Americans. He said, “President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college, what a snob.” He explained why he thinks the President is snobbish in hoping all Americans can be competitive with countries that have a higher ratio of college-educated citizens. According to Santorum, “good and decent men and women who work hard every day aren’t taught by some liberal college professor. That’s why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image.” The prescient point of Santorum’s statement is not President Obama’s plan to create a nation of intelligent people, but the oft-repeated meme that “liberal college professors” are dangerous communists, and that universities are basically socialism factories. Audience members agreed with Santorum and a common theme was “they try and disguise it with, you know, ‘equal opportunity,’ it’s communism the professors are all teaching the kids. Where does the social engineering stop?”  Social engineering is conservative-speak for critical thinking Americans who will not fall for Republican fact-less rhetoric like Newt Gingrich used while campaigning in Georgia.

Gingrich told a group of supporters that “the forces of the secular left believe passionately and deeply in their world view, because their version of the truth is to have a totally neutral government that has no meaning.” Gingrich was referring to what he claimed was a “50-year assault by those trying to alienate people of faith,” and although there is no truth to his assertion, it plays well to ignorant Americans who have been fed a steady diet of anti-secular rhetoric and lack critical thinking skills to discriminate between truth and fiction. Republicans have been casting aspersion on the left since Ronald Reagan maligned liberals as Socialists on the 1961 vinyl recording demeaning what he called “socialized medicine.” The so-called socialized medicine Reagan opposed at the behest of the American Medical Association was Medicare that was created four years later and has been the only source of healthcare for millions of retired Americans since its inception. Republicans have not changed their liberal bashing strategy in fifty years, and they are only successful because they appeal to citizens who are ignorant of what Socialism means.

The problem inherent with ignorance is that without knowledge and information, people make choices based on fear and anger at a perceived threat. Santorum’s claim that a college education changes good conservatives into nasty liberals sounds frightening to Americans clinging to their perception of what liberal college professors teach their students, and perpetuates ignorance in the malleable segment of the population ripe for fear-mongering and nationalistic fervor. All three Republican candidates counted on ignorance and single-minded nationalism when they criticized President Obama for apologizing to Afghanistan over Quran burnings that resulted in four American soldier’s deaths. If their supporters stopped and considered their outrage if Muslims burned a stack of bibles, they may not have derided the President, but after hearing for three years that Obama is a Muslim Socialist dictator who hates America, they have little doubt the Republicans were right.

The real reason Republicans oppose Americans having access to a college education is knowledge and not social engineering, communist indoctrination, or liberal ideology. They are mortified at the prospect of a populace that understands what Socialism means because their criticism of the President’s alleged liberal socialist agenda would be exposed as lies. They are also afraid of voters who understand science is not the work of the devil and that the Founding Fathers did not intend America to be governed by theocracy. Americans who are able to think beyond Fox News’ propaganda and  Republican lies may not be hardcore Liberal Democrats, but they certainly will not take the conservative’s word as gospel truth.

Republicans thrive when the population is ignorant because it is easy to convince them through fear-mongering and misinformation that Liberal ideology is Satanic, and that the left is destroying America. Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich’s biggest fear is a populace that figures out that all the great things like women and African American’s right to vote, Civil Rights, Social Security, Medicare, and environmental protections that conservatives opposed came from Liberals. Conservatives, by contrast, nearly destroyed the economy, waged unnecessary and unfunded wars, and give the wealthiest Americans, corporations, and the oil industry entitlements for no apparent reason with unwavering support from ignorant Americans.

Republicans want an uneducated population that lives in constant fear that all that stands between a liberal socialist plot to destroy America and freedom is the Republican Party. Americans who think for themselves, whether college educated or not, understand that President Obama’s plan to make college accessible to all Americans is because, unlike Republicans, he wants a better life for the American people and that irks Republicans. One thing is clear; if the President’s college accessibility plan creates more intelligent and compassionate Americans like him, this country would be far better off than it is today.

 

 

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High Pucker Factors Are Not Just for Caliphates Anymore

In a WND exclusive, former journalist now propagandist Bob Unruh, when he isn’t writing about “Obama’s detention camps”, bashing gays, or birther-izing, ejaculates about one of the favorite Republican fantasies: the foisting of an Islamic Caliphate (is here any other kind?) on the American people. His claim is that its “goals [were] given boost when [the] Obama administration legitimizes ban on criticism.” You wouldn’t know from Unruh that the front-running GOP candidate just said he doesn’t believe in Separation of Church and State and does believe that Satan is attacking America and that we need to become a theocracy to “save” (e.g. destroy) our country.

Unruh is one of WND’s stable of paranoid conspiracy enthusiasts. He wants to up your pucker-factor where Islam is concerned. Don’t worry about the theocracy in our midst, which currently happens to be an alliance of hardcore Protestants and Catholics, including presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. In fact, Santorum brings to mind all those fears of a Catholic president JFK was so anxious to put to rest in 1960. He is that Catholic your protestant mama warned you about.

But the problem for Unruh isn’t all the theocracy-talk in our Republican presidential debates, or Republican speeches, or coming from fundamentalist mega-churches or televangelists or FOX News but a “caliphate-planning conference” to be held by “Muslims” soon (I’m still thinking about Baptist Caliphates). He claims that this move toward a caliphate “was given a boost of support by the Obama administration recently when it allowed a three-day “Istanbul Process” conference in Washington.”

The coming event, Caliphate Conference 2012, is being organized by Hizb ut-Tahrir, which Kern describes as a “pan-Islamic extremist group that seeks to establish a global Islamic state, or caliphate, ruled by Islamic Shariah law.”

Okay…so I should worry about a global Islamic state ruled by Sharia law more than a global Christian state ruled by Mosaic law? If so, why? There is no essential difference between the two law codes. It’s the Taliban either way. For non-monotheists like me, or for atheists or secularists, one is as bad as the other. In fact, for most Christians as well as most Muslims, one is as bad as the other.

Why is Unruh upset about the Caliphate Conference 2012 but has no qualms about Rick Perry’s prayerfast, The Response, held in Houston in 2011? The Response was for Christians only – the right kind of Christian, though non-Christians were welcome to experience the joys of group-psychosis, er…conversion. That was the idea, after all, to return America to God – to make America a Christian nation.

A video promoting the Caliphate Conference 2012 tells us this (you can watch an English translation at The Blaze):

“The relentless decline of Capitalism has begun. The time has come to fight against poverty. Time to obliterate the injustices. Time for the correct system.”

But how is this any different than the message of The Response?

“We believe that America is in a state of crisis. Not just politically, financially or morally, but because we are a nation that has not honored God in our successes or humbly called on Him in our struggles. According to the Bible, the answer to a nation in such crisis is to gather in humility and repentance and ask God to intervene. The Response will be a historic gathering of people from across the nation to pray and fast for America.”

I detect no discernible difference. There is no such thing as good theocracies and bad theocracies. History has shown us all theocracies are bad. That’s why our Founding Fathers didn’t create one; that’s why we have the First Amendment.

But here’s the thing Unruh doesn’t want you to know: Most Muslims don’t want a caliphate. Most Christians don’t want a theocracy, even if it’s Christian. But Unruh doesn’t want you thinking like that. Eager to push his puckerrific Islamophobic agenda, he says:

The 57-member OIC has been proposing a special international law that would make it criminal to speak ill of Muhammad or his followers for years, but it never was successful under its earlier plans that were portrayed as a ban on the “defamation of religions.” Actually, support for the idea had started waning.

Again, I don’t see much difference. We have people like Brian Fischer pushing laws against blasphemy. We have Republican presidential candidates, not just conferences attended by fundamentalist Christians but actual presidential candidates, falling over each other to wage war on the First Amendment and to put special protections in place for Christians. I did mention that Rick Santorum does not believe in the Separation of Church and State, right?

What difference is there between saying you can’t criticize Christianity and saying you can’t criticize Islam? Why is one supposed to have a high pucker-factor and not the other? Both should scare the living bejeezus/beallah out of you. But Unruh is aghast:

But then it proposed Resolution 16/18, a plan for countries to “combat” things like “intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of … religion and belief.” The idea was adopted in the U.N. General Assembly just a few weeks ago and Kern’s analysis notes that it would be largely ineffectual as long as the West doesn’t jump behind it.

This Kern he speaks of is Soeren Kern, Senior Fellow for European Politics at Madrid’s Grupo de Estudio (also of the Stonegate Institute). Unruh tells us that Kern’s opinion is that Obama’s decision “gave the [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] the political legitimacy it has been seeking to globalize its initiative to ban criticism of Islam.”

Now if you look at HRC 16/18 you see this title:

Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief.

Wow, that sounds….nice. Is that really so awful? Tolerance? Thomas Jefferson, after all, whom conservatives have tried to co-opt to their cause, wrote The Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom in 1779 and it was passed by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1786. James Madison wrote the Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments against state-supported religion (specifically Christian). The Constitution itself, Article 6, paragraph 3, mandates that no religious test be required for candidates and the First Amendment mandates no state-supported religion (something we are doing regardless, with the Bush-era Faith Based Initiatives).

But this is my real question: Why is tolerance something to get upset about? Is hate really that essential to Christian identity that the world’s largest religion can’t exist without it? Is gay-bashing, Islam-bashing, Pagan-bashing, atheist-bashing, etc, that important? And even if Islam is about hate and intolerance, as Unruh’s fellow nut-jobs claim (it’s not), why must Christians respond in kind? What happened to turning the other cheek?

This is what Hilary Clinton had to say on December 14, 2011 at the Istanbul Process for Combating Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief Conference held in Washington, DC:

SECRETRY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon, everyone, and I want to thank you all for participating in this conference where we are working together to protect two fundamental freedoms – the right to practice one’s religion freely and the right to express one’s opinion without fear.

Now, the United States is hosting this conference because religious freedom and freedom of expression are among our highest values. They are enshrined in our Constitution. For people everywhere, faith and religious practice is a central source of our identity. It provides our lives with meaning and context. It is fundamental to who we are. And as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes clear, each of us is born free to practice any religion, to change our religion, or to have none at all. No state may grant these freedoms as a privilege or take them away as a punishment if you believe, as I do and as our country does, that they are not rights bestowed by any government. They are rights endowed by our Creator within each of us. And therefore, we have a special obligation to protect these God-given rights.

And if a government does try to deny them or take them away, it amounts to a rejection of that universal right. And it also amounts to a repudiation of that fundamental conviction that we are all created equal before God. Therefore, restricting the practice of anyone’s faith is a threat to the human rights of all individuals. Communities of faith are not confined by geopolitical borders. Wherever you are in the world, there will certainly be people whose religious beliefs differ from your own, maybe by just a little bit or maybe by a lot. And my ability to practice my religious faith freely does not, and indeed cannot, diminish yours.

Here is the part Unruh and his fellow religious bigots really hate:

Religion can be such a powerful bond, but we also recognize that it can be misused to create conflict. There are those who, for reasons actually having little to do with religion, seek to instill fear or contempt for those of another creed. So we believe that it is the duty of every government to ensure that individuals are not subject to violence, discrimination, or intimidation because of their faith or their lack of faith. That is the commitment that the world made to religious freedom more than 60 years ago when we adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Clinton speaks of the delicate balance between free speech and protecting people from violence and discrimination:

Now, in the United States, we continue to combat intolerance because it is – unfortunately, seems to be part of human nature. It is hurtful when bigotry pollutes the public sphere, but the state does not silence ideas, no matter how disagreeable they might be, because we believe that in the end, the best way to treat offensive speech is by people either ignoring it or combating it with good arguments and good speech that overwhelms it.

So we do speak out and condemn hateful speech. In fact, we think it is our duty to do so, but we don’t ban it or criminalize it. And over the centuries, what we have found is that the rough edges get rubbed off, and people are free to believe and speak, even though they may hold diametrically opposing views.

Now, with Resolution 1618, we have clarified these dual objectives. We embrace the role that free expression plays in bolstering religious tolerance. We have agreed to build a culture of understanding and acceptance through concrete measures to combat discrimination and violence, such as education and outreach, and we are working together to achieve those objectives.

This is what Kern calls a “diplomatic coup” for supporters of an Islamic Caliphate. Kern claims that the “explicit aim” of the Istanbul Process is to make it a crime to criticize Islam. It is amazing what a tizzy Christians can work themselves into over this idea, even while telling us it is a crime (or ought to be) to criticize Christianity!

Unruh claims that Clinton’s comments “open the door for attacks on people making statements about their own beliefs, which someone else would choose to decry as “hatred.” Isn’t that exactly what we’re being told if we say “no thank you” to Unruh’s Christian fundamentalists? That we’re guilty of hate crimes against Christianity if we utter any criticism of it? If we fail to say “Merry Christmas”?Apparently, only fundamentalist Christians are allowed to have “their own beliefs.” Certainly, from all the rhetoric, atheists, secularist, Pagans, Muslims, gays and lesbians, feminists, etc, are not.

Unruh writes:

WND previously has written about the Islamic-led Defamation of Religions proposal in the United Nations. It was “nothing more than an effort to achieve special protections for Islam – a move to stifle religious speech,” according to an analysis by Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice.

Yes, only Christians should have special protections. We get it. Apparently it’s a threat to Christian freedoms for other religions to have freedoms too. Can’t have that!

What is amusing about all Unruh’s hyperbolic ranting is that supporters of a Caliphate will be no more happy with Clinton’s words than Unruh. They don’t want freedom of religion – they want imposition of their religion just like Unruh wants imposition of his. They particularly don’t care about religious minorities, no more than Unruh does. As Clinton went on to say, “we know that governments which fear religion can be quite oppressive, but we know that societies which think there’s only one religion can be equally oppressive.”

Unruh seems to recognize that comment applies to him. What he fails to recognize is that he (and his religion) is no different and no better than those Caliphate supporters he criticizes.

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Ralph Nader Is At It Again, Endorses Ron Paul

Feb 27 2012 Published by under Featured News, Issues

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Rush Limbaugh Uses Danica Patrick to Insert Himself Into the Contraception Debate

Feb 27 2012 Published by under Featured News

Rush Limbaugh, a.k.a. radio’s morning after pill for your intelligence, used an attack on Danica Patrick to stealthily advance the right’s war on contraception.

NASCAR driver and Roman Catholic Danica Patrick was asked by the Daily Caller what she thought about “the Obama administration’s dictate that religious employers provide health care plans that cover contraceptives.”

Their words, not mine, and naturally inaccurate. Only religious outlets such as hospitals that must provide healthcare must provide contraception per the healthcare law, and thank you Democrats for that one. Again, mandating coverage for preventive health services only applies to a “group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage.”

“I leave it up to the government to make good decisions for Americans,” Danica told the shocked outlet.

Patrick’s answer sent Rush Limbaugh on the attack, sensing an opportunity to insert himself in yet another place he is not wanted, women’s healthcare. (via Media Matters):

Limbaugh said:

Danica Patrick was talking to a reporterette, Michelle Fields. I guess it was Daytona, somewhere there was a NASCAR event, and Danica Patrick said, “I leave it up for the government to make good decisions for Americans.” Now, this was about the recent mandate of the Catholic Church providing contraceptive devices and so forth. Danica Patrick was talking about Obama’s contraception ruling. She was not speaking in general, although it applies generally. She said, “I leave it up to the government to make good decisions for America.” She was talking about Obama mandating that the Catholic Church provide contraception. (sigh) What do you expect from a woman driver? I don’t know why everybody is so shocked. But I’m gonna tell you: Her answer sums up the Democrat mind-set perfectly. Democrats want to convince us that personal responsibility is something the government ought to do for us. Do they not? Man, she’s the perfect puppet! She is the ideal perfect puppet with that answer.

But never mind the misogynistic, thuggish puddle of muck that is Rush’s word vomit. Let us move along to the real reason why he is so afraid that his time in the sun will soon be over; he’s outdated and rather silly. After all, Danica has much more authority to discuss birth control than Rush ever will.

Rush Limbaugh hopes to rile up his audience of mostly male conservatives (the type who watch Fox News; older, easily scared and looking for any kind of cheap thrill even if it’s fear) by cutting down a professional driver for being a woman and for answering a loaded question about birth control meant to rile up the nutters about big government taking away their religious freedom (translation: the world is changing and they are losing and it hurts really, really bad) from a questionable outlet. How 80’s of him.

The good news for us is that men like Rush are on their way out. Yes, right now they’re trying to control our bodies any way they can and they’re getting pretty desperate about it.

All of this talk about contraception is none of their business and it’s absurd that they think that it is their business. Luckily for us, it won’t be their business for very long, because this is a losing issue for Republicans and they are clearly on their way out before they hopefully regroup and provide this country with a real political party again, one day years from now.

When that happens, men like Rush Limbaugh certainly won’t be running the clown show. His days as titular head of the GOP are coming to an end soon.

Here’s how a real man discusses women’s health: President Obama said, “As part of the healthcare reform law that I signed last year, all insurance plans are required to cover preventative healthcare at no cost. That means free check-ups, free mammograms, immunizations and other basic services.”

Rush doesn’t realize that men like him are the reason women are so adamant about having access to birth control. Or maybe he does, and that explains his bitterness. Either way, it’s irrelevant what he thinks about it and Danica’s opinion is much more relevant. So much for yet another attempt by Rush Limbaugh to insert himself where he is least wanted. Rush Limbaugh talks loudly but carries a small, wilted stick and he has the Viagra prescriptions to prove it.

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