June 2014

“Those in power must spend a lot of their time laughing at us.” ― Alice Walker.

America was created in an era of capricious and domineering central authority – be it church or state. The founders didn’t care for that – as is quite apparent in the Constitution and their correspondence.

Yet 225 years later the Supreme Court is backing the rights of corporations and religion over the rights of individuals. For most of our history, the first amendment entitled anyone to get on their soapbox and tell his fellow citizens what was on his mind and why the government sucked. It allowed people to go the their church, mosque or temple and worship their God as they saw fit

If this was a biblically driven concern they would fire the divorced, not buy from mandated abortion China, and not stock mixed fabric items.

If this was a truly biblically driven concern they would fire the divorced, not buy from mandated abortion China, and not stock mixed fabric items.

Today the Supreme Court has turned its back on the individual and kicked the ball back to prescriptive religion and corporate interests. Most of the focus is on the “Hobby Lobby” decision, giving primacy to the religious sensitivities of a few corporate owners over the 1,000s of individuals who work for it.

But less noticed was another decision – “Harris vs Quinn” – in which the Supreme Court ruled that anyone less than a fully-fledge public employee could not be compelled to pay union dues to support collective bargaining expenses. It doesn’t overturn a long-term Supreme Court principle that establishes the right of “closed shops” – but it hacks away at it.

This piles on decisions that have opened the flood gates to corporate political spending. Decisions that have given corporations free speech rights the founders had intended to be limited to actual people. Apologists for this extension of individual rights to corporations claim that corporations are people. Let’s listen to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail. “Corporations are people, my friend,” he said. Challenged on that, he replied, “Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes?” I suppose by that logic, ATMs are people.

Politically, corporations have attracted the attention of hyperventilating, eyelash-fluttering, coquettes in Congress. With their new financial muscle (and they had a lot already) they are buying themselves a government. Financial regulation – Dodd Frank; environmental regulation- the EPA; and business regulation – the FDA, the USDA, OSHA, are getting hammered.

How dirty air and water, poisoned food and bankers with their hands shoved in the consumers’ pants pockets benefit the citizen is anyone’s guess. But the GOP is betting that at least half of voters will see it their way.


Who Does the GOP Represent?

June 28, 2014

Polls show that Americans’ anti-immigration sentiments are down – way down. But listen to the GOP whining in the House of Representatives and you would believe that Americans are in more danger from the brown horde, than they ever were from the yellow peril. Or even the godforsaken Irish. If you listen to the severely […]

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Really? – 6/26/14 – Dildos; Mr “Legitimate rape”; Blacks vote for the GOP; FOX calls GOP silly;

June 26, 2014

Removing politics from gun safety. If you want to take the heat out of the gun safety debate, take out the politics – and add dildos. Mr ‘Legitimate Rape” is back, and talking about rape. Todd Akin, Tea Party darling and amateur gynecologist, whose campaign famously floundered after some fatuous comments about “legitimate rape”, is […]

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A Simple Solution to Illegal Immigration – And Why We Will Never Use It.

June 24, 2014

Faced with problems Americans like to take action. “Don’t just stand there – do something” is the rallying call. Unfortunately, people mistake action for achievement. But often doing something is ineffective. And that ineffectivity – this being America – frequently costs a lot in blood and treasure. Especially with our boundless enthusiasm for fighting misguided wars. Some […]

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Is an ISIS Victory an Unmitigated Disaster?

June 23, 2014

The standard wisdom, in the face of the Sunni insurrection in Iraq, is “something must be done”. Which begs the question – why? In answer, chickenhawks will trot out the usual litany of threats to America. The armchair generals will intone that we have to fight “them” over there, so we won’t have to fight “them” […]

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A Divide Between the Church and the Religious

June 21, 2014

There are fewer declared religious people in the US than there once were. And, no doubt, many of the declared religious are not believers. Eighty percent of Americans profess to believe in a specific religion. But only 40% say they attend religious services regularly. And the actual attendance is probably 20% – we overestimate how […]

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America Won the Cold War. Was It Worth It?

June 19, 2014

Has America benefitted from the end of the Cold War? It was heady times in 1989 as the Berlin Wall was torn down. So heady that historian Francis Fukuyama wrote “The End of History” – a celebration of the triumph of western liberalism over other political philosophies. He believed – as many did – that […]

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Bush’s Draft-Dodging, Iraq War ‘Chickenhawks” Are Back.

June 18, 2014

To be considered an “expert” today it is sufficient that you have failed spectacularly at your job. To be considered an “expert” on war, it helps if you avoided fighting in one. This is evidenced by the procession of Bush men and neocons, who are getting air time to tut-tut the President, over the devolving […]

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The Middle East: Iran and Syria May Be Our New Best Friends.

June 17, 2014

Neocons had a fantasy that the US could crush the strongmen of the Middle East – and usher in a bucolic age of democracy, á la americain. They were deluded. The region doesn’t do democracy. On the other hand, the goal of practitioners of realpoltik  is stability. And ironically our best allies to that goal […]

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