Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kansas Bans Islamic Law



Sam Brownback, the Republican governor of Kansas, has signed a bill that "makes it clear that Kansas courts will rely exclusively on the laws of [their] state and our nation when deciding cases and will not rely on the laws of foreign jurisdictions".

I'm sure Kansas, like most of the country, has its own share of pressing issues facing it. I would guess that an alarming amount of judges suddenly choosing to throw out the US Constitution and abide by sharia law isn't one of them. This is nothing but pandering to the Islamophobic segment of the GOP base; what else could make the lawmakers think that this was really necessary?

Did it really need to be made clear that the US abides by US law? I think not. This law can only be harmful. The only time sharia law is allowed to be referenced now is in very special cases, such as divorce cases between Muslims, where both parties consent to sharia law being used. This is no different than prenuptials going around what the law would normally require and acting out the agreement that was consented to by both parties.

This reeks of racism and hatred. Now, some members of the GOP will probably call me "un-American", or say that I would "choose Muslims over Americans" or something ridiculous like that for taking this position, but that's hardly surprising. If the GOP wants people to stop viewing them as racist, maybe they need to stop doing things like this.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


First, a quick thought; why is everyone spelling it as "Taxmaggedon" rather than "Taxmageddon"? Strange.

Anyway... does this song sound familiar to anyone? Congress can't seem to figure out what to do about the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, automatic spending cuts, and expiration of the payroll tax cut that are all scheduled for the end of the year. Pulling from the tried and true playbook of GOP rhetoric, Republican senators sent a letter to Senator Reid stating "...President Obama and Congress have spent much of the past year advancing misguided redistributionist policies in the name of fairness".

It's starting to get tiresome that every time a tax increase on the wealthiest is mentioned, or even just letting previous tax cuts on them expire, we are suddenly talking about Obama's socialist wealth redistribution policies. I don't think anyone is really talking about collecting all of the money in the country and equally dividing it among all citizens. That would be redistributionism. Are the rich going to even notice it if their taxes go up by letting their tax cuts expire? Well... of course they will, because they notice every penny as if it will be the last they ever see. But I hardly think they would be adversely affected by paying an amount more consistent with their income.

I do find it surprising that the idea of fairness is such a disgusting thing to the GOP. Again, when Democrats say "fairness", they don't mean equal distribution of wealth. They just mean that everyone pays a reasonable amount in taxes. America is a great country, but clearly some people have benefited more than others from being here, and I don't think asking a fair (not exorbitant, but fair) amount in return is unreasonable.

The GOP politicians know this, but it doesn't fit their message. So they go to the "Obama is a socialist" rhetoric, all but saying it at every opportunity. Which is unfortunate because, as it seems it always is with them, the middle class suffers because of it. When it comes to taxes, the GOP version of compromise is "give us everything we want, and then we can talk". And the Democrats have been doing it because, in the end, they recognize the stakes for the average citizen. It's just too bad that, while they may be able to keep the ship afloat like that, no progress can truly be made under these conditions.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Let's Ignore The Issues... That We Keep Bringing Up

Mitt Romney, campaigning in Colorado, stopped for an interview with CBS Denver. After being asked about a variety of issues, Romney made it quite clear that the only thing he wanted to discuss was the economy. He answered questions about marriage equality, but a question about marijuana was just too much, apparently:
“Aren’t there issues of significance that you’d like to talk about? ...The economy, the economy, the economy. The growth of jobs. The need to put people back to work. The challenges of Iran. “We’ve got enormous issues that we face, but you want talk about, go ahead, you want to talk about marijuana?"
This sentiment seems to be echoing throughout the GOP politicians in the House and Senate. When asked for comment, Speaker Boehner said "The president can talk about it all he wants. I’m going to stay focused on what the American people want us to stay focused on, and that’s jobs."

So I suppose the GOP wishes the Democrats would stop bringing up social issues in legislation across the country. Except... the GOP themselves are the ones that tend to keep bringing it up. Earlier this week, the GOP-led North Carolina government was successful in adding Amendment 1 to the state constitution, defining marriage between one man and one woman as the only legal partnership. Also, the state of Tennessee, with a Republican governor and majorities in both the state House and Senate, Friday signed into law a bill that says teachers can no longer condone so-called "gateway sexual activity", whatever that means.

Time and again, it seems that the Republicans are the ones who are trying to legislate social issues; the ones trying to tell people by what values they should live their lives. If Romney and Boehner want the focus of the party to be on the economy, maybe they need to tell the other lawmakers in their own party first.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Political Spin... Or Cyclone Of Untruth

We're all used to political spin and taking statements out of context. Even so, I found this particular incident amusing.

President Obama had a fundraising campaign stop in Seattle on Thursday. At it, he said the following, speaking about the state of the economy at the time when he became President:
" was a house of cards, and it collapsed in the most destructive, worst crisis that we've seen since the Great Depression. And sometimes people forget the magnitude of it, you know? And you saw some of that I think in the video that was shown. Sometimes I forget. In the last six months of 2008, while we were campaigning, nearly three million of our neighbors lost their jobs; 800,000 lost their jobs in the month that I took office."
Never one to miss an opportunity to stretch (or obliterate) the truth, the Republican National Committee quickly whipped up a video highlighting Obama's comments. It begins by asking: "How can a sitting president forget about the recession?" The video goes on to talk about how America hasn't forgotten about the recession, even though our president may have.

Obviously, the video and its message are ridiculous. No one with a working brain (that hasn't been brainwashed by Fox News) would take what President Obama said and honestly believe that he forgot that the country was in a recession. It should be clear that the point the President was making is that this country has indeed come quite a way since January 2009; that we're not in a perfect position right now, but things were so much worse just three years ago. And I think Obama is right; a lot of people do forget (whether it's on purpose or not is another story...) how bad the economy was when he took office. If you seriously stop to think about where we were then and compare it to today, any rational person would have to admit that the country is going in the right direction.

Unfortunately, Americans don't tend to be all that rational. Many Americans don't really have the ability to form their own opinion about something, so they'll take this video from the RNC and go around online telling people "lol can u believe obama forgot about the recesion". Republican voters tonight will sit around their dinner tables and discuss how the President is so rich that the recession didn't concern him, and how Mitt Romney is so much better positioned to know what it put the average American through. And they will do it over and over until they convince themselves that they aren't lying.

People complain about politics and career politicians; I say that the only reason that "career politician" is even a possibility is because of the gullibility of America as a whole. If we weren't so eager to believe all of this nonsense, most politicians would not be able to last in the spotlight. Maybe we need to look at ourselves before we complain about the state of politics.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Going Forward

It seems like I've been spending a lot of time on this issue lately... but that's only because it keeps finding its way into the news.

In a history making statement, President Barack Obama has confirmed that he supports gay marriage. In this linked article, the President admits " this electoral map. It may hurt me." Which, most logical people would admit, is a very big possibility. While there continue to be polls that say that Americans today support gay marriage by a very slim margin, the issue loses every time it is put to a vote. This is because, as with many issues, the people against something tend to be more passionate and outspoken than the people for the same thing. These people are therefore more motivated to come out and vote.

This is a problem for the President; while this is unlikely to gain him many voters (people will vote against him over the economy, and this stance probably won't attract many of those people who happen to support gay marriage), it could be a turn-off to some of his supporters who may have been wavering. While they may not flock to Romney, some people, such as Evangelicals, may stay home instead of turning out for Obama. In an election that is already projected to be very tight, this could be a disaster.

I believe, knowing this, it took a great deal of courage for the President to come out an confirm something that he has probably personally believed for some time. I don't think he was necessarily forced into it by Biden or anyone else; Joe Biden is allowed to have an opinion on something, and that does not have to reflect the President's view. The way that the media has been beating Biden's comments to death may have had something to do with the timing of Obama's statement, however. The President did the right thing by standing firm and saying what he believes in, regardless of the inevitable political consequences.

Some call Obama's announcement a flip-flop. I suppose it could be construed that way, as the President has, in the past, argued against gay marriage. However, I also see a person's opinion on gay marriage as something that can change over time, much as Obama's view has. Being a Christian on one hand, and someone who favors equality and fairness on the other, one could see how the President could struggle with the issue. I believe it's understandable that someone's opinion on this could waver. Considering that the most likely political consequences of this announcement are negative, it would be difficult to cast this as a politically motivated statement (though cast away some on the right will).

In the end, I am proud of our President for showing true leadership and character on this issue. At a time when politics does nothing but constantly cause me to embarrassed for our country, this is a rare high note.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Going Backward

There are many reasons I weep for America, but I think this may jump straight to the top of the list.

On 5/8/12, the state of North Carolina voted to amend the state constitution to say that the only valid "domestic legal partnership in the state is marriage between a man and a woman". 

This is troubling for many reasons. We have:

- A majority voting to deny equal rights to a minority,
- Religious arguments (mostly erroneous and misquoted even if we accept the Bible as truth, by the way) being the basis for laws/amendments,

among other issues. These are just the two flagrant violations of the founding principals of America that immediately come to mind. I thought that we had done away with both of those long ago, but apparently not.

As a side note, I continue to be amused at the hypocrisy of those that use the Bible to condemn gay marriage because it is convenient for their belief system based on hate, but completely ignore the parts of the Bible that are bothersome for them (i.e, the people that have been divorced 2 times. Go see what the Bible has to say about that.)

Sigh... every so often I get my hopes up that this country may finally move into the present day in terms of social issues. It seems so simple... equality. One word... about as simple as it gets. However, Americans demonstrate time and again their inability to grasp even the easiest concepts. This episode has pretty much knocked down my hopes again, and all I can do is wonder what it would be like to live in a country that doesn't openly condone hate.

Friday, May 4, 2012

GOP Is Stuck In The Past

I suppose the title of this post is very vague; the GOP is stuck in the past on so many issues.

Today, I'm talking specifically about their opinion on homosexuals. Mitt Romney recently appointed Richard Grenell as a national security and foreign policy adviser for his campaign. Unfortunately, Mr. Grenell is openly gay. As one might guess, that did not sit too well with social conservatives. Because apparently, even having a gay man as an adviser is an affront to all that is right with humanity.

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association tweeted "Romney picks out & loud gay as a spokesman. If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead."

I cringe every time I hear that pro-family nonsense. Since when are gay people "anti-family"? How does the fact that gay people exist tear families apart? The only thing I can think of is that these families spend far too much time concerning themselves with what homosexuals are doing, and don't put any effort into their own family life. I'd have to say that's something they need to learn to deal with themselves. Sounds like some deep-seated issues there.

Mr. Grenell voluntarily removed himself from the Romney campaign, stating that he was becoming too much of a distraction. However, I think we all know the real reason, and I can't blame him: who wants to be criticized for just existing? My political leanings notwithstanding, I'm sure Mr. Grenell is a perfectly competent adviser. The fact that he was driven out of his position by people like Bryan Fischer and the AFA, in 2012, is sickening. These people should all be ashamed of themselves, and I am embarrassed for America that we still condone such behavior.

Maybe some good can come out of this... maybe Mr. Grenell will be able to see the GOP for what they really are and come over to the light side.

What Passes For A Gaffe

As I've said before, the reason that the media may seem liberally biased to some is that Republicans, and conservatives in general, seem to say wacky things on a much more consistent basis than Democrats do.

Want proof? This is what has to pass for a significant gaffe from the Democrats. This article seems to be an attempt to showcase a serious gaffe from Joe Biden that "jinxes US-Mexico relations". According to the article, "[Biden] began to make a toast, saying, 'It's considered bad luck among the Irish to toast with water. So I'm not going to do that.' But ultimately Biden couldn't resist, so he toasted anyway, 'To friendship, to Mexico and
to America, happy Cinco de Mayo.'"

Yes... because of Biden's major error, relations between the US and Mexico will never be the same. In fact, I think we can blame any issue the two countries have ever had with each other on this atrocity.

Honestly, there are so many gems that the GOP gives us to pick from. When this is the story that has to be used to compete with those, is it so surprising that the media seems to "liberally biased"?