Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Troy State Chancellor's New Years Message

The below is a message sent to all faculty and students of Troy.

"The following message is sent on behalf of Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor: Dear Trojans:
As we approach a New Year I am reminded of the blessings we enjoy within a democracy which is the envy of the world.

For your pleasure -- and as a reminder -- I am sharing with you a 90 second video which speaks to America's greatness and its vulnerability.
May your New Year be blessed!
Jack Hawkins
Chancellor"

The video is a baseless set of assertions using a 3rd party (Marxist Chinese Economist) as the voice. The assertions are that Democracy would not work if everyone didn't voluntarily follow the laws. Another assertion is that most people were raised in churches or synagogues and learned to follow the rules from people they were taught to respect. Then we move to tie the two things together as the reason that everyone voluntarily follows the laws. So basically, everyone in America is only moral because they were forced to go to church and learn to follow the rules from their religious leaders.

There is no mention of the highest incarceration rate in the world. Funny how we are so pious and wantonly unlawful at the same time. There is no mention of the scandals that rocked the Catholic church throughout the US, or its effect on millions of followers. The Harvard professor takes charge of the narrative while churches vanish from the skyline while decrying the inevitable demise of our Democracy along side the decline of his religion.  "Because if you take away religion, you can't hire enough police." A disgusting display of how much disregard this shows for any non religious person. You do not have religion, you can not have morality, you are a lesser being incapable of being as I am. That is the only message I take away from this message from the Chancellor. I am not welcome on his campus, I am not to be trusted, I am not capable of civilized actions or discourse.

After the Christian only dorms that magically became for all (after they were filled with Christian only students) and the action of selling land to a church for literally 1 dollar (wonder if I can lease some land to build a dorm for that cost), this message is not very surprising. It is a sad commentary of the pervasive and destructive influence money and religion have on all aspects of our lives. A local school is inculcated with a right wing christian ideology and the cash from the founders of the Tea Party (Koch Brothers,  Alabama Policy Institute) and begins to overtly disregard the basic principals of higher education. You are a public school, and you receive public funds. You have no reason to use your office and influence to spread lies about people who do not believe as you do, and that is all this video does.

I am a father of 2, I am a husband of 13 years, I volunteer, I work everyday, I have friends, and colleagues and family. I do not steal, I do not kill, I do not commit violence, I do not lack morality. And this video is a vile debasement of everything that I am.

Ned Carter


Update ************

The AA sent a letter , And it has been picked up by local, national and international news.

******************* 2nd Update

The school has issued a response

A statement from Troy University said the email sent by Hawkins was meant to “spur introspection and encourage thoughtful discussion as we transition from the challenges of 2014 to the opportunities ahead in 2015,” the statement reads. “Troy University is an international university that contributes regularly to the global marketplace of ideas. This message and video were shared to provide the university community with information and insights for healthy consideration and debate about our country’s democracy, the role it plays in the world and the challenges America faces going forward.”

Complete and total Bullshit.

Update 2 **************************************

The Chancellor has sent out another mass email. Still BS.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Holidays

Sorry I have been absent, Very busy with family and friends during the holiday season.

I hope that your Holidays are pleasant, and that you are all surrounded by those whom you love and who love you. May you get the best presents, eat the tastiest food, drink the strongest drinks and enjoy the most favorable company. Ignore those who try and distract you from your celebrations. Enjoy every minute of every day, this is your one life and the only eternity you can expect is the passing of your experiences through others. Teach your children and they will carry it with them and teach those lessons (you) to their children. Help a stranger and they can pay it forward. Every interaction, every joke, every story, every helping hand: These are our paths to immortality. So forge your path into the future through every thing you do today.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Ferguson, Racism, Defense Attorney Prosecutors

"A riot is the language of the unheard." - MLK

The above quote was shown to be so true this week. Right before Thanksgiving we all saw exactly why people riot. Sure it isn't a good thing, it isn't a thing to look up to, it isn't a thing to be accepted, but we can understand it and fix the underlying reasons for it. I have many friends in social media that are so quick to point to Ferguson and make racist comments about how white folks don't riot over police shootings. Or they say that if a black cop shot a white guy no one would blink an eye. Or that the system worked and that Wilson was found to be innocent. So many misconceptions, justifications, fake imagined scenarios so that your complaints seem valid to yourself. What you have to understand is that this response is the only one available. These are people, not animals. They have followed the rules, played the game as it is laid out, and they have been dismissed and set off to the side and told to just accept it. They have been told to be calm, let the healing process begin, basically they have been told to shut up or else.

It was very clear, from the beginning, that this "prosecutor" had no interest in following the law. He did many things that are not standard, and some that are outright illegal in his quest to assure that this officer would face absolutely no responsibility for the actions he took to kill another human being. When the citizens called for a special Grand Jury, he ignored them. When they asked for a new prosecutor, they were ignored. When the testimonies started coming in, he made sure to pick and choose those that would best muddy the water and distract from the actual occurrences that day. He allowed the defendant to sit and parcel out a story with absolutely no questions or adversary to make him defend his statements. He passed out an illegal statute justifying the actions of the cop and never explained to the Grand Jury that the statute had been deemed unconstitutional 20 years earlier.

After 3 months of peace, as the citizens waited patiently, hoping for a small sliver of a chance of justice, this prosecutor then waited 9 hours to release the jury's decision. He waited and postponed and fomented the anger and fears of these people to distract from his actions. The State preemptively called in the National Guard, declared a State of Emergency, and removed the rights of these people to have their voices heard. These actions place the government in a directly adversarial role against its own citizens. The statements of the governor were inflammatory and worked as intended... whipping these people into a froth of distrust and outrage that they were presumed to already be criminals and would be quashed under the boot of militarized police forces if they dared speak out against the upcoming announcement.

So the "prosecutor" refused to do his job, and then he released every piece of evidence to the public which has the effect of making it impossible to have an impartial jury trial in the entire State of Missouri. He uses a tactic called muddying the waters to make it impossible to form a cohesive framing of the evidence. He floods everyone with information in order to obfuscate the information that would lead to an indictment and then an actual day in court where officer Wilson would have to answer for his actions. Only then could he be deemed innocent or guilty. As it stands now, officer Wilson and the prosecutor have engaged in nothing but a game of hide the truth, and they do it thumbing their noses at the entire citizenry of Ferguson.

If you want to know why these people riot, it is because this is not a special circumstance. They have tried and tried to go the correct way for justice, and they have been denied over and over. The police treat them all as criminals at every interaction. They watch as their friends and family are murdered or locked away on minimal evidence in minimal proceedings with minimal representation. They know that when a black man is accused of murder, they do not go before the Grand Jury and have the county prosecutor provide all the evidence, and allow them to tell tales free from and questioning or need for corroboration.  They burn the city to the ground because they have been ignored and marginalized and deemed not worth the effort.

As for the racists who claim you never see white folks rioting and looting and burning down neighborhoods... I say take a look at every major NCAA, NFL, MLB, and other gaming championships. They do it every year, out of celebration and drunken indifference. These people do it out of decades of repression and oppression. Whites are not better, they are worse. They sit and watch this happen, ignore the facts, make excuses, point fingers and disregard history. It is shameful that there is even a debate about what this prosecutor, and the system in general, has done in Ferguson.

Rioting is wrong, looting is wrong, violence is wrong.... Murder... it's ok as long as it is just a (pot smoking, cigar stealing, hoodie wearing, skittle eating, knocking on the door for help, defending themselves) black man getting murdered.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Alabama Student Prayer Bill

The McMillan-Dial bill or The Student Prayer Bill, is an attempt to try and pass a law that is in direct conflict with the Constitution. It is a blatant attempt to insert religion into schools through teachers. It will open the classroom door to the church of whomever is in a position of authority over our children. I do not need for anyone to dictate to my children how to properly worship anything.  Do you want me teaching your children about The Flying Spaghetti Monster? I do not need some teacher threatening my child with eternal hellfire as a means of control. I do not need anyone explaining the myths and rules of their religion to my child, I do not need them pressured into student activities by these proselytizing busy bodies. There is no need for any religious paraphernalia inside of the classrooms either. Teachers do not need to participate in student led religious clubs or activities. And according to the Constitution and multiple rulings about this issue, they are not allowed. A petty State Law does not over rule the Constitution, it is expressly spelled out. Please stop trying to legislate what religion I must follow, stay away from my children, they are not for you to indoctrinate and try and manipulate.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Rambling

Is there any better proof of the man made nature of modern monotheism than their root in the Abrahamic Tradition? All 3 major monotheistic religions spring from the same fount. They all worship (at the core) the same God that Abraham worshiped. Their differences, biases, dogmas, edicts and pronouncements are all similar, yet different. The arguments are over translations, prophetic fulfillment, the messiah... These are simply the expressions of the men that wrote the new holy books and those that followed or created their stories and wrote them down, or passed them along verbally.  It is a fissure in a larger, overarching religion. It is just culture and politics. It is what we do.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mobile, Christian values and death threats.

To the people of Mobile and Alabama in general.

Recently the county commission approved a plaque stating "In God We Trust". There were many arguments against this sponsorship of religion through our local government, but those voices were ignored. Afterwards other groups asked to have their view points placed next to this plaque, and were dismissed out of hand without even a hearing. This shows contempt for whole swaths of the citizenry and a privilege granted to those who think (and believe) as the commission says that you must.

Following these events, a local Church State Separation activist appeared on local news to share her viewpoint, and the view point of many others like her.  In return for voicing her opinion (First Amendment for all you folks spouting religious freedom) she has been the target of threats, intimidation, and calls for her death. This is the exact type of response Christians see in Muslim dominated theocracies. These are the same tactics you would decry as terrorist if they were directed at you, our Christian citizenry. Absolutely this is not the view of the majority, but it is the majority of the voice that is spoken in public. Until those Christians that can understand the pitfalls and dangers of governmental endorsement (and eventual enforcement) speak out against those too ignorant, or too fanatical to see it for themselves all Christians must be lumped together as supporting these violent, and disgusting tactics.  Until you become those who stand for equality and fairness, until you fight for your fellow man and not just your fellow Christian, you will have to be considered just as fanatical and dangerous as your more vocal members.

Unless you speak out against the following, we condemn you and label you willing participants in these atrocious and vile proceedings:
"I bet if she were being raped or murdered she would be asking God to save her."
"Get a rope"
"I think this lady just wants attention because no guy wants to go out with her."
"she is just bitter and angry because gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins."
"If you do not believe in God how can God or the word of God offend you???????? I wish people like this would walk into traffic"
"I'd tell her to jump off a bridge"
"shoot her for treason"
"Why should we even care what she thinks? The majority believe in God so we should keep it like it is."
"I think she will burn in Hell when the time comes."
Attacking her appearance, making false equivalencies, claiming the right to impose religion based on majority, wishes of harm, outright threats of hangings and shooting. These tactics are the same used in theocracies across the globe to prop up their inculcation of dogma through their governmental powers. This is nothing but the Christian Mob trying to attack anyone pleading for equality and sanity. Please think carefully about the future by looking to the past.  Which version of Christianity is the correct version? Ask the Shiites and the Sunnis which version of their religion is true, and you will see the answer and eventual outcome here. Will you be a Baptist because they tell you you must? Will you be a Pentecost because they have more at the polls this year? Religion is personal, it is not a function of the government and it never should be.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

America, No More

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
     The words etched forever into the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, a welcoming sign to all those seeking refuge in a world full of terror, injustice, pain and tragedy. What would the Mother of Exiles think of our citizens reactions to the current influx of huddled masses seeking refuge from a tempest created by us?  What does it say about us, as a Nation of immigrants, when we spit on helpless children seeking solace from a world full of users and abusers? What does it say about the soul of our Nation when we turn our backs on some of the most helpless people in the world, who have overcome vast obstacles and traveled long distances just to come seeking the light we have offered the world for over 200 years?  What does all of this say about the claims of the majority of our people, the claim of us being a Christian Nation, founded on the Principles of Christianity? Let us look at the words of the Bible, the actions of the faithful, and the truth of the matter.


2 Corinthians 1:3-4  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Colossians 3:12-13  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,  compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and,  if one has a complaint against another,  forgiving each other;  as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Zechariah 7:10  do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner,  or the poor, and  let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.

Matthew 7:12 So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is  the Law and the Prophets.

Galatians 6:2  Bear one another’s burdens, and  so fulfill  the law of Christ.

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy,  brotherly love,  a tender heart, and  a humble mind.
    These are not vague passages, there is no misinterpretation of their meaning, there is no doubt in the idea of brotherly compassion and kindness to strangers.  They are simple ideas about being humane to each other, accepting of the struggles we must all face and overcome, and understanding of the need for us to band together to lift up those that need help.  Christians have no problem going overseas and helping the plight of people in far away lands, telling them the Word and showing them the Way. But when those same people (some of them literally from villages visited by American Missionaries) come here seeking the promises made to them, they see the truth of Christianity in America.

     American Christianity is not sacrificial to our fellow man. It is not compassionate or kind. It is not a religion of peace or a religion of hope, or a religion of comfort. American Christianity is the business of death, the politics of control, the dogma of self.  American Christians use prayer to remove themselves from the plight of others. Deeds are replaced by intention to the detriment of everyone. If we are to make the world a better place, if we are to be the light in the darkness, we have to DO, not think. Building a church and handing out Bibles does not solve any problem for these people in their communities, it serves the base ego of the American Christian. "See what I did for you, God?" "See how I have brought you more people to worship you, God?" "See how righteous and wonderful I am. God?"

    Of course, not all Christians are like this, not all anything can be so simply defined or explained. But, how many American Christians are partaking in the abusive tactics against these children and families? How many have stood up and told those attackers to stop? How many have sent aid to those people that truly need it here and now?  Your religion is your business, you can worship any way you like. But if you are going to claim the moral authority over ever facet of American life, look down your noses at everyone who does not identify themselves as Christian, and demand the "freedom" to dictate your religion onto others because of its superiority... Maybe you should act as if you have actually read the base message of Jesus Christ:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The best opportunity for single payer?

Now is the time to re-evaluate the benefits of a single payer. Since the Supreme Court has decided that religion trumps personal freedom and that opting out is too burdensome for anyone with any religion why not push for a single payer system? Up corporate tax rates to cover the costs, and grant everyone access to the same insurance everywhere. Allow private insurance for those that want to be superior and feel special, and want to not have to have the ability to buy certain drugs. But for everyone else, allow them the opportunity to have access to good doctors, and the medications they and their doctor agree is best for them. The right cannot complain about the removal of their religious freedom, they do not have to use the system, and their tax dollars will go to cover whatever is necessary. They cannot complain about their moral conscience because for all of our history they have had no problem funding wars, and those who have had a problem with it have been forced to pay for it none the less. Atleast this way, the privileged few will not get a stranglehold on the medications, procedures and treatments we all should have access too REGARDLESS of the opinions of those who have no right to tell us how to live.
Lets do it, lets push for single payer. Fuck the religious, they can have their fairy tales. I want to be able to know that my doctor and I are not limited by the depraved ravings of demented minds corrupted by words written before medicine was even around.

Open Letter to America

On this, the 238th anniversary of the United States beginning it's experiment in self governance and a representative Republic, I would like to offer some opinions about what has gone so terribly wrong.

1. Pervasive religious influence brought on by the refusal of the IRS to enforce one simple rule. Churches cannot act as political organizations, they are tax exempt because of this, when we allow them to use their tax free dollars to influence politics and elections we give them a privileged place above ordinary people.
2. Corporate influence through electoral laws, campaign finance laws, and bail outs. When We the People become the unwilling purse of corporate theft, and our representatives are collusive in that action, our voices are lost in the overwhelming screech of cash as speech.
3. The dissemination of false information as credible news. With no will to validate the information we consume, we are willfully rushing into a place where belief is the only thing that matters, and discourse has no place among the fanatical.
4. The destruction of public education through targeted laws to take public money and place it into the hands of the (tax free) religious education centers. These "schools" refuse to teach basic scientific principals, indoctrinate youths and refute established information as false.
5. Endless campaigning of all members of the elected government. Constant dinners with Lobbyists, think tanks, foundations and donors removes the representative from his job as a mouth piece for the electorate. The unbridled access of the few rich and powerful to our elected officials has done more to erode our rights than anything else.
6. Dysfunctional Legislature. When either side refuses to come to the table, when shutting the government down is appealed to as the best option, when hateful comments are bandied about during Presidential speeches, when outright lies are proffered as reasonable talking points we have reached the point of dissolution.  If the congress cannot act on any measure, it is time to rewrite how the congress must conduct itself as a body.
7. Whole cloth laws being written by outside bodies that have nothing to do with our representatives or our government are inserted and passed by our representatives. Many think tanks and policy institutes now have so much access they actually get to write our laws for us. Corporate fronts, religious organizations, Gun manufacturing lobbies, war contractors have all written and had laws passed by our government. We the people are not members of these organizations, only a select few are granted access.

My point is that as we reflect on all the freedoms and responsibilities our Founding Fathers gave us, as we think of the future for our children and their's, should we not all be disturbed by the recent court rulings and security leaks? Are We the People going to allow the end of self governance, and have it replaced by the rule of money? Will we sit idly by, watching Kim Kardashian and Honey Boo Boo and the Duck Dynasty guys as our Nation is diverted to only support those with the means to purchase influence in it? Will we quietly watch as the protections of the First Amendment are redirected to be only for the religious, and only of the religion that the Court dictates? Will you allow our Government to grant more rights and privileges to corporations, as "people", than it does to us as people? Take a stand, raise your voices, remeber that:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It's the answers that matter

It's the answers that matter

Quiet and shy, alone in the crowd
Thoughts racing, pounding, forceful, loud
Ideas, imaginings, dogmatic repression
Longing escape, truthful expression

Consuming information of every kind
Slowly awakening, loosening the blind
Embracing the rational, the empirical, the truth
Divorcing himself from the shackles of youth

Making decision, finding his way
and endless grind repeated every day
How does it work? Yes, but why?
And a recurring answer: The Man in the Sky!

Where do we come from?
Why are we here?
What gives us morals?
What makes us queer?

The answers were lacking in depth and thought
It's Jesus, when we like it, But if not;
Then it was the Devil with trickery and lies
Binding us together in a web, like flies.

What about morality, is murder good?
What about when the Book says we should?
What about slaves and women and yeast?
What is this bit about a seven headed beast?

Incest and rape, pillage and plunder
Most of it done for the voice from the thunder
Slay them all who do not obey
How will this bring a more peaceful day?

Broken, and dirty, born into debt
To repay a gesture that is circumspect
You know all the answers, you can not die
How is that a sacrifice, sounds more of a lie

I have no faith in my formative fairy tales
They were proffered and, ultimately, failed
Jesus, Jonah, Solomon, Moses, Cain
The works of someone broken, insane

Ask again why I do not believe
The thing that brought me mental relief
The final piece that made my faith shatter
It's the answers, you see, the answers matter.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

For the 10 to 30 million armed converging on Washington

My country is Obese 
Sweet Land of idiocy
Of thee I sing
Land where the NeckBeards thrive
Land where the racists hide
Behind every douchey Lie
Let dumbfuckery reign

My bunch of Hill Billies
Land of the thoughtless free
Angry and White
I love thy guns and Trucks
Thy stupid inbred fucks
My heart with disgust fills
Because of the above

Let lies swell the air
And ring from Fox's share
Sweet deception's song
Let moron's tongues awake
Let the vegetative partake
Let guns their silence break
The sound of Dumb.

Our Father's God is mean
Author of ignominy
To thee we pray
Long may our minds be dulled
With ignorance's holy light
Protect us from the blacks
Great God our delusion

Monday, May 5, 2014

Roberts Court hand out another bad ruling.

Town of Greece V Galloway is another in a long line of poor decisions by the Roberts Court. His deciding vote has done irreparable harm to our Democracy at every turn.  From Opening the flood gates of monetized speech, the eradication of Privacy, the expansion of religion in government, the redefining of the ACA to a tax, making Medicare a pawn in political games, Patenting the seeds of plants to parties who do not grow the plants, defining corporations as people on a level never before seen, etc.

Chief Justice Roberts has shown the main drawback to lifetime appointments, he is young and has so much more damage he has to do before he will retire.  He is a stooge set up by a fool manipulated by the same men who have been in the White House for a generation. Is it any wonder that we are living in an America of militarized police, stifled speech, rampant private prison growth, mass exodus of manufacturing, financial collapse and wealth concentration not seen since the beginning of the last century. 

As for the current ruling, and the idea that Local Municipalities are not forcing participation through ostracization, they apparently have never been in the real world. From losing business, having lies spread about you, extrication from social circles, family strife.... All things that are consequences of not joining in the prayer and acting differently from the flock.  It is intimidation, coercion. establishment and endorsement.  I can tell you that these are not diverse prayers, these are not passive pleas for knowledge and guidance. These are prayers of anti homosexual, anti thought, anti science, anti poor, anti everything not contained in the little box of their religion.  It is disgusting that our highest court is made up of people too incapable of impartiality to see what they are doing to this Great Nation.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Roy Moore

Roy Moore is of the opinion that only Christians are protected by the first amendment of our Constitution. He is completely incapable of comprehending that those different from himself are afforded the same rights regardless of their faiths. That was the entire point of the constitution, equal protection for all. Not just for those he chooses, because the tyranny of the majority had been seen and that was the direct influence on our founders for making such an amazing document. It has its flaws, but those flaws do not include the ability of morons and ideologues to simply ignore the law. He was thrown out once for his inability to follow the simple task of being impartial, and the time has come for it to happen again. Tomorrow there will be a rally in Montgomery for the separation of church and state, I suggest we include a call for the removal of Moore and his crippling ignorance of the law, history and common decency.


Impeach Roy Moore



Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Roberts Court

Citizens United gave us Corporate people.  McCutcheon equates private money to free speech in the same way CU equates corporate money with free speech.  According to this Supreme Court you can purchase influence, access, and the right to choose who gets voted for.  Never mind that these rulings go against established law. Never mind that CU went beyond the actual issue of the case and legislated new rules that weren't even in question in the case.

Roberts, and his little Cadre of conservative pinheads, have done more damage to the mechanisms of Democracy than any entity in our history.  We are watching them change our Nation from a representative Republic to an Oligarchy right before our eyes.  There has never been a more pro business court, and the effects are devastating. The Roberts Court has expanded protections for Corporations in issues dealing with class action, human rights violations, sexual discrimination, wage issues, and they have embraced shifting corporate legal issues to arbitration instead of courts.  The result has been and will become more and more power granted to corporations in our government. It will lead to a tightly controlled group of extremely well funded candidates chosen by the rich and corporations. We will still have the illusion of Democracy, but it is a lie. When the choice is limited by those with money, the choice is not a choice.

America is declining rapidly, the wealth is being funneled directly into the coffers of the one percent. This is not paranoia or demagoguery, this is a demonstrable fact. We are watching trickle up economics completely erasing the gains of the citizenry over the last 70 years.  Is it any wonder that the middle class sprang to power during the highest corporate tax rates, the strictest campaign finance rules, the strongest anti-monoply legislation, and the biggest labor union movements?  We are watching our Nation being sold off to the highest bidder, and there is nothing we can do. George Bush made certain of that in his loading the Court with 2 of the most partisan Justices to ever sit on the bench... political stooges, not great men of the Law.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Corporate Religion ... Monetizing Hypocrisy

Hobby Lobby has made the claim that funding a collective insurance pool that allows for birth control violates it's (the piece of paper that is the corporation) Religious Conscience. They say that there is no separation between the beliefs of the family owners and the actions of the company.  This would be an amazing change of corporate structure in the United States.  Corporations were created to remove owners from their corporations, as a shield to lawsuits, criminal prosecutions, liability and taxation. If Hobby Lobby wins will they accept the full consequences of their actions?

If, as Hobby Lobby says, corporations are only extensions of their owners and boards does it not follow that every act of the corporation is a direct act of those that control the corporations?  Would we not then be able to swear out warrants for car manufacturers that knowingly allow faulty ignition switches that have lead to deaths? Could we not hold BP officials personally responsible for the costs and damages incurred by the 2010 Gulf oil spill, and the negligent homicide of 11 individuals?  Could we demand prison time for the pilfering of the mortgage market by Jamie Dimone?

Of course this is not what they intend with their suit. They want to be able to dictate their moral views onto those that work for them.  They say that they believe that abortion is wrong, and that some drugs that may be covered in their insurance pool could cause abortions and so they should be allowed to not participate.  Where were their moral quandaries when they purchased goods from China, a state sponsor of abortion?  Why have they not banned all goods supplied by a communist nation that for decades had a forced abortion policy? Because it is not about morality. Corporations do not have morals, they do not have a conscience, or accountability, or doubts, or thoughts, or anything else associated with humanity. They are simply legal structures of organization for completing the tasks of business and providing a wall of protection for the owners.

Hobby Lobby has no soul, it has no God (other than profit) to answer to, there will be no day of judgement for this piece of paper in the ever after. The owners of Hobby Lobby believe that they should be able to use their wealth to tell people how they must behave at all times. They believe that they can hide behind their corporate charter and, at the same time, bind themselves into the charter as the soul of the corporation. They cannot have it both ways.

If the owners of Hobby Lobby wish to be the arbiters of morality for their employees, too bad. If they wish to not participate in the Insurance Market, they are free to do just that. They will have to pay a fine so that the subsidies for their employees will be covered. And if they want to be against abortion, I suggest they find new suppliers for their goods... but they won't because this is about money, and they need China, and their state sponsored abortion will never be a moral quandary for Hobby Lobby's bottom line.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Pro-Life Atheists

Patheos recently had an article by a Pro-Life Atheist explaining her position and the arguments for those positions.  It was not taken well by the community. You can read the Post here. A rebuttal was also added from a Pro-Choice Atheist here.
    I waded into the argument because I am Pro-Choice. I believe a woman's bodily autonomy is Sacrosanct and no one has the right to dictate decisions onto another about their bodies.  I explained my position as one of viability. I have no right to take another person and use them as a blood filter, food source or blood oxygenator for myself, all things a fetus must have from  a woman to survive. My point is that you cannot be forced to subject your body to the needs of your children (or anyone else) once they are out of the womb.  You can voluntarily give blood, a kidney, bone marrow, etc... but you cannot be forced to save another's life. 
    The problem I have with the Pro-Life people (Secular or Religious) is their granting special rights to the fetus. They say the right of the Fetus to live is more important than the right of the woman to her body, but if that is true then it would have to hold that a fetus is more human than all others or we all have the right to take what we need to survive from those around us. It always becomes an issue of emotion (think about the BABY) over rational conclusions. Outlawing abortions would be a disaster. I promote expanded sexual education, access to cheap birth control, and alternatives for those who do not want abortions. If you do not believe in abortions, no one is forcing you to have one. If you believe that abortion is murder then that is your right, but I disagree.
    The biggest problem I had with the original Pro-Life post (besides the horrible justifications disguised as arguments) were those in the comments saying she did not belong in the Atheist community. Last I checked Atheism was about the need for evidence regarding gods. Expanding the Atheism community to include the skeptical community would bring in those that demand evidence for all things, and this still does not preclude those with differing opinions, especially over something as vague as when life begins. Their us and them, black and white, mentalities were not acceptable to me. They called her an enemy thus removing her humanity and allowing for complete dismissal of her arguments, and any further discussion.  It was a sad view into the absolutists in the Atheist community.
     I asked there and will ask here: Where does it end? Factioning into little sub groups incapable of talking to eachother because of differences that have nothing to do with Atheism. Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice, Pro-Gun vs Pro-Control, Conservative vs Liberal, Anti-GMO vs Pro-GMO... all inside the Atheist movement and unable to come together over the issues that should unite us.
     Stop trying to stifle the voices you do not agree with, do not o"other" them in an attempt to not have to engage in civil discussion. Do not dismiss their opinions solely out of adherence to those views you already hold. We should be able to present our arguments to eachother with thought out, reasoned, rational debate and the best ideas should win the day. Shouting over those you disagree with does not support your side, it bashes theirs.I have been guilty of this when arguing with theists, I admit.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What's Good for the Goose...



Hearing the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee complain that the CIA spied on their computer use has gotten me a little bit perturbed. Where was your outrage when the CIA and NSA were spying on every American living in this century? Where was your outrage when our spy agency was bugging the offices of our closest allies? Where was your outrage when it came to light that you approved these measures?

You attacked Mr. Snowden for making this information available to all of us. You make him an enemy of the State forced to seek sanctuary from our enemies. You demonize him on the morning news shows and act as if his taking a stand to uphold his oath to defend the Constitution from Domestic threats is wrong. You were the threat he was referring to, your lazy acceptance of justifications for the shredding of the 4th Amendment and cataloging of data that the government has no right to.

And now you want to cry foul when the CIA does exactly what you told them they had every right to do? I think not. Accept your roles in this situation. You handed the keys to these people, don't get pissed off when they use them to look through your dirt laundry.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

We are all people

Every movement has had its detractors, those that sat aside and neither spoke out for or against those not powerful enough to stand for themselves and those that took a stand for equanimity in our laws and acceptance in our society. From the end of slavery to women's suffrage to segregation to civil rights to marriage equality, it is the same. Treating other human beings as if they are the same as you. It does not matter their color, culture, heritage, creed, dogma, sexual orientation, body size, mental capacity, or reproductive organs... We are all the same. We are all complex, impossible to define and unique. Do not be one of those who sits aside and watches as the rest turn away from those that most need our assistance, compassion and simple acceptance as people.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Problem with the Status Quo and Military Rape

We have expanded our military to include minorities and women and homosexuals over the course of the years. But in that time we have not kept an updated justice system that works for all of the members of the military. Professional retaliation is a real threat, bad performance reviews, collusion between officers to cause harm, assignment to the least popular and most loathsome bases.  There are many ways that commanders have complete control over their soldiers lives and futures.

The military is supposed to be about rules, fairness, responsibility, duty, honor, and respect.  Our current military justice system does not foster these ideals, it allows for personal retribution, clannish sexism and unspoken laws of silence.  There were 3,300 reported rapes last year in the US Armed Forces. It is suspected that the actual number of rapes was closer to 26,000. This is an astounding differential in reports and crimes.

The current system of having to report your rape to you immediate commander makes for an atmosphere of terror for the victims.  What if you commander was the rapist? What of the destruction of the unit cohesion with accusations, and counter accusations?  What of the camaraderie built up over time and its influence on the commanders decisions? What of the reflections on the commanders for allowing these things to happen in their own units? Who will the commander tell? How quickly will everyone find out? What if the rapist is spreading tales about the victim being lose and easy? Many other questions could be asked.

Commanders should not have the ability to determine the validity of claims over the men they serve with. AT best their judgement is clouded, at worst they will protect friends and allies for personal gain or protection. It is time to remove this power from commanders and place it into the hands of parties removed from those involved who can judge with a less biased eye.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rant over new legislation

American Christian Conservatives

I am an Atheist. I am from Southeast Alabama, born and raised. I was brought up as a Christian. I have attended Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian and other denominations over the course of my life. I have read the Bible more than once. I have also read many other religious texts in my journey to find truth in this world. I have arrived at Atheism as the best answer available to me.

I would like you to look at our history as a Nation. Our founding principles and our ever evolving societal norms. When our Nation was founded  slavery was the norm. It was so normal that slaves were given a 3/5th’weight as a human. This was fully supported by Christianity in most of it’s forms at the time. Women were not considered citizens, and this was also completely acceptable in a Christian moral view.

Over the course of our history we have always had a majority of citizens that identified themselves as Christian. We have also witnessed these different sects fight over what was and was not acceptable as interpretations of the Biblical Truth. Slowly, we have moved from a strict and literal interpretation to a more open and progressive interpretation. Slavery is now considered unacceptable and women have been moved higher (although still second class) in our society. Justifications have been made, and then dashed using the Bible. It is able to be interpreted in many different ways depending on who the reader is and what portions of the Bible they are referring to. The Old Testament is all fire and Brimstone, death and rape, murder and slavery. Jesus brings a new outlook of compassion and acceptance and equanimity.

Yet, there are those among the Christian Conservatives who refuse to accept these progressive ideas. They still agree that slavery is wrong, and that women should have a greater role, but now they see Homosexuality as the great fight that Christianity must stand against. And they use the same justifications and interpretations to prop up their argument for discrimination. It is a sad repetition  of their past mistakes.

We also have those that demand State sanctioned prayer. Those that fight for monuments of their faith to be given exclusive rights to occupy our houses of governance. We have those that use their faith as a weapon to bash in the reproductive rights of women. Those who see their faith as more valid than the civil rights of those they disagree with.  I would like you to think long and hard about the consequences of this privileged view of yourselves.

Before 1955 there was no “In God We Trust” on our currency, or in our motto. We were formed under the banner of  “E Pluribus Unum” One From Many.   This is the thing you do not seem to understand about our great Nation. Our differences are what define us, not our likenesses. We are over 80 percent Christian, but we are not a Christian Nation. We are descendants of all the World. The Christians that came here, came here to remove themselves from the religious oppression of others.  There is a reason that the Constitution has no mention of Religion other than to preclude it as a necessity or preference to hold office. Religion is of the people, not of the State. You can live and worship as you see fit, but the Government cannot help or hinder your efforts. 

My State has a new proposal for governmental issuance of religious decrees. They believe that each morning, every child in public school should receive a word for word recitation of whatever prayers are uttered in the Congress. It is being sold as a civics lesson. I would prefer a civics lesson that included the rulings of our courts clearly defining the limits of school prayer. Students are completely capable of praying in school anytime they see fit. The limitation occurs when a representative of the school (State) tries to lead the class in religious practices. This also gives the Government the power to show preference to certain religions over others.

The exciting new argument is one of religious freedom extending to being able to refuse service to anyone who violates your religious convictions.  This is a terrifying prospect when it is codified to grant specific, special rights based on the religious beliefs of a person.  Remember those guys that all went to meet the Comet? Remember Jim Jones? And it gets worse here, we have a proposed law that would allow medical professionals to deny service based on their faiths.  Special, Specific powers and protections afforded only to religious persons.  This opens the door to so many contradictory beliefs and demands that it would become impossible for us to function as a society.  Who defines what is a valid protestation of faith, and what is simple a justification for anything? Will a religion that demands violence be allowed to be violent if their faiths says that they must?  Will we all have to pray to certain gods at certain times or face criminal sanctions? Will we have to wear all of our thoughts and feelings on a sign around our necks to make sure we are following the religious convictions of everyone around us?

Society is an agreement to all try and work together for the betterment of everyone involved. We use Government (Representative Republic) to give us a Secular point to maintain the agreement for everyone.  The Constitution was fashioned to give a framework to build upon. It is flexible and malleable and alive.  We cannot allow any group to grant themselves special powers or protections.

If you don’t like Gay Marriage, don’t get Gay Married.  If you don’t like abortions, educate children about sexuality, provide cheap contraception, advocate for your beliefs, don’t have one. If you want a monument to the Ten Commandments, build one on your property with your money. You want to have state prayers read at your children every morning? Move to some of the more theocratic Islamic Nations.  We are all Americans. We are every type of person there are. If your faith is so shaken by having to live with people different than you, perhaps you should seek a new faith or pray for direction.  And if you want your church to decide the policies of our Government, you are going to have to pay taxes like everyone else.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Letters to the Editor faceoff

 A Local Dentist decided to air his views on Polygamy and marriage in general, I had to respond.

Dentist

My first response

Dentist Response

My Last Response