Free To Believe Or Not

One of the fundamental rights we have as Americans is the right to our religious beliefs or the freedom to have none at all.  But the world, which according to some, is becoming more and more democratic…..meaning that the population has more freedoms than it has in the past….but does that mean their religious preferences are respected?

Then I read an article that had me surprised…..Reuters reported…..

Amid a global decline in religious belief, some governments are stepping up efforts to portray atheists and secularists as a danger to society and even as terrorists, according to a report issued on Wednesday.

The study, by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), pointed to “hate campaigns” launched by public figures against those who renounce the dominant or state religion in Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Egypt.

It said “the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers” as set out in U.N. treaties, adding that 13 states, all of them Muslim, had made apostasy or blasphemy against religion a capital offense.

In some countries – like Russia, where communist ideology has been replaced by Orthodox Christianity which dominated before the 1917 Bolshevik revolution – any public expression of atheist views can be equated with blasphemy and criminalized.

The “Freedom of Thought Report”, which is published annually on International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, said the past year had been marked by a surge in the number of officials and political leaders agitating against non-religious people “in terms that would normally be associated with hate speech”.

None of which is all that surprising…….

That brings me to my state, the lovely state of Mississippi…….years ago I was inclined to run for the state senate…..but since I was a Gnostic I was considered an atheist and was not allowed to participate in the election…..apparently most do not know what a Gnostic is…..(I could go into a diatribe but ….use Google and save me some time….basically because few will give a crap)……..sadly Mississippi is not alone………

If you’re an atheist living in Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Texas, you’re technically not allowed to hold public office. Those states have articles in their constitutions requiring public officials to believe in God—in fact, in Maryland, even jurors and witnesses are technically required to believe in God—and now nonbelievers are trying to get rid of such rules, even though they are rarely invoked. “If it was on the books that Jews couldn’t hold public office, or that African-Americans or women couldn’t vote, that would be a no-brainer. You’d have politicians falling all over themselves to try to get it repealed,” the chairman of the Openly Secular coalition tells the New York Times. “Even if it was still unenforceable, it would still be disgraceful and be removed.”

Article VI of the US Constitution says no “religious test” should be required for federal office, and in 1961, the Supreme Court ruled that states may not have a “religious test” for public office. Yet the bans remain in those seven states, and activists say they’re unconstitutional. So far, though, no politician has made it a goal to get rid of them. Openly Secular plans to lobby legislators in those states (plus Pennsylvania, which has ambiguous wording about religion in its Constitution) to dump the bans—if they can find legislators open to the idea. The latest notable time a ban was enforced was 1992, when an atheist was denied a position as a notary public in South Carolina; he won the case when it went to the state Supreme Court.

Of course these are the same a/holes that always talk about the sanctity of the Constitution but have No problem depriving others of the rights to believe as they see fit……..

So tell me where the democratic part is with all this?  Where is the freedom to believe or not?  I am weary of so-called “constitutionalists” that are all about the Constitution as the “law of the land”….but only when it confirms their limited knowledge of what the document is really about.

Time for a convention to make things crystal clear.  Are you with me?

 

Does GOP Have A Plan For 2016?

2016 is quickly approaching…….it is never too early to speculate on what the GOP will be doing for that election….Hell the MSM does it daily…..so why not IST?

There has been lots of talk of what will be most important to the GOP…..will it try to reach out to women….or Hispanics or even African-Americans?  My guess is no to all those……what they will focus on will be something trivial that they can use for mileage and slogans……….

Juan Cole has stated what he thinks will be their emphasis……..

1.  With a few noble exceptions like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Republican Party spokesmen, Republican politicians, and Republican media like Fox Cable News, defended torture.  This defense was mounted from so many directions by so many Republicans that it now seems indisputable that the party stands for the principle of rectal hydration.  Since torture is illegal in American law, presumably they want to repeal the 5th and 8th amendments to the constitution.

2.  The Republican Party stands for the principle that elections should be stolen by the rich who pay the most for them.  The new bill multiplies permitted donations by a factor of ten.

3.  The GOP wants the US taxpayer to be made to bail out risky, casino-like “derivatives.”  After the 2008 crash, caused by some corrupt Wall Street financiers stealing our money, Congress had removed FDIC protection from the riskier derivatives.  The GOP, plotting in smoke filled rooms far from the light,  just put the taxpayer right back in the sights the next time the bankers need a bailout.  The provision was actually written by CitiBank, which won’t get my business.  They think, much better to gamble with the taxpayers’ money; they would, but why would GOP lawmakers agree to be their ventriloquist’s dummy?

4.  The bill blocks aid to the Palestine authority if it becomes a member of UN agencies without Israeli permission.  Palestine has been recognized as a non-member observer state at the UN, and is gradually joining key committees.  It likely will sign the Rome Statute, join the International Criminal Court, and sue Israel for war crimes.  But in the fantasyland of Congress, none of this may be allowed to happen.  The PA has other sources of money than the US, and all this provision does is further weaken the ability of the US to do effective diplomacy.

5.  This fall, most Republicans ran on putting troops back into Iraq and getting even more deeply involved in the Syrian civil war than the US already is.  This is a plank in their platform that leads to sanguinary wars.

Cole is a pretty sharp individual…..so what do you think the GOP will be thumping their chest over for 2016?

A Bush In 2016?

Damn!  There has been a Bush or a Clinton since 1979…..in case your math is a little rusty that is………  45 years!

A gleeful media is all over the announcement that Jeb would actively explore the possibility of running from the GOP nomination…….it is the story of the week…….and no doubt by Friday you will be sick of all the crap associated with this announcement……

(Newser) – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush today took his most definitive step yet toward running for president, announcing plans to “actively explore” a campaign and form a new political operation allowing him to raise money for like-minded Republicans. In a holiday message posted on Bush’s Facebook page and Twitter account, the son and brother of past Republican presidents said he discussed the “future of our nation” and a potential bid for the White House with members of his family over the Thanksgiving holiday. “As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States,” Bush wrote in the message, which was reportedly first “riddled with typos” but has apparently since been fixed. “In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.”

Kristy Campbell, a spokeswoman for Bush, 61, said he will announce his final decision on whether to seek the nomination next year “after gauging support.” “This is a natural next step and represents a new phase of his consideration process,” Campbell said. That phase will include an expansion of Bush’s political operations. He said today he will start his own leadership political action committee in January, which will allow him to raise money and use it to support candidates in other races. In his statement, Bush said the committee “will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.” Politico reported yesterday that South Carolina could be pivotal to Bush’s success.

My guess is that he will run……Mitt and Christie are crying in their beers about now……..

Maybe Jeb should consider a couple of things before his decision is made…….one would be the opposition research into his life and such…..with as nasty as the Super PACs are….there is lots of stuff that could be the focus of some very negative ads……..Mother Jones has a few of them…….

Jeb Bush Just Took a Big Step Toward Running for President. Here Are 23 Reasons He Should Reconsider. | Mother Jones.

I have always said that Jeb was the smartest of the brothers….but it is time to end the dynasties of the Clinton and Bush…….

Is it laziness or ignorance that keeps the American people fixated on dynastic rule?

Mid-Terms: It Is Just Embarrassing

For way too many years the American voter has been staying away from the mid-term elections……fewer and fewer people are turning out to vote…..some say that the people are starting to realize that the vote is just a way to legitimize the the state…..that nothing is   changing no matter how much the people want it….and then some say that the voter is just getting lazy…..whatever the reason this past election is just damn disgusting…….

Turnout is usually off in non-presidential elections, but this year’s numbers were “abysmally low,” carps the New York Times in an editorial. In fact, they were very nearly historically low. You have to go back 72 years to find a worse percentage for national turnout—this year’s figure was 36.3% vs. 33.9% in 1942. The editors blame “apathy, anger, and frustration at the relentlessly negative tone of the campaigns,” but they also see one big area ripe for improvement.

Generally speaking, states that made the voting process easier for residents had better turnout. Colorado, for instance, allowed people to vote by mail for the first time and ended up No. 4 in the nation. Early voting also seems to help. The formula for better turnout, then, is easy to state if not execute: “Politicians need to stop suppressing the vote, make the process of voting as easy as possible, and run campaigns that stand for something.” Click for the full editorial.

Personally, I just think that Americans could care less…..they do not feel that voting is as important as we pretend it is……

Opinion?  What do you think the problem is with the American voter?

Let’s Have A National Holiday

An Idea whose time has come……..if below link is not active try this one……

http://www.change.org/p/the-president-of-the-united-states-make-voting-day-a-national-holiday-by-executive-order

Sign the petition: Support Bernie’s bill to establish a national “Democracy Day” Holiday
Petition:<br /><br />  Make Election Day a Holiday
Coming off an Election Day with extremely low voter turnout, Sen. Bernie Sanders announced legislation to make Election Day a national holiday. “In America, we should be celebrating our democracy and doing everything possible to make it easier for people to participate in the political process. Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote. While this would not be a cure-all, it would indicate a national commitment to create a more vibrant democracy,” said Bernie, who was not on the ballot on Tuesday.
Write Sign Bernie’s petition to establish a “Democracy Day” holiday

Just How Disgusting Is Congress?

We are told by the media that the American voter is disgusted with Congress, the president and the economy……and yet they will vote for the same worthless bunch time and time again……

But the question is….just how disgusted are they?

The first exit polls show that those who turned out to vote today are in a foul mood politically, and it applies to both President Obama and Republicans. Some highlights:

  • Obama: More than half, 54%, disapprove of Obama, a figure just shy of George W. Bush’s 57% in the 2006 midterms, reports NBC News.
  • Congress: A staggering 79% disapprove of the job Congress is doing, one percentage point shy of the all-time low in exit polls.
  • Both: About a quarter of voters say they’re unhappy with both Obama and GOP leaders in Congress.
  • Country: Two-thirds say the nation is on the wrong track, and just 22% think the next generation will be better off, reports CNN.
  • Trust: Only 1 in 5 say they trust the government to do what is right most or all of the time. Most (61%) say they trust DC to do the right thing only “some of the time.”
  • Economy: It’s still voters’ No.1 concern.
  • Health care: The AP notes that those who ranked it as their top concern were “about as likely to say Obama’s health care overhaul didn’t go far enough as to say it went too far.”

What  amuses me is that if the people polled told the truth….then why do we keep sending the same mental midgets to DC?

Is this a paradox?  Or is it just stupidity?

When will we ever learn?  (that is rhetorical because we all know the answer)……

Played Like A Cheap Flute

The mid-terms are over!  Mercifully!  And now the media will set about telling you why the vote went the way it did.  The major problem with that is that they have NO idea.

For months the media was telling the public states like Iowa, Kansas, Georgia and Kentucky we in play….that there could well be a movement to turn the states purple….the problem is they were never in play.

After months and months of polls and predictions……very little of it was accurate in the end….and they will begin all over again come January or sooner……it is what they do…..control the dialog.

The media, all the media, is playing the clueless public like a cheap flute.

This exercise on my part is becoming tiresome.  I try to point out to my readers that the media is doing NO service by trying to lead the dialog on the elections.  The polls they quote are paid for by the media and reflects just what they, the media, wants it to reflect.

This last election should be a wake up call to the public, especially the voter….that little of what the media tells them is the truth…..

Think about it!  What benefits the media more……a split Congress or one controlled by the opposing party?  Which would give them more news?  Which outcome would be more for their ratings?

Think about another stat……about 2/3 of the voting population did not go to vote……why?  Why for a right that is so important to our identity as an American be so unpopular?

This stat keeps going up….Americans do not vote….yet they condemn those that don’t…..Americans are a fickle bunch…….

Americans get lies to base what little voting the do……and then they repeat the lies….laziness has its consequences and the crappy field of candidates and then officials is that consequence……and the media does little to change this downward trend….they are the enablers.

Now the media will be preparing the public for 2016.