Uncommon Sense

February 4, 2012

Do They Think About These Things or Are They Just Riding the Wave?

Filed under: Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 9:20 am
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It seems as if conservatives are hell-bent on diminishing women’s reproductive choices. In their lifetimes  women spend, on average, about three years being pregnant or trying to be pregnant and thirty years trying very hard not to get pregnant, so contraception is an important topic for them. So, why all the conservative attacks on contraception? Women comprise over half the U.S. population and are voting in record numbers.

I understand that Catholics have a policy against contraception but most U.S. conservatives are evangelicals, not Catholics, and evangelicals have no anti-contraception policy.

With regard to abortions, a majority of Americans favor women’s right to choose, so there aren’t a lot of votes to curry by these politicians. Is this a moral stand? Come on, these are politicians we are talking about. If they saw a moral stand, they would probably bump into it and knock it over.

The conservatives say they are in favor of small government but they keep trying to pass (and are passing) laws that would have police and government lawyers intruding into bedrooms and hospital delivery rooms.

The surprising thing to me is they haven’t thought through what they are asking for. Let’s imagine that they get their wish. Abortions are illegal. Contraception is illegal. Birthrates soar. Is that a good thing for conservatives?

Well, the highest birthrate in the U.S. by ethnicity is of Hispanics. The next highest is African-Americans. Dead last is the Caucasian birthrate. So, one effect, well other than more women dying from back alley abortions, is that conservatives will be increasing the percentage of the population which is non-white hastening the day when white people will be a minority in this country. Hispanics and African-Americans also tend to vote Democratic.

I wonder if the racist wing of the Republican Party has thought about this.

[For those of you who think this is too harsh, consider what happened after the Civil Rights Act passed in the mid-1960s (Johnson was president but the original initiative was Kennedy’s). The Democratic South went Republican almost overnight. If you want to think the racists took over the Republican Party, which is largely a Southern party to this day, or were just welcomed with open arms, they are still there.]

February 2, 2012

Neutralize the Super PACs!

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 8:40 am
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The SCOTUS decision in Citizen’s United has opened the flood gates of unrestricted political money from billionaires and corporations. The technique is simple and easy. First a “Super Political Action Committee” or Super PAC is created and then unlimited amounts of money can be raised and spent on political campaigns (as long as the Super PAC doesn’t, you know, coordinate (wink, wink) its efforts with a campaign’s). There is even a way to do this as a non-profit organization so that your donors never need to be divulged.

Recent required reports from Super PACs show that one of them has raised more money than all of the Republican presidential candidates, save Mitt Romney, combined. As you might expect, this is a Super PAC supporting Mitt Romney.

This money is swamping our political process and has to be neutralized and since 95% of this Super PAC money is spent on TV and Radio advertisements, the way to do this is to get people to stop watching and listening to political ads. This will render all of this money, no matter the source, ineffective. These ads are full of innuendo, lies, half truths, and worse, so there is no great loss.

I have stopped watching and listening. If you stop, there will be two of us. If we each of us gets another person to stop, there will be four of us, and pretty soon there will be a movement! Wait a minute, wait a minute, this whole plan was laid out in 1966 . . . by Arlo Guthrie, Woody’s boy, on how to disrupt the draft during the Vietnam War.

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and
they won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
singin’ a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an
organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said
fifty people a day walking in singin’ a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and
walking out. And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.
from “Alice’s Restaurant” by Arlo Guthrie

And you don’t even have to be able to sing to:

Stop Watching and Listening to Political Ads!

February 1, 2012

Church and State, Should “Hands Off” be Mutual?

Filed under: Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 3:46 pm
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The Supreme Court recently ruled that church enterprises such as schools don’t have to follow federal laws pertaining to their workers. The case involved a teacher at a religious school who got sick and when she returned from treatment found that she had been fired. This is illegal in the U.S. unless, apparently, you work for an institution owned by a religious group.

I tend to think this was a wrong headed decision in that the SCOTUS just took out their ten foot pole with its ten foot extension and said that religious schools have the right to determine who should teach their religious classes. Where they erred was the law was intended to protect people from being fired only due to their illness. If there were no other cause, then their legal argument doesn’t hold water as it wasn’t about whether the teacher were fit or even appropriate to teach those classes, it was about whether anyone has the right to fire a worker because they got sick.

My quibbles notwithstanding, it is probably a good thing that the SCOTUS errs on the side of not getting the state involved with religious groups. But, it is notable that religious groups do not hesitate to involve themselves in the business of the state. Consider the immense amount of money and volunteer labor provided by the Mormon Church of California and the U.S. in California’s initiative Prop 8 on gay marriage. I have no problem with Mormon citizens acting politically, but I would rather see the churches mind their own knitting politically.

I wish the authors of the constitution had snuck in the separation of State from Church, as well as the separation of Church and State.

On Wisconsin!, No “In” Wisconsin!

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 8:48 am
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Recently some citizens of the State of Wisconsin were submitting a truly astounding number of petitions (over 1 million!) to recall the governor of that state, while at the same time said governor was in the State of New York raising funds for his recall campaign. The Governor rationalized his out-of-state effort by saying it was needed to offset the flood of union money that has been flowing into the state. “Would be” should have been used instead of “has been” because as yet there is no such flood of union money. In fact, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has raised way more money than his opponents have. The question here is: where is the dividing line for “political money as free speech” which is legal and “political money as influence peddling” which is illegal? Clearly I think that an argument can be made that, in this case, that line is the state lines of the State of Wisconsin.

Where is the dividing line for “political money as free speech” which is legal and “political money as influence peddling” which is illegal?

Inside the state lines of the State of Wisconsin live people who will be affected by decisions made by the Governor. They are recognized as such by being given the right to vote in his election or recall. Outside of the state lines of the State of Wisconsin live people who will not be affected by decisions of the Governor and are not allowed to vote in his election. So, why would someone living in Illinois or Texas have more say in that election than do the people of Wisconsin. Apparently $5 million of Governor Walker’s “campaign funds” were raised out of state (so far). This is in addition to millions he has accepted from out of state donors (Koch Brothers, etc.) prior to this point. Why should that money have more to say about the election’s outcome than donations from individuals in the state? Why should such outsiders have any say at all in an affair that is none of their business . . . unless they are buying certain “favors.”

Why should such outsiders have any say at all in an affair that is none of their business . . . unless they are buying certain “favors.”

Unions and Texas oil men should be barred from donating funds to such a campaign unless those funds were raised inside the State of Wisconsin. Otherwise we don’t have “free speech,” we have speech and political offices for sale to the highest bidder. We need to draw the line for them if they can’t for themselves.

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