lunadelcorvo: (Civil liberties)
Courtesy of DailyKos

The right to cast a ballot and choose one's representatives in government from alderman to president is viewed as a quintessential and inalienable right of the American democratic experience. The expansion of this right to an ever-wider range of previously disenfranchised populations has been a cornerstone of all the great civil rights movements in America. And not coincidentally, these expansions have been opposed by conservatives at every turn.

The original American conservatives were the Tories, who opposed the very idea of a free America and wanted to ensure that the only "voter" who mattered was the King of England, but their undemocratic ideas were defeated by a popular revolution and the radical notion of Thomas Jefferson that people should be able to choose their leaders—or at the very least, the white landowners who were the only ones really considered people at the time. Subsequent generations saw a gradual expansion of the franchise: to those who did not own land, to blacks, to women, and finally, to young people between the ages of 18 and 20 who had the obligation to fight in our country's wars, but did not have the right to vote for the people who got to declare them.

At every step of the way, these movements were opposed—often with violence—by conservatives who wanted to keep things exactly the way they were and leave the decision-making in the hands of the people who most resembled them, rather than see rights be expanded to entire groups of people who just might have a different political perspective. Not coincidentally, these groups of more recently enfranchised voters tend to vote far less conservatively; it's a natural instinct, after all, not to vote for the politicians who promise to follow in the footsteps of those who actively sought to curtail hard-fought freedoms.

Because of this, many conservative politicians have done their absolute best to limit the voting rights of the types of people who would generally vote against them—most often black voters or young voters, since these two groups are the ones most likely to vote for Democrats. (If conservatives could successfully attempt to restrict the rights of women to vote, they probably would, but women are evenly distributed throughout the population, while black voters and young voters tend to live in more concentrated areas such as particular neighborhoods or college towns, making their usual voter-caging and voter-suppression tactics far more actionable.) Stringent voter ID laws have been introduced in several conservative-leaning states under the premise that they are urgently needed to prevent voter fraud, even though only a handful of cases of voter fraud are ever prosecuted in a given year.

The real objective of these bills, of course, is to make it harder for Democratic-leaning voters—poorer people, immigrants, and young voters especially—to cast a ballot. This real objective was never explicitly stated, of course—until now. New Hampshire State Representative Gregory Sorg recently sponsored a flatly unconstitutional statute to eliminate the right of New Hampshire's college students to cast a ballot where they go to school. But most crucially, his argument against the franchise for students was not based on their residency, but based on the decisions they made when voting:

In prepared remarks, Sorg referred to students as "transient inmates . . . with a dearth of experience and a plethora of the easy self-confidence that only ignorance and inexperience can produce."He wasn't alone: these same sentiments were echoed by New Hampshire House Speaker O'Brien, who also felt that younger voters should be disenfranchised until they learned to vote his way:
New Hampshire's new Republican state House speaker is pretty clear about what he thinks of college kids and how they vote. They're "foolish," Speaker William O'Brien said in a recent speech to a tea party group.

"Voting as a liberal. That's what kids do," he added, his comments taped by a state Democratic Party staffer and posted on YouTube. Students lack "life experience," and "they just vote their feelings.
Conservatives have always wanted to do this. They have always felt that students and minorities should not be able to vote because they don't make the same decisions. But until now, they have never had the temerity to come out and say it. Similarly, conservatives have always wanted to destroy public employee unions. They have long chipped around the edges and made hints and rumblings. But until now, they have never dared to do what Gov. Scott Walker has done in Wisconsin. In like fashion, conservatives have always wanted to roll the clock back on women's rights. They have gradually restricted abortion rights in all the ways they possibly could under the constitution, and hinted that birth control was a net negative for society. But now they dare to openly change the definition of rape and defund the vital family planning and cancer prevention services that so many women of lesser means rely on.

Just like the all-out conservative assault on women and on public employee unions, this new assault on the voting rights of our youth is an example of the type of overreach that will once again doom the GOP to minority status in the years to come. Voters were frustrated with Democrats in 2010 that not enough progress had been made on jobs. They did not vote for the GOP because they truly wanted to see the elimination of the labor movement, access to birth control, and voting rights for college students. The biggest mistake made by conservative politicians is a fundamental belief that their skill in messaging and winning elections truly translates into real support for their actual policy ideas. If they keep going down this road, they will soon find out the truth—the hard way.
lunadelcorvo: (Facepaw Polar bear)
Published on Right Wing Watch (

Religious Right Brings Back the Halal Meat Panic

lunadelcorvo: (Facepaw Polar bear)
Published on Right Wing Watch (

Religious Right Brings Back the Halal Meat Panic

lunadelcorvo: (Oh puh-lease!)
This isn't exactly new, but it's worth noting:
The 2006 law organizing the state Office of Homeland Security lists its initial duty as "stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth."

Specifically, Homeland Security is ordered to publicize God's benevolent protection in its reports, and it must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, "The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God."

State Rep. Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister, tucked the God provision into Homeland Security legislation as a floor amendment that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved two years ago. As amended, Homeland Security's religious duties now come before all else, including its distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and its analysis of possible threats.

The time and energy spent crediting God are appropriate, said Riner, D-Louisville, in an interview this week. "This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky," Riner said. "Government itself, apart from God, cannot close the security gap. The job is too big for government."
There is one (only one!!!!!!) group, American Atheists, that filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of the law. The suit faced tremendous criticism because they were seeking monetary redress for 'damages.' However, apparently they had no choice. According to a ruling of the US Supreme Court, citizens cannot sue the government for church/state separation issues without damages. SO the very thing which is drawing the most flack with regard to this lawsuit is necessary in order for it to even have legal standing. (I'd love to know how was behind that ruling, because it certainly seems to hamper legitimate constitutional challenges.)

However, there was a veritable pantheon of the Lunatic Right Fringe's most luminary arrayed on the other side, including defrocked Alabama Chief Supreme Court Justice Judge Roy Moore, president of the Foundation for Moral Law in Montgomery, Ala. Moore was kicked out of office as Attorney General for refusing to abide by a court ruling ordering the removal of the 10 commandments monument he installed on the Alabama State Court House rotunda in the dead of night.

Moore is also one of 35 attorneys defending Kentucky's God Defense law. His foundation just happened to be the hosts of the 2010 Alabama Secession Day Commemoration, which featured speakers such those from the "League of the South, a neo-Confederate hate group that considers slavery 'God-ordained' and advocates for 'the cultural dominance of the Anglo-Celtic people and their institutions.'" (Quote from Ed Hensley, of American Atheists). Hensley also notes that while the Foundation for Moral Law denies sponsoring the event, they did end up raking in all the proceeds.

So. the suit prevailed, and is currently under appeal by the state of Kentucky. Apparently, the state government, far from being relieved of the burden of such an inane law, actually will go to great lengths (to say nothing of great expense, footed by the taxpayers), to restore it! Ironically, those same taxpayers will froth at the mouth because government isn't spending enough on creating jobs for them, and is constantly raging about taxes being too high. I wonder if they know how much is spent on stuff like this?

And, we learn that those who wish to challenge the constitutionality of a blatant violation of separation of church and state are not only forced to appear as money-grubbing ambulance chasers for being required to seek damages, they must then run a gauntlet of barely legitimate Religious Right loonies, funded by secessionists and white supremacists. Yay.
lunadelcorvo: (I meditate and I still want to choke...)
I am going to assume many of you have seen or heard of this: the Harris poll showing that outrageous numbers of people believe outrageous things about President Obama.

Now there is a lot of hoopla in the media about the poll being unreliable, the data being skewed, etc. I am not a statistician, so I can't evaluate these claims too well. I will say, in all fairness, that there seem to be some reasonable questions being asked as to how accurately the sample can be extrapolated out to represent the entire population, and some equally reasonable explanations in defense of the poll's methodology.

However, none of the issues the poll raised are exactly virgin territory. All of these things have been present in the national political and social dialog before now. So, we could fart around quibbling over whether the reported 32% of all Americans think Obama is a Muslim is really 30%, or 25%, or 40%. However, the fact remains that whatever the exact percent may be, it is a staggeringly huge number.

Look at it this way. The population of the US is just under 310 million, of which a bit over 3/4 is adult. So that leaves us with about 233 million adults. If the percentage of adults who think Obama is a Muslim is even 20%, far lower than the Harris poll suggests, that still means nearly 47 million people think this. It's one out of five adults in the US. It's larger than the entire population of Spain. Think about that. For comparison's sake, the largest stadium in the Western Hemisphere is Beaver Stadium, which seats 107 thousand. You would have to fill that stadium 434 times to equal even the lowball estimate of the number of people who really think Barack Obama is a Muslim.

The percent of 'birthers,' those who believe that Obama is not a US citizen and not eligible to be president, listed by the Harris poll is 25%, which, if accurate, represents 58 million people, nearly the population of Italy, and enough to fill Beaver Stadium 544 times.

So think of the largest sporting event or concert you have ever been to. On average, it was probably about half the size of Beaver stadium, roughly 53,000. So multiply the biggest event you have ever been to by about 1,000, and that's how many people (remember we are low-balling here) think our President is not legally our President.

Multiply that event by about 800 times and that's how many people think that our President is a domestic enemy who should be removed by violence, about 18% (a substantially smaller number than reported by the Harris poll). About that same number think our President is the anti-Christ.

Rather than quibbling about the accuracy of the Harris poll, shouldn't we be focusing on the fact that terrifyingly large numbers of people believe these things? Shouldn't we be worrying about the future, not only our own, but that of our government, our peace and stability, our safety? Shouldn't we be focusing on what to DO about these numbers, rather than getting into pissing contests over whether the number of people who think our elected leader is a domestic enemy is 25% or only 15%? Seems to me, either number is way too many. Let's keep our eye on the ball people, shall we?
lunadelcorvo: (Foucault Power)
Christian discipline drawing criticism even from Christians

The two cases discussed are here and here. There is another excellent Salon article on the phenomenon here.
When the hell are we going to deal with this crap? When are we going to realize that parents usually don't dream up this stuff on their own? In no way do I exonerate a parent who can beat their child to death without knowing it's wrong, but the Pearls and others with similar rhetoric are to blame as well. "Doesn't advocate abuse?" Seriously? In whose dictionary is advising a parent to use plumbing line to strike their child (as young as 6-12 months!) NOT abuse?

What really bothers me is that this stuff is not broadly pursued with any real vigor because it hides behind a bogus screen of religious freedom. Individuals who go to far are sometimes (but not always) convicted of what it really is: abuse, murder, torture. But the broad problem gets a minor mention at the bottom of the article, with words like 'suspect,' 'may be influenced.' Why? Why is this not a center stage issue?

I'll tell you why. First, imagine a Muslim family that did this in the US; beat a child to death in the name of religious discipline. What a shitstorm that would be! Or a Wicca parent, using a switch to instill their religious values (supposedly just as well protected)? We look the other way on this stuff because as a society, we are scared to confront the Christian gloss on it, and it perpetrators hide behind that gloss, knowing it protects them. I call bullshit!!!!!!
lunadelcorvo: (W T F? Kitten)
I am not even sure what I can say to introduce this article, as I think the title pretty much sums it up: "We Need to End Non-Consensual Pelvic Exams"

Seriously, how the hell does anyone, anyone at all, not know, right away, without having to stop and consider it, that this is wrong, wrong, wrong? I mean... what the... how... Words fail.

Thanks to [ profile] virginia_fell for posting this first!
lunadelcorvo: (W T F? Kitten)
Insurers Required to pay for Prayer treatments

Insurers required to pay for.... for... PRAYER TREATMENT?!?!?!?!?!

*fzzt! pop! bzzzzzp!*

That was my brain breaking. For the second time in a week, albeit for radically different reasons...

Thanks to [ profile] doctoreon for pointing this out.
lunadelcorvo: (Default)
I have known Blackwater (Oh, sorry, "XE," and I have no doubt there is some sooper seekrit Dominionist meaning behind that) was trouble for a looooong time. Now that they are getting outed as theocratic lunatics by their own members, I feel vindicated, if saddened. There are times, after all, when one desperately wants to be proven wrong!

It's not the case here, however. XE/Blackwater is proving to be every bit as connected to the domininist/theocratic movement as I have always thought them to be. Given the size and power of the group, and their very nature as a mercenary military, I find this deeply worrying. After all, we have seen how the money and influence runs a la C-street and its denizens, and it is alarmingly on the side of militaristic theocracy and reconstructionism. So clearly the Right is well funded. Now it seems there exists an entire army, as well or better equipped and trained as our own, already in ideological harmony with this dominionist tide. The possibilities are mind boggling.

I know we (myself included) want to say 'It could never happen, the constitution, democracy,' and so on. And I will personally craft and wear tinfoil my whole life long if it proves there is nothing to any of this. But yowza, if there is? Scary shit, folks, scary shit indeed.

(Geek moment: And to discover that they are actually using crusade references, invoking the Knights of Malta, the Templars? Insult to injury! And really, no matter how much our understanding of the crusades has changed, still not exactly a sterling recc.)

::EDIT:: Come to think of it, a bunch of end-times, rapture-ready, 'gotta rebuild the Temple' lunatics running around the Middle East fancying themselves Templars may be more than a geek moment; it might be the scariest aspect of all of it......
lunadelcorvo: (Zuko frustrated)
That was the sound of my head exploding. "Hitler gave good speeches, too?!?" Obama with a Hitler 'stache!?!? WTF? Are you fucking serious?!?

This health care nonsense has gotten to insane extremes. As the clip below notes, associating our president and the congress with Hitler and the Nazi regime goes beyond the pale. It is dangerous, as it is a blatant and clarion clear invitation to violence, just as the rhetoric connecting abortion providers to nazis provided, to those extreme enough to heed it, a sanction to violence, even murder. But it is also a travesty to the memory of those who truly were the victims of the Nazis, both civilian and military.

Rachel Maddow: Maddow: 'Nazism is not a metaphor'

(Click HERE if the embed fails.)

Rachel Maddow: 'Time to bring facts to the health care debate'

(Click HERE if the embed fails.)

I spent nearly an hour on the phone with a relative who called to 'warn' me of the 'true' content of the health care reform plan. She believes the euthanasia scare. She believes that senior citizens will be forced to die. WTF? How insane has this country gone when this kind of outrageous crap is bought, wholesale, swallowed hook, line and sinker? When lunatic fringe elements and panicked big business put out ideas that don't even *sound* reasonable, and people believe them? When they rise up in the thousands to fight against the phantoms of the paranoid?

lunadelcorvo: (Oceania)
...people thought I was a tin-foil hat-wearing conspiracy loon for suggesting things like this. *sigh* Good days, good days. Clearly, however, those days are OVER.

From the article on
According to the Washington Post the house is owned by Youth With a Mission D.C. Youth With a Mission is one of the most extensive Christian fundamentalist para-church organizations on Earth, and YWAM founder leader Loren Cunningham has publicly outlined a vision for Christian world-control.

In a 2008 promotional video, "Reclaiming 7 Mountains of Culture", Loren Cunningham describes a vision he shared along with the late Christian theologian Francis Schaeffer, in which Christian fundamentalists could achieve world domination by taking over key sectors of society such as business, government, media, and education.



Things I need to remember:
• Asking for help is not, as it turns out, fatal.
• Laughing is easier than pulling your hair out, and doesn't have the unfortunate side effect of making you look like a plague victim.
• Even the biggest tasks can be defeated if taken a bit at a time.
• I can write a paper the night before it's due, but the results are not all they could be.
• Be thorough, but focused.
• Trust yourself.
• Honesty, always.

Historians are the Cassandras of the Humanities



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