Daily Gnuz, Sunday Shitehole

America’s descent into hell is accelerating inexorably.

From Friday’s ThinkProgress, another murderous police officer gets off in a stupefying “innocent” verdict. WARNING: the article does include the graphic bodycam video of the murder. I did NOT watch it, as the article’s description of the senseless killing was more than enough. Read it and weep – I did.

Next, here’s what Rep. Mark “Trailhiker” Sanford said about the “tax reform” bill in a brief interview with Erica Werner of the Washington Post:

Mark Sanford (R) admits tax bill is a sham.

A new survey shows that 30% of white Evangelicals are still willing to overlook pretty much every non-christian thing that trump says or does. Here’s a brief excerpt from an article by Christian Post reporter Samuel Smith:

“On Tuesday, PRRI [Public Religion Research Institute] released its annual American Values Survey titled “One Nation, Divided, Under Trump,” which found that just over four in 10 white evangelicals (42 percent) were weak Trump supporters, answering that although they support Trump, it is still possible for them to lose their support. Meanwhile, 30 percent of white evangelicals say they approve of Trump and “there’s almost nothing President Trump could do to lose my approval…”

NOTE: Definitely check out the link at “One Nation, Divided, Under Trump”, interesting statistics laid out there.

Last, in keeping with the above Christian Post theme, another article confirms that not ALL Evangelical “christians” believe that getting another anti-abortion vote in the Senate is worth the cost. This opinion piece by Craig M Watts in The Christian Post starts out:

“Once again, abortion is being used to justify supporting a political candidate that deserves nothing but condemnation by Christians.”

Open Thread – enjoy! (or whatever more appropriate term you want to use.)

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BREAKING GNUS: OBAMA REACTS TO HOBBY LOBBY DECISION

Tweeter calls in another Zoo Exclusive

Tweeter calls in another Zoo Exclusive

THIS JUST IN: On the 4th of July, President Obama issued a Press Release and an Executive Order that was totally ignored by the mainstream media. We here at The Zoo are proud to have, once again, scooped everybody with this important, groundbreaking, historical moment.

President Obama, reacting to the Supreme Court’s Decision in the Hobby Lobby case said, “The Supreme Court has spoken. Business cannot be made to go against their deeply held religious beliefs, especially when it comes to contraception and abortion. Unfortunately, in this day and age, businesses become unknowing and unwitting supporters of contraception and abortion when they purchased goods manufactured in contries that allow one or the other, or both. To ensure that all American Companies abide by their deeply held religious beliefs, I am therefore issuing an Executive Order directing all U.S. Customs agents to reject shipments of goods from all countries that allow their citizens to take contraceptives or have abortions.”

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Breaking Gnus: Supreme Court Allows For-Profit Corporations the Right to Impose Their Religious Beliefs on Workers.

Dateline 9/26/14: The Zoo’s “Way-Foreward Machine” brings us the news from 6 months hence. It all began with a simple question:

“Your reasoning would permit” Congress to force corporations to pay for abortions, Kennedy told Verrilli.

And with that, the door for Corporations to dictate health care was swung wide open. Ironically, the Affordable Health Care Act, or ObamaCare as it was more popularly known, did not force Corporations to pay for abortions – just offer health insurance that would cover such procedures.

But, with the Supreme Court paving the way, every employer soon jumped on the bandwagon. Within months, the health insurance landscape was in ruins as corporation after corporation, small business after small business, began demanding that they dictate their employees health insurance based on the religious beliefs of the board of directors or individual business owner, as the case may be.

Faced with literally millions of demands for differning coverages based on the ideosyncracies of the religions of millions of business owners, the Insurance Industry simply gave up. No company could write policies that covered enough people to be economically viable. Company after company simply stopped writing health insurance.

Now, 6 months later, the only health insurance in the United States is Medicare. Yes, even the companies that underwrote Congress’ health insurance stopped.

So, on the eve of the 2014 mid-term elections, Congress must face the polital piper. Religious Freedom protected individual, for-profit corporations from providing health care. But the Government must act in a manner that neither promotes one religion over another, nor any religion over no religion. Will Congress step up to the task of seeing that every American has a right to health care? Or will we have to elect new representatives that will?

OPEN THREAD
OPEN DISCUSSION

(P.S. The “Way Foreward Machine” is only capable of showing one of may possible futures. The actual future may be different than the one depicted here. Indeed, by publishing the Way Foreward Machine’s prediction, the future may have already been altered.

Pro-Life, at any cost.

The American Life League, Inc.’s website reveals their take on abortion statistics:

Total number of abortions in the U.S. 1973-2011: 54.5 million+

234 abortions per 1,000 live births (according to the Centers for Disease Control)
Abortions per year: 1.2 million
Abortions per day: 3,288
Abortions per hour: 137
9 abortions every 4 minutes
1 abortion every 26 seconds

These statistics include only surgical and medical abortions. Because many contraceptive measures are abortifacients (drugs that induce or cause abortions), it is important not to overlook the number of children killed by chemical abortions. Since 1965, an average of 11 million women have used abortifacient methods of birth control in the United States at any given time. Using formulas based on the way the birth control pill works, pharmacy experts project that about 14 million chemical abortions occur in the United States each year, providing a projected total of well in excess of 610 million chemical abortions between 1965 and 2009.

So, this is what the “Pro-Life” crowd wants to prevent, in blocking access to surgical and “chemical” abortions – the addition of over 600 million to the population of the United States in one generation.

The current population of the United States is about 300 million. According to the American Life League, had women been prevented from having abortions, the population would have been amore than 900 million.

Reality Check Time.

More live births do not equal a more equitable distribution of wealth. For 98% of us, three people would have to survive on the resourses/income that one person has now. Put differently, triple the size of your household, without any raise in income. Now provide for your family.

And while you’re pondering that, imagine triple the demand for food, shelter, energy, etc. Nothing like tripling demand to drive up prices. But, with more workers in the workforce, wages are driven lower.

Ending birth control and abortions will cause a population explosion that will create a humanitarian crisis of biblical proportions. The ensuing population growth will be unsustainable, the suffering from abject poverty and starvation unfathomable.

But the “Pro-Life” crowd is incapable of comprehending the logical consequences of their own actions.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 13, 2013 – Why We Should Talk About Kermit Gosnell

Who is Kermit Gosnell? Short answer: He’s a monster. Kermit B. Gosnell, M.D., ran the Women’s Medical Society in East Philadelphia for nearly four decades. He is on trial for, among other charges, murdering eight people, seven of whom were infants killed shortly after being born and one woman who died after having an abortion. Witnesses in the trial have claimed that he really killed many more (possibly as many as 100) infants by severing their spinal columns after their births. According to the grand jury report (WARNING: Contains graphic pictures), Gosnell “overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths.”

…Gosnell spent almost four decades running [the Women’s Medical Society], giving back – so it appeared – to the community in which he continued to live and work. But the truth was something very different, and evident to anyone who stepped inside. The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely. Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment – such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood pressure cuff – was generally broken; even when it worked, it wasn’t used. The emergency exit was padlocked shut. And scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.

The anti-choice people want this story to get more attention than it already has in the mainstream media (as of about a week ago there’s been virtually none), but their versions of what happened isn’t exactly accurate. One such activist in particular, Jill Stanek (WARNING: Contains graphic pictures from the grand jury report), asks “Why would people who believe in legalized abortion want to shed negative light on bad things that happen during legalized abortions?” This is, of course, a very disingenuous question to ask because these were not “legalized abortions,” they were murder. And what went on in Gosnell’s “clinic” had nothing to do with health and everything to do with profits. If anything, it’s less an indictment against legal Abortion and more an indictment against Capitalism.

Republican-controlled legislatures have been working very hard to make it as hard as possible for a woman to exercise her right to have an abortion because they think this will eliminate abortions in their states. But they’re wrong. They will not succeed in stopping all abortions from happening in their states, only safe abortions. Those of us who are pro-choice must make people understand that if these states go through with these laws (most of which ought to get struck down as direct violations of Roe v. Wade), it will lead to more clinics like Gosnell’s. Women who can afford it will travel to another state where they can get an abortion. Poor women will have to risk either mutilating themselves or dying in a clinic like the Women’s Medical Society. And that can hardly be called a “pro-life stance.”

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about Kermit Gosnell, Abortion, Capitalism, or anything else you choose.

The Watering Hole- Saturday, April 6, 2013: Republican Lies: Smaller Government

If there’s one phrase that makes me cringe when I hear it from Republicans it’s “smaller government.” It’s been so overused and so misused that I really have no idea what they mean by it. To what does “the size of government” refer? Is it how much money the government spends? Under the George W. Bush Administration, our government spent more than it ever had before, yet I never heard Republicans complaining about deficits or the debt. Is it how many federal agencies there are? Under the Bush Administration, that also grew with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. I’ve never been a fan of the term “homeland security.” Maybe because it’s too close to “Motherland” or “Fatherland,” terms we don’t feel comfortable using in this country. Is it how many employees the federal government has on its payroll? Well, with the federalization of all airport security screeners and the expansion of our military and mercenary forces, that also increased under the Bush Administration. So where were the Republicans to complain about the “size of government” growing under the last Republican president? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if George W. Bush really were the last Republican president? But I digress.

People argue over who is responsible for the federal spending, and because Washington budget politics are a scam that’s almost impossible for the average American to decipher and detect, there’s little point in trying to assign blame. You hear Members of Congress talking about “cuts” in federal spending. But did you know that when they refer to a “cut,” what they’re really referring to is a decrease in the amount of money by which they previously planned to increase spending? In other words, Program A has a budget of $100 billion. The budget passed the previous year calls for increasing this year’s spending on Program A to $104 billion. But after fighting about how much the government is spending, they agree to rein in this spending and change that to only $103 billion. They’re still increasing spending by $3 billion, or 3% in this case, but as far as Washington lawmakers are concerned, this counts as “cutting” spending by $1 billion. They’re still going to spend more than they did before, but since they’re not going to spend as much as they intended to spend, they pat themselves on the back and claim they reduced federal spending. That’s something both parties do when it suits their argument. The thing is they know this is disingenuous, so both parties lie about “cuts” in federal spending. But I digress.

Where Republicans prove they don’t mind expanding government is by their intrusion into the personal lives of females. Despite the continued, if somewhat eroded, affirmation of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court, Republican legislatures across the nation continue to pass laws intended to eliminate the possibility of any abortion taking place within their borders. And even though Mississippi thinks it will have banned all abortions within its borders, the only thing they’ll have banned is safe abortion. Abortions have been going on since long before the safe methods used today were developed, and if abortion is outlawed again, it will continue to happen. It just won’t be safe. But perhaps even more insidious than the outright banning of abortion is the deliberate misrepresentation of facts mandated by law to scare women into not pursuing an abortion. In Kansas, doctors must now tell women that the risk of breast cancer is increased by having an abortion. It simply is not true. It’s bad enough Republicans lie about so many things (have I mentioned I once wrote a song parody about just that?), but now they want other people to lie to advance their warped and baseless belief system. Not to mention unconstitutional. No matter how much they hate it, it is settled law that a woman has the right to have an abortion in the first trimester of her pregnancy without any interference from the the government. Yet they continue to defy it, knowing that they’ll lose in the end. It’s almost pathological. Not just the lying, but the pointless pursuit of an unachievable goal. But I digress.

Kansas Republicans aren’t the only ones who think the government needs to get more involved with our personal lives. In North Carolina, Republicans want couples seeking divorce to wait twice as long, two years, before they can get their divorce finalized. And they have to attend classes and counseling sessions intended to save the marriage, no matter how futile the effort. This followed their attempt to override the First Amendment and introduce a bill “intended to allow county officials to open their meetings with a prayer to Jesus.” The bill was so broadly written that it even declared that states had the right to establish an official religion. Article VI of the Constitution clearly states

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

so you’d think people taking an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States would read it once in a while. But I digress.

No matter what Republicans say tot he contrary, they do not believe in “smaller government” of any kind, at any level. They want to deny women their reproductive freedom rights, and they want you to become a Christian, no matter what your religious beliefs, or beliefs about Religion, are. They want to deny people the right to marry the one person they love. And it somehow all ends up being a discussion on bestiality. But I digress.

This is our daily open thread. I apologize for its lateness, but I digress. Feel free to discuss anything you want. I’m not a Republican.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, February 23, 2013: Is Extremism in Denial of Liberty a Virtue?

I’m worried about my country. I’m worried because our open and free society has been manipulated by extremists bent on exploiting the worst in us in order to achieve their own very undemocratic, very anti-freedom, and very mentally unstable goals. The First Amendment protection of Free Speech is great and this wouldn’t be America without it, but just because you’re allowed to say something, it doesn’t mean that everyone has to treat what you say as valid, nor does it mean you have any right to demand that people do. And there has been a perversion of our Free Speech rights such that to question anyone’s right to say insane, even traitorous things, brings wrath that is, for reasons that escape me, treated as valid complaints. We have a Right Wing movement in this country so extreme that to call them “Conservative” is to misunderstood what true Conservatism is about. Barry Goldwater, in his acceptance speech as the 1964 Republican presidential nominee, said that “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” A nice, patriotic sentiment, as patriotic pablum goes, but if we accept it as valid, must we also accept that extremism in the denial of liberty is no virtue? Yet this is exactly where today’s so-called “Conservative” movement has gone.

If you believe in reproductive freedom rights, then this is an area where you and the RW extremists shouldn’t even be in the same library, let alone on the same page of the same book. In 2011, “legislators in 24 states, many elected in the 2010 Republican tide, passed a record 92 laws restricting abortions“, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Some Republican extremists even want to ban contraception, an issue that was decided by the Supreme Court long before Roe v. Wade. If you believe that what you and your lover do as consenting adults in the privacy of your own bedroom/hotel room is your business and none of the government’s, how could you ever support a movement that would vigorously fight to regulate that activity? Is this extremism in the defense of liberty or in the denial of it? Should we really be treating what the proponents of these anti-abortion, anti-contraception laws say as valid?

Another issue sure to invoke Right Wing extremism is that of gun control. Now, I have some serious disagreements with Gun Rights advocates that the purpose of the Second Amendment was to serve as a check against a potentially tyrannical government. I agree that allowing citizens access to their own guns for purposes of community defense and security would have the side effect of helping to keep such a government in check, but I wholeheartedly disagree that this was its primary purpose. But try telling that to the RW extremists who believe that not only was this its primary purpose, but that it was its only purpose. You never hear some of these people mention militias or the “security of a free state,” but they can sure quote the second half of the Second Amendment. And lately, their rhetoric has become so extreme that they are claiming that President Obama is raising a private black army to massacre white Americans. Well, it’s not exactly what they’re saying, but it is one of the many false premises they’re using to denounce what the evil Obama “might” be doing. You know, “If he really is raising a black army to massacre white Americans, that would be a bad thing.”-kind of thing. Or, “If he really does go door-to-door to try to take away people’s guns [something which, in fact, he has NEVER proposed], then he can expect to meet a lot of resistance.” Except none of those things are happening. Not even close. They are grossly twisting and distorting a line out of a 2008 campaign speech. It’s true that Obama said, “We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” But as with many of the more extravagant claims quotes from the RW, this quote is taken out of context. According to FactCheck.org, Obama “was talking specifically about expanding AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps and the USA Freedom Corps, which is the volunteer initiative launched by the Bush administration after the attacks of 9/11, and about increasing the number of trained Foreign Service officers who populate U.S. embassies overseas.” (Go to the link to see the full quote in context.) Now if people want to say these things, that’s all well and good. They’re as wrong as one can possibly be, but they do have a Constitutional right to say these nonsensical things. But what they don’t have is a right to expect us to treat them seriously and respectfully and to act upon those unfounded fears as if they have validity. They don’t.

As the late, great Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, from my own state of New York, once famously told a rival, “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” The problem we face today is that facts don’t matter in our political discourse. (Even a lack of facts, such as that there is no evidence something happened, doesn’t even stop our elected officials from making outrageous claims that they did happen.) The RW does feel entitled to their own facts because they believe having an opinion is equivalent to having a valid opinion. They feel that not only do you have to respect the fact that they have an opinion (I do), but that you must respect that opinion (I don’t.) Is it any wonder, really, why our country is so divided politically?

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss whatever you wish.