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: Monday, December 17, 2012 – Can We PLEASE Talk About Guns In Our Society Now?

On the morning of December 14, 2012, it was Newtown, Connecticut.
Before that it was Clackamas Town Center, Oregon.
Before that it was Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Before that it was Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Before that it was Aurora, Colorado.
Before that it was Seattle, Washington.
Before that it was Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Before that it was Oakland, California.
Before that it was Seal Beach, California.
Before that it was Carson City, Nevada.
Before that it was Tucson, Arizona.
Before that it was Manchester, Connecticut.
Before that it was Fort Hood, Texas.
Before that it was Binghamton, New York.
Before that it was Carthage, North Carolina.
Before that it was Northern Illinois University, Illinois.
Before that it was Kirkwood, Missouri.
Before that it was Omaha, Nebraska.
Before that it was Virginia Tech, Virginia.
Before that it was Salt Lake City, Utah.
Before that it was Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Before that it was Seattle, Washington.
Before that it was Red Lake, Minnesota.
Before that it was Brookfield, Wisconsin.
Before that it was Meridian, Minnesota.
Before that it was Fort Worth, Texas.
Before that it was Atlanta, Georgia.
And before that, on the morning of April 20, 1999, it was Littleton, Colorado.

These are all places where someone, or several someones, took a gun, or several guns, and began shooting people at some location, or several locations. Does this list strike you as being rather long? These are just ones since Columbine. There were others in between and before that. Many people died in those mass shootings. Too many. And too many were children. Far, far too many. And yet, we can’t seem to have that talk about all these mass shootings and the prevalence of guns in our society.

How many people have to die in mass shootings before we are allowed to talk Continue reading

FBI Denied 16 Year Old American Due Process Under Patriot Act

Wral.com is a local TV station in North Carolina, they have the details:

Sixteen-year-old Ashton Lundeby’s bedroom in his mother’s Granville County home is nothing, if not patriotic. Images of American flags are everywhere – on the bed, on the floor, on the wall.

But according to the United States government, the tenth-grade home-schooler is being held on a criminal complaint that he made a bomb threat from his home on the night of Feb. 15.

The family was at a church function that night, his mother, Annette Lundeby, said.

“Undoubtedly, they were given false information, or they would not have had 12 agents in my house with a widow and two children and three cats,” Lundeby said.

Around 10 p.m. on March 5, Lundeby said, armed FBI agents along with three local law enforcement officers stormed her home looking for her son. They handcuffed him and presented her with a search warrant.

WorldNetDaily has the update:

Ashton was then taken to a juvenile facility in South Bend, Ind., charged with making a bomb threat in Indiana from his home computer.

Allowed little access to see her son over the last two months, facing a court date that keeps being pushed back and given no information by FBI agents sitting behind a gag order on the case, Lundeby now says the USA Patriot Act has unjustly imprisoned an innocent boy and stripped her son of due process.

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Child Labor: Employers Face Few Consequences

We need to protect these children.  Instead, we are seeing Child Labor go largely unchecked, they are being exploited at every turn with little or no real consequences to the employers.  The Charlotte Observer reports in this two part series about a local victim, Nery Castañeda a Guatemala native, who was trying to tackle a job that was never intended for a kid his age.

Charlotte Observer

One afternoon last fall, the 17-year-old ran a machine to grind damaged pallets into mulch. When a co-worker at the Greensboro plant returned from another task, he didn’t see Nery – until he looked inside the shredder. “A person shouldn’t die like this,” said older brother Luis. “…He came with a dream and found death.”

Decades after the enactment of regulations designed to prevent such tragedies, thousands of youths still get hurt on American jobs deemed unsafe for young workers. On a typical day, more than 400 juvenile workers are injured on the job. Once every 10 days, on average, a worker under the age of 18 is killed, federal statistics show.

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McCain Voter Calls Obama “Socialist” In Diner

In Fayetteville, NC, today, at Cape Fear BBQ and Chicken, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was greeted by a 54-year-old woman shouting “Socialist! Socialist! Socialist! Get out of here!”

The woman, Diane Fanning, who works at a Sam’s Club, was one of the many in the older and largely white crowd eating lunch after church services. Sitting next to Fanning, Lenox Bramble, 76, gave her an angry look at her. “Be civil, be courteous,” he said. He later told a reporter he’s voting for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and doesn’t think Obama has enough experience.

Another diner, Cecilia Hayslip, 61, yelled back at Fanning, “At least he’s not a war-monger!”

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The Murder of Military Women Continues

Servicewomen are the most vulnerable in the Military, from the Army to the Air Force they have refused to take these violent acts against women seriously. U.S. servicewomen today are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. At some Veterans Affairs hospitals, over 40 percent of female patients report having been sexually assaulted during their service, and almost one-third are survivors of rape.  Now murder is on the rise on an Air Force Base in North Carolina.

My daughter’s dream became a nightmare,” sadly said Gloria Barrios, seven months after her daughter, US Air Force Senior Airman Blanca Luna, was murdered on Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. On March 7, 2008, Senior Airman Luna, 27, was found dead in her room at the Sheppard Air Force Base Inn, an on-base lodging facility. She had been stabbed in the back of the neck with a short knife.

Luna had four years prior military service and was killed three days prior to her graduation from Air Conditioning, Ventilation, and Heating course.

When she was notified of her daughter’s death, she was handed a letter from Major General K.C. McClain, Commander of the Air Force Personnel Center, which stated that her daughter “was found dead on 7 March 2008 at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, as the result of an apparent homicide.” When her body was returned to her family for burial, Barrios and other family members saw bruises on Blanca’s face and wounds on her fingers as if she were defending herself. One of the investigators later told Mrs. Barrios that Blanca had been killed in an “assassin-like” manner. Friends say that she told them some in her unit “had given her problems.”

Retired Army Colonel Ann Wright who ended her career in 2003 has become a spokeswoman on the issue of violence against women in the military and women who live near U.S. military bases. She claims the military has failed to adequately investigate the deaths of a number of servicewomen despite reason to suspect they were raped and murdered.

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GOP Ties To Bush Kill Chances

With 23 Republican Seats up for grab this November, polls are showing GOP candidates are plummeting. The likelihood of the Democrats getting a 60 seat majority looks very possible. Best news I’ve heard in eight years.

Rasmussen Reports show that Bruce Lunsford (D) is leading Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) 49-44 for McConnell’s Kentucky seat. Kay Hagan (D) has been leading Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) is the North Carolina race. These two races in particular are going to be close; but the Democrats seem to be gaining steadily every week since the economic meltdown.

Democrats have now polled ahead or within the margin of error in 11 Republican-held seats, as polls conducted in recent weeks show openings in second-tier targets including Mississippi, Texas, and in other states.

“I don’t know whether to put too much stock or too little into one given poll; each poll is a piece of data,” DSCC spokesman Miller said. “But those certainly aren’t the only polls that show these incumbents in trouble.”

Democrats have also polled ahead in at least some of the polling in Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Virginia, polling substantial leads in the latter three. They have also been within the margin of error in Minnesota and Oregon.

If these leads hold or continue to grow the Senate race this year could be the most important change we have seen in a long time. The magic number is 60, the closer the Democrats get to that, the more political strength they will have next year to make the changes this country so desperately needs.

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