Saturday, March 28, 2015

Conservatives LOVE LOVE LOVE our Constitution, except when they don't - especially the 1 A


If you follow right wing propaganda sources, like the World Nut(Net) Daily or the right wing Townhall, or the speeches by many conservatives, especially those who seek to be conservative presidential candidates, or the right wing nut megachurch preachers, there is a war on Christianity in this country.

Perennial candidates for president on the right, like Santorum, and Huckabee, want to put their extreme and highly controversial version Christian religion into public schools, on the taxpayer dime.

That is not true. The true threat to Liberty and religious freedom is not against Christianity, but from it,, against anyone and everyone who dares to refuse to conform to the religious right's bigotry and intolerance.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
from Conrell University Law School's Legal Information Institute:
The First Amendment's Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion.

It is consistently conservatives, who give loud but meaningless and empty lip service to loving and supporting our Constitution (hypocrites that they are) who persist in attempting to foist Christianity on the nation, attempting to turn us into a theocracy.

So for example, not only do we have a push for theocracy, we have a push to dumb down education -- PUBLIC education -- by not only a push to repeal testing and standards, but by removing qualified teachers from classrooms and then replacing them with unqualified cheaper babysitters, who could be expected to push garbage, like creationism.

from PoiticusUSA:
Republican anti-education efforts don’t get much worse than the Tea Party’s own Michigan State Rep. Gary Glenn’s (R-Larkin Township) House Bill 4394.
As Michigan-based Electablog explains,
If Glenn’s bill – House Bill 4394 – becomes law, schools can hire anyone they want. The criteria currently used would be tossed out the window. The bill literally strikes out all of the criteria. In addition, it removes the words grades “9 through 12″ meaning that schools could hire anyone they wish, with or without a teaching certificate, for any grade level. No training as an educator required.
And continuing from the same piece in Politicus:
CourserOnEducation

Here is the thing, students who get a quality education -- which should include civics classes, which should include the 1A establishment (of no public religion) DOES create BOTH good citizens AND EMPLOYABLE CITIZENS, who can then support themselves, support their families, pay taxes, and be qualified if we need them to do so to serve in our armed forces. Lack of adequate education is actually a problem for armed forces recruiting -- and serving in the military, which is very much NOT a corporation, is a real and legitimate job choice/ career choice.

Further the notion that one can only be a good citizen if one is indoctrinated in and a current believer in religion -- and let's be candid here, by religion these nutjobs ONLY mean Christianity, they make a fundamentl error. People recognize and understand moral and ethical behavior WITHOUT RELIGION. Further, there are plenty of people who are believers in religion who do bad things, both as private individuals, and in their roles as citizens in the public sphere. So having religion is no guarantee of being a good citizen and not having religious beliefs does not present a risk that someone will be a bad citizen.

That is a right wing fantasy, part of their 'Us vs Them' orientation where they are dishonest about the faults of the 'us' and dishonest and unfair, and just plain bigoted about the 'them' of that equation. So apparently Todd Courser, like his buddy in the MI legislature, Gary Glenn (what is with the redundant consonants?) BOTh fail to grasp the appropriate role of government (which includes providing functional, not religious public education), but which also utterly fails to understand and loyally support the Constitution, notably the 1st Amendment.

This is appallingly unique to conservatives, who present an actual danger by these beliefs to our representative form of secular democratic government and who threaten our very real liberties.

More than that we have the Arizona legislator who would like (but at least does not expect) to coerce everyone in the USA to go to church (again, CHRISTIAN church, none of the Jewish, Muslim, or pagan religions like Hinduism or Buddhism) and again the presumption is this is essential for the success of the nation, and for proper soul-saved citizens. Never mind what the practical results on institutions of religion would be if citizens were actually coerced by the law to attend against their will.

From KREM2:

Arizona senator wants to make church mandatory

Allen, as You know, is a Republican from Snowflake, a Tea Party favorite who wants to pretend Arizona is an independent country rather than a state, and who believes government should stay completely out of people lives -- unless she can use her position to help out a son-in-law who got into some hot water over behavior with some of the inmates he was guarding at a women's prison.
But that's another story.
Anyway, Big Guy, they were debating a gun bill at a legislative committee meeting at the State Capitol this week so, naturally, Allen brought up religion.
(In Arizona, complete lack of logic is natural. But, you know that, too)
This was one of those crazy bills in which lawmakers want people to be able to bring concealed weapons into public buildings. Allen got upset because a few people expressed common sense opposition to the idea. Lawmakers here cannot abide common sense.
Allen said, "Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth," adding "that would never be allowed."
The problem is that even when these right wing FASCISTS know that what they want is not allowed, as we see in Michigan and other states, they try it anyway. Because they do NOT love the Constitution and they do NOT love religious freedom.  They love coercion, they love religious conformity, so long as it is strictly to whatever shots they see fit to call in their ignorance, bigotry, and intolerance.

Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi (again with the redundant consonants) want to make the Bible their state book.

Mississippi conservatives want to make Christianity their state religion.  So do conservatives in North Carolina.  Both states have had actual legislation to do so, other red states have had discussions about doing so, or at least desiring to do so.

A poll by the HuffPo and Yougov back in April 2013 found that 1 in 3 Americans want to make Christianity the official NATIONAL religion.  Let us be clear, overwhelmingly, regardless of declared party affiliation, this is hugely more a problem from conservatives, attacking actual religious freedom.

From the Huff Po:
Although a large percentage of Americans said they would favor establishing a state religion, only 11 percent said they thought the U.S. Constitution allowed states to do so. Fifty-eight percent said they didn't think it was constitutional, and 31 percent said they were not sure.
...Republicans were more likely than Democrats or independents to say that they would favor establishing Christianity as an official state religion, with 55 percent favoring it in their own state and 46 percent favoring a national constitutional amendment.
We are not a theocracy.  Theocracies created second class citizens, and it has wisely been observed that the pernicious state religious promotion is the new Jim Crow.

Disclaimer, I've written in the past for both IVN and PoliticusUSA.

Friday, March 27, 2015

It's Friday Fun-Day!

And nothing is more fun than Mark Fiore animations. Fiore is easily one of the most brilliant creative minds of our generation with his satirical humor and wit. Cartoons are not just for kids, thanks you Mark Fiore! Since losing the Colert Report for laugh out loud funny bits that have that sting of truth(iness), all the more reason to appreciate Fiore for providing that gratification.





and before you gripe about our members of Congress leaving today for a two week vacation:





and remaining topical, here's Racist E-Z Cash -- if you look at the map in the background of the cartoon, our own Minneapolis is on it, and that is not an accident.






If you enjoyed these, check out Mark Fiore's channel on Youtube!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Laff(er)ing at Ted Cruz and his ridiculous flat tax proposal / end-the-IRS platform


So, now Ted Cruz joins past presidential candidate wanna-bees on the right in proposing a flat tax.  Flat taxes have been proposed by most recently Herman Cain and the Nut Gingrich, but have also been floated in the past as far back as Steve Forbes when he wanted to be the right wing nut candidate.

There is a problem with the Fat Tax.  It doesn't work, in that it does not offer the promised benefits in tax revenue or growth.  What it DOES do -- and why we should expect it from the right wing, hand maidens to the wealthy, is to benefit the rich and to expand wealth and income inequality.  It also tends not to have provided adequate revenue -- much the way the Bush tax cuts failed to produce adequate (much less increased) revenue and economic growth.  The flat tax also does not promote adequate revenue or optimal job growth, much the way we have seen the tax cuts in regressive states like Kansas and now Wisconsin have not produce either economic growth or job creation and increases in business growth.

There has been experimentation with the flat tax, mostly in formerly eastern bloc European countries and Russia.  Many of those countries, after implementing a flat tax, DID see economic growth, but for other reasons than the flat tax, and those countries have been hit hard by the 2008 global economic recession.  And another factor not generally noted - most of the countries that have implemented the flat tax have also been widely regarded as highly corrupt, with Russia being regarded as the MOST corrupt - one of the most corrupt in the world, which should be considered in any reference to increased tax compliance.

This is significant because Cruz also wants to abolish the IRS, making compliance apparently entirely on the honor system.

Yeah, like THAT is going to work.

So lets start with the famous IMF study of flat tax implementation and success / failure from 2006 -- before the big global economic collapse.  At that point the range of time during which there was evidence on the implementation of the flat tax ranged from ten years to two years in the countries examined.

From the 2006 IMF study of the flat tax
One of the most striking tax developments in recent years, and one that continues to attract considerable attention, is the adoption by several countries of a form of “flat tax.” Discussion of these quite radical reforms has been marked, however, more by assertion and rhetoric than by analysis and evidence. This paper reviews experience with the flat tax, seeking to redress the balance. It stresses that the flat taxes that have been adopted differ fundamentally, and that empirical evidence on their effects is very limited. This precludes simple generalization, but several lessons emerge: there is no sign of Laffer-type behavioral responses generating revenue increases from the tax cut elements of these reforms; their impact on compliance is theoretically ambiguous, but there is evidence for Russia that compliance did improve; the  distributional effects of the flat taxes are not unambiguously regressive, and in some cases they may have increased progressivity, including through the impact on compliance;  adoption of the flat tax has not resolved common challenges in taxing capital income; and it may have strengthened, not weakened, the automatic stabilizers. Looking forward, the question is not so much whether more countries will adopt a flat tax as whether those that have will move away from it.

So for those of you who either have forgotten the lessons of your economics classes or never took them, let's first review the significance of that bold typed part of the above study excerpt.  What is the Laffer curve and Laffer-type behavior? This is key to the selling of a flat tax by Cruz and other right wingers; it is the fundamental premise and promise of the flat tax, in  exactly the same way that it has been the promise for tax cuts generating economic growth and increased revenue -- in other words, a CON, a SCAM, a FRAUD, a HOAX, a LIE.

Conservatives are HYPOCRITES

I have to give Donald Trump credit for consistency at least, as an idiot birther. Wrong. But consistent.

Much as I hate to give him credit for anything, at least a few folks on the right are at least consistent in their birther insanity.  It should be fun to watch those same birthers struggle with the internal conflict in what they believe.......but they seem simply to ignore it.  THAT is the hypocrisy in the conduct and the ideology of the right, the blithe inconsistency, the overt and the incipient bigotry of it.  The application of a double standard of conduct is intolerable.  This is not a unique pattern to the legitimacy of President Obama.  It is systemic on the right.

Or perhaps 'the Donald' is just as much a bigot towards the Latinos as well as 'the blacks', as he calls them.

I couldn't have put it better than this image via Facebook via The Blue Street Journal. I can only wait for Hillary (or someone else from the left) to point this out should the opportunity arise (and it will) in 2016.

When, oh when, do we hear again from bat shit crazy Orly Taitz whinging away that Cruz cannot be President?  crickets....


Tuesday, March 24, 2015