Hobby Lobby: Religion Bogs Us Down

A few weeks ago, there was that controversial bill in Arizona that shouldn’t have been controversial concerning religious freedom in discriminating against gays. I wrote about it here.

I wasn’t really concerned about the Arizona bill. It was doomed. But this (check the link out if you don’t know about the case) is serious. This will break the country if the wrong decision is made. Literally.

One thing a lot of people ignore in this case is that this isn’t some decision that will revolutionize religion across the world. All it will do, at the most basic level, is verify whether or not America is deserving of the first-world position that it pioneered after World War 2.

Let me repeat that: America pioneered the first world. But now we must see if we deserve that position.

Here are two graphs. One which displays religiousity, light green representing more religiousity, and one which displays access to universal health care. You see where I’m going with this.

Religious Index

Universal Health Care

America has fallen behind in what other first world countries provide. And it’s due to religion (more specifically, Ronald Reagan and his “religious right is gud!!1!”). If you don’t believe me, ask yourself against just why there’s a controversial Supreme Court case on whether religion overrides women’s rights.

The Obama administration has already provided exemptions for the contraceptives part of Obamacare to nonprofit religious groups. That’s enough of a problem. But when your boss’ religion matters more than your rights, what does that mean for the future of America?

By declaring that people have the right to exercise their religion on other people, what kind of message does that send to Europe and East Asia (and Canada and Australia) about us?

America has taken most of the steps necessary to doom itself. It has forsaken all but the 1%. It has repudiated the concept of social welfare. It has flouted the notion that students may be more important to our future than tax cuts for billionaires. It has left people to wallow in their stupidity (Don’t you absolutely love No Child Left Behind?).

But we yet hang on with the hope of reform. That maybe people will stop being such idiots. That maybe America too can provide universal health care and help students out. That’s a Marxist pipe dream in Utah, but taken for granted in Europe.

There is only one thing that can prevent the failure of America to keep up with Europe at this moment, the crash of the last standing hyperpower from World War 2. And that is the Supreme Court. There is only one road that will return us to the highway within the next generation. And that is to reject the supremacy of religion. It is to reject the concept that an archaic book is more important than the rights of those standing next to you. It is to reject the transcendence of religious beliefs, the idea that attaching a name to stupidity makes it important. We need change to this policy that religion is relevant— but to say that religion is foolish is political and social suicide in this country.

I worry about this case. Anything but an incisive and sharp ruling against Hobby Lobby may only prolong our suffering in the religious hell we doom ourselves to, but I do not foresee such luck. Corporations are entitled to 1st Amendment rights, by Citizens United, and the supposed swing vote in this decision, fairly radical Justice Kennedy, compares ruling for the government to forcing companies to pay for abortion.

ggwp surr@20

For June, I wait…

 

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The Constitution is 400 years old?

This week in domestic uproar:

Representative Sheila Jackson (D-TX) supposedly claimed that the Constitution was 400 years old.

Last time I checked, getting basic history facts wrong is the Tea Party’s job. So I was a bit surprised to see that a Democrat would miss something that simple. Let’s check it out:

Depending on your political affiliation, you may be quick to jump to some assumptions.

But as someone who has suffered through AP US History, I’m going to take a guess and say that maybe crazy right-wingers are misrepresenting what she said.

“…and how well it is that we have lasted some 400 years, operating under a Constitution that clearly defines what is constitutional and what is not.”

400 years ago was approximately when Virginia was permanently settled, in 1607. British colonization, the foundation for America, began then. The Constitution was ratified in 1788.

I can see this as a case of ambiguity. “We” can define the geographical lineage of the USA, which is about 400 years. However, it can also describe the country under the Constitution.

I’m not an expert in grammar, but I’ll say that analyzing the sentence would actually give you what Fox News charges, because “operating” is a clause used to modify “have lasted”. But I honestly don’t think that’s what Jackson was implying.

This is really a case of picking at words. It’s like “You Didn’t Build That”. Obama was completely correct in saying that in the context, while grammatically he may have implied something incorrect.

On the other hand, Bachmann is pretty clear about how CO2 isn’t harmful.

I would suggest that Democrats start learning how to correctly enunciate their ideas, so that conservatives can stop attacking ideas that are correct but said incorrectly.

Give them Crimea

STOP FIGHTING OVER CRIMEA.

Governments and people everywhere seem to have the idea that the revolution against Yanukovych was some kind of American Revolution, where the entire country fought against unjust oppression.

It wasn’t.

See this really nice graph by the Washington Post:

Image

There is a divide in Ukraine. A sharp one. Obama doesn’t realize this. The EU doesn’t realize this. Kiev’s government doesn’t realize this. (Or they ignore it.)

But Putin does.

Note that Putin has no ambitions to take West Ukraine. Putin’s not an idiot. He is not going to risk another World War. He just wants East Ukraine. And East Ukraine, for the most part, wants Russia.

Don’t take the graph’s word for it. Today, the Crimean parliament voted SEVENTY EIGHT TO ZERO to schedule a referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

The West, and West Ukraine, are criticizing Russia for making unjustified incursions into Crimea. But that’s stupid. Crimea wants Russia to come in and take over.

ukraine-crimea-map

Stop trying to stop Crimea. They will secede. You will not prevent them from seceding. Russia will absolutely pulverize us on a defensive front if civil war breaks out. The rest (or much) of East Ukraine will likely follow. (That’s a prediction. Note that a large majority of pro-Russia doesn’t exist in all parts of East Ukraine.)

And in that case, West Ukraine will happily have their own government with a more stable electorate, (some of) East Ukraine will happily be joined with Russia, and the rest of the world will happily not have to intervene.

Is it really that damn hard to decide?

Did we really vote for the Patriot Act?

“We all deserve credit for this new surveillance state that we live in because we the people voted for the Patriot Act.”
-Colbert closing the RSA conference on Friday

It’s true. But only somewhat.

We never voted for the Patriot Act. It could be argued that politicians didn’t even vote for the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act was shoved through Congress under the cover of “security” while Bush enjoyed 90% approval ratings.

When someone has a 90% approval rating, it means that there’s war. That’s it. There is no other cause that could possibly unite a nation of rational people and Confederate flag-waving tea partiers.

But it’s fairly obvious that a terrorist act isn’t a declaration of war. Rather, people overreacted to it, perceiving it as a conspiracy by Middle Eastern countries to destroy us. You know why?

The last major event in which the US was attacked in the US was in the War of 1812. We came out of both World Wars without a scratch, feeling invincible, because nobody had the time to cross the Pacific just to attack us. (Pearl Harbor was not a terrorist attack. The Japanese attacked a military base in retaliation to the US’ freezing their assets.) Two centuries since we last experienced a major act of terrorism would definitely fuel some overreaction.

Now that it’s been well over a decade, most people are regaining their sanity and realizing that there was no World War III with Middle Eastern terrorist groups. Maybe the NSA doesn’t need to spy on us. But it doesn’t matter, because we can’t take it back anymore. Once you make that drunk text, you can’t un-text it.

Remember how SOPA and PIPA were killed? They died because they were unjustified and completely retarded. The government was unsuccessful in brainwashing people into thinking that piracy was that deleterious of a problem, considering 70% of 18-29 year old people do it.

But the government was able to convince us to assent to mass surveillance because of the overreaction fueled by 9/11. And what do they have to show for it?

Absolutely nothing. There was not a single foiled terrorist plot in the US– if there were, we’d hear about the trial and conviction through loudspeakers from Obama’s desk– making the entire thing utterly useless.

Americans are realizing that, and for once, tea partiers are on the right side of the debate (no pun intended).Well over half of Americans want an end to the preposterous destruction of civil liberties taking place. But no mainstream politician will represent that view– after all, if 9/11 happens again, they will be left in the dust, and Obama will become a god.

We may have voted for the Patriot Act while drunk on nationalism, but we want to take that back now. And the right to nullify our past mistakes is– *cough21stcough*– critical to the success of America.