GOP Moves Against Human Rights In DC

(Jim Young / Reuters)

“As quickly as marriage rights are sweeping the nation, Republicans are busy playing discrimination whack-a-mole. Once one civil rights victory is achieved, Republicans are there with at least two more ways to make LGBT people’s lives miserable.”

– Wendy Gittleson on Addicting Info

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY continuously invests itself in the goal of creating more barriers for the LBGT community and women in the United States. Most recently they are seeking to encroach on the rights of D.C. employees who seek to start a family and do not meet with the so-called “traditionalist” standards of the GOP.

1.republican-party

While the new Congress plays political schenanigans, in a standard move of expressing disdain for anything to do with Human Rights, the Obama White House is forging an Iranian nuke deal and been very proactive in combating the Islamic State with air strikes. The House GOP is likely only just getting started with this recent move in D.C.

On a lighter note Sen. Mitch McConnell is to be commended for crossing party lines and voting to approve U.S. District Attorney Loretta Lynch yesterday, along with nine of his fellow Senate Republicans.

Private Sector Says ‘No’ To Indiana Bigotry

Joe Skipper / AP )

Gov. Mike Pence (R) of Indiana has risked sending his state into a fiscal downfall with a recent decision to sign into law a pro-discrimination bill dressed up as Christianity. This bill was put forward by the corrupt, immoral people of Advance America who want to protect hatred for others over the protection of ideals like freedom and liberty.

In response to this extremely stupid and anti-gay bill the State of Indiana has already begun to suffer. Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, canceled all programs that required travel to the state. The Gen Con gaming conference and the NCAA also both expressed publicly that this may cause a change in future venues within the state.

If these radical bigots don’t start accepting that their religious beliefs do not amount to an excuse to commit acts of discrimination against others they are welcome to be free of the boycott.

Otherwise … #BoycottIndiana!

Fukushima Daiichi Update

Fukushima Workers

I squeezed some of this topic into a recent podcast on My Podcasts on YouTube. It’s important to know that the Fukushima reactor is still not fully scrapped and that while radiation levels are low they are also not decreasing by any significant measure in all recent online published studies.

Resources and Blogs:

IAEA Updates

The Guardian Reporting On Worker Death In Decommission Process; accidental death by all reports and not a direct failure of TEPCO to safeguard their employees health and well-being in this specific case.

Fukushima Update Blog (LA Times Reporters)

Fukushima Diary (Iori Mochizuki)

Radiation Warning

My YouTube Podcasting Has Erupted

This is the first of the podcasts I’ve been cutting over the past few days.

It’s a lot of fun to switch gears as a broadcaster into new mediums.

Though it’s become clear to me that the fun part of doing the recordings is getting addictive versus the boring part of doing the editing.

These are going to get a bit … wild … in coming updates.

If you’re catching me here then consider linking up with me over on the YT as well.

Randomly Dipping Into My YouTube Subs

Hey why not?


http://pirate-ninja-sayuri.deviantart.com/art/AlChestbreach-416210924

 

Follow me on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/EricLightborn

Chapel Hill Shooting: Atheists / Anti-theists Are Responsible?

Craig Hicks, charged with shooting death of 3 Muslims in N.C.

Some less than spectacular people out there on the Inter-webs are calling for vocal atheists and anti-theists to own up to the Chapel Hill Shooting being our version of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre. No, we won’t be doing that. At least not at this time. Should the available facts on record change, such as a confirmed manifesto being released, any reasonable person would adjust their views to include this. But what we have here is a horrible tragedy with no clear motives, nothing more. Charlie Hebdo was killing in the name of religion being held higher in importance than freedom of speech and human life; no comparison.

Standards of acceptance of evidence is probably the core difference between atheists and theists. For instance: I don’t see any evidence that is at all compelling for a historical Jesus of Nazareth nor for a God of Abraham. The commonly used “personal experience” routine is crap on multiple levels but mainly because people lie to further their own goals all the time and religious labels don’t instantly cure a person of unethical behaviors.

I’ve studied the Bible at length, researched non-canonical texts, applied the standards of historical veracity to both the Old and New Testaments and none of it amounts to the claims of “divinity” and “divine truth” made by Bible-believers. At the most, and this is being very generous, there was a Jewish rebel priest put to death by the Romans that had a chain of hearsay turn him into a demigod in the eyes of certain men who were all born around a hundred years after his execution.

Islam and the Quran are different in the sense that the central figure is much, much more so a verified historical figure but shares in the same issues of the Torah and the Bible where none of the claims to divinity and ultimate truth are any more compelling than when the Greeks, Egyptians or the Pagans wrote of their mastery of the ethos of life and contemplation. The endless contradictions anyone can find with enough time spent with almost any “holy book” placed to the side, the issue with any form of religious extremism boils down to dehumanizing those who will not conform to the point where an act of torture or murder upon them is not only acceptable but mandated from on high.

Thing to remember here is some people believe in UFOs and anal probes but it’s rare to the point of being unheard of that one of them would go shoot up a skeptic conference in the name of being unhindered to spread the message of the coming alien overlords to the masses. But both radicalized Christians as well as Muslims, and even the heavily pacifist Buddhists, have done exactly these kinds of actions in both isolated and organized acts of violence. All this in recent decades and not even bothering to dredge out old history books citing violence over the centuries committed in the name of religious “purity.”

No respected atheist anywhere is advocating you solve your disputes with acts of murder or that the best way to silence an ideological opponent is to kill them in their home or place of business. But I could troll the right-wing radio Christian waves for awhile and bring back some moron who is doing exactly that and same with the nationalistic Islamic newsgroups and forums. This would not in turn implicate all Christians and all Muslims in those statements but only those who identify with the speaker’s views which is not an easy thing to assess unless someone declares it to be so.

Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

 

As always when I cover tragic stories my deepest condolences go out to the family members and friends of the victims of this horrible event.  I do not speak merely for myself when I say that this man should face the full force of the legal justice system and hopefully this will bring you some measure of peace.

America in 2011 (Occupy Wall Street)

This is America in 2011: citizens protesting the social injustices of the financial sector upon the middle class and working poor are being brutalized by police and subject to a blackout by the mainstream media that is slowly being lifted.

It’s an unfortunate truth that the Occupy Wall Street movement(s) are revealing before us today: scream about the evils of government health care or murdered fetuses and they will grab the news cameras, scream about the evils of corporate monopolies or the corrupt practices of Wall Street and they will grab the pepper spray.

 

One Year After The BP Spill


April 20th, 2011, marks the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

I mark the BP Spill as a point in time which it became even more clear to me that the United States government is invested in protecting corporations and industry over protecting its citizens from harm.

The reckless disregard for both human life and the environment of BP and Transocean has not met with any criminal prosecution. Serving as an example that a company is free to cause death and mayhem without any consequences but an individual who caused the death of eleven workers and poisoned the Gulf for decades to come would receive no such special treatment.

America continues to be a cowardly nation when it comes to holding the people responsible for the industrial homicide that took place one year ago.

Add atop all this that the government lied to the public regarding the location and magnitude of the spill on multiple occasions and approved a toxic dispersant that has been banned in the U.K. to be sprayed into the environment in quantities previously unheard of for use in an oil spill clean up.

Considering all this I don’t trust the EPA or the federal government when they proclaim the seafood as safe as the Gulf as non-toxic. The health and safety of the public is secondary to promoting the needs of the private sector industry forces, so if the feds and the EPA have to lie and cause a few people to get sick as a direct result then that is exactly what they will do.


As a single solitary citizen there is not much I can do to bring the inhuman monsters responsible for this to justice nor can I hope to see those in the EPA and the federal government who would lie to public be fired and replaced with people who would actually do their jobs rather than bend knee to the oil industry. Beyond voicing myself on a blog the only avenue I have to act upon is this: boycott BP forever.

A corrupt government we can change, though I don’t see it as an easy road it is entirely possible if people only stand together in a common cause. But changing a multinational corporation is much more difficult than changing a government and in all reality corporations are beyond all laws and beyond taking responsibility for the death and destruction they bring about in their narrow, greedy quest for ever-increasing profits. When faced with such a power the only recourse of a ordinary person is to not contribute to the empire of death with everyday purchases like gas or food.

When every former BP station has rebranded itself and the company is treated like the pariah they are in the United States then I might consider reviewing their corporate policies and considering putting an end to the calls for  boycott, but not a moment before.

If consumers continue to reward corporations guilty of industrial homicide with business then there shall never be any hope of a private sector that doesn’t cause these horrific disasters in the first place.

Jeffrey Sachs: ‘The People’s Budget’

Jeffrey Sachs has posted an excellent piece on The Huffington Post regarding the only sane budget proposal floating around Washington D.C.

HuffingtonPost.com:

Just when it seemed that all of Washington had lost its values and its connection with the American people, a bolt of hope has arrived. It is the People’s Budget put forward by the co-chairs of the 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus. Their plan is humane, responsible, and most of all sensible, reflecting the true values of the American people and the real needs of the floundering economy. Unlike Paul Ryan’s almost absurdly vicious attack on the poor and working class, the People’s Budget would close the deficit by raising taxes on the rich, taming health care costs (including a public option), and ending the military spending on wars and wasteful weapons systems.

The fact is that the People’s Budget is the public’s position. That’s why it is truly a centrist initiative, at the broad center of the U.S. political spectrum. Ryan reflects the wishes of the rich and the far right. Obama’s position reflects the muddle of a White House that wavers between its true values and the demands of the wealthy campaign contributors and lobbyists that Obama courts for his re-election. Many Democrats in Congress have also gone along with the falsehood that deficit cutting means slashing spending on the poor and on civilian discretionary programs, rather than raising taxes on the rich, cutting military spending, and taking on the over-priced private health insurance industry. Only the People’s Budget speaks to the broad needs and values of the American people.

Government Shutdown Narrowly Averted

(Monsivais/AP)

Just before the midnight deadline Congress has passed a temporary budget deal that will prevent the furlough of thousands of workers and ensure that U.S. combat troops do not go unpaid. Reportedly this budget contains $39 billion in cuts and the numerous policy riders proposed by Republicans (regarding Planned Parenthood and EPA funding along with taking school lunches away from kids) have been removed.

I place the majority of the blame for the possible shutdown on the shoulders of House Speaker John Boehner. His inability to control his caucus led to these abortion and environment policy riders to be attached to a budget bill in the first place, which in turn created the deadlock. (You can find a comprehensive list of all the policy riders here.) To have presented such a poison pill laden budget to the Senate represented a huge lack of leadership from Boehner, and put this matter of a government shutdown on the political map as a reality instead of a mere talking point for conservative broadcasters.

Make no mistake, the GOP/Tea Party almost just furloughed thousands of Americans and put a question mark above combat troop pay all in the name of federal funding for abortion which is already covered by the Hyde Amendment and the unconstitutional attempt to strip previously passed legislation regarding not only the EPA but also the Consumer Protections Bureau, Medicare and legislation dating as far back as FDR’s school lunch program.

It’s Not Just Beck That Is Losing The Cable Ratings War

BusinessInsider.com:

 

Fox News has the top 12 most-watched shows so far this year.

Which is perhaps not totally surprising since this marks the network’s ninth straight year as the number one channel in cable.

That is not to say it’s all rainbows and unicorns. (Or cupcakes and caliphates.) All of Fox’s top shows posted double digit losses year over year.

Glenn Beck suffered the biggest drop, losing 30% of his audience compared to the first quarter last year. But he wasn’t alone. Top ranking O’Reilly lost 14% of his audience, Sean Hannity, up a spot from 2010, lost 19%, and Bret Baier, who pushed Beck out of the top three, lost 13%.

Greta Van Susteren, who has been bleeding viewers to Anderson Cooper this month, is down 22.86%.

All in all Fox News actually lost 21% of its primetime audience during the quarter.

Compare this to CNN which is up 28% in primetime and MSNBC which is up 9% (Rachel Maddow increased by 16.65% and Anderson Cooper by 18%) and then take into consideration all the breaking news there’s been since Christmas, and one might begin to draw the conclusion that people are beginning to turn elsewhere for news news coverage.

Another explanation, of course, is that this time period last year was dominated by the health care debate and for much of that period Fox operated as an extension of the opposition. Now that the nation’s focus is international it’s harder to figure out an angle where Obama is bad and … nuclear meltdowns and Qadaffi are good.

*All numbers from Neilsen.

Glenn Beck & The Right-Wing Media

(WATCH VIDEO: Crooks & Liars “Glenn Beck ‘You’re Going To Have To Shoot Them'”)

I see Glenn Beck as actually dangerous, and not just abrasive and dishonest like other right-wing media pundits.

I first became mildly aware of Beck when he was scathing the Bush White House, but back then he never ever called himself “conservative” and only called himself “libertarian.” Today he has fashioned himself a New Media Joe McCarthy and wants to teach the children of America a distorted and fictitious version of U.S. History.

What has actually risen to the level of public danger is centered on the TV show aspect of what he has done with his career. If anyone doesn’t already know he has mocked setting people on fire, shown a shaky rape video for no reason beyond fear mongering and to cap it all off he called a sitting president a racist on live TV.

Because television gives the illusion of credibility putting the character (I believe he is playing everyone, he said so in an interview around when he got all freaky) of Glenn Beck out there has sent horrible and extremely dangerous repercussions into the nation that can never be taken back.

Without pulling out a pack of URLs it’s quicker to just say that historically the U.S. has kind of “self-policed” this kind of extremism and incitement to violence disguised as free speech when it has happened before and always the figure that resembles Glenn Beck of today had a fall from grace. Usually getting fired. The best recent example is “Dr.” Laura getting the axe: she went into something from a KKK rally and that was the “the line.”

It sounds too simple, I know, but the most serious offender here is News Corp and Fox News.

Glenn Beck is only especially dangerous because his bosses won’t fire him no matter what “line” he crosses. If you minus Rupert Murdoch and the Koch Brothers from this situation then Beck would have been canned for being disrespectful to a sitting president or too libel for his “here’s some violence, but don’t do violence” message he delivers regularly. Since this heartless media empire keeps him alive the kind of normal “quality controls” are not coming into play.

In the wake of the Tucson shooting, another act of domestic terrorism that the mainstream media refuses to label as such, and the moving speech delivered by President Obama there is a strong need to assess ourselves in our words and also more deeply to our mind state. This cannot, however, negate the need for people to speak their opinions about the current state of the nation.

America is on a road of a long, slow decline into moral ambiguity and a complete lack of ethics, and Glenn Beck combined with Fox News and the tea party is the first step toward this destruction of all that is good and decent in America. I don’t say these things to get a rise out of anyone or to single out Glenn Beck, but rather only because I see these words as the simple truth.

If Beck and those similar to him would only stop the incitement to violence, racism and bigotry then I would never raise issue with them beyond to merely disagree. Since this next evolution of political dialogue looks more like McCarthyism and Nazism combined I simply refuse to call it anything else.