In the USA....United Surveillance America Supreme Court Throws Out Establishment Clause With Public Prayer Ruling
Tuesday, May, 6th, 2014, 10:06 am
At this nation’s founding, Thomas Jefferson was very specific that the reason for the Establishment Clause in the 1st Amendment was to prevent Christians from exerting their will on the young nation’s government, and to the Founding Fathers’ credit, their insistence on a secular government served this nation’s people well for 227 years. Over the past thirty years, since Republican demigod Ronald Reagan aligned himself with a Christian movement known as Dominionism and gave them the keys to government, the religious right plotted to impose theocracy on the people by demolishing the Constitution. Yesterday, Dominionists on the Supreme Court all but eliminated the last vestige of the Separation and Establishment Clause and setup Christianity as a government institution the five conservatives on the Court justified as “tradition.” The only tradition remotely related to the High Court’s ruling was eradicating the tradition of America with a secular government set out by the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers, and created the opening Christian Dominionists cheered as they prepare for their impending Christian government.
When Americans in the near future look back and wonder how, why, and when their democracy was lost to theocracy, and the Constitution replaced with the bible, they can look back at the Court’s ruling as a pivotal moment, not the deciding moment, in democracy’s demise but a very significant one all the same. The Court’s decision is another advancement of Dominionist theology that over the past five years took advantage of dirty racists’ hatred of Barack Obama to set about culminating a thirty-year crusade to establish a Christian nation. All the while, most on the left demurred and counseled those warning of government by religion to “find common ground and dialogue with the religious right and Dominionists” about how to move forward “together” to save America. There is no such thing as common ground with evangelical extremists or Dominionists, or any chance of saving America as a secular nation after the Supreme Court ruled in The Town of Greece v. Galloway. The Christian majority ruled that opening government meetings with blatantly sectarian (Christian) prayers is constitutional, and that separation between church and state is a myth.
Writing for the Supreme Court’s Christian majority, Anthony Kennedy said “since the framing of the Constitution, legislative prayer lends gravity to public business, reminds lawmakers to transcend petty differences in pursuit of a higher purpose, and expresses a common aspiration to a just and peaceful society.” Kennedy’s pathetic ignorance of the Separation Clause was evidenced by his opinion that there were “traditional ties between religion and government that date back to the nation’s earliest days,” regardless of the Founders’ intent there were never to be any ties between religion and government. Kennedy also abandoned earlier rulings that prayers at government meetings were to be nonsectarian saying, “to hold that invocations must be nonsectarian would force legislatures that ‘sponsor prayers’ to involve government in religious matters” to a far greater degree than the town’s current practice of scheduling exclusively Christian prayers in advance.
The case only went to the High Court because the Town of Greece started its public meetings with a prayer from “a chaplain of the month” who was always a Christian and used distinctly Christian sectarian language such as “the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross,” “your son Jesus Christ,” and “our lord and savior Jesus Christ” to note just a sampling of all prayers at public meetings. Justice Elena Kagan, in writing for the minority, said “No one can fairly read the prayers from Greece’s town meetings as anything other than explicitly Christian, constantly and exclusively so.” The Dominionist majority opinion said that is what makes the government meeting prayers so brilliantly constitutional; they are explicitly, constantly, and exclusively Christian as was Founders intent as an American tradition.
Kennedy also wrote that Christian prayers at government meetings “reflect the values long part of the nation’s heritage” putting the full force and weight of the nation’s highest court behind evangelical extremists’ assertions that America was founded, by design of the Constitution’s Framers, as a Christian nation governed by the Christian bible. It is highly probable that Kennedy subscribes to the David Barton revisionist history, and Republican evangelicals absurd assertion, that god founded America as a Christian nation at the precise moment he delivered his handwritten copy of the Constitution to the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the rest of the secularists who founded this nation would take exception to Kennedy’s opinion for the Christian majority. A constitutional law professor at the University of California at Irvine, Erwin Chemerinsky, said that the ruling “allows cities to be more visibly aligned with a particular (Christian) religion than ever before,” and that the Dominionist ruling “is a significant further erosion of the wall separating church and state;” a separation evangelical extremists claim, and the Dominionist court just confirmed, is non-existent. Thomas Jefferson would vehemently disagree.
This Court’s gift to Dominionists and the religious right is another direct assault on the Founders’ intent that America is a secular nation and that government cannot give special privileges, or establish any sectarian religious belief. Just three days ago it was reported here that an Alabama Supreme Court Justice stated the First Amendment only applies to Christians, and the High Court is set to rule on whether “exercise of religion” is the death knell of the 14th Amendment. Last week at a Republican candidate forum to represent Iowa in the U.S. Senate, the event hosted by the Family Leader enlisted four candidates who declared their unwavering support for America ruled by biblical law, including confirming only prospective jurists who would rule according to biblical principles.
In states, primarily southern bible-belt states, Republicans blatantly flaunt the Establishment and Separation Clause by stealing money for public schools and giving it to private Christian schools. In many of the same states, bible creationism is taught as established science and science is castigated as an assault on religion and a liberal plot to indoctrinate students. Every year across America Christian preachers video-tape themselves campaigning for Republicans from the pulpit and send the tapes to the Internal Revenue Service daring them to revoke their tax-exempt status with the express purpose of going before the Dominionist Court to sanction the IRS for violating church religious liberty. All of the Christian Dominionists, and many are not evangelical extremists, have the same intent of enticing the government to challenge their actions in court so the Dominionist Supreme Court will rule taxpayer money for private religious instruction, teaching the bible as science, holding teacher-led Christian prayers, and campaigning from the pulpit is constitutional.
When will Dominionists and evangelical extremists stop their crusade to completely shred the Constitution and replace it with a bible? If one listens to the chorus on the left cheering the religious right’s demise and claiming America as a secular nation has never been safer, evangelical extremists and Dominionists pose no threat whatsoever even as a constitutional law professor said yesterday’s ruling “is a significant further erosion of the wall separating church and state.” But what does a constitutional law professor know that pie-in-the-sky liberals do not because they seek “common ground with religious right extremists and Dominionists” about how to save America. Too late.
***************Democratic Senator Unloads On Republicans For Opposing Obama Because He Is The Wrong Color
By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, May, 6th, 2014, 7:10 pm
Retiring Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller unloaded on Republicans during a hearing today. He said that Republicans don’t want anything good to happen for this president because he’s the wrong color.
During a Senate Finance Committee hearing on transportation funding, Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV) said, “It’s an American characteristic that you don’t do anything which displeases the voters, because you always have to get reelected here. I understand part of it. It has to do with — for some, it’s just we don’t want anything good to happen under this president, because he’s the wrong color.”
Rockefeller admitted that he is mad at himself for not speaking up about a lot of things earlier, and he criticized his colleagues for putting their own political self interest ahead of making the tough decisions to do what is right.
It is one thing for a senator to hint as these kinds of racial motivations for opposing President Obama on cable news, but it is quite another to do so on the record during a Senate hearing. Obama is now well into his second year of his second term, so the Republican opposition is no longer about getting this president out of office.
There is some self-interest at work, as obstructing Obama looks good to the Republican voters back in red states, but one gets the sense that Rockefeller is correct. Republicans oppose Obama because they don’t want to see anything good happen for the nation’s first African American president.
The Republican obstruction has reached the point where this is no longer about the color of President Obama’s skin. Racism has seeped into the Republican Party itself, and Democrats are battling a political culture of race based policy justifications that the GOP has adopted. From budget architect Paul Ryan to the party’s irrational opposition to immigration reform, Republicans have moved from raced based opposition to Obama to raced based opposition to non-whites.
Something ugly has emerged from the Republican Party. What began as racial opposition to President Obama has turned into a pattern of behavior that Democrats may have to call out and battle in the years to come.
**************Louie Gohmert: Constitution only protects Americans who ‘cling to God and guns’
By David Edwards
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 11:21 EDT
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) recently asserted that the U.S. Constitution only applied to people “who cling to their God and their guns.”
Speaking at a rally in Iowa for Republican Senate candidate Sam Clovis on Friday, Gohmert recalled that he had initially been blamed after Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) had shouted “You lie!” during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address in 2009.
“Somebody yells ‘You lie!’ and the camera goes on me!” he told the crowd, adding that he “knew” the president wasn’t telling the truth about an immigration bill.
“And so Joe was right,” Gohmert continued. “That’s not how a country goes forward effectively, with a leader that will play those kinds of games. You know, truth is too important.”
The Texas Republican then pointed to an 1798 John Adams quote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
“It only is fit for people who cling to their God and their guns, you know?” Gohmert offered as an interpretation to the delight of the crowd. “So, it is deeply troubling if you get in these tough situations and you can’t trust your leadership.”
The congressman added that he would never personally violate the rules of decorum in the House of Representatives, but he liked to take his criticism of the president “right up to the line.”
“We know under the rules of the House of Representatives that our president would not lie,” he quipped. “But whoever is putting those words in his teleprompter sure is.”
Former Council for Secular Humanism Regional Director Austin Cline has pointed out that “John Adams didn’t write the Constitution, much less the First Amendment… Just because he might have thought that the Constitution was incompatible with a nation of secular atheists doesn’t mean that anyone else necessarily has to think the same.”
**************White House Hopes Climate Change Report Will Finally Get GOP To Stop Denying Its Existence
By: Justin Baragona
Tuesday, May, 6th, 2014, 2:09 pm
A new climate change report was released by the White House on Tuesday. The National Climate Assessment, which is prepared every four or so years by the US Global Change Research Program, states that not only is climate change is an economic and environmental threat in the not-so-distant future, but that the Unites States is already in the midst of dealing with its effects right now. While the report itself didn’t offer any broad policy recommendations, it did present the impact that global warming is having on the country now and what the future holds if we stay on the same path when it comes to carbon emissions and other man-made factors.
Below is the assessment’s overview, which pretty much tells the whole picture:
Climate change is already affecting the American people in far-reaching ways. Certain types of extreme weather events with links to climate change have become more frequent and/or intense, including prolonged periods of heat, heavy downpours, and, in some regions, floods and droughts. In addition, warming is causing sea level to rise and glaciers and Arctic sea ice to melt, and oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb carbon dioxide. These and other aspects of climate change are disrupting people’s lives and damaging some sectors of our economy.
The White House released a statement on Tuesday in regards to this report. It is apparent that President Obama wants to make awareness of climate change, and combating the rapid growth in global temperatures, a priority.
“The findings in this National Climate Assessment underscore the need for urgent action to combat the threats from climate change, protect American citizens and communities today, and build a sustainable future for our kids and grandkids.”
In a conference call discussing the report, White House counselor John Podesta stated that he hoped that Republicans would look at this report change their minds on the existence of climate change and that it is indeed caused by man. Besides acknowledging its existence, the hope is that Republicans realize the long-term impact that rapid and extreme climate change has on the nation’s, and worlds, economy and will be proactive in working with Democrats and world leaders on solutions and policy changes.
Right now, though, conservatives can’t be bothered to think about anything that might actually affect the lives of every living person on the planet when they have bigger fish to fry right now. Despite the fact that over 300 experts worked on a report that shows that the United States, and the planet as a whole, is in a crisis state right now due to the real-time impact of climate change, Republican leaders had only one thing on their mind on Tuesday.
The public has a right to know what else the White House is hiding on #Benghazi.
— Eric Cantor (@GOPLeader) May 6, 2014
Will be speaking with .@FoxNews in just a few minutes about the latest on #Benghazi. — Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) May 6, 2014
Judging by White House’s reaction to #Benghazi #SelectCommittee, this topic may have missed their reading list… pic.twitter.com/DQRvhVpRrW
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 6, 2014
.@ChicagoTribune: Americans deserve the truth about #Benghazi http://t.co/5NL12JnUe0
— John Boehner (@johnboehner) May 6, 2014
The Obama admin does not respect the authority of Congress to provide #Benghazi oversight: http://t.co/nbaLpuNHsg
— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) May 6, 2014
Why won’t the #WH say if they will participate in a #Benghazi investigation? http://t.co/Plv7ju7nI3
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) May 6, 2014
Not one of these figures could even spend 140 characters sharing an opinion on this extremely vital report that was released on Tuesday. Nope, Tuesday was like any other day in the past week for them…all Benghazi, all the time. Thankfully, they have a willing media partner in Fox News to help push the only topic they’ve deemed fit to discuss. On Monday, Fox News anchor Jon Scott dismissed Podesta as an ‘understudy’ of White House Spokesman Jay Carney and pulled away from live coverage of the White House’s press briefing where Podesta was discussing energy policy, stating that they’d only go back if there was any mention of Benghazi.
Also on Monday, The Five’s Dana Perino talked about an event scheduled for Tuesday where the President would be meeting with meteorologists from across the country to discuss this report. Perino actually stated that she wanted at least one meteorologist to hammer the President with questions on Benghazi, because that is what’s most important now.
“Tomorrow, President Obama is going to do interviews with meteorologists all across the country about a new climate change report. … I hope they ask him about Benghazi. Like the weatherman from Montana should ask him about Benghazi, that would be great. I dare you.”
Yeah, I don’t think conservatives are going to take climate change seriously for a while, if ever.
**************Fox News Claims Climate Change Report Is A Distraction From Benghazi
By: Justin Baragona
Tuesday, May, 6th, 2014, 5:36 pm
The White House released a comprehensive climate change report on Tuesday. The report, worked on by over 300 scientists and experts and legally mandated by the federal government, presented the facts on man-made global climate change and pointed out what will likely occur in the present and near-future. The US Global Change Research Program and their National Climate Assessments came about during George H.W. Bush’s presidency. The USGCRP is required to release a National Climate Assessment every four years.
Well, you knew this was coming. On Tuesday, while announcing that the White House had released this report, Fox News’ Bill Hemmer, host of America’s Newsroom, stated that the report was perhaps being used to distract people from the “multiple scandals swirling around the administration.” Obviously, by referencing scandals, Hemmer was stating that a report that was required to be released by the federal government was being used by this President to make people forget about Benghazi. Because, right now, on Fox News, it is Benghazi 24/7. It seems as if Roger Ailes has ordered that for the next few months, it is all Benghazi, all the time.
Not only did Hemmer make it appear that this report, which has been worked on for quite a while and is mandated to be done by the government, is merely a distraction from Benghazi, he and co-host Martha McCallum presented a statement from notorious climate change denier Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) saying that it was meant to distract from the President’s “regulatory agenda.”
“With this report, the president is attempting to once again distract Americans from his unchecked regulatory agenda that is costing our nation millions of job opportunities and our ability to be energy independent.”
Basically, per Republicans and the conservative media, President Obama cannot discuss anything except for the topics and subjects that conservatives want to talk about. Anything else is a distraction from the narrative that has been set at that moment. Any time there is an attempt to perhaps have an important discussion on policy or social change, conservatives throw up their hands and cry, “Distraction! Distraction! Distraction!” Right now, all Fox News wants to talk about is Benghazi. Therefore, any possible story that isn’t focused squarely on Benghazi (unless it one that makes the President or Democrats look bad) has to be, by definition, a distraction.
Therefore, despite this report presenting us with the dire economic and environmental impacts to this nation and planet if we continue not to act in regards to climate change, and pointing out that we’ve already seen the effects that climate change has had on our nation’s economy, Fox News and the rest of conservative media is going to conveniently toss this all aside as the President’s attempt to make everyone forget about Benghazi. It will be interesting how history looks back at this period of time, when a large section of our nation’s population decided it wasn’t worth their time and effort to be concerned about real and large-scale problems, and instead just wanted to focus on their own animus towards a black man being in the White House.
***************Republicans Try To Silence House Democrats By Kicking Them Out of a Taxpayer Funded Room
By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, May, 6th, 2014, 12:18 pm
Top House Democrats, including Leader Nancy Pelosi were supposed to be holding a Steering and Policy Committee hearing on the Republican refusal to extend unemployment benefits, but Republicans kicked Democrats out of their scheduled room.
House Democrats had to abruptly turn their hearing into a press conference, when Republicans refused to let them have a room to hold the hearing in.
According to a statement from Rep. Pelosi’s office, “House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Members of the House Democratic Caucus will hold a press conference today in the wake of House Republicans’ refusal to allow the stories of Americans severely affected by the loss of this vital lifeline to be heard. Leader Pelosi and House Democrats will call on Speaker Boehner and the House Republican leadership to end their callous indifference to the nearly 3 million individuals who have lost UI since the program expired on December 28 and to #RenewUI this critical lifeline.”
What happened was that Democrats had a hearing room scheduled, and at the last minute, Republicans told them that they couldn’t use it.
There is no limit to how low House Republicans will go to prevent the message that they are hurting 3 million Americans by refusing to extend emergency unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. Boehner and company will grant endless hours of time and as many rooms as needed for Benghazi, IRS, or any other number of conspiracy based hearings, but Democrats can’t even get a room for a couple of hours to talk about the plight of 3 million Americans who have been pushed into dire poverty because Republicans refuse to extend unemployment benefits.
House Republicans may hold the majority, but they don’t own the building. Those hearing rooms belong to the taxpayers. Republicans have the right as the majority to control the scheduling, but their behavior is a slap in the face to the democratic process.
The American people want unemployment benefits extended. Every poll taken since before the benefits expired has shown that large majorities support extending the benefits. House Republicans are not only trying to silence Democrats. They are also trying to silence the American people.
John Boehner likes to refer to the House as “The People’s House,” but today the people were denied a voice, and the needs are being ignored by a Republican majority that cares more about the Koch brothers than the millions of American lives they are destroying.
************Monica Lewinsky Destroys GOP Hopes of Using Bill’s Scandal Against Hillary Clinton
By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, May, 6th, 2014, 3:21 pm
Monica Lewinsky is back, and she is debunking the talking points that Republicans are hoping to use against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been going around the country for months calling former President Clinton a sexual predator who abused his power.
On Meet The Press, Paul said,
Well, you know, I mean the Democrats one of their big issues is they have concocted and says Republicans are committing a war on women. One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn’t prey on young interns in their office, and I think really the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this.
He took advantage of a girl that was twenty years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior, and should be something we shouldn’t want to associate with people who would take advantage of a young girl in his office. This isn’t having an affair. I mean this isn’t me saying he’s had an affair we shouldn’t talk to him. Someone who takes advantage of a young girl in their office. I mean really? And then they have the gall to stand up and say Republicans are having a war on women.
Republicans like Sen. Paul are trying to paint her as the victim, but Monica Lewinsky tells a vastly different story. Vanity Fair has published excerpts from an upcoming story that was written by Lewinsky herself, “Maintaining that her affair with Clinton was one between two consenting adults, Lewinsky writes that it was the public humiliation she suffered in the wake of the scandal that permanently altered the direction of her life: “Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position. . . . The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.”
I don’t think this is a path that any Republican should want to go down in 2016. The Lewinsky scandal stuff didn’t work in the late 90s, and it definitely isn’t going to work nearly 20 years later.
The interesting thing about Lewinsky’s quote above is that she is blaming both former President Clinton’s throwing her under the bus, Republicans, and the media for the fact that she has been branded for life. I believe that it is time to let Monica Lewinsky live her life. She wasn’t the first woman in history to have an affair with the President Of The United States, and she probably won’t be the last.
The strategy of using the Lewinsky scandal to tarnish Hillary Clinton is destined to backfire. Republicans would only serve to alienate and anger more women if they chose to make what happened during Bill Clinton’s second term a focus of the 2016 election.
Monica Lewinsky’s own words illustrate just how wrong it is to bring this scandal up again. Rand Paul has no idea what he is talking about, and he will definitely regret it if he chooses to go there with Hillary Clinton in 2016.