Monday, Not So Deep Thoughts

The storm is now being called the once in 1000 year storm in South Carolina.  I wonder if it has anything to do with God being angry because they agreed to lower the Confederate flag?  I wonder if any one is stopping ask why now, unless we are altering our climate. Hmm.

Hillary has come out with a plan to try to regulate guns by bypassing Congress.  Now the both sides do it crowd may want to step back and see which side is unanimously against doing anything.  And the one thing we know, which is not opinion, but we know, is that fewer guns result in fewer incidents of gun violence.  The issue is how to get there.  That is where the opinions come in.

Russia really has the short term advantage in Syria.  Their strategy is really quite simple, shore up Assad.  Our strategy is … ?  Well we want Assad to go, and we want to defeat ISIS, and … ?  See the problem here?

I saw where Matt Damon was under attack for saying the obvious.  If we don’t know an actor’s sexual proclivities, it is easier to suspend our disbelief in any role they might play.  Somehow that got translated into gay actors should stay in the closet.  I actually thought it meant that a person’s sexual choices really should be private and no one else’s business.

I see where the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal has been reached.  Since we have basically already approved it, now maybe they will actually let us read it and see what we are in for.

Paul Krugman tells us this morning that Republicans have no energy plan but big oil, and hey, more coal.  Actually if you can tell me if Republicans have any plans except cut taxes, small government, less regulation, or said another way, keeping everything just the way it is, I will eat my hat.  That does not include fantasy plans like walls, mass deportation, or rescinding Obamacare without an alternative.

Finally, here in California, the Governor signed a bill approving brew bikes, which allows you to tour Sacramento breweries on a 15 person brew bike (and imbibe) that is pedal propelled.  You know, sometimes you just have to stop and smell the suds.  Happy Monday.

Three News Items This Morning

First, in South Carolina with all the rain and flooding they are saying this is a once in 500 year storm.  Not any more.  I know you have heard of climate change and global warming, but since a large portion of the state (at least their state government) denies it, maybe this will wake them up.  Oh, and when all you hate government Republicans start screaming for Federal help, we will be there for you.  Hope you remember that next time you go government bashing and cutting budgets.

Fareed Zakaria on CNN had Bibi Netanyahu on as his guest.  All I could think of during this interview was how much he reminds me of Dick Cheney with his total self-confidence about his views, all of them wrong.  All his predictions about doom and gloom have failed to materialize, while he pushes more and more settlements to make the problem that much more intractable.  Bibi needs to get out more and get some new friends.

Finally, Meet the Press began with a report that the father of the shooter in Roseburg had called for more control.  Then the reporter countered with the fact that one of victims opined that if more kids at the school would have had guns, it would reduce these things.  At this point Chuck Todd, told us that there are lots of opinion and we would explore them in a few minutes.

I have to stop them right there.  Yes there are lots of opinions, but the facts are clear, less guns, less gun violence.  Now we can continue on the same path, even arm more people, but that is accepting the status quo, or we can do something about it.  But let’s make no mistake.  We know from other countries and even within our own country with states that have tougher gun laws, fewer guns equals less gun violence. The fact that we can’t even have a debate on how to make the guns we have safer tells you all you want to know about “this debate”.

Yeah, More Guns

There was a collage of Republican presidential candidates telling us there is nothing we can do about guns and gun violence.  Basically “stuff happens”, learn to live with it.  Roughly 86 people a day die a day from gun violence, 31 are murdered and 55 commit suicide.  46 are shoot or killed in an accident with a gun, and 151 propel are treated for a gun assault in an emergency room every day. (Brady Campaign). Now the only thing the Republicans have right is that the violence we are seeing is part and parcel of the easy access to guns and the reading of the 2nd Amendment that it is our basic right, like free speech, to have a gun.  So first I want to give you sampling of what each said, and take it apart.  I want to respond to each with data. Then I want to take on their favorite argument that none of the gun regulations that are proposed would have stopped the Oregon massacre.  So first here are the Republican candidates:

Jeb Bush: We’re in a difficult time in our country and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this. I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everyone else. It’s very sad to see. But I resist the notion—and I had this challenge as governor—because we had—look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis. And the impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

Response:  See Washington Post link below for “stuff happens”.  It is true that without a thought out response, there can be unintended consequences.  If you assume as these guys do, that access to guns is an absolute right, there are no laws that will help.  I don’t think that is what the Constitution says and neither does earlier Supreme Courts.  But if you don’t buy that, then there are lots of examples, Australia being one of the best, about how we can establish guns laws that do reduce this carnage.  The answers are out there, they just don’t want to look and they certainly don’t want data that shows they are effective.

Donald Trump:  “You are going to have these things happen and it is a horrible thing to behold, horrible.” …”Well the gun laws have nothing to do with this. This isn’t guns this is about really mental illness. And I feel very strongly about it. And again politically correct, ‘Oh we’re gonna solve the problem, there’ll be no problem, etc., etc,”

Response:  This is pretty much the Jeb Bush response.  See discussion and link below for whether gun laws will have an impact on gun violence.  Short answer, of course it does and the Donald is a fact free zone and full of shit.

Marco Rubio:  “I always find it interesting that the reflexive action of left is that we need more gun laws. Criminals don’t follow guns laws, only law biding people follow gun laws. ” 

Response:  This is one of their favorites.  Again the data does not support this.  Where we reduce access to guns, gun violence goes down.  In addition, while we have strict laws in one state, people simply go to other states that don’t have these tough laws to get and bring back their guns into tough gun law states.  The argument we can’t do anything about this is stupid.  Tough gun laws reduce access by criminals too if they were national laws.

Mike Huckabee:  “We always have this discussion about the particular weapons.  We got a human behavior problem.  We got a problem with uncivilized savages.”

Response:  Well this one is crazy.  I guess this is an attempt to head off a ban military style assault  rifles or limit clip size, with be afraid the crazy and get yourself your own gun.  See Response to Ben Carson.

John Kasich:  I don’t believe gun control will stop this.  I think they have very tough gun laws in that state.”

Response:  This is basically a very honest statement that Republicans don’t believe in gun control so don’t try to confuse me with facts (see Washington Post link below).  Tough gun laws are relative.  Tough for the everyone should have a gun and be born with one crowd, or tough in that it limits guns to those who have a need for them and can demonstrate responsible use?  See Marco Rubio response about trafficking guns from other states.

Ben Carson:  “You are not going to handle it with more gun control because gun control only works for normal law biding citizens. Doesn’t work for crazies.”

Response:  This is the law biding citizen argument dealt with in the Marco Rubio response.  On the issue of crazies, then why do we have more gun violence by them than any other country?  Because we have more guns and easy access to them.  And note Republicans resist any new funding for treating crazies or increasing our ability to enter them into the system for background checks.  Note also that Republicans have prevented any federal money spent for collecting data on gun violence, because they don’t want answers that will tell them that fewer guns means less violence (See link below).

Carly Fiorina:  “Before we start calling for more laws, I think we ought to consider why we don’t enforce the laws we have.”

Response:  What is she talking about?  Are these the  laws that don’t exist on background checks for gun shows? Are these the laws that don’t exist to limit magazine size.  Are these the laws that don’t exist to remove military style weapons from civilian use?  Are these the laws like background checks we do not have adequate funding for?  She is a fruitcake.

Okay boys and girls, let’s think about this. All the above have one thing in common.  Do nothing.  There is nothing we can do to fix this.  But we have some glaring examples that counter this thinking:

  1. Other countries with just as many crazy people per capita as we have don’t have these kinds of mass killing incidents anywhere near the frequency we do. This logic does not consider the non-mass killing incidents with guns for which we grossly exceed all other nations.  What those other nations have are tough gun laws. (11 essential facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States, Item 5) (Washington Post)
  2. Studies have shown that if we just look at our country, states with tougher gun laws have less gun violence.  States with fewer guns have less gun violence. (11 essential facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States, Items 6, 7, & 8) (Washington Post)

So the do nothing option says the status quo is fine, well stuff happens.  Note the same source above (Washington Post) shows that mass killings are growing.  This is okay?

Now Republicans will argue that limiting guns would be unconstitutional.  Maybe that is true under the Roberts court, but has not been true throughout most of our history and other Supreme Court rulings.  I might argue that our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is not consistent with unregulated gun access.  So we can continue down this road and do nothing, and accept it as stuff happens, or contrary to claims by Republicans, there are things we can do to reduce this kind of violence.

There is always the argument that most of the recommended gun control laws would not have stopped this nut in Oregon.  First you have to say, why do other countries have fewer of these incidents?  Second if we limited magazine size and restricted assault rifles, fire power would have been greatly reduced.  Third who is to say some of these folks would not have fallen out with background checks?  Finely, if we implemented a system like Australia where you need a permit/license to own a gun, many of these people would have been shifted out.

So there is a lot we can do and the arguments against doing anything simply accepts the slaughter, because it does not impact them.  I guess it’s okay to kill people so we can fondle our guns and feel secure*, until one of those nuts kills your loved one and you get it.  If you like this stuff keep voting Republican because they have shown that nothing is their game plan.

Footnote:  Here is Rolling Stones rebuttal of other arguments.

*At Roseburg on ex-veteran was interview and he was carrying a concealed weapon.  When asked why he did not rush to the shooting scene he responded with what was very smart thinking.  “The police responded very quickly and one more guy with a gun might have really confused the situation.”  Maybe a guy with a gun could have slowed him down, but he had an assault rifle and body armor, so get real.

Status Quo

I have argued that Republicans like to resist change.  It is the very definition of conservative.  They protect vested interests.  So in this latest gun trajedy they were true to form.  We don’t need to change anything.  Here is Jeb Bush from The Daily Beast:

Jeb Bush in South Carolina argued against calls for greater gun control on Friday, saying “stuff happens.”

After a question from the audience about the massacre that killed nine people at an Oregon community college Thursday, Bush said “We’re in a difficult time in our country and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this. I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everyone else. It’s very sad to see.”

“But I resist the notion—and I had this challenge as governor—because we had—look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis. And the impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

That sentiment was repeated by Marco Rubio, Carly Foirina, Ben Carson, to name a few.  They are of one mind, nothing changes.  How do explain that countries who do have tough laws don’t go through this?  How do you show that even in our own country, regions with less guns have less violence and regions with more strict regulations have both less guns and less violence?  The data and facts are out there and they do nothing.  We could stop some of this.

Extend this to the economy and every other problem we face.  This is their mode of operation.

The News!

Covering the shooting in Oregon MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts did what they all do when he said, “Well some people say less guns would help, others disagree.”  Oh horse shit.  Equivalency to both sides.  See we are fair and balanced, except it is a total distortion of the facts about what gun availability really says.  Yes it is true some people say those things.  They are wrong and our news media should promote the facts not competing opinions. Here is the link to the latest data.  Help yourself. Tougher gun laws work because there are fewer guns. Fewer guns means less gun violence.

Oh and Tamron Hall, again on MSNBC, opined that maybe the problem with getting nothing done on gun laws are that the two sides take extreme positions and nothing gets done.  We just need to talk. Holy Shit!  Again false equivalency.  After Sandy Hook all they wanted was background checks and all Republicans and “Moderate” Democrats (Read 1980’s Republicans) were against it.  It was defeated by a filibuster by Republicans.  When most of the nation wants something and we can’t get it through Congress, this has nothing to do with both sides.  It has to do with money in politics, and of course, Republicans.

On the Pope meeting with Kim Davis, here is what the Vatican is putting out:

Vatican officials announced on Friday that Pope Francis did not hold a private meeting with Kim Davis last week in Washington — as has been widely reported — but that Ms. Davis was among dozens of guests ushered into the Vatican’s Embassy in Washington for a brief meeting with him.

Francis was unaware of the specifics of the case of Ms. Davis, the Rowan County, Ky., clerk who has refused to grant a marriage license to a gay couple, despite a judge’s orders that she do so. The case has become a focal point in the debate over the tensions between religious liberty and marriage equality in the United States.

… “The pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis, and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said in a statement released on Friday morning.

Well it is being taking as a form of support  and somebody in the Vatican knew and set this meeting up, playing major league politics in the United States and sullying the Pope’s non-political message.  If I were the Pope and my organization tried to undermine my message with this blatant political move, they would be looking for other work and I would be putting out a statement distancing myself from those politics.  What we have above is going to turn into a he said/she said between the political folks in Kim Davis’s camp.  And the damage is done.

Another Mass Shooting

We simply have too many guns in America.  The cat is out of the bag and how do we get it back in the bag?  The usual suspects are all a twitter.  “We need sensible gun laws.”  “You a turning the tragedy into a political event.” “We need to arm more people.”  I am sure you have your favorite cliché.  Background checks would certainly be a start.  But whatever you propose, someone will point out that that particular law would not have prevented this attack.  Maybe not, but who else’s life might be saved?

President Obama’s address to the nation last night was spot on.  No more moments of silence or praying for the victims, do something.  And then he said something really interesting when he referenced Australia’s gun law.  So I looked it up.  To make a long story  short, you need a license to buy a gun. It would be a total change in attitude in this country.  It turns the whole logic of gun ownership on its head. The government doesn’t have to show why you shouldn’t have a gun, you have to show why you should.

In an earlier blog (Guns, Guns, More Guns) I showed how we have turned the 2nd Amendment on its head (see footnote).  Because of the latest Supreme Court ruling, it is accepted that a gun is a birthright.  Not true, but that is what the prevailing understanding is. And guns beget violence which the data shows clearly.  Have less guns, you have less gun violence.  Have more restrictive gun laws, you have less gun violence.  We are the only nation who has such lax gun control and the only advanced nation to have this kind of gun violence where 88 people a day die.  We are on the wrong track.

How to turn it around, I have no idea.  One young man interviewed in Oregon was carrying a weapon (they can carry concealed weapons on campus) and he felt safer.  Did a lot of good didn’t it?  I can’t imagine the strife and upheaval if you did turn the right to own guns on its head, and instead of being born with one in your hand, you have to demonstrate a need. In other words a law like Australia put in place after a mass shooting.  We, the greatest country on earth, can’t seem to do anything about gun violence.  Maybe we aren’t the greatest country in the world anymore.  Maybe we know we are lying to ourselves and are terrified .  Maybe we are arming ourselves to the teeth because we seem powerless to do anything about it.

Oh, and I almost forgot.  Here is the chart President Obama wanted the media to show on gun violence deaths versus terrorism deaths, which we spend billions on:


In United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that, “The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence” and limited the applicability of the Second Amendment to the federal government. In United States v. Miller (1939), the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government and the states could limit any weapon types not having a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia”.

In the twenty-first century, the amendment has been subjected to renewed academic inquiry and judicial interest.[11] In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that held the amendment protects an individual right to possess and carry firearms.

Lying with a Straight Face

Jeb Bush was on Morning Joe this morning to explain that the Benghazi Select Committe is not just a political hit job wasting tax payers money and further lowering voters expectations of Congress.  Except it is of course.  Kevin McCarthy verified that on Fox News. The facts of the Benghazi attack have been investigated by seven different committees (seven investigations, 13 hearings, 50 briefings, and 25,000 pages of documents have been release).  They are blantantly using their investigative authority to comb Hillary’s emails to try to find anything embarassing.  Benghazi is a closed book.  

Now the only people who don’t know that are Republicans who won’t believe it anyway, and quite frankly think that is just fine, the media that wants to pretend to be fair and balanced by questioning nothing, and most of independents who are not paying attention.  After watching the hearings on Planned Parenthood it should be clear that Republicans are making a mockery of their fact finding duties, and are using them for pure partisan ends.  If you are investigating the tapes that purported to have Planned Parenthood selling fetal tissue to the high bidder, why would you not call the maker of those tapes?

So the obvious facts are that these “hearings” where nobody listens, are partisan political waste of the American Tax payers money.  So why doesn’t the media challenge Republicans on this?  Isn’t their job to expose the facts?  These are all rhetorical questions because the media doesn’t want to offend those that would cut off their access for asking embarassing questions, which is their job.  Somehow deciding what the facts are has become political, when facts are facts.

I think it is time for Democrats to walk away from these partisan witch hunts and blast the Republicans.  Make some noise and force the media to cover it.  The real issue is that when it comes to the real issues that face Americans, Republicans have no plans.  Well that is not true.  Their plan is to cut taxes for the wealthy, reduce the size of government, and reduce regulations. In other words old failed ideas that do not address our problems.  They don’t want to talk about that so they spend their time manufacturing “scandals” when there is no there, there.  I wonder if it is going to work this time?

Oh, and if you haven’t figured it out yet, Kevin McCarthy, the prospective new Speaker of the House to replace John Boehner, who actually told Fox News the truth about the Benghazi investigation, to get Hillary, is not the sharpest tool in the shed.  You can’t be very sharp and hold the ideas conservative Republicans hold.  You had to turn off your brain years ago.

Syria and Russia Part 2

So the Russians gave us a 1-hour notice to get out of the air space and then they started bombing. Surprise! And who are they bombing? The guys we support, not ISIS. Surprise!  The reaction was predictable, the press asking if President Obama was played at the UN (yes, but he really does not trust or like thug Putin in the first place). John McCain is leading the Republican charge of shoulda woulda coulda of being tough, whatever that means, and what we have are a dearth of answers for a way forward.  Ask any Republican and they will tell you about missed opportunities (in a perfect world) and then deflect when it comes to a way forward.

Yesterday in Syria and Russia, I gave you the Thomas Friedman approach.  It is based on the following assumptions which we also heard Ashton Carter, our Secretary of Defense say:

  1. The only solution is a political one
  2. To get a political solution Assad has to go
  3. You can not beat ISIS without reliable boots on the ground
  4. Russians and Iran (supporters of Assad) have to play

The solution is to hold our noses, support Assad in his battle against ISIS, with a transition government in the end that removes Assad and addresses the brutality of the Assad Regime, with an international force placed there to keep things honest.  So we had President Obama talking with Russia at the UN about just such an initiative.  Then Russia starts bombing the good guys and really complicated the mess.

Now the sky is falling and the Russians are walking all over us!  Let’s take a step back and think about this. From the Russian point of view, this is not sustainable. They are hurting economically from the fall of oil prices, and Putin needs to shore up his support at home.  According to reporting I have read, the Russian people don’t give a wit about Syria.  For Putin, Assad was his client and their moving into the fray indicates that Assad is in deep trouble. They haven’t accepted yet that he has to go because they might lose their foothold there. Finally, they seemed to have learned nothing from their Afghanistan incursion, and are going to get bogged down in a lose-lose sectarian war with Muslim jihadists now taking aim at them.  So let’s not panic.

Russia’s attack on our guys is a sign that from their point of view, anyone who attacks Assad is ISIS.  Not really, but they want to prop up their guy and any enemy of him is an enemy of them.  From a logical point of view, if you buy that this is only going to be successful with a political solution, it is a failed strategy because they are basically putting their full weight behind Assad.  So if we did what Donald Trump suggests and just walk away, Russia is in for a long failed war again.  But that does not address the refugee problem and the wanton killing.  So, yes Virginia, we have a dangerous quandary.

Russians moves, have pitted us directly against them.  While the press goes on and on about “de-conflicting” strikes, the real issue is de-conflicting who is the enemy.  Russia’s point of view is that it is anyone resisting Assad so build up Assad, then let him go after ISIS.  Our point of view is that will never happen and Russia will get bogged down in that war unless we can bring about a political solution.  So now we are left with the question, what should be our next move? 

 Do we confront Russia and risk further conflagration, or back off, focus on ISIS and let Russia get bogged down in the mess of their making?  Either choice could have major blow backs. But that is really the choices as I can see them now, especially since we can’t trust anything Russia says, so I am waiting to hear some alternative to my two scenarios that makes any sense.  So far all I hear is shoulda woulda coulda. Why would anyone want this job?


The Pope and Ms. Davis

This could be titled losing the high moral ground.  The Pope made a horrendous mistake in meeting with Kim Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk who denied gays marriage licenses.  But let me give you his side, before I poke holes in it.

The Church does not countenance gays and especially gay marriage.  What gave us hope was his “Who am I to judge” moment in an earlier trip, when he was asked what he thought about a devout gay priest.  He has preached forgiveness and tolerance, and of course religious freedom.  The Daily Beast tells us:

On the flight back from the United States on Sunday, Terry Moran from ABC News asked the pope on behalf of the English-language journalists on board whether he “supported those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience, their own personal conscience, abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials, for example in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Do you support those kinds of claims of religious liberty?”

Francis replied, “I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscience objection. But, yes, I can say the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right. Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying ‘This right that has merit, this one does not.’ It [conscientious objection] is a human right. It always moved me when I read, and I read it many times, when I read the Chanson de Roland, when the people were all in line and before them was the baptismal font and they had to choose between the baptismal font or the sword. They had to choose. They weren’t permitted conscientious objection. It is a right and if we want to make peace we have to respect all rights.”

ABC’s Moran followed up with the question: “Would that include government officials as well?” Francis replied, “It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right.”

Now I agree with the statement, “… the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right.”  We always have the right to object and not to do something.  We also may have to bear the consequences. But the next statement I have some heartburn with: Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying ‘This right that has merit, this one does not.’ It [conscientious objection] is a human right.  

He seems to be saying that government should allow one to refuse to perform due to a moral objection as a natural right without any consequences.  But whose morals?  His?  ISIS’s? What he is essentially saying is that the moral dictates of a religion allow you to shirk any responsibility you don’t like and be free from consequences.  He is legitimizing discrimination based upon religion and he forgets how many religions are out there.

I would also argue that we absolutely should choose which right has merit and which doesn’t. I think he is just flat wrong on this one.  As we have learned, gays don’t choose to be gay, they just are.  So he is telling us we can’t apply that knowledge to deciding if it is right to discriminate because some church tells us it is okay?  Again, he is legitimizing religious discrimination against our fellow man.

Finally, he says that being a conscientious objector “is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right.” Again I agree.  If I wanted to say I am a pacifist because of my strong religious beliefs, I believe the government can’t make me kill as a soldier, and we don’t.  But I can not undermine the war effort for those who aren’t pacifist because my belief is against all killing. And that is exactly where his logic with Kim Davis leads us.

That is where Pope Francis made his giant mistake.  Kim Davis did not just withdraw because she is a conscientious objector to gay marriage.  She probably could have worked out an accommodation in her office.  The judge offered her one and she refused.  Instead she attempted to undermine the function of government and use government to force her belief on others by refusing to let others issue those licenses.  It was the very opposite of religious freedom, it was religious tyranny. In effect she was a religious terrorist, attempting to blow up lawful government by undermining the laws of our country and creating chaos.

That’s a whole different thing and the Pope legitimized and encouraged it.  And in doing that he voided his moral authority over any of us.  He told us to be empathetic and to do onto others as we would have them do onto us, and then he turned around and said, unless of course they are gay. And following this logic you could use the same reasoning to say, unless they are black, or Muslim, or in a mixed marriage, and it goes on and on.  It makes his whole moral construct a house of cards. How sad. May the Catholic Church slowly sink into the sunset.

Wednesday Morning News Mismash

Well … First I see that Kim Davis is claiming a visit with the Pope, and since they (the Vatican) haven’t denied it, I sadly think it might be true.  If the Pope did allow her access and gave aid and comfort to Kim, he just delegitimized his moral authority and tarnished his message in America.  I say that because what he did was to legitimize someone who is trying undermine the role of government in making sure we are all treated equally.

He also undermined his message about tolerance when Kim Davis and her ilk want to use government to discriminate against gays.  He basically reinforced the idea that his religion supersedes government and the will of the people.  It is the opposite of what the Founders established in our Constitution that respects all religions, but requires tolerance. He lent his comfort to intolerance.  So much for the moral authority of the Catholic Church.

We are seeing Congress moving forward on a clean funding bill for three months so we can go through this again in December.  It simply kicks the conservative war on America down the road until they can regroup after the Boehner move.  Then we do this again, but with a new speaker who will either be willing to thumb his nose at the radical right, or we will shut down the government.  As one Democrat put it, either a Republican is willing to lose his job with a challenge from the right or go along with crazies.

I opined yesterday about what is the real issue, Republican conservative ideology has failed and with no new ideas, you either distract from real issues  with made up issues (Benghazi, emails, Planned Parenthood), or you throw logic and data out the door and believe what you believe as a religion.  That would be the radical right.  This morning in the NYT Norman J. Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (not exactly a bastion of liberal thinking) and the co-author of It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, told us what he thinks:

The major issue in our current dysfunction is the struggle within a Republican Party that is not the traditional battle between moderates and conservatives — there are no moderates any more to speak of — but between radical insurgents and right-wing realists. The realists, like Boehner, understand that divided government requires compromise; the radicals’ credo is “never give up, never surrender.”

… More likely is that come December, we will be back to brinksmanship over government shutdowns, Planned Parenthood, Obamacare and the debt limit, while other national priorities linger unresolved. All that will happen on the eve of the formal start of a presidential campaign where virtually all the G.O.P. candidates are catering to radicalism and confrontation over realism and compromise — and bashing their own party’s leaders as much as they are Barack Obama.

Republicans are leading us into the abyss with divisive attacks on gays and women.  They are waving the neocon flag again (these are the same guys who got us into Iraq as a cake walk).  The core group of Congressmen who control the Republican Party takes no prisoners.  That means there will be no negotiations on anything.  Are you awake out there? If you want government to work again, don’t vote Republican. It is as simple as that. Democrats are not perfect and have their own warts, but they do actually want to govern.

UPDATE 0840:  Pope visit confirmed.  I can now ignore him as a moral leader.  He is purported to say conscientious objections have a long tradition.  He missed the point.  There was nothing wrong with her refusing to perform her job and stepping aside. She did not do that, but actively tried to force he her religious beliefs on others using our government.  Now I understand why the Catholic Church can’t figure out gays or woman’s right to choose, much less women in the clergy or celibacy.  He just undid all the good he thought he did here.