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The Sunday Planet - June 3, 2012

Planet Politics

In the United States, conservatives in 34 states are working on suppressing the vote. This is part of the plan to regain the White House in November.

In Nebraska, Senator Ben Nelson wants a federal investigation into the closing of polls in predominately minority neighborhoods. That and the state's decision to knowingly send out wrong polling locations seems to imply possible illegal activities.

The Justice Department is telling Florida to stop purging their voter rolls. It's not a coincidence that the majority of voters being deprived of their right to vote are democrats and minorities. When you have a criminal in charge of the state, shouldn't you expect more of the same? All 67 Florida Election Supervisors suspend the voter purge.

Texas joined Florida in introducing laws restricting voter registration. Florida, Maine, Ohio and Wisconsin introduced laws on when and where people can register to vote. Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia have shortened the early voting window. Mississippi is also purging voter rolls. The list goes on.

Apparently the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is no longer pertinent.

In Wisconsin the recall election will take place on Tuesday, June 5. Walker has been funded from out of state big donors while Barrett hasn't had the same monetary support. Walker has raised over 30 million, while Barret only a little over 3 million. Money rocks, Walker has had a lead in the polls from the start. Voter turnout will tell the tale. 

Bill Clinton was in Wisconsin rallying the troops. His main message centered on Governor Walker's divide and conquer method of gaining and keeping power.

We have come to the point where a few rich white guys now run the country, and with that have undo influence in the world. Conservative super PACs will spend a billion dollars this year on the presidential election.

Wisconsin is a signal on how the elections will be run in November. Is money power greater than people power?

Special interest groups now have more influence in American politics than ever before. If you're interested in helping the fight, Bernie Sanders is still collecting signatures. There is a problem when a handful of men have more influence than a million of the 99%.

John Edwards appears to be a free man. The ex-presidential candidate left court smiling and making fairly embarrassing comments.  Another example of how money rules. 

In the Middle East, The protests from last year have left the door open for theocracies. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has a strong candidate in Mohamed Morsi. The elections will take place on June 16 and 17, and Morsi seems to have the edge. Many citizens took to the streets in protest after the first round of voting, favored candidates will not be on the ballot. The revolution will continue. Hosni Mubarak, the former president, was charged under article 40 of the Egyptian criminal code, which makes it a crime to incite a felony. He ordered soldiers to use live ammo against peaceful protestors, and ends up with a life sentence

Tunisia is having problem with Salafist hard liners. Salafist groups have been attacking bars, burning police stations and terrorizing those who do not share their enthusiasm on religion. The Interior Minister Ali Larayedh is stating that police can use live ammunition against the group. Tunisia is interesting to watch, secularists and moderate Islamists deciding the fate of the country.

Misogynist Men

A couple of stories irritated sections of the populace this week. Jay Townsend remarked on how someone should "throw acid" at female Democratic senators. The gentleman works for Republican Senator Nan Hayworth, who by her silence, would seem to agree with his statements.

Our conservative House of Representatives went after women and abortion this week voting on a bill that would not allow abortions based on the gender of a child. The legislation failed and Planned Parenthood stated that the legislation failed to address inequality, health disparities and attacks the communities it claims to help. The bill was introduced by our friend out of Arizona, Representative Trent Franks, the anti-abortion conservative crusader.

Can a woman be a misogynist? Oklahoma's "Conscience Clause" allowed a doctor to refuse providing a 24 year old woman with emergency contraceptives. Heck, the hospital itself refused.

Toddler's Tanked

Out of 35 industrialized countries, Romania has the most children living in poverty. Number 2 is the United States. I have a hard time understanding how a country of such wealth can ignore their future by ignoring the children living in poverty. We have a conservative mantra going on that promotes life while a woman is pregnant, then ignores that life after being born.

Lets see, another 100 drones or feed the hungry; doesn't seem to be a hard decision.

1 out of every 5 children in the states are at risk. 15.7 million live in poverty. 18.6 million benefit from food stamps. When a child is hungry, they lose out on everything. They can't grow, develop and learn like other children. When we talk about income inequality, this should be a major point of the discussion.

Prison Profits

A good reason for avoiding immigration reform is the money to be made imprisoning migrants. Latinos without a criminal past are now being held in prisons for profits and the anti-immigrant laws being passed are there to continue reaping profits.

In New York, marijuana arrests were at an all time high in 2011. 50,000 citizens arrested in one year, 137 people a day. Lobbyists for the prison industry keeps laws harsh and look for judges that will lock up children for minor offenses. 

GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America are the biggest two providers, raking in almost 3 billion in revenues in 2010. If you're wondering why immigration and drug laws seem to get harsher every year, here's the reason. 

God's Goofballs

We had two discussions on the site for the serpent-handling pastor who died from a rattlesnake bit. Yes, god works in mysterious and mean ways.

Then there is the video showing a child singing at a the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle Church. The child can't be blamed, it's the parents and the theists who hate that are at fault. 

Tony Blair's religious views are the subject of a big discussion on this site. Read and comment, it's been fun.

This passage from the bible, "Now go, attack the Amalekites, and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys," has been used to justify genocide. Now 100,000 children ranging from 4 to 12 years old will be taught the story this year in after school programs offered up at public schools. Training for a future war?

Education Enemies

It's all about money as usual. Quebec students continue to protest tuition hikes. There are several discussions on this site that refer to the problem. 

In North Carolina, the public school system seems on its way to being dismantled. 1.3 billion in cuts will get them close to being last in spending per student. 

A Georgia pastor is upset about the new science curriculum being developed that would help students understand evolution and natural selection. He says, “What message are we sending to our children when they come away saying, ‘I’m an ape with less hair’?”

Mitt has vocalized his disgust over public schools. Teacher's and their unions are bad, parents good, profits good. Charter schools are the answer to everything.

Occupiers Oasis

One very interesting story this week on the movement, Occupy Buffalo has talked the city into removing funds invested with J.P. Morgan and moving them to a local bank, the First Niagara Financial Group.

This has been the result of an ongoing battle against J.P Morgan's foreclosure tactics. Well done.

This is one of OWS's accomplishments, entreating people to move their money from "Too Big to Fail" banks to local business groups.

Final Fixations

Pick and choose. It is the usual atheist mantra when it comes to theists and their bibles. The bible contains many horrible stories, so believers must pick the parts that they like and ignore the rest to be content. It's a common theme to many blogs.

Take it farther though and you see that the pick and choose method infiltrates into every part of there life.

A conservative will look at politics in a manner that fulfills their bias; they pick and choose certain points to validate their way of thinking. I talk to a friend who's son-in-law has a new job. His daughter, who is on an expensive medication, makes a comment about how her husband has to be employed for four months before he gets any type of health insurance. My friend says great, maybe they'll be able to hire more people if they don't have to pay for insurance any sooner. 

He is against his own daughter's well being because he has chosen a political worldview that must be exonerated at all costs. Even if it means keeping part of his family in the poor house trying to pay for their health, it's all good.

It comes to the same regarding science. A family member who is anti-science had a bad heart valve and now has a cool little replacement; that science is good. He can acknowledge gravity exists, (that one is not too tough), and even the possibility that germs do exist. But anything that contradicts his worldview is incorrect. All those studies on secondhand smoke; bullshit. Climate change; no thank you. Evolution; don't even think about it. 

I think it is interesting how reality can so easily be ignored for some people.

And oh, by the way, Zimmerman is going back to jail. After concealing an extra passport and not revealing money donated to his legal defense, his credibility takes a hit.

Enjoy your day.

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Comment was by James M. Martin on June 5, 2012 at 6:17pm

Sorry, Neal, we already have one.  If one compares the capitalism of most European countries with that of the U.S., one sees that we are precisely the sort of creature Marx foretold as the ultimate flaw in capitalism: the greatest freedom for the smallest few.  The illusion of a Middle Class deludes both liberals and conservatives.  The reason the latter denounce Obama for his "European socialism" is that in Europe, government is necessary to business as business is necessary as government; the two work in tandem and get along famously.  On this side of the Atlantic, it is laissez-faire. 

Comment was by Neal on June 5, 2012 at 10:24am

I didn't sign up for a plutocracy.

Comment was by Adriana on June 4, 2012 at 9:13pm

@James: yes, elections should be exclusively publicly funded in my opinion. Only way to have a true democracy, in my opinion.

Comment was by James M. Martin on June 4, 2012 at 7:45pm

@michel: But, wait, wasn't there some guy who wrote a century of so ago, who said that "these whores will always be with us: they are the stooges for the very wealthy, useful idiots in making sure that capitalism continues its illusion of upward mobility." What was his name?  Karl something.

Comment was by Michel on June 4, 2012 at 7:12pm

Why would anyone vote for such a whore?

Because they sincerely admire or even idolize those he is whoring to (namely, the Koch Bros.)
It's the great "social success" pipe dream.

Comment was by James M. Martin on June 4, 2012 at 6:37pm

@Keely: this was precisely what I think about when I wonder if the solution to a good many of our political problems could be solved with publicly funded elections. You give the candidates a maximum expenditure of, say, one million, and tell the networks they will lose their licenses if they do not put on ads paid for out of that wee budget and simulcast the debates...gratis, no commercial breaks.  I think a true meritocracy would result.

Comment was by James M. Martin on June 4, 2012 at 6:20pm

@Susan, no intelligent (or non-ideological) voter would want this turd to continue as governator.  The phone call from pseudo-Koch thanking him for all he was doing to screw the small guy was classic agit-prop, better than anything Breitbart and his boyfriend could dream up.  It was embarrassing to watch.  Why would anyone vote for such a whore?

Comment was by Neal on June 4, 2012 at 4:59pm

Thanks Bill, I appreciate the comment. =)

Comment was by Willson Stoner on June 4, 2012 at 3:32pm

 Hey Neal, keep up the good work. I know I have been commenting on nothing but the Martin/Zimmerman case but I feel the most important thing you do in your blog is to keep us informed of the activities of the lunatic right. The Fundies are doing there best (worst?) to keep everyone ignorant and erode our rights and freedoms. We need to know what's happening out there. Thanks Neal!

I'm proud to be an ape!

Comment was by Doone on June 4, 2012 at 12:32pm

An interesting contrast between Florida and Spain

Why Spain’s in crisis and not Florida

Why Spain’s in crisis and not Florida

In the 2000s, both Florida and Spain had large, unsustainable housing bubbles that eventually popped. Since then, however, Florida has largely stabilized. Spain, by contrast, is still reeling from 25 percent unemployment, and its woes are threatening to rip apart the euro. Why the difference?

Paul Krugman points out one big factor: Florida has received billions of dollars in aid from the rest of the United States. The state’s federal tax revenue fell by $25 billion between 2007 and 2010, but Florida didn’t have to make up that entire shortfall with growth-pinching austerity measures, the way Spain now does. Instead, the U.S. Treasury kept paying Florida’s Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid bills. The federal government also sent an additional $6 billion in unemployment aid and food stamp benefits to Florida between 2007 and 2010.

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