"Do or Do not. There is no try."

Christian Hypocrisy From The Religious Right

W.W.J.D.?  How about  what would Jesus say? What would he say about the way we treat the poor, the  homeless, the hungry, the sick, the elderly?

I haven’t gone and gotten all religious on you, I promise. I  was  listening recently to an interview on the radio with a man from the Council of   Churches on poverty. He  reminded me how those on the religious right  use the Bible and specifically the  words of Jesus to defend their  desire to overturn Roe v. Wade and fight against abortion, or to define marriage  between and man and a woman to prevent gay people from marrying.

But what about the issue of those who are suffering? Those  who are in  need? Where are the religious  right on that? Why isn’t it a value or  moral to help a sick child, an elderly  person or someone who is hungry?

The Bible contains over 300 verses dedicated to the poor and  social  injustice. In all of those verses it is clear God is concerned for both;   so why aren’t those who claim to follow him?

Those on the religious right want to defund programs such as  Social  Security, Medicare, welfare, food stamps, healthcare, etc. What I want  to know is: why aren’t these so  called people of God offering their  homes to the homeless, food to the hungry,  a coat to someone who is  poor and cold?

The concept of “it takes a village” was not Secretary  Clinton’s idea;  it originated with the teachings of Jesus. Don’t take my word for it,  read his words.  (In some books they’re in red; that should make it  easier for you.)

With the current cuts in federal programs, more and more  people are  being turned away from shelters, yet at a time when the economy is  bad,  the unemployment rate is high, people keep losing their homes and there   are more people living below the poverty line than in 50 years;  what do we  expect these people, some of whom are children, to do?!

Those in the churches aren’t helping, many church doors are  locked to  these people. When you phone a religious organization asking for  help,  they’ll send you to a shelter; which is government funded, which their   congregation wants to cut the funding for.  See the problem?

And it goes beyond our borders. In the horn of Africa where  there is  severe famine and where children are dying daily, the United States   gives less than we have in the past, thanks to the cuts in funding.

I find it hard not to gag when I read “In God We Trust” on  our  currency when we don’t follow God’s laws.  The religious right will  fight hard to give a tax credit to a rich man,  but doesn’t want to pay  for a blanket for a homeless one. Didn’t the Bible say something about  it being  easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a  rich man to get  into heaven? In America, it’s the other way around. If  you’re rich, it’s like  heaven; if you’re poor, it’s hell.

I was scared and shocked when I agreed with something Pat  Robertson  said recently. He said the right are being too extreme and to tone it   down. He should’ve told the religious right to do something I think  they’ve  stopped doing long ago; read the book they so readily use to  further their  agenda.

By: Leslie Marshall, U. S. News and World Report, October 26, 2011

October 31, 2011 Posted by | Religion, Social Security | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Losing The Future: GOP Hostility Towards Student Aid Intensifies

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul wants to eliminate the federal student loan program. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich believes student loans are a “Ponzi scheme,” which really doesn’t make any sense at all.

And Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain added his name to the list of GOP leaders who no longer want the federal government to help young people pay for higher education.

Speaking by satellite to a New York education forum sponsored by The College Board, a membership association of colleges that administers standardized tests like the SAT, Cain proposed local avenues to replace existing federal tuition aid structure.

“I believe that if a state wants to help with college education, that they should do that,” he said from Arkansas, where he is on a campaign swing. “Secondly, you have people living within communities within states that are willing to help fund those kinds of programs. So I do not believe that it is the responsibility of the federal government to help fund a college education because herein, our resources are limited and I believe that the best solution is the one closest to the problem. The people within the state, the people within the communities, ultimately, I believe, are the ones who have that responsibility.”

It’s not just presidential candidates. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week told voters the Pell Grant program is “unsustainable” (it’s actually sustainable with some sensible reforms, making Paul’s drive to gut the program unnecessary*) and that he was outraged that the Obama administration “confiscated the private student loan industry” (that never happened).

As a factual matter, Ryan has no idea what he’s talking about, and Cain’s idea about shifting all college aid responsibilities to states won’t work. But even putting these pesky details aside, why is it Republicans are so eager to make it harder for young people to further their education?

College tuition costs are soaring to the point of being “out of control.” Young people are entering the workforce shouldering $1 trillion in student-loan debt. Given global competition and the need for the most educated workforce the nation can muster, policymakers should be making every effort to make higher ed more accessible, not less, at costs that are more affordable, not less.

And yet, here we are, with national Republican figures cutting funding for student loans, pushing for the elimination of student grants, and in the case of some GOP presidential candidates, calling for the end of federal student assistance altogether.

Talk about losing the future….

By: Steve Benen, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, October 28, 2011

October 31, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Education | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Michigan Unions And Poor Face 85 Hostile Laws

An “emergency manager” bill allowing a state-appointed executive to unilaterally fire city councils and school boards and cancel union contracts has drawn the ire of Michigan’s labor movement for months. Resistance to the measure, including rallies of a few thousand and a promising repeal effort, have united elements of the state’s labor movement.

The emergency manager law is just the beginning, however. Eighty-five bills now under consideration start from the view that Michigan’s economic problems are the fault of public employees and the poor, rather than driven by a merciless recession and the auto industry’s contraction.


While teachers relaxed over the summer, legislators attacked their tenure and seniority. School boards can now fire teachers for any reason during the first five years of employment. Districts have the power to fire tenured teachers for any reason, not only for “just cause.” Administrators also gained discretion over teacher layoffs and placement, based not on seniority but on “effectiveness.”

Another bill, introduced in October, would make dues checkoff illegal for teacher unions with more than 50,000 members, which means the Michigan Education Association.

MEA drew criticism from lawmakers in April for asking local affiliates whether enough support existed for a strike.

Public employees who use work email for union or political business are threatened with a thousand-dollar fine and a year in prison, under a bill moving through committees. Its author says the law would be enforced by workers reporting on each other.

A school privatization package would rescind the cap on charter schools. Another bill would take away domestic partner benefits for public employees, including those in union contracts.

Unions have staged several rallies, but look to Democrats to stem the tide.

The MEA issued a commercial and website titled “Stand up for kids, not CEOs,” that resembles a 2012 election ad. “It’s time we teach these Republican politicians a lesson,” declares the ad. Seven Democrats, however, voted for the provision facilitating teacher layoffs.

Attacks on workers and the poor go further than legislation. Michigan’s civil service has shrunk by 11,000 employees since 2001, and more devastating cuts to the social safety net are on the way.

Eleven thousand Michigan families will soon be cut off cash assistance, and a recent court ruling jeopardized heating subsidies for low-income households, just in time for winter.

A privatization effort in Grand Rapids has drawn scrutiny from veterans and public employee unions. Hundreds of workers at a state-run veterans’ home are being replaced by underpaid, undertrained contractors. Reports of incompetence and maltreatment are rolling in, and court hearings are scheduled.

Meanwhile, the emergency managers, appointed by the state to run cities and school districts operating in the red, continue to wreak havoc. In Ecorse, near Detroit, the manager forced 60 percent of firefighters to part-time schedules. They lost benefits and nearly half their pay with one day’s notice.

While two ambulances sat in the firehouse collecting dust, an emergency medical contractor took over.

Members of Firefighters Local 684 described an excruciating wait at the scene of a head injury, hearing the siren of the contractor’s ambulance as it searched up and down nearby streets for the location.

“They were holding the guy’s head together with a towel,” said President Scott Douglas. The contractor took more than 20 minutes to arrive. “I still don’t know if the guy made it.”


There are signs of progress.

“We’re able to pull together in ways that we haven’t seen in a non-election year,” said Greg Bowens, AFSCME Council 25 spokesperson. Public employee unions entered joint negotiations with the state for the first time.

Community organizations and unions have come together to gather signatures for a fall 2012 referendum on repealing the emergency manager law.

Clergy in Detroit are organizing, too, holding three marches at the governor’s Detroit office ahead of October 1, when the new budget went into effect.

Pastor David Bullock of the Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church in Highland Park is pulling together an anti-poverty summit. Bullock intends to go beyond lobbying to bring lessons from the civil rights movement to the 21st century.

“We lost the point of protesting,” Bullock said. “It’s to disrupt power centers and to challenge them directly.”

By: Evan Rohar, Labor Notes, October 26, 2011

October 31, 2011 Posted by | Collective Bargaining, Conservatives | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

An Efficient Metaphor For What’s Wrong With Congress

We know Congress isn’t getting along. But that’s no good  reason to spend less time together.

The House’s 2012 calendar is out, and it reflects some of  the  divisions the chamber is experiencing. Majority Leader Eric Canto has scheduled   just 109 days in session, a schedule he said will  make for a more streamlined legislative process while giving  lawmakers the  opportunity to spend time with their constituents. House  Democratic Whip Steny  Hoyer complained that the schedule is “more of  the same.” This year so far,  the House has conducted legislative  business for just 111 days, Hoyer noted,  nearly equal to the 104 days  spent in recess or in pro forma session.

Let’s be clear: when the House is back home, they are not  on  vacation. Their work schedules in the district are sometimes more  arduous  than those they have in Washington, since lawmakers are  expected to travel  around their districts, speaking to a myriad of  constituencies. They also have  to raise campaign cash during these  trips, a task that is becoming an  increasingly larger part of their  jobs.

Nor is Congress slacking off when they are not actually  on the floors  of the House and Senate. They have committee hearings, meetings  with  constituents, and (hopefully) negotiating sessions with fellow  lawmakers.

But spending less time in Washington is not going to heal  the  divisions in Congress. In fact, it’s likely to get worse. Especially in  the  House, with its 435 members, personal relationships are critical to  achieving  compromise. Lawmakers who barely see each other will never  get past the  party-identification barrier.

Further, the calendar (like this year’s) is out of synch  with the  Senate calendar. The two chambers take week-long recesses at different   times, making it harder for the House and Senate to reach the  compromises  necessary to pass legislation.

The 2012 calendar is campaign-friendly, however. After  October 5,  members are free until after the 2012 elections, giving them the  time  to keep their jobs, but not actually do their jobs. The new calendar is   indeed more efficient, as Cantor contends. But it’s an efficient  metaphor for  what has gone wrong with Congress.

By: Susan Milligan, U. S. News and World Report, October 28, 2011

October 31, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Elections, GOP | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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