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beam me up scottie

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Hometown: Green Mountain State
Current location: Red state in the bible belt
Member since: Sun Oct 10, 2004, 07:05 PM
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Journal Archives

Bernie Sanders Rejects Theocracy, Defends Church State Separation

Bernie Sanders Rejects Theocracy, Defends Church State Separation
January 9, 2016
by: Michael Stone

Rejecting the Republican dream of a Christian theocracy, Bernie Sanders tells supporters it is “dangerous for governments to get deeply involved with religion.”

Justin Scott, an Iowan who takes his politics seriously, asked the Democratic presidential candidate for his thoughts on politicians who “base a lot of their legislation on their religious beliefs” at a recent campaign event in Iowa.

Sanders answered:

Religious freedom in this country is part of our Constitution, and all of us agree with that. And you have many different religions, and people have the right, in this country, to practice the religion that they believe in.
But we also have a separation between religion and state. We know how dangerous it is, historically, for governments to get deeply involved with religion… Let’s not confuse and merge religion and state. That is not what our Founding Fathers wanted, and they were right.

Sanders is right. The attempt by today’s Republican party to “confuse and merge religion and state” is dangerous, un-American, and a repudiation of the secular values upon which this nation was founded.

This is not the first time the progressive candidate has championed secular values. Earlier this year, in an uplifting viral video supporting Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, the presidential hopeful declared:

The problems we face did not come down from the heavens. They are made, they are made by bad human decisions, and good human decisions can change them.


Sanders is a friend to freethinkers, and the enemy of conservative Christians. Religious News Service describes Sanders as “unabashedly irreligious” and “the anti-Bible thumper,” noting:

Sanders is the presidential contender most willing to dissociate himself from religion. Though he identifies as Jewish and by Jewish law is Jewish, he has freely acknowledged that he is not a religious person. He scored a solid zero from Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition in its most recent scorecard and a 100 from the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Scoring a zero from Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition is a badge of honor, and should be a ringing endorsement to the ears of every humanist, every atheist, every freethinker.

More: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2016/01/bernie-sanders-rejects-theocracy-defends-church-state-separation/#sthash.c7iYfb7W.dpuf

It's refreshing to finally have a presidential candidate who won't pander to the bible thumpers!
Posted by beam me up scottie | Thu Jan 14, 2016, 08:35 AM (12 replies)

Yes he has. And you've got the facts about his record wrong:

He opposed Brady but then favored back round checks later.

Bernie stated at the time he favoured background checks at the state level:

Sanders voted against the pro-gun-control Brady Bill, writing that he believes states, not the federal government, can handle waiting periods for handguns. In 1994, he voted yes on an assault weapons ban. He has voted to ban some lawsuits against gun manufacturers and for the Manchin-Toomey legislation expanding federal background checks.


He ran in opposition to an assault weapons ban, and got the NRA's endorsement for having done so, and then voted for it.

Bernie openly supported a ban on assault weapons in 1988 and 1990:

Bernie Sanders’ critics misfire: The Vermont senator’s gun record is better than it looks

....However, the Nation and the other reports like it don’t shed real light on where Sanders is coming from. They don’t explain why he supports some gun controls but not others. Nor do they ask if there’s a consistency to Sanders’ positions and votes over the years? They simply suggest that Bernie’s position is muddled and makes a good target for Hillary.

Yet there is an explanation. It’s consistent and simpler than many pundits think. And it’s in Bernie’s own words dating back to the campaign where he was first elected to the U.S. House—in 1990—where he was endorsed by the NRA, even after Sanders told them that he would ban assault rifles. That year, Bernie faced Republican incumbent Peter Smith, who beat him by less than 4 percentage points in a three-way race two years before.

In that 1988 race, Bernie told Vermont sportsmen that he backed an assault weapons ban. Smith told the same sportsmen’s groups that he opposed it, but midway through his first term he changed his mind and co-sponsored an assault rifle ban—even bringing an AK-47 to his press conference. That about-face was seen as a betrayal and is the background to a June 1990 debate sponsored by the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.

I was at that debate with Smith and three other candidates—as the Sanders’ campaign press secretary—and recorded it. Bernie spoke at length three times and much of what he said is relevant today, and anticipates his congressional record on gun control ever since. Look at how Bernie describes what being a sportsperson is in a rural state, where he is quick to draw the line with weapons that threaten police and have no legitimate use in hunting—he previously was mayor of Vermont’s biggest city, and his record of being very clear with the gun lobby and rural people about where he stands. His approach, despite the Nation’s characterization, isn’t “open-minded.”

As you can see, Bernie—who moved to rural northeastern Vermont in the late 1960s—has an appreciation and feeling for where hunting and fishing fit into the lives of lower income rural people. He’s not a hunter or a fisherman. When he grew up in Brooklyn, he was a nerdy jock—being captivated by ideas and a high school miler who hoped for a track scholarship for college. But like many people who settled in Vermont for generations, he was drawn to its freer and greener pastures and respected its local culture.

“I went before the sportsmen of Vermont and said that I have concerns about certain types of assault weapons that have nothing to do with hunting. I believe in hunting. I will not support any legislation that limits the rights of Vermonters or any other hunters to practice what they have enjoyed for decades. I do have concerns about certain types of assault weapons.”

That was not the end of his remarks. But it is worth noting that his separating the rights of traditional hunters from the concerns of police chiefs has been a constant thread in many subsequent votes he would take in Congress. It’s also noteworthy that Bernie consistently has opposed assault weapons from the late 1980s—before he was in Congress—which he reiterated to the moderator.


Alternet: Bernie's Gun Control Critics Are Wrong—His Stance Has Been Consistent for Decades

Next, the 1990 debate turned to gun control. The moderator, who clearly was a Second Amendment absolutist, went after Bernie—to test his mettle after Smith’s about-face.

“Do you support additional restrictions on firearms? Do you support additional restrictive firearms legislation?” he asked. “Bernie Sanders, explain yourself, yes or no?”

“Yes,” he replied. “Two years ago, I went before the Vermont Sportsman’s Federation and was asked exactly the same question. It was a controversial question. I know how they felt on the issue. And that was before the DiConcini Bill. That was before a lot of discussion about the Brady Bill. That was before New Jersey and California passed bills limiting assault weapons.

“I went before the sportsmen of Vermont and said that I have concerns about certain types of assault weapons that have nothing to do with hunting. I believe in hunting. I will not support any legislation that limits the rights of Vermonters or any other hunters to practice what they have enjoyed for decades. I do have concerns about certain types of assault weapons.”

That was not the end of his remarks. But it is worth noting that his separating the rights of traditional hunters from the concerns of police chiefs has been a constant thread in many subsequent votes he would take in Congress. It’s also noteworthy that Bernie consistently has opposed assault weapons from the late 1980s—before he was in Congress—which he reiterated to the moderator.

“I said that before the election,” he continued. “The Vermont sportspeople, as is their right, made their endorsement. The endorsed Peter Smith. They endorsed Paul Poirier. I lost that election by about three-and-one-half percentage points, a very close election. Was my failure to get that endorsement pivotal? It might have been. We don’t know. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t. All I can say is I told the sportspeople of Vermont what I believe before the election and I am going to say it again.

“I do believe we need to ban certain types of assault weapons. I have taked to police chiefs. I have talked to the police officers out on the street. I have read some of the literature all over this country. Police chiefs, police officers are concerned about the types of weapons which are ending up in the hands of drug dealers and other criminals and our police oficers are getting outgunned.


Sanders Votes for Background Checks, Assault Weapons Ban

WASHINGTON, April 17 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today voted for expanded background checks on gun buyers and for a ban on assault weapons but the Senate rejected those central planks of legislation inspired by the shootings of 20 first-grade students and six teachers in Newtown, Conn.

“Nobody believes that gun control by itself is going to end the horrors we have seen in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., Tucson, Ariz. and other American communities,” Sanders said. “There is a growing consensus, however, in Vermont and across America that we have got to do as much as we can to end the cold-blooded, mass murders of innocent people. I believe very strongly that we also have got to address the mental health crisis in our country and make certain that help is available for people who may be a danger to themselves and others,” Sanders added.

The amendment on expanded background checks needed 60 votes to pass but only 54 senators voted for it. “To my mind it makes common sense to keep these weapons out of the hands of people with criminal records or mental health histories,” Sanders said.

Under current federal law, background checks are not performed for tens of thousands of sales – up to 40 percent of all gun transfers – at gun shows or over the Internet. The amendment would have required background checks for all gun sales in commercial settings regardless of whether the seller is a licensed dealer. The compromise proposal would have exempted sales between “family, friends, and neighbors.”

In a separate roll call, the Senate rejected a proposal to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. That proposal was defeated by a vote of 60 to 40.


Bernie Sanders voted for the 1994 crime bill because it included the Violence against Women Act and assault weapons ban:

In 1994, however, Sanders voted in favor of the final version of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, a bill that expanded the federal death penalty. Sanders had voted for an amendment to the bill that would have replaced all federal death sentences with life in prison. Even though the amendment failed, Sanders still voted for the larger crime bill.

A spokesman for Sanders said he voted for the bill "because it included the Violence Against Women Act and the ban on certain assault weapons."

Sanders reiterated his opposition to capital punishment in 2015. "I just don’t think the state itself, whether it’s the state government or federal government, should be in the business of killing people," he said on a radio show.


Posted by beam me up scottie | Mon Jan 11, 2016, 12:23 PM (0 replies)

David Bowie and Annie Lennox at the 1992 Tribute to Freddy Mercury concert:

Posted by beam me up scottie | Mon Jan 11, 2016, 09:52 AM (2 replies)

Nothing beats the vile smears coming from your associates:

According to Hillary supporters on DU Bernie is Israel's #1 shill, a red Jew, pro gunner that thinks women enjoy being raped, racist, gun nut, draft dodger, scheming little sneak, socialist throwback jackass, drooling, sweating old fool, scumbag, pandering phony braggart with some kind of emotional instability, tool for the NRA, Republican man with his head between women's legs, who protects the minutemen militia, pedophiles, racist cops, has rape fantasies, thinks that orgasms prevent cancer, wants the guns in the streets, is supported by Stormfront, has a nest egg in Israel and whose supporters are groomed by psychopaths.
Posted by beam me up scottie | Fri Jan 1, 2016, 03:27 PM (3 replies)

In 1941 Dr. Seuss sent a message that, sadly, hasn’t lost its meaning.

In 1941 Dr. Seuss sent a message that, sadly, hasn’t lost its meaning.
November 19, 2015 by JT Eberhard

Dr. Seuss was actually a political cartoon contributor for New York’s PM Newspaper for part of his early career. This was his piece on October 1, 1941:

This was in reaction to the fact that most Americans opposed Adolph Hitler’s anti-Jew policies while also being opposed to granting safe haven to refugee Jews.

And here we are again today, over 74 years later, where people are being executed by on occupying force and need to get out of the country. Most Americans oppose ISIL in pretty much every way, yet the people who think a freshly fertilized egg is a human being for which anything and everything should be done are willing to turn their back on actual refugee children. If it were their families in Syria they’d be begging for safe haven, but they just can’t put themselves in the other people’s shoes. We’re safe, and that’s all that matters, right?

You want America to be a hero to the world. Well here’s the news flash: heroes take risks. They go into burning buildings to pull people out. Bravery isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the courage and the strength to do what is right even though you’re afraid. And all the people who want America to be a hero simultaneously want her to cave to fear, fear ISIL purposefully has tried to impose upon us. There are gobs of refugees in so many other countries, countries that aren’t separated from ISIL by an ocean, countries that don’t spend 47% of all the world’s military spending on their own military. And yet, they’re the ones stepping up.

So much flag-waving. So much faux patriotism. You just want America to be viewed as a hero, but you want to make her a coward and it’s obvious why. Sit down, because this is going to sting: it’s because you are cowards, racists, or some combination of the two. You demand the world’s respect without wanting to do any of the work, without taking any of the risk that doesn’t include bombing places that contain way more innocents than terrorists. That’s nice and 100% safe and the only price we might have to pay are a bunch of dead innocent people and for you that’s good enough to be a hero. But it ain’t, that’s just your cowardice coming up with justifications.

Nobody’s asking you to run into a burning building, literally or metaphorically. We just want to let people into a country where they’re safe – something that once meant a great deal to this nation if the inscription on the Statue of Liberty is any indication. Yeah, a terrorist or two might try to come over and, who knows, they might get through the extremely strict screening process to get into this country. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it and deal with it. But this argument rests on the presumption that if a terrorist sneaks through people might die and it ignores the fact that people are already dying and many more are certain to die unless countries help! Other countries are, but your big, tough, macho Republican leaders are cowering like children.


I am an anti-theist but as the daughter of a refugee I am sickened by people who would turn away those who are desperately fleeing religious persecution.

Posted by beam me up scottie | Mon Nov 23, 2015, 06:04 AM (46 replies)

Dog Whistles- an Anti-Semitism Primer (a timely repost)

Dog Whistles- an Anti-Semitism Primer (a timely repost)

There are really four classic anti-Semitic themes that have been for centuries to justify mass murder, mass expulsion, or both. They are that Jews have control the world's media, that Jews have an international conspiracy to control the world's money, that Jews join national governments and undermine them from within for their own purposes, and the "blood libel," a claim that Jews use the blood of Gentiles, usually children, to bake their Passover matzoh. Below I will try to define each of them, discuss their history, and explain why they remain important to this very day.


Let me start with the last, the "blood libel." There are a couple of different forms of the blood libel. One is that Jews drink Christian or Muslim blood outright, and the other is that Jews use Christian or Muslim blood in matzoh. This is a slander with a long and inglorious history. The first iteration was the the story of William of Norwich, recorded in the Peterborough Chronicle. This story from 1144 alleged that a boy, William of Norwich, was kidnapped by Jews, tied to a cross, stabbed in the head to stimulate Jesus' crown of thorns, and killed. His blood was drunk and used in matzoh. This story was a rumor and the Jews were vindicated by five different Popes, but the legend lived on. But it was more than a legend. It was an excuse for slaughter and mayhem.


Jewish Disloyalty

The most famous example of this theme is the German post-WWI theme of the "stab in the back."

The Stab in the Back myth claimed that the German Army was victorious along the battle lines, but suffered a "stab in the back" from disloyal Jews. I hope I need not go into any detail as to where this led.

At the same time Hitler was exercising his Final Solution, Jews were being sent to Siberia by the Soviets. Jewish disloyalty has been a common theme throughout Russian history, and led to the pogroms of the late 19th century.


Jewish Bankers

This one flows from history, and can be seen throughout history. The "Jewish money-lender" is the central figure in The Merchant of Venice, and actually has some historic validity. You see, usury was considered unChristian (remember Jesus and the money-lenders) and was therefore illegal for Christians. That put people trying to pay for wars or put in new crops (which would not generate cash until the harvest was in) in a difficult position, as nobody was willing to lend money without interest. From this came a fairly common theme- Kings and nobles borrowed money from Jews, paid the interest as long as they thought they needed access to more money, then took all the Jews' property, prosecuted them for usery, or expelled them from the country. Another variation was simply declaring the Jews themselves property of the State.


Jew control the media

This one seems to come directly from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It was enhanced and reprinted by Ford in "The International Jew." Father Charles Coughlin used his enormous radio following to perpetrate these lies.

Claims that Jews run the media are common today. That alone might be a generalization based upon ownership and participation at a rate higher than the percentage of Jewish population. But "Jews control the media" is only the first half of the claim. The other half is "... and they use that control for their own evil ends."


Can we please stop pretending that accusing Bernie Sanders of dual loyalty isn't anti-Semitic?

Diane Rehm made this mistake when she interviewed Bernie for NPR and later apologized for it.

Abe Foxman of ADL has this to say:

“Diane Rehm’s questions were inappropriate, insensitive questioning without any minimal journalistic checking of claims. Such a statement is not only factually incorrect, but has no place in such an interview.

It is deeply troubling to think that a well-respected media outlet like NPR would apparently rely on unsubstantiated information from the Internet in its preparation for a guest.

Ms. Rehm’s description and follow-up question about whether other Senators have dual citizenship with Israel play into classic anti-Semitic charges of dual loyalty. Such charges have been leveled for centuries and have been a catalyst for scapegoating and vilifying Jews.

Senator Sanders deserves a public apology, as do NPR listeners.”


Her mistake was to not research it before she even stated it as fact. She shouldn’t have asked the question, period. Had she researched it, she wouldn’t have raised it at all. Because her question challenges not only his loyalty, but also Jewish loyalties to this country.”

Posted by beam me up scottie | Sat Sep 26, 2015, 10:03 AM (107 replies)

Atheist Mom Forced Into Court-Ordered Christian Counseling

Atheist Mom Forced Into Court-Ordered Christian Counseling
September 15, 2015 by Michael Stone

In a flagrant church-state violation a New Mexico mom loses her children after refusing to attend court mandated Christian counseling sessions.

KRQE reports Holly Salzman was hoping to get some help co-parenting her 11-year-old twin boys with her ex-husband, but instead she says she got 10 court-ordered religious sessions that she did not want.

Salzman said:

I walked into the session and the very first thing she said to me was, ‘I start my sessions by praying.’ When I expressed my concerns that I didn’t pray she said, ‘well this is what I do’ and she proceeded to say a prayer out loud.

Salzman, a single mother of two, said she felt so “offended and disgusted” that she stopped going to the court-ordered sessions. The result was that the court took her kids away.


In one secretly recorded session the counselor told Salzman:

The meaning in my life is to know love and serve God. If you want to explore how God was in your past, how God was in your life and not in your life… I know you don’t believe in God which is fine but I know at some points he was in your life in some way.

It is hard to imagine something more obnoxious, or more infuriating, than being forced to endure some holier-than-thou Christian counselor explaining that God really was in your life, despite the fact that you don’t believe in God.

And it is heartbreaking to note that if a mother does not quietly endure the abuse of the obnoxious Christian counselor, her children will be taken from her by the courts.

Commenting on the story, Peter Simonson, ACLU Executive Director, said:

No one should be put in a position where they are forced to accept training or therapy that violates their own religious beliefs and morals.

We’ve got protections in our country under the Bill of Rights are intended to try and stop that. On the face of it, it looks pretty problematic.

“Problematic” is an understatement. This is despicable, and a clear violation of Salzman’s civil and constitutional rights.

The counselor is also Catholic extremist who used to be a "parent educator" at Project Defending Life, a radical anti-abortion group.

eta video:

Posted by beam me up scottie | Wed Sep 16, 2015, 05:25 AM (189 replies)

Here Are 17 Of The Trans Women Murdered This Year. Say Their Names.

As Mock notes, this number already exceeds last year's complete total of documented murders according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence programs. According to an article published by The Guardian on Monday, the total of reported murders is now at 18.

This alarming number recently led transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox to declare a "State of Emergency" in the transgender community, stating that "your life should not be in danger simply for being who you are." And while this disturbing spike in the murder of trans women of color, who are disproportionately affected by violence, has caught the attention of many major news outlets, cable networks have remained remarkably silent.

"These woman are more than just a compilation of names and ages and stories of violence and trauma -- they are people," Mock says at the end of the segment. "People living at a vulnerable intersection of race, gender and class. People existing in a culture where they fell in between the cracks of racial justice, feminist and LGBT movements. People whose names are only spoken by the majority of us when they can no longer respond. Today we learn their stories and say their names, not out of obligation but out of recognition that these 17 women had value, had purpose and were loved. And they will be missed."


Posted by beam me up scottie | Fri Aug 28, 2015, 05:50 AM (7 replies)

That story is heartbreaking.

The death penalty is not progressive.
Posted by beam me up scottie | Tue Aug 25, 2015, 05:09 AM (1 replies)

What I'm seeing is a lot of whining about not being able to use slurs with impunity.

I hear the same arguments from racists who are enraged because they can't use the n-word at work:

But they use it all the time on each other

But they call us ________

But I have a friend who doesn't think it's offensive

But you're being oversensitive, it's just a word

But freedom of speech, this is Amurka!!1!

It's not that difficult folks.

If you know a certain word is used as a slur and is extremely offensive to many of your fellow liberals, why use it?

If you don't use it or want to use it, why complain when someone else does and gets censored?

Posted by beam me up scottie | Sun Jun 7, 2015, 06:19 PM (1 replies)
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