Middle Class Destruction Coincided With The Rise Of The NRA

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  • Reaganomics, without a doubt, was the beginning of the end of the American middle class, where one patriarchal income could actually support an entire family. A decent factory job could enable a man to raise a family while the wife helped raise the children and groom them for an eventual college education. Women, though paid less, are now forced to work. The jump in working women has been especially prominent among those who are mothers — from 37 percent in 1968 to 65 percent in 2011. If men were always the sole breadwinners and now rely on women to help a family to simply survive, a seldom-discussed consequence of this is emasculation and resentment of women. Misogyny, known best by the label  “Feminazis” (thanks Rush) has made many men turn to violence through guns, but not always against women.   Guns are a substitute for the emasculation of their earning power.

Right in the heyday of Morning In America, 1982, Senator Orrin Hatch teamed up with the NRA-ILA to make Americans reexamine the 2nd Amendment, which was almost as irrelevant as the Third (the government cannot force citizens to house soldiers in their homes). Hatch’s viewpoint was an insurrectionist interpretation, in which the Second Amendment is thought to allow for a militia of armed citizens to protect themselves against government, not the original framers’ intent of preventing uprisings against the government by the states. Slowly but surely, the conversion of the middle class to the working-poor took its toll on the masculine psyche.  There is no question, Reaganomics commenced the hollowing-out of the middle class.

From Reagan To Obama, The Middle Class Declined Sharply
From Reagan To Obama, The Middle Class Declined Sharply

The power and influence of the NRA, even after there was an assassination attempt on the Deity of the Republican party, Ronald Reagan, skyrocketed thanks to the Republican alignment with the gun industry. Gun ownership has always been fairly high for Americans, but the laws regarding gun-control legislation have become less and less popular.  Because of insane contributions from the NRA-ILA, gun laws have been relaxed, even though most (78%) Americans are for stricter laws for the acquisition of guns.

Party Determines Support For Stricter Gun Laws
Party Determines Support For Stricter Gun Laws

If you look at the history of mass shootings in America, coincidentally, the count begins in 1982.   Does this irrefutably prove the decline of the middle class causes more gun violence?  No, not entirely.  But it certainly seems suspicious the reinterpretation of the Second Amendment coincided with the evisceration of the middle class that began under Reagan’s tenure.

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Outlawing Abortion Helps Fund America’s For-Profit Prison Complex

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It seems Republican State legislators’ quest to make abortion either illegal or extremely difficult to obtain is a more common theme in our news cycles. Each GOP governor seems to be trying to top the far-right, ‘pro-life’ antics of other ‘Christian’ leaders. No woman is immune to their efforts to clamp down on the right to control her own body. The red flag that is raised in my mind is: Why the hell do they care so much about fetuses when those already born are obviously of little importance?

While claiming to be governments who have adopted Christian ideals, one crazy Teapublican administration after another in these Red States are making it downright perilous to simply be a woman . Restricting abortion and contraception are priority number one when it comes to these white, male conservatives. Ironically, these very same states have the most abysmal statistics on child care and education yet the majority of citizens continue to vote GOP, creating a perpetual cycle of poverty.

Prominent ultra right-wing agents of ‘pro-life’ values, like Koch Brothers’ funded ALEC and religious organizations like The Council on Biblical Womanhood and Manhood (CBMW) lobby against all contraception and abortion rights for any woman. Once the child is born, programs like SNAP and WIC are savagely cut to leave both women and children in dire poverty. These children are disproportionately comprised of minorities like African-American and Hispanic Americans. Ultimately, minorities make up a far greater percentage of the prison population. The composition of prison populations is not conjecture, it is the unfair and racist truth.

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The National Right to Life Organization sponsored billboards nationwide with this offensive message

The United States has the largest prison population, not just percentage of imprisoned citizens, but actual numbers, on earth, bar none. We certainly pay handsomely for this dubious honor: In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education. The Religious Right is very well aware of this fact. Pat Robertson pointed out on his TV show, The 700 Club, “We here in America make up 5% of the world’s population but we make up 25% of the [world’s] jailed prisoners.” The increased disparity between rich and poor in this country, with a more profound impact on minorities, creates a society which sustains the world’s highest rates of incarceration, thus keeping prisons operating over capacity. The ever-growing gap between the U.S. and the rest of the world is relatively recent. In 1980 the U.S.’s prison population was about 150 per 100,000 adults. It has more than quadrupled since then. Something has happened in the past 30 years to push millions of Americans into prison. The answer: The War on Drugs. (AKA the war on minorities)

Today’s Republican Party has been known for implausible claims like fetal masturbation, rape cannot result in pregnancy and pro-life means pro-death penalty, thus appearing wrought with insanity and contradiction. One might conclude the GOP and its minions are incapable of such a calculated and diabolical plan, but this goes back to the Nixon and Reagan administrations who were a bit more savvy than the Todd Akin/Louis Gomert crowd. Fortunately for today’s Tea Party clowns, their predecessors were much more calculating. Sensible Americans need to know it’s best to never underestimate your enemies, no matter how gaff-ridden they appear.

These folks have been cutting funding in every way possible to prevent upward mobility for Americans who are poor minorities. When a woman is saddled with a child from a young age, it is nearly impossible for her to break the cycle of poverty. They know this. They also know exactly how to appeal to the religious fundamentalists’ principles that motivates even the poorest women to vote for misanthropic misogynists who only seek to increase white, male dominance.  Simply look at the principles espoused by prominent Protestants and you’ll understand how they justify their cruel legislation.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) , the father of the Protestant schism, along with a slew of prominent Christian leaders throughout history have intensely misogynist beliefs. Along with his anti-Science quote: “Reason should be destroyed in all Christians”, he seemed to fear and distrust women, like today’s GOP, who believe women should not be in control of their own sexuality. He said, women…“to the end, should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children.”

Once they’ve justified keeping women in their rightful “place,” they can work hard keeping the dreadful minorities, especially the African Americans, in dire conditions that facilitate the unchecked expansion of the for-profit prison complex. GEO Prison Group actually almost got away with having a football stadium named after the corporation at Florida Atlantic University as it shows obscene profits. The private prison industry rakes in over $5.1 billion per contract, significantly greater than the $760 million 2004 price tag.

California actually receives $50,000 from the state coffers per prisoner, while each student in the public school system only garners $8,667.00 per year. Prison is big business and the GOP knows that every unwanted pregnancy is a potential inmate that will earn their friends beaucoup bucks. One simply needs to follow the money to discover the GOP’s supposed Christian ‘right to life’ is merely a ruse. If the attention is not focused on their deliberate efforts to subjugate minorities, women and children, they can continue to hoard massive profits unbeknownst to the general populace. The GOP has played their insidious hand rather well, and if people realized how diabolical the system is, legislation to combat this strategy (perpetuating the cycle of poverty) might have a chance. If you can follow the money, you’ll see every impetus for GOP politics is based on their worship of the Almighty Dollar.

The GOP’s “Concern” About Mental Health Is a Diversion From Their NRA-Inspired Gun Policies

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The invocation of Ronald Reagan’s legacy is a tactic utilized by the Right to more or less humanize their devastating Draconian cuts to basic health and human services, including mental healthcare. This is quite astonishing as Reagan was, perhaps, the most inhumane leader with regards to caring for the least among us and those with legitimate mental health issues. The party of Jesus, (GOP) as we all know, acts quite contrary to his teachings. Monies are always cut in mental healthcare (ESPECIALLY FOR WAR VETERANS) and redirected to fund more private, for-profit prisons instead of properly helping those in need. The unfortunate consequence of defunding such programs have a dire impact on the afflicted and their families. The lack of stable housing and work will certainly exacerbate and create depression and mental illness, substance abuse, family break-up, and crime.

Here are the facts:

•In 1978, HUD’s budget was over $83 billion.

•In 1983, HUD’s budget was only $18 billion.

•In 1983, general public emergency shelters began opening in cities nationwide.

•In 1987, Congress passed the Stewart B. McKinney Act, providing $880 million in homeless assistance funding (2004 constant dollars).

•In short, Reagan deliberately created “homelessness” by cutting $65 billion of housing money and replacing it with $880 million in shelter funding.

The lost funding has never been replaced, and the percentage of low-cost/subsidized housing has been dropping ever since. 100,000 units of low-cost housing have been lost since 1996 alone. When Reagan defunded mental health care and threw the mentally ill onto the streets, he was saying it was not his problem and the American people went along as he de-railed what was an improving situation for those with mental health issues. Now, more than thirty years hence (and countless massacres by those possibly afflicted with mental illness), the GOP/NRA is suddenly saddled with immense concern for the mental well-being of Americans.

The NRA and most of the GOP is obsessed with trying to minimize all the devastation caused by military-style, high ammunition-capacity firearms. They pervertedly believe this problem will be alleviated by fewer restrictions on guns, and accessories which facilitate mass killings. Add this to their shameful history of defunding, defrauding and devastating mental healthcare and we can predict exactly what they’ll do for those needing psychological care and protecting the innocent: absolutely NOTHING.

Another issue the pharmacy-subsidizing GOP (and often Democrats too) won’t address is the over-medication of our children for behavior issues. The pharmaceutical industry has profited immensely from these psychostimulants readily prescribed for ADD and ADHD diagnoses. Without long-term study and the lack of reporting on the matter, we don’t know how adversely they will impact brain chemistry into adulthood.

Maybe it’s not video games or movies that cause these unfathomably egregious acts of violence. Maybe it’s because, according to the United Nations, the U.S. produces and consumes about 85 percent of the world’s methylphenidate (Ritalin). Also commonly prescribed, SSRIs (Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or serotonin-specific re-uptake inhibitor) are a class of medications which have been shown to be a commonality among those who commit violent acts in schools. People who have used these medications might not be the best candidates for ordering a personal arsenal of military-grade weapons and ammo. Perhaps the NRA’s definition of someone who should pass a background check needs some work. As proposed by our President, maybe no one should own weapons the military uses which are specifically designed not just to kill, but to obliterate other human beings en masse.

Studies with regards to mental health issues and guns must include the socioeconomic factors of poverty, the insanely unfair for-profit prison system and the highly subsidized pharmaceutical industry that receives an obscene amount of corporate welfare. Restrictions and regulations are the enemies of Republicans, as they firmly believe both impinge on capitalism and “job-creation.” Since this tenuous concern of the GOP is so very obvious both historically and currently in the areas of mental healthcare matters, shouldn’t they be omitted from the decision-making process? As one who firmly believes history repeats itself when the lessons are not learned from the past, I believe the GOP/NRA-ILA is the last group who should debate and legislate this matter. We all know how anti-education they’ve proven themselves to be as they have embarrassingly omitted unpleasant facts and re-written history in our children’s textbooks. They’ll do the same thing to our mentally impaired citizens as they did to the Iraqi people: attack and destroy them simply because they have the power to do so.

Make Up Your Minds, Myopic Firearm Fetishists!

For years Democrats took unwarranted guff from Conservatives for how they appeared “weak on defense.” Trying to find diplomatic solutions rather than to wage preemptive war was certainly not going to make those in the business of war very successful. When Reagan finagled the release of the hostages to magically coincide with his inauguration in 1981, his neo-con cohorts duped the nation into believing Republicans exclusively could maintain a competent US military. A more insidious motive of paying for their release in a clandestine agreement was the true reason for freeing the hostages, not simply the election of President Reagan, but the serendipitous timing. During much of the 80’s, the arms race was in full swing, and no armament expense was too great. Thus, our military escalated by 43% during the Reagan Administration alone. Increases by subsequent GOP administrations have been even more obscene when compared to every other nation on earth. “Saint Ronnie” has continued to be the messiah of the RNC Convention every four years, and until they implode from abject stupidity, he will be the GOP standard bearer, ad infinitum.

Here’s why: In his two terms as President, Reagan cut the budgets of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (by 40%), the Department of Commerce (by 32%), the Department of Agriculture (by 24%), the Department of Education (by 19%), and the Department of Transportation (by 18%). He never cut the budgets for the Departments of Defense, Justice, or State. The GOP has little use for education, so he was an effective proponent for keeping America ignorant enough to vote against their own better interests. His “government IS the problem” mantra went straight down the toilet with his massive escalation of the SIZE of the federal government. The federal debt was $994 billion when he took office in 1981, and grew to $2.9 trillion when his second term ended in 1989. These obvious inconsistencies between conservative philosophy and actual policies are conveniently omitted from right wing historical accounts. Reality has a well known liberal bias as Fox News viewers are reminded constantly.

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With the recent sequestration cuts proposed, Republican Congressional proponents of excessive and wasteful military spending are once again resorting to their fear mongering tactics. Any instrument of destruction, public or private, should have few restrictions according to these misanthropic miscreants. As a party, they’ve been very consistent in assuring our military is far and away the most extravagantly financed force on the planet, even coercing Democrats to fall for their chicken hawkishness. Liberals and Conservatives agree, we are, without a doubt, the greatest military force on earth and few cuts, if any, have been made to the military budgets. (Bush/Cheney did manage to cut the funding on adequate body armor and helmets, but no defense contractors lost a dime).

The irony here is this: Americans know how technologically advanced our military is, yet continue to demand their own personal arsenals to defend themselves from a tyrannical government as if it’s anything but an exercise in futility. So if we try to ban someone’s modified semi-automatic weapon with a high capacity clip, they actually believe they will no longer be able to overtake a Seal Team Six-like force that may descend on their house, after thorough, surreptitious drone surveillance has been conducted? Really?

Maybe video games aren’t as big a problem as Chuck Norris and Die Hard movies are in creating a delusional fantasy culture. Why not? Obviously, man has believed a talking snake, a talking burning bush and a giant boat filled with every species on earth (even those wood eating termites behaved themselves) could co-exist and perpetuate life, so why not make every mullet-sporting vigilante believe he or she is a superhero in their own right?

For years, Republican rule, wrought with incompetent foreign and domestic policy blunders, were never rife with so many who have a fervent need to “take up arms” against our (pre-Maoist) government. Before President Obama, there was an unspoken trust in our government, undeserved as it certainly proved to be. Nonetheless, these Freemen types were largely silent during the Bush years. Rising to a level of prominence not previously seen are these extremist reactionaries like the now remorsefulJames Yeager and the infamous Alex Jones. Yeager had to recant his wild threats: …”and earlier this week I made a pretty inflammatory video. Hindsight being 20-20 I shouldn’t have said some of the things I said, of course. And I just want to reiterate to everyone that it’s not time to shoot anybody.” Sure you don’t, Yeager. You seem like such a stable, sincere guy.

It’s too late for your attorney-coerced apologies I’m afraid. The cat’s out of the bag and your broadcasted instability is merely a glimpse into the larger problem. The proliferation of massive arsenals, ample ammo stashes and the recent calls for armed insurrection validates the thought processes which dominated the Cold War Arms Race. Plotting to “take out” your own democratically elected government is akin to the very treason the Founding Fathers designed the Second Amendment to PREVENT!

Survivalists, doomsday-preppers and street vigilantes are desperately trying to combat an epically well-armed and funded government military. However, this military and the government who manages it has yet to pose any threat remotely resembling Mao, Stalin, Hitler or Chavez. But they’ll do their damnedest to make you believe this convoluted nonsense is the truth.

Pulpit Freedom Sunday Violates Separation of Church And State

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Is there really a separation?

The right to freedom of religion is so central to American democracy that it was enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution along with other fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of the press. We are not supposed to establish a state run church/mosque/synagogue. Period.

In order to protect this vital separation, churches were added to section 501C3 of the tax code in 1954. They could not participate in politics AND enjoy a tax-exempt status. We can thank Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson for that. Johnson was no ally of the church. Senator Johnson had it in mind to silence the church and eliminate the significant influence the church had always had on shaping “public policy.” To ensure equality among religious and non-religious alike, this was as important a legislative act as the Civil Rights Act. He intended to keep religious leaders from directly engaging in our political process from their pulpits.

Unfortunately, the religious right seized their opening to influence policy directly with the Moral Majority. The Reagan Administration ushered in these frightening right wing Christian megalomaniacs who literally took control of his social agenda. They brought us hate mongers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson who had tremendous impact on government who were not paying one red cent in taxes for their opulent and excessive wealth, while imposing their “standards of decency” on the entire nation.

To add a dash of effrontery seldom seen; reverends, pastors and preachers plan on voicing their political opinions this Sunday. This is the impetus for Pulpit Freedom Sunday set to occur nationwide on October 7th. The lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom organization states: “The purpose is to make sure that the pastor -and not the IRS -decides what is said from the pulpit.” – Erik Stanley. It heralds a complete lack of respect for the fundamentals of the United States Government. If you want a voice in the political arena, you must pay your taxes like the rest of us Americans do. That keeps us from becoming a theocracy much like Saudi Arabia. If we don’t keep these zealots in check, that might very well mirror the Religious-Right America of the future.

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The real message this Pulpit Freedom Sunday, October 7th

This is the third annual “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”. Isn’t it odd how this began after the first Black President was elected, as it was not an issue prior to that, apparently? Anyone with their eyes open can see this as just another not-so-thinly veiled display of blatant racism against President Obama. These agents of “god” are planning to videotape their sermons and then mail them to the IRS.

Speaking of racists, the Mormon Church has very publicly funded efforts to define marriage as between one man and one woman by aggressively promoting Proposition 8 legislation. Ironic how they value the “one woman” principle as even today, open polygamist Mormons can be found in rural areas of Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Texas. Willard Romney’s great grandfather, Miles Park Romney had FIVE wives. We’ve obviously not successfully conquered separation of church and state as there’s still under God in our Pledge of Allegiance and In God We Trust on our currency. When a public official is sworn in or one testifies in court, they must place their hand on a book of fiction, the Bible.

I sincerely hope THIS Pulpit Freedom Sunday results in the very warranted taxation of many of these profitable mega churches. Religious institutions certainly have had their fair share of scandals that deem them undeserving of their 501C3 status. In addition to their often deplorable behavior, they seem to favor Draconian Old Testament laws that have no place in modern society. Bigotry and discrimination should not be legislated through the pulpit without payment. Just imagine the funds we could put into educating our children if we taxed the $30 billion in holdings by the LDS Church alone. If only….

If you’d like to help stop this, please sign my petition to eliminate tax-free status given to these hate merchants! Click on this link to add your name! Thank you.

Will Willard Engineer a New Hostage Crisis in 2012?

I feel the need to bring up history to prevent us from repeating horrible mistakes. With Willard Romney, mistakes of monstrous proportions are practically guaranteed. Reagan was inaugurated January 20, 1981, the same day our hostages were released from captivity in Tehran, Iran. The Iranians stormed the embassy 444 days earlier and held the Americans hostage. Coincidentally, they were released the same day Reagan was inaugurated. Coincidence? Hardly. The GOP leaves nothing to chance when they are orchestrating a power grab. They are, if anything, Machiavellian in their strategy. Just look at what Karl Rove has done. This is why we must be diligent in exposing them for their criminality and expect nothing less than the most sinister from the Republicans.

The headlines for the day

It seems William Casey, Reagan’s campaign manager, was quite busy with the Iranians prior to election day, 1980. Along with a carefully constructed campaign to smear Carter as weak combined with overblown gas shortage claims, they were able to pull off a victory that would result in employing Reaganomics, largely responsible for the demise of the middle class. Casey was a ruthless man who would stop at nothing to win. He negotiated with then president Bani-Sadr and finagled a release in exchange for weaponry from Israel. This was his October Surprise . Carter had far too much integrity to exchange human lives for guns and ammo. Reagan’s people in the GOP of course had other ideas.

The Culmination of this treachery was Iran Contra in Reagan’s second term

It is an event well documented by Gary Sick, who was on the staff of the National Security Council under President Carter, and was the principal White House aide for Persian Gulf affairs from 1976 to 1981. He wrote October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan. Since Romney and his GOP are always touting Reagan as practically the standard-bearer for how a president should behave, it is worth bringing up.

Romney seems to be very hawkish about war with Iran, even if he’s never spent one day in the military. In fact we’ve actually asked the very question Elect Romney, Get War in Iran? It seems worth noting this previous event as history does tend to repeat itself. It is entirely possible he and his wealthy minions are negotiating this very minute with Iran to create a manufactured crisis of epic proportions to steal the election in November. After all, he actually believes Reagan was truly responsible for Iran’s cooperation in 1981. He also has no issue with profiting from corporate dealings in Iran. He claims to be religious, but his religion is really money and power disguised as Mormonism. He’ll stop at nothing to rule, no matter what the cost in blood for America.

Romney and his attack dog, Eric Fehrnstrom