google-site-verification: google897c12f22f315892.html Steveso Thinks: February 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Republican Ship of Fools

The election has been over for four months now and the American people have spoken by electing Barack Obama for a second term. End of story? Not quite. There is something about the democratic process of electing a president to run the country that the Republicans don't quite get.

The Republicans have decided to say to hell with the American electorate. They have decided that Obama may have been reelected, but they are not going to let him govern. In Obama's first term the Republicans in Congress did everything in their power to assure the President could get nothing done. Even despite this he passed Obamacare, which gave health care to millions of Americans who could not afford it before.  This really upset the rich rightwingers who were dead sure Obama would never serve a second term, especially when he ran against the best rich White man the GOP could offer. Well they were wrong. We had to listen to conspiracy theories, birther nonsense and bigoted hateful rhetoric for four years and now the racist Republican Right are at it again.

Many Americans actually thought that when Obama soundly defeated the GOP's best hope, Mitt Romney, the Republicans would come to their senses, see the hand writing on the wall and allow the President to govern, for the good of the country. It's only been a little more than a month and the same old bitter, senile white men of the GOP are at it again. Leading the charge is not a knight in shining armor atop a white steed, but the bitter, old washed up sore loser of a candidate Sen. John McCain. Yup he lost to Obama the first time around and instead of blaming Sarah Palin and his own ineptness, he blames Obama and the Democrats. Because Obama won again the Republicans are blaming minorities and immigrants this time around. McCain is on a bitter revengeful attack on Obama, the Democrats and in reality the American people. McCain is leading the fight against the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. Even though Hagel is a Republican, McCain and other GOP conservative crackpots are trying to derail his nomination. The reason why is because Hagel was not nice to former President Bush in his war on Iraq. Hagel opposed Bush on many points during the Iraq War, as well as he should. Hagel was acting as an American, with the welfare of American soldiers taking precedence over towing the party line. In an interview with the broadcast arm of the GOP, Fox News, McCain told host Neil Cavuto "But to be honest with you, Neil, it goes back to there's a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly and say he was the worst President since Herbert Hoover and said the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which was nonsense. He was anti-his own party and people don't forget that. You can disagree but if you are disagreeable people don't forget that." In other words McCain opposes Hagel for telling the truth and putting his country before his party.

Now McCain is putting forth his own conspiracy theory surrounding the terrorist attack on Benghazi last year. He is accusing Obama of a coverup. I guess he forgot about all of the WMD's and the other blatant lies Bush and his cronies fed the American people so that he could invade Iraq to vindicate his father's mistakes during the first Gulf War. John it is time to retire and sit on your front porch and remember when you really meant something to some people, instead of being remembered as a bitter, senile, old fool who puts party before country.

Beside McCain, another out of touch has been has put his two cents in. Good old irrelevant Newt Gingrich has joined the attack on Obama. In an interview on ABC's This Week on Sunday, Gingrich said that "Republicans are likely to oppose any immigration reform proposal introduced by President Obama because they personally dislike the Commander-in-Chief." At least Gingrich is one person in the GOP who is telling the truth about why his fellow Republicans are acting like a bunch of selfish spoiled brats. Millions of immigrants and potential immigrants will be held in limbo because the GOP doesn't like the President! The American people deserve a government better than the ship of fools the Republicans are sailing right now. At this point I would ordinarily tell people to write their congressmen to demand that they do the job for which they were elected, but it is painfully obvious that Republicans only care about their seat, their party, their revenge and maintaining the good old white boy network.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Pope Resigns

Yesterday Pope Benedict XVI resigned, effective February 28th. The world, in particular the Roman Catholic world, was shocked. For me, raised a Catholic I was a bit surprised, but not really shocked. In a way I sort of suspected he would step aside some day.  Lately whenever he was seen in public he appeared to be in pain or a bit out of it, and moved about with great difficulty.

I commend him for having the common sense to resign before he became totally senile or incapacitated. I never really cared for this Pope. I was raised to believe that the Pope was infallible and could do no wrong, but as I matured and took off the blinders that a Catholic grammar and high school education, forced upon me, I saw differently. I now view the Pope as just a political or power figure in a church obsessed with power. Benedict's resignation is the first since the Middle Ages and to me this is rather appropriate as he was still living in the Middle Ages.

The Church has never been know for it's tolerance or it's acceptance of the obvious. It took a along time for the popes to recognize that the earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around. The Church was responsible for the deaths of entire races of indigenous peoples in the Americas. During the atrocities of Nazi Germany the Pope looked the other way. During the AIDS crisis and even now the Church forbade the use of condoms, a proven way to stop the spread of AIDS. In impoverished countries of the world, where the human population is exploding and people are starving to death, the Church insists that Catholics in these countries not use any kind of birth control, other than the rhythm method. They show a lack of real understanding of the problem of overpopulation, while holding on to outdated traditions and teachings.

During the recent sex abuse scandals the Church tried to cover it up and it is widely believed that Benedict XVI was involved in that cover up. There have been scandals involving the Vatican bank and even the possible murder or Pope John Paul I, which will never be totally explained due to the extreme secrecy of the Vatican. The Catholic Church has become more of a an institution of wealth and power than a religion. The Church is far from being a democratic organization, with powerful members of the College of Cardinals deciding what is an article of faith and what is not. Even the actual books in the Bible, were decided upon by those church officials in power during the early years of the Church. The celibacy of the clergy is not a written law, but a tradition. For centuries the popes have been married and fathered many children. During the Middle Ages, the election of the Pope had more to do with wealth and political power than it did with faith and religion. The entire history of the Church is filled with hypocrisy.

With a history of married popes, with wives and children and even gay popes, such as Pope Leo X and Pope Julius III, how can the Church tell others how to live their lives? The Church has no right to instruct others regarding birth control or to pass judgement on divorce, gay marriage or even married priests. We are not living in the Middle Ages any more and the Church is no longer a part of a feudal system. The Church needs to wake up and modernize in this 21st century or it will continue to lose members. With the election of a new Pope soon the Church will have a chance to stop the downward spiral in it's membership and influence, especially in Europe and North America. I highly doubt this will happen as the majority of the conservative Cardinals will assure that the Church will remain in the past and will remain irrelevant to modern day Catholics.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Are the Boy Scouts Still Relevant?

Today the Boy Scouts of America delayed a decision on whether or not they should ease their policies regarding gay scouts and scout masters. In 2000 The US Supreme Court, in a suit against the BSA, allowed the Boy Scouts to legally exclude gays from their membership. Since then the Boy Scouts have lost a great deal of money from corporate sponsors, whose own non-discrimination guidelines, were in conflict with the Boy Scouts discrimination against gays. Because membership in the scouts took a nose dive, the leadership of the Scouts has been toying with the idea of leaving the decision to accept or reject gays, up to the local chapters, instead of declaring one way or another on the national level.

Once again the religious right is leading the fight to force the Boy Scouts to continue to reject gays from membership, espousing their own core Christian values of racism, bigotry and hate.

I was a Boy Scout and I must say that I never knew anyone in the organization, who was gay. Hell at that time I didn't even know what a gay was. Years later I realized that people I had known in the scouts were gay. They turned out to be decent, upstanding members of the community. I don't think I learned anything worth while by being a member of the Scouts. I was a member of a scout troop that was sponsored by a Catholic church and I can remember that the other troops in town were sponsored by other religious denominations. I don't believe that anyone in my troop or anyone else I knew in any of the other troops viewed any experiences we had as being a moral lesson. The members of my troop, as well as other troops, I was aware of , were all friends of the sons of the scout masters. Basically the scout leaders were only there because their sons were in the troops. Many times, after the boys left the troop, so did their fathers.
We did not have any racial minorities in my troop and I don't believe there were any in any of the other troops in my city. One thing that I was aware of was that the church sponsored troops only had members from that church. I do remember at Camporees and other gatherings of many troops, there was some animosity between Catholics and the Protestant  church sponsored troops. The animosity didn't involve scout to scout, but scoutmaster to scouts. The adults discriminated, and presumably tried to teach those values to the boys. Whenever I recited the Scout Oath or the Scout Laws I didn't give the meaning of what I was saying a second thought. They were just a bunch of words to me and I am quite sure that many other Boy Scouts felt the same. I enjoyed dressing up in a uniform and going camping and I could care less about anything else. I didn't even know what morally straight meant and I still don't know it is supposed to mean, except maybe that only straight people have morals.

Since the Supreme Court's decision to allow the Boy
Scouts to discriminate against gays, I have not contributed to the United Way, as they financially support the Boy Scouts. To me that would be the same as contributing to organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan , Neo-Nazi groups or other white supremacist groups. It was not that long ago that the Boy Scouts excluded Blacks. The boy Scout organization in the US differs from the organizations in Canada and Europe in that it does not allow gays in any position. I personally feel that the Boy Scouts of America are irrelevant in today's world. They have evolved into a right wing religious organization that serves the purpose of the hatred and bigotry of the adults involved. The US condemns madrasa's of the Islamic faith where hatred and bigotry directed to non believers is taught, but at the same time it supports the Boy Scout's right to teach our youth hatred and bigotry towards gays. If the BSA wishes to continue with their present policies, it is their right to do so, but not with government support or any support from the public. If they contend that allowing gays to be members is a violation of their religious beliefs, then they should be considered a religious institution. The next step is to take away their tax exempt status, along with that same status for all religious organizations.

It is time for the Boy Scouts of America to evolve into an inclusive group dedicated to ALL youths of this country, just as the Girl Scouts did. If they don't, then some other organization dedicated to helping youth become all they can become should be given assistance to increase their memberships. As far as I can see the Boys and Girls Clubs have been doing a far better job than the Boy Scouts. BSA be prepared to change or become a dinosaur.

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