Fetuses for Ba’al!

The stele of Baal with Thunderbolt found in the ruins of Ugarit.

Mark “can’t be too lurid” Taylor, self-styled prophet, is at it again. How does this man manage to do anything like eat? He never shuts up. This time, it’s Baal (Ba’al). Well, Ba’al and people who believe in bodily autonomy and reproductive choice. On to the lurid idiocy!

After repeating his prophecy that God is going to supernaturally remove five Supreme Court justices so that President Trump can replace them and overturn Roe v. Wade, Taylor warned viewers not to be fooled by those who claim they support a woman’s right to choose.

“People have to realize the strongman over America is Baal,” he said. “Baal is a very violent entity, he is the second in Satan’s triune, he is the second in command, he is the counterfeit Christ. It feeds off the blood of the innocent, which is the aborted babies. This is why Baal is the strongman, because the aborted babies are the food source that is empowering Baal.”

Sigh. What a fucktonne of nonsense. In the first place, Ba’al is a placeholder, much like god, in this case, meaning Lord. The actual god was Hadad, a storm and weather god. Things changed over the years, and Ba’al became the name rather than the epithet. Ba’al is mentioned in the bible, more than once, as a rival god to young Yahweh/Jehovah. Ba’al’s worshipers got right up Jehovah’s nose, and he called for them all to be slaughtered, more than once. Ba’al never had anything to do with Lucifer, or his triune, whatever that might comprise. Lucifer wasn’t the convenient fall guy of Ba’al. Different gods, Mr. Taylor. Try reading something, like, oh, the bible. Now, Ba’al is a fertility god, with a particular enmity toward snakes, so I think if he was going to feast on blood, it would most likely be snakes or the local river god. Ba’al was also the patron of sailors and sea going merchants. Not such a bad god. He certainly didn’t hate his worshipers and everyone else like Jehovah. Oh yes, Ba’al’s conflict with Yammu is now generally regarded as the prototype of the vision recorded in the 7th chapter of the Biblical Book of Daniel. Yet another god the bible writers happily thieved.

I’m pretty sure that medical waste incinerators are not made in the form of Ba’al, with all medical personnel and people who are pro-choice suddenly Ba’al worshipers.

Taylor said that “if you’re listening to these politicians and they’re telling you, ‘Oh, we’re pro-choice, it’s all about a woman’s right to choose, it’s all about women’s health,’ you’re being duped, you’re being lied to.”

“They don’t care anything about you,” he said. “All they want from you, as a woman, is to be a breeder for that food source, for you to abort that baby to feed their god called Baal. They don’t care anything about your right to choose, they don’t care anything about your health, all they want is that baby aborted as a sacrifice because every time you abort a baby, it’s a sacrifice to their god called Baal.”

Oh. Apparently, Mr. Taylor does think we’re all worshipers of Ba’al. Well, there are worse gods, to be sure. Topping the list would be that psychopathic monster Mr. Taylor worships, who has a most serious problem with women, along with his followers. Terminating a pregnancy is about not breeding, Mr. Taylor. You want women to be forced to breed and birth, with nary a thought for any woman’s health or welfare, and we all know you couldn’t give a shit about the children, either.

Via RWW.

The Intertwining of Trees and Crime.

Screencapture.

There’s been some very interesting research happening in Chicago, and it turns out that trees reduce crime. I don’t find this surprising at all, but I’m a “must be attached to the land” person. When your environment is bleak and desolate, you end up with bleak, desolate, desperate people. We need to be aware of our earth, we need to be connected to our planet. In urban environments, the best way to restore that connection is with trees. Yes, they are a long-term investment, but that’s good, because it means people are thinking the right way, generations ahead of themselves.

In June, the Chicago Regional Tree Initiative and Morton Arboretum released what they say is the most comprehensive tree canopy data set of any region in the U.S., covering 284 municipalities in the Chicago area. Now, that data is helping neighborhoods improve their environments and assist their communities.

“When we go to talk to communities,” says Lydia Scott, director of the CRTI, “We say ‘trees reduce crime.’ And then they go, ‘Explain to me how that could possibly be, because that’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard.’”

In Chicago, where more than 2,000 people have been shot this year, scientists are looking at physical features of neighborhoods for solutions. “We started to look at where we have heavy crime, and whether there was a correlation with tree canopy, and often, there is,” says Scott. “Communities that have higher tree population have lower crime. Areas where trees are prevalent, people tend to be outside, mingling, enjoying their community.”

The map revealed that poorer neighborhoods are often “tree deserts,” areas with little or no tree canopy. Trees reduce flooding, improve property values, prevent heat islands, promote feelings of safety, reduce mortality, and provide other significant social and health benefits. This means that when you live in, for example, the South Side, where trees are scarcer, you lose more than just green leaves overhead.

Never before have researchers been able to look so widely and deeply at this sort of data. The map is huge—it covers seven counties—and extremely detailed. That has allowed Scott and her colleagues to notice some startling patterns. For example, in the North Shore community—an affluent, lakeside, suburban area—canopy cover tends to be 40 percent or higher. On the economically depressed South Side, canopy can be as low as 7 percent.

That last is no surprise, either. As it goes with people, the poorer you are, the less of everything you get, including trees. There’s much more to the article, all the research, how it was conducted, and information about Blacks in Green, who are doing stellar work. Click on over to Atlas Obscura for the full story. Then see if you could help plant a tree. Or just hug one.

Oh There’s Crazy Alright.

Donny Trump: “The Senate must go to a 51 vote majority instead of current 60 votes. Even parts of full Repeal need 60. 8 Dems control Senate. Crazy!

The only thing crazy here is just how utterly ignorant the Tiny Idiot Tyrant happens to be. The Senate doesn’t work that way. The Murica Excuse for Healthcare crashed and burned, in large part due to some republicans getting a half ounce of sense, and fearing for their careers in the face of constituent anger. Not that there’s reason to be happy here, there isn’t. Yes, action by people forced this travesty to be trashed, but there won’t be any replacement which is remotely workable, which is not what the rethugs ever wanted anyway. They’re simply appalled by the idea of healthcare, and don’t want there to be any at all, and that’s exactly what they are going to do, repeal, make some noises about replace later, and drop it like a radioactive potato.

Some reading:

Trump reacts to Trumpcare failure by revealing he has no clue about Senate rules.

Repeal and delay is back, and even worse than Trumpcare: The CBO estimates that if Congress repeals Obamacare, 18 million would lose coverage next year alone.

Trump vows to let ACA fail.

The Twitterati respond to Trump’s most impressive failure.

Sunday Facepalm.

Healthcare? Who needs it, anyway? Jim Garlow thinks he has a most cunning plan – tax people, hand the money to churches, and they will do the healthcare! See, all taken care of, no problems.

According to Garlow, any government healthcare program is “doomed to fail” because the Constitution lists the “enumerated powers of what the government is allowed to do and can do, and one of them is not healthcare.” Instead, Garlow argued, the government ought to defer to the church on this issue because God “has already designed a format” for properly providing healthcare to a nation.

The “format” for healthcare that Garlow proposed has three tiers: the “government of personal responsibility, government of the family, and government of the church,” notably excluding “the civil government,” which he said has no role in providing healthcare.

Personal responsibility: not a government. Family: not a government. Church: not a government. The health of citizens is something every right thinking government tackles, because only idiots think that having citizens in poor health is a dandy idea.

“First of all,” Garlow argued, healthcare is “my own personal responsibility: I have to make decisions for my health. If I am not exercising properly, this is a terrible confession to make, if I am not properly exercising right now like I should, then I have to get that corrected it or I will pay a high price for it.”

Sure, we all have to try and do sensible things, but whether or not we do those sensible things, we should still have the right of healthcare. As much as idiots like yourself love to think that every little thing can be handled by exercise and diet, that’s not so. You can be the most conscientious person on the planet and still be slammed with any number of diseases. Then there are accidents. All the diets in the world won’t fix a broken back, or any other broken bits. Exercise and diet don’t confer immunity, and they don’t make you unbreakable. A lot of people will still have to deal with health issues in spite of doing all the healthy things – dropping all salt from your diet will certainly help on the high blood pressure front, but it won’t magically make it go away. Some people never exercise a day in their life and still live half of forever, and healthily and happily so. Other people can exercise every single day of their lives and still get nailed by one health problem after another. Some people can only take exercise if it’s a certain kind, and well regulated for their health concerns, such as people with asthma. And so on. It’s not a matter of “easy peasy, do this, and you’ll be fine.”

The next safety net should be the “family unit,” Garlow reasoned, because “I can take care of my children much better than Donald Trump can. He’s a good man, but he can’t take care of my kids.”

Fuck you and your “family unit”. You don’t think I’m a “family unit” because I don’t have children. You don’t think of queer people as a “family unit” whether they have children or not. And so on. Trump is not a good person, in any sense. This isn’t about someone waltzing in and doing a spot of babysitting, you dimwitted arsepimple. Lots of people, in spite of working their asses off, are stuck in a poverty loop, which requires correction from the ground up. That doesn’t get better because assholes like you want to sermonize about how they aren’t working hard enough. People should not have to deal with high rates of crime. People should not have to worry about every idiot in the country walking about waving guns. People should not have to deal with food deserts. People should be able to access and afford healthy foods. People should have the time to cook it. People should have the right to a good education for all. People should have a right to comprehensive healthcare.

The final resource for those in need of healthcare, Garlow suggested, ought to be the church because Christians are already commanded to care for the poor and the widows and the orphans: “If the church were freed up from the encroachment and the severe over-regulation in our culture and the severe over-taxation of our culture, the church could resume what it did very successfully” throughout history.

Really. Gosh, I don’t see armies of christians out in the streets, ministering to widows, orphans, or anyone else. Funny thing about healthcare, that comes with requirements. Being an asshole christian does not enable you to provide healthcare of any kind. “Encroachment and severe over regulation”? Of what fucking kind? Severe over taxation? :Snort: Churches are already tax exempt. That’s not even taxation, you dipshit, and you’re the one proposing taxing the populace at large so you can fill your fucking coffers even more. I note you don’t specify which churches. That one ought to lead to internecine fighting for the next several decades.

Garlow insisted that “the best medical care and welfare benefits can be done by the church” and should be funded through a “once every three years, ten-percent taxation on people” that would allocate money to “the faith communities.” According to Garlow, allowing the church to provide healthcare would “get rid of the freeloaders that abuse welfare.”

Ah. So you admit this isn’t about healthcare at all. You just don’t want any social safety nets for anyone, unless such things are in the hands of parsimonious christians with judgments trembling on their pursed lips.

In the anticipation that some might object to his unconstitutional conflation of church and state, Garlow insisted that his plan actually puts the church and state “in their proper lanes.”

The “church” can stay in it’s pitted backroad, where it can continue to be an obstacle to all progress, while it’s left behind by everything in the “proper lanes”.

Via RWW.

Sunday Facepalm.

In the coming days, 100 US Senators will be delivered an important package. But this delivery won’t be a simple note from one of their constituents. Within days, every single US Senator will be delivered Baby Hope, a twelve-week old baby, with a personal message from her to defund Planned Parenthood and redirect tax payer dollars to community health centers.

[…]

Here is the letter to every US Senator from Baby Hope:

Dear Senator,
My name is Baby Hope. I’m only 12 weeks old, but I want to live. Sadly, there is a high likelihood I will be killed by Planned Parenthood before I ever get a chance to be born. Even worse, Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider that kills 900 preborn babies like me each day, would get paid by American taxpayers to kill me.

However, you can stop Planned Parenthood from killing me and many others. Here’s how: Vote for a health care bill that will not subsidize abortion and will redirect abortion giant Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding to community health centers.

For my sake and hundreds like me, I beg you to refuse to fund abortion and Planned Parenthood in the health care bill.

Please protect me.

Sincerely,

Baby Hope

Dear anti-autonomy asshole christians,

It would be ever so nice if you all would get one tiny fact into your malnourished, underused brains: no federal or taxpayer monies go towards terminations. Please repeat that to yourselves as many times as necessary for it to penetrate those pea brains. Federal monies go to womens’ health, as in breast exams and other cancer prevention, among other things.

As for Baby Hope, please shove her where the sun don’t shine. What women do in regard to their own bodies is none of your business, and trying to remove one of the only sources of healthcare for women is not helping them. Nor are your “community health centers” or your “women’s clinics”. Your personal hatred of women is your business, of course, however, your thirst to see it translated into an increasing amount of women dead, along with a higher number of children born into dire circumstance needs to stop. Learn to mind your own damn business, and try something different, like looking after children who are bereft of care. There are plenty of them. There are also many children in this country who go without adequate food every day. That situation could use more attention. Women do not need you fucking assholes constantly attempting to control every aspect of their lives. You could always turn to advocating for comprehensive sexual education, accessible, affordable birth control, and more education for girls. Those are all proven methods in reducing abortions.

As always, since you find women being allowed full human rights and control over their own bodies so terribly distressing, I give you my constant suggestion: leave it up to that piece of shit god of yours. You’re the ones who think he’s so great and mighty and all that. Seems to me you must be pretty damn sure there’s no such god at all, else you’d be happy to put it all in his hands, no?

Via ChristianNewsWire.

A Request For Horror Stories Leads To Love Stories.

Screenshot.

The Indiana Republican Party had the bright idea to set up their FB to ask constituents for their ACA horror stories, but it backfired most spectacularly. There was plenty of horror, but it was splattered all over those rethuglicans who though they were being so clever.

The Indiana Republican Party has requested that the state’s constituents share their “horror stories” with ObamaCare, the Indianapolis Star reported Tuesday.

“What’s your Obamacare horror story? Let us know,” the GOP party wrote in a Facebook post as it sought to collect negative stories about the Affordable Care Act, such as higher premiums or insurance companies leaving the market.

Many of the people respondents, however, flooded them with stories about how the healthcare law has positively affected their lives.

“My sister finally has access to affordable quality care and treatment for her diabetes,” one person wrote, according to the news outlet.

“My father’s small business was able to insure its employees for the first time ever. #thanksObama,” another said.

Another person claimed that “the only horror in the story is that Republicans might take it away.”

Rethugs should seriously give up on the trying to be clever business, it never works out. The Hill has the story.

In yet an even more embarrassing move by the GOP geniuses, they decided to tweet out what they thought were cutting remarks and questions to assorted democrats, asking them where their healthcare plan was. In this effort, they included the Clintons, neither of whom hold office at the moment. I would have thought that much hadn’t escaped them. Naturally, the Twitterati have been merciless, if more than a bit exasperated. Raw Story has the full story and assorted tweets.

The Death of Medicaid.

Al Franken at The BookExpo2017 in New York City, 6/1/17. CREDIT: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx.

Getting back to the Fuck You Care Plan, which gets worse at every small reveal. The denials over medicaid come in fast and furious, from evasive denials to outright lies, but the bottom line is quite simple: money will go into select filthy rich pockets; medicaid will be dead in few short years.

The bill would in fact massively cut Medicaid, threatening to completely phase out the program as we currently know it. The legislation would roll back Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, starting in four short years. It would also make deeper cuts to Medicaid by placing “per capita caps” on the program such that states will receive only a set amount of money for each recipient, no matter how much their care actually costs.

Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicaid in the Obama administration, said on Twitter that “the main event in the Senate bill is the destruction of Medicaid,” characterizing it as “far, far worse than even the House bill.” And the House bill, as scored by the Congressional Budget Office, would leave 23 million more people without coverage.

But Trump administration officials presented alternative facts on Sunday.

Full story here.

Monday morning on MSNBC, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) countered Roy’s argument. He noted that the tax cuts that Trumpcare would deliver to the richest 400 taxpayers would pay for 750,000 people to be on Medicaid. Franken didn’t rely on a single study but cited the more comprehensive analysis of recent research on Medicaid published in NEJM. These researchers found that for every 750,000 people who lose Medicaid coverage, 1,000 to 2,000 people would die.

Franken actually understates the case. The NEJM cited a recent study estimating that Medicaid expansion has saved one life for every 239 to 319 people covered. That means enrolling 750,000 people in Medicaid could actually save 2,300 to 3,100 lives.

Full story here.

Sunday Facepalm.

Robert Oscar Lopez truly hates Sylvia Plath and The Bell Jar. It’s symptomatic of every wrong thing in the world! Mr. Lopez has a rather stunningly long screed revolving around Plath, one which would take a very long time to fisk completely, so I’ll focus on some choice parts here and there, but the whole rancid rant is worth looking at, if you’re looking for a heap of rotten reasoning to start out your day, or round off your evening. One thing I’m not going to focus on, so I’ll give a quick mention here – Mr. Lopez just can’t resist bringing up Ms. Plath’s suicide, done while her children were in the house. “That evil slut, endangering babies!” Mr. Lopez brings that up every moment he can, a reminder that Ms. Plath’s life truly was worthless, but she’s gonna burn in hell for committing the sin of self murder. Naturally, while running down Ms. Plath’s book, Mr. Lopez not so slyly inserts an a plug, here, there, and everywhere, for his book, with the charming title of  “Wackos Thugs & Perverts: Clintonian Decadence in Academia”.  A bit of advice, Mr. Lopez – learn about commas. I’ll assume you didn’t have an editor who might have pointed out the benefit of such learning.

Okay, where to start? Hmmmm.

Next comes dysfunction, as people start basing their life decisions on their confused notions: for example, they decide to spend their twenties not on courtship but on working long hours and trying to publish bad novels, because their muddled judgment has told them life will be totally happy if they never get married or start a family (and if they change their mind in, say, their fifties, anybody can start a family with egg donors, surrogate wombs, and sperm donors.) Because of such poor judgment, they do self-defeating things like hang all their hopes for self-worth on getting a literary agent. They look for emotional closeness from co-workers and a shrink who charges $200 an hour to do what a husband would have done for free: nod, listen, and say, “yes, you’re so right.” (The difference is that a husband will also provide some good old-fashioned lovemaking—and babies!)

You give yourself away, Mr. Lopez. This isn’t about young people being twisted about by academia; it’s about women. Women who don’t do the right thing by eschewing education, allowing themselves to be married off at a young age, and burying themselves under the weight of their uterus. So, all the young men automatically get a pass in your twisted view? How about all the young men who aspire to be authors, and work on writing rather than courting? How about all the young men who decide babies aren’t for them? I guess everything is okay if you have a penis, right? After all, in your black and white world, the only thing required to fix up a wayward penis is a good woman, yeah?

As for a husband being as good or better than a therapist, I get the idea you have rose coloured telescopes glued to your eyes. Many marriages are good, but many more or not. Marriage is not a panacea, nor is it for everyone.

Next comes anxiety, as people immersed in this blurry world of nonsensical values find their waking hours plagued with stress, doubt, uneasiness, worry, fear, and of course blind rage. Having mismanaged and sabotaged the most important relationships around them, they cling foolishly to people who hate them. They spurn people who would love them. As they realize that they’ve made bad decisions, they start racking themselves and doubling down, excoriating themselves for not doing enough of the confused decision-making that got them there in the first place. “Maybe I shouldn’t have broken down and put up a profile on OKCupid! Maybe I just need to sign up for more writing workshops run by arrogant lechers who tell long-winded stories about how they got their novel published in 1982! Maybe I should try harder to be like Diane Chambers in Cheers.”

Umm, quick question, Mr. Lopez – what decade is this? I ask because I’m not so sure you’ve made it into the current century with the rest of us. As much as it would suit your purpose, relationships do not fit neatly into a little box, same size for everyone. It’s not up to you to say that all these relationships are automagically good, and all those are automagically bad. For all your bloviating over what you seem to think comprises academia, you could have done with a bit more of it in your life, Mr. Lopez, your writing leaves much to be desired. Your writing skills are on par with mine, which is in no way a compliment.

Finally arrives ignorance, the all-encompassing state in which this tragic process culminates and to which, like the Via Appia pointing to Rome, all of the bad thinking leads. Confusion has made knowledge unattainable, while dysfunction has made it impossible for the victim of this rhythm to discipline their lives for true study and actual learning. In a crippling state of anxiety, the mind is unable to focus. The ultimate result is the lack of any perspective and inability to gain it. Life becomes nothing but outbursts, reactions to provocations, obsessions, and increasingly violent ideations. Ignorance is not bliss. It is deadly.

Oh gods, your writing, painful it is. A lack of perspective is a common trait of being young. When you’re young, you live very much in the present. Generally speaking, we naked apes aren’t great at the whole long-term thinking/planning business. Experiences eventually pile up, allowing for perspective and introspection, you just have to give people a bit of time. It all works out. As for ignorance, well, ignorance is often innocent and correctable. Smug, willful ignorance, yes, that’s dangerous, and ugly, like the shined up shit you’re peddling, Mr. Lopez.

Never forget that Sylvia Plath, after writing about the tragically disoriented and suicidal Esther Greenwood, stuck her head in a gas oven and endangered the lives of her small children.

Yes, yes. Your obsession with Ms. Plath is bit off, y’know. What about all the generations of young people since Ms. Plath? Nothing to say about them? All the kids who got their education and made their way through life, many of them authors, many of them raising kids of their own? The silence is deafening.

To liberals, despite all their trucks with ideologically driven Black Panthers and ACTUP and pink pussy hats, Sylvia Plath epitomizes what they stand for: embittered observations about how annoying the world is, total inability to suggest anything better, sarcasm, whining, mental illness, self-absorbed neurosis, and suicidal politics with zero regard for what they do to children. The proliferation of talk therapy options, psychotropic drugs, and self-help books (including a boom in Christian sects structured around “healing” and “pastoral care for the whole person”) seems to have had no impact on the main problem facing the American left: They are profoundly spoiled, unhappy, and destructive.

I don’t have any problems suggesting better, Mr. Lopez, and neither do most of the people I know. America does not comprise the world, and there are many fine examples in the world of people getting it right. We often point out these real world examples, only to have people like yourself scream “commie socialists!” and run away. I’ll take a guess on the ‘suicidal politics’ business – that’s about women having bodily autonomy, right? A very simple phrase takes care of that one, Mr. Lopez: what I do in regard to my health is none of your fucking business, full stop.

There are countless reasons to express alarm about the left of today. My book’s title was intentionally provocative: Wackos Thugs & Perverts, to encapsulate the trivium of nihilistic tendencies that predominate in academia. You have wackos peddling wildly implausible theories about the world as if they are unquestionably smart. You have thugs on all levels, from the party racketeers who move trillions of dollars in tax-free holdings and student loans for worthless degrees, to the angry youths shattering windows and tweeting vile insults at people in the name of causes they barely understand. And at last you have the perverts who have declared war on every form of bodily dignity, striving to force their pornographic imagination into every nook and cranny of society.

Oh yes, there are whackos peddling wildly implausible theories, like Alex Jones, Lance Wallnau, Dave Daubenmire, all of Fox News, and so on. You’ve gotten your directions a bit mixed up there. Oh yes, there are thugs, monied criminals fucking everyone over for the sake of their pockets. There’s one sitting in the white house right now. At the moment, Mr. Lopez, hate crimes are spiking, and they aren’t being committed by those on the left side of life. Tweeting “vile insults” is bad? Perhaps you can manage to shut Trump the fuck up. It’s not those interested in social justice and human rights who constantly have their noses stuck in everyone else’s crotches, Mr. Lopez. That would be christians and conservatives. Perhaps if you managed to come up for air now and then, you’d see that those crotches are attached to actual human beings who deserve all human rights.

But there is room for compassion if we understand that the left is defined not by its politics but rather by its mental illness. They live in bell jars that they cannot understand or trace back to any clear person to blame. Thus they find wild monsters hidden behind everything that provokes them. They think Donald Trump wants to rape them and Mike Pence want to electrocute them to make them heterosexual. They think Vladimir Putin caused Hillary Clinton to lose an election. They think the Koch Brothers plot to sell them into slavery and Steve Scalise is a white supremacist.

Oh for fuck’s sake. You’re going to float away on that cloud of smug arrogance, Mr. Lopez. I don’t think Trump wants to rape me. Trump has a clear history of sexual assault, and has been accused of rape. Trump has admitted to committing sexual assault, and you think that should be ignored. Nice. Pence is a believer is corrective ‘therapy’ when it comes to gay people. That’s some very nasty shit right there. Perhaps you should learn about it. Maybe you’d be happy living in a theocracy, Mr. Lopez, I wouldn’t. It’s more than obvious by now that yes, there was interference in the election, there’s evidence to that effect. Of course, idiots such as yourself don’t care for evidence, do they? I think everyone would be better off if the Koch brothers simply went off and played with their money and left politics alone. A good many politicians are white supremacists, and quite open about it, look at Steve King, defender of all white supremacy.

This just goes on and on, and I’m stopping here. If you want to read the whole mess, here you go.

America: Draconian, Backwards, Doomed.

Shutterstock.

America, the experiment, is one that will fail. And no, this isn’t yet another report about the disastrous regime, which is simply yet another symptom of the failure in progress. It doesn’t matter that there a few states sprinkled here and there that you could consider progressive and social minded. The majority of states are not those things. A whole hell of a lot of people aren’t those things. Christianity is the biggest obstacle to social progress, morality, and humaneness. And no, I don’t give a shit if you’re a progressive, social minded christian. Until I see all of you busy, active, protesting, and lobbying against all the asshole christians, I don’t care what you say in private. Whatever you’re doing, it isn’t enough.

The insistence on puritanism rooted in misogyny is one big reason this lost country will continue to slide inexorably downwards. Too many Americans seem to think of the country as a church, and they should have the right to oppress and stomp all over certain people. Missouri is providing a fine example of this in action:

Missouri’s Senate is considering legislation that would allow employers and landlords to discriminate against women who use birth control or have had abortions. The bill, which has the support of the state’s governor, Eric Greitens, was approved by the Missouri House Tuesday.

Known as SB 5, the bill was first passed by the Senate on June 14 following a special session called by Greitens. His aim was to overturn an ordinance that prevents employers and housing providers from punishing women for their reproductive health choices, according to a report by Feministing, a feminist website.

The ordinance was passed by the city of St. Louis, and Greitens had said it made the area into “an abortion sanctuary city.” The Senate seemed to agree with him, as did the House, which on Tuesday passed an expanded version of SB 5 that included more anti-abortion restrictions. Given the Senate’s vote on June 14, it it seen as likely to approve the updated version of SB 5. This would mean that landlords could refuse to offer housing to women based on their reproductive health choices, while employers could fire female staff members who were using birth control, or refuse to hire them. And while of course this isn’t information most landlords or employers have access to, under SB 5 they could ask women what forms of reproductive health care they are using.

Yes, of course women could lie; that’s not the point though, is it? The mere fact that anyone could be given the authority to question you on your contraception use* or specific bits of your medical history ought to scare the living hell out of everyone, it should not be something enshrined in law, to say the least. Can you imagine anything of this kind of thing being applied and passed in regard to men?

* Not that most women will be able to afford contraception in the near future.

Full story here.

When Words Come Back To Bite Your Ass.

In this photo taken April 21, 2010, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, speaks about financial reform at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. In a letter circulated by Hatch Thursday, March 3, 2011. CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak.

With all the secrecy and other slimy moves in the ramming through of the Fuck You Care Plan, an interesting op-ed has surfaced, from Orrin Hatch. It certainly highlights the ongoing hypocrisy of rethuglicans, and why you can never trust anything they might say, and certainly not what they might do.

In short, in less than a week, Senate Republicans are considering ramming through a major piece of legislation that the public has not seen and will not be able to respond to, and they’re using a method specifically designed to circumvent any mechanism the Constitution allows the Senate’s minority party to stop it.

But don’t take it from me: Take it from Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who agitated fiercely against the Senate Democrats’ rumored plan to pass Obamacare through reconciliation in 2010.

“This use of reconciliation to jam through this legislation, against the will of the American people, would be unprecedented in scope,” Hatch wrote in a 2010 Washington Post op-ed titled “Reconciliation on health care would be an assault to the democratic process.” “And the havoc wrought would threaten our system of checks and balances, corrode the legislative process, degrade our system of government and damage the prospects of bipartisanship.”

In the op-ed, Hatch details exactly how reconciliation allows a majority party to abuse parliamentary power, and why it’s inappropriate for health care. “It sharply limits debate and amendments to a mere 20 hours and would allow passage with only 51 votes (as opposed to the 60 needed to overcome a procedural hurdle),” he wrote. “But the Constitution intends the opposite process, especially for a bill that would affect one-sixth of the American economy.”

Now, of course, Hatch is all for the terrible process, and defends the secrecy on the basis it won’t give democrats a chance to criticise, because as we all now know, criticism is just the worst thing ever.

According to Hatch, holding public hearings on Senate Republicans’ Obamacare replacement plan would be useless, because those hearings would only give Democrats opportunity for criticism.

“We have zero cooperation from the Democrats,” he told reporters. “So getting it in public gives them a chance to get up and scream.”

When it was Obamacare on the table, Hatch was a staunch proponent of bipartisanship, arguing in an open letter to Obama that “our nation expects us to solve this challenge in an open, honest and bipartisan manner.” He added that “the American people deserve an open and vigorous dialogue on this critical legislation and the use of this process would be a clear signal that Washington continues to ignore their voices.”

Think Progress has the full embarrassing story. Well, it would be embarrassing to anyone except a rethuglican.

Media, Oh Media, Wherefore Art Thou?

CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

The Senate secrecy over the Fuck You Care Plan is working, and like a dream. It’s not being covered, anywhere, by anyone. Granted, there’s not a whole lot of story there, but media has no business ignoring it to the point that it seems it’s not a reality. If anything, media should be pounding on this, hard. If there’s a case of the death of democracy, it’s right there.

The informal July 4 deadline Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has set for Senate Republicans to pass a health care bill that could strip coverage from 23 million Americans is rapidly approaching — but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the front page of major newspapers across the country on Monday.

National outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post featured no front-page coverage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), also known as Trumpcare, which is being secretly written by an all-male group of senators. The lack of attention being paid to the bill indicates McConnell’s strategy of avoiding publicity by drafting the bill behind closed doors, holding no hearings, and unveiling the bill’s text at the last possible minute is paying dividends.

[…]

People who consume their news online also didn’t see any coverage on major outlets’ homepages Monday morning.

Trumpcare has also been a blip on the TV news radar. According to an analysis by Media Matters looking at coverage from June 1 through June 14, the bill has received scant mention on broadcast and cable news, with Republican secrecy surrounding the bill barely even being mentioned.

There’s a reason Republicans want to Trumpcare on the down low — even Fox News is unable to spin the unpopularity of the bill, which is essentially a tax cut for the rich masquerading as health care reform.

[…]

Progressive senators are trying to make the media take notice. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Republican committee chairs with jurisdiction over Trumpcare requesting that they “schedule hearings to discuss, debate and hear testimony about the health care bill you are currently drafting in secret.”

The letter, which goes on to list each of the 31 rooms where a hearing could be held, says the millions of American who would be negatively impacted by Trumpcare “deserve an open and public debate over the bill.”

“The American Health Care Act would fundamentally redefine health care in our country,” it concludes. “To draft it behind closed doors and pass it without even one hearing is nothing short of legislative malpractice and a repudiation of all the Senate stands for.”

So…how about it, media? Can we get a little bit of outrage over this travesty? A little bit of attention? Think Progress has the full story, along with many images showing the complete lack of coverage.

BIEM.

Courtesy of BIEM.

BIEM is a new sexual health app, designed to help de-stigmatize testing, and make communicating results with partners easier, too.

With the goal of removing stigmas and empowering a new generation to take action, Biem is offering the world’s first virtual sexual health clinic. The app, which launched today, allows users to discreetly talk one-on-one with sexual healthcare providers, get tested right at home, receive results directly to their phones and effortlessly share the information with sexual partners.

Bryan Stacy, Biem’s founder and CEO, created the mobile app’s concept after he was diagnosed with Chlamydia and testicular cancer at once.

“I realized that the worst part of the entire experience was the two-month period before I was diagnosed—the time during which I felt something was wrong, but rationalized it away,” says Bryan about the motivation for developing Biem. “I knew I had to eliminate the barriers that keep people in this damaging loop.”

Notably, Biem doesn’t require a subscription and complies with all medical regulations. The app’s judgement-free, information-forward experience requires a video chat with one of Biem’s healthcare providers prior to getting tested, and costs $45 for each session. Once complete, users will get tested through one of the app’s lab partners hosted throughout the United States. If users prefer being tested at home, there’s an additional $45 fee.

As STD rates in the U.S. rapidly rise, Biem hopes to address the national epidemic with a platform that eliminates “the awkwardness, shame and inconvenience that prevents people from getting tested and talking to their sexual partners about health and STDs.” Unlike other online heath clickbait, which often employs fear mongering tactics, Biem is an LGBTQ-friendly alternative that merges convenience with personalized care.

Courtesy of BIEM.

Via Out. You can download BIEM here.