Weekend Update 04-21-2012

Europe’s Economic Suicide. Of course, Europe’s political insanity is replicated in spades in the current GOP here. They essentially want to inflict similar policies on our own country. They’ve already limited our recovery and in response to a crash in Europe as countries exit the euro, I can see them trying to double down here. It’s bizarre, really, watching people do everything they can to recreate one of the worst periods in our history.

Richard Beck posts on the loving economy of the Kingdom of God as the antidote to our slavery to the fear of death.

To Know What You Cannot Know. Fr. Stephen Freeman writes an excellent post on the topic. I love the quote from St. Gregory the Theologian. “Inasmuch as God exists, we do not exist. Inasmuch as we exist, God does not exist.”

Skin in the Game. Of course, the full scope of this GOP lie is so staggering it’s amazing that anyone buys it. Moreover, especially in the South, many of those people on whom they want to raise federal taxes and who are presently struggling to survive will actually vote for the very people who want to grind them further into the dirt. The lower half of the households in our country are barely getting by and have very little disposable income. Out of what they do have, they pay an ever increasing and highly regressive set of state and local taxes, including sales taxes, fees, property taxes (either directly or through rent), and tolls. Moreover, unlike the very rich, they pay federal payroll taxes (FICA and Medicare) on all their income, not just a tiny fraction of it. This approach isn’t even good for the very rich in the long run since much of their wealth relies on the ability of the bulk of Americans to contribute to the economy and our society. It’s weird. Democrats struggle to gain support for things that are clearly in the interest of everyone and our entire society, such as health care reform while the GOP manages to get a large block of people to consistently vote to support corporations and the wealthiest Americans against their own self-interest. I really have no idea how they manage to do it.

Contrary to the blurbs I’m sure you’ve seen, cohabitation does not lead to more divorce. The data on which those claims are made is from couple cohabiting in the 80s when it was somewhat less common. Current data shows no measurable impact on likelihood of divorce. That doesn’t surprise me at all. In my world, as opposed to the one in which some people seem to live, I know relatively few people who did not cohabit to one degree or another before they were married. Doesn’t mean I recommend it as a first choice to my kids, but it also doesn’t freak me out when they choose otherwise.

Another conservative constitutional scholar joins the long list of conservative lawyers, professors, and judges supporting the constitutionality of the ACA. Sigh. It’s a shame we’re stuck with one of the worst Supreme Courts in a century.

Not even doctors are “safe” in our existing, unreformed health care “system”.

So, the US Catholic Bishops can at least be pushed into a tepid response against things like the Ryan budget, even if their response lacks the vigor of their reaction over the requirement to provide not actual contraceptives, but insurances policies to their employees (except for those serving in purely religious functions or organizations) that include contraceptive coverage. I’m glad they didn’t remain silent on things that really matter, but remain underwhelmed. I am curious, though, since he’s not only rejected their stance, but basically called them liars, will the Catholic bishops now deny communion to Ryan? Or are those threats only reserved for Democrats who don’t agree with them (and who don’t, I’ll note, call them liars)? Frankly, the USCCB, which used to be respected even by non-Catholics has pretty much lost our respect with all the events from the past decade and more. And I don’t see them doing anything to regain it.

Things like this effort to cut $33 billion in food stamps by the mostly millionaire GOP Congressman make me furious. They live lives of privilege and want to grind down those who are suffering. I have been poor enough to need food stamps (long ago as a teen parent). When you are so poor that sometimes you go hungry in order to feed your kids (or even too poor to feed them enough) you understand poverty. Everyone of them should be forced to live and eat off nothing but the allowance they make for the poor while serving in office. While you can’t truly make someone wealthy and privileged poor, they should at least have some taste of it.

I’ve known a goodly number of nuns in my life. Good luck “correcting” them.

Personally, I have absolutely no confidence in the five radical right-wing justices forming the majority on our Supreme Court. Citizens United and a host of other cases have already clearly illustrated they have no respect for either the Constitution or judicial precedent. But this article outlines the chaos and harm to our country and our citizens they will inflict if they rule as many expect them to rule.

Robert Reich connects the dots to show the big picture. It’s a good short video.

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Dogboy and Mr. Dan on freedom Supreme Court style! Including freedom  from … health insurance!

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