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18 February 2012 – “This morning, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding a hearing titled ‘Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?’ The topic, as you might guess, is the recent administration decision to mandate birth control coverage.

As you might not guess, the first panel of witnesses doesn’t include a single woman. The five-person, all-male panel consists of a Roman Catholic Bishop, a Lutheran Reverend, a rabbi and two professors.

Democrats on the panel were told they were allowed only one witness. They selected a young female Georgetown student, Sandra Fluke, who was going to discuss about the repercussions of losing contraceptive coverage. But Representative Darrell Issa, the chairman, rejected her as ‘not qualified.’”

This comes from a news article posted on the website for The Nation magazine, thenation.com.  My first issue with this, not the primary, but first, is that the Republicans were allowed to pad their line-up with as many witnesses as they want, allowing their opposition to have one.  On top of it, they kicked her out for not being “qualified.”    I’ll let that slide for now.  For now.

My second issue is with their argument regarding this trampling the Freedom of Religion.  The last I knew, this freedom applied to citizens of the United States to practice their own faith as they wished without fear of persecution.  Using logic, this means that any person who consciously objected to birth control for religious reasons would not be forced to go onto birth control.  It does not mean that the religious edifices get to play policy-maker.  They are being told they have to offer it; no one is telling the Catholics, and Jews, and Lutherans, or anyone else that they HAVE to take birth control.  They do, however, have to offer it.

Their stance is that it goes against their moral edicts.  That’s fine, but churches and temples had already been exempted from this; it is now being debated as it applies to religious-run organizations like Catholic schools, hospitals, and the like.  There is no question in my mind: you have to offer it.  You have more than just Catholics, or just Jews, or just Lutherans, ad nauseum, working for you who may not object to it they way you do.  And you are taking them from their right to choose.  This makes you the oppressor.

There was a comment made by Bishop William E. Lori of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that this ruling would be comparable with a ruling that would mandate kosher delicatessens to serve pork.  Not only is this terrible logic, it also isn’t even relevant.  Comparing the consumption of a food to a medical compound that many women depend on just to function thanks to horrible menstrual cycles is stupid.  Plain stupid.  What is being discussed here is the requirement of contraception being offered, not the forced intake of contraception.  Again, freedom to practice religion, not freedom to have religion dictate policy.

One of the things desired when the new nation was formed was a relief from theocracy, that is, the rule of religion over governmental decisions.  This would come to be called the Separation of Church and State.  It was also enacted so that no Governmental body could dictate the edicts of religions.  This legislation regarding health care in no way states that the religions must accept it as a new doctrine in their church.  It does, however, require that they offer it to employees of religion-sponsored secular organizations and businesses.  They are still free to admonish the use of contraceptives and to reject it, but they must offer it.  The churches seem to forget that many people that may work for them may not share their sentiments.  They also seem to forget all too quickly that in many cases, their own followers strenuously disagree with their edicts.

Many women need birth control for a number of reasons: prevention of ovarian and endometrial cancer menstrual and pre-menstrual symptom relief (migraines, sometimes crippling, cramps, etc.), endometriosis relief, polycystic ovarian syndrome relief.  Every one of these is a serious medical issue that can be prevented, alleviate, or avoided by contraceptive use.  I know of one woman who, if she did not take her birth control regularly, experiences migraines so bad that she must take a heavy narcotic in order to function in any way.  And functioning on a heavy narcotic is not functioning at all.

These men want to take that option away from women that are employed by them, or even from women MARRIED TO MEN WHO ARE EMPLOYED BY THEM because they feel that contraceptives are morally wrong.  They exist only to allow us to copulate like bunnies without responsibility for our actions.  Well, let me say this: if you were doing your job as a moral authority, and teaching your lessons in accessible ways, you wouldn’t have to worry about that, would you?

No, it isn’t acceptable, and I won’t stand for it.  Hell, I’m a man and I find this horribly offensive.  Who’s with me?

You all have heard me before, going on and on about how we’ve gone wrong in this country.  Ad nauseum, you have sat through me bitching and moaning about how far off the reservation we’ve collectively gone.  I have been ranting for years now about how much the American population, as a whole, sucks.  Well, not tonight.

Tonight I target our leaders.

I recently listened to a podcast by one of my favorite comedians, Christopher Titus, entitled “The Armageddon Update.”  In this podcast, episode 21, Titus refers to our two presiding parties as the Republitards and Democreeps.  But Erik, I hear you say, using the appellation –tard isn’t very PC.  If you really thought that, you should leave this blog right now.  No Political Correctness here; you either laugh or you cry, it’s up to you.

But I got to realizing that there are two pretty accurate terms.  Our capital is just shit-full of tards and creeps.  And I don’t mean people that are saddled with mental retardation through a birth defect; those people would never do the kind of crap these idiots pull off.  To wit: raising the debt cap with the current budget.

Folks, we all have to live within a budget, as citizens, and as businesses.  Witness the recent woes of one of my former employers, Borders.  They spent far too much more than they were taking in; bankruptcy was inevitable.  Not only did they spend more than they took in, their debt from doing so was so large that no one wanted to buy them out recently, and now they get to go away because of it.

But not our government.  Oh, no; they just go about raising the upper limit of the amount they can go into debt.  Does anyone else see the foolishness in this?  Seriously, do any of you?  This is like being with ten bucks of hitting the credit limit on your credit card and the owning company calling you up and saying, “Hey, Mr. Consumer, we notice you are about out of credit.  How about another grand on top of that?”

Oh wait, they did that.  Remember?  It’s one of the things that have drawn us into the swirling spiral around the toilet bowl of our economy.  Yes, I said it; our economy is quite metaphorically in the shitter.  We can’t keep doing this.  Our government needs to learn what the rest of us have had to learn: cut back.

And before you go all whiny on me, I am not talking about cutting civil programs like Social Security and such.  I am, however, talking about taking a scalpel and surgically removing the cancerous spending that our government is guilty of.  When your income is cut because of losing a job or getting your hours cut, the rest of America gets to go from Angus steak to tube steak, and going from Chilean Sea Bass to chili and smallmouth bass.  You see, all of these assjacks have forgotten something that bespeaks wisdom: You are accountable when you represent people.

And it’s our fault.  We have not held them accountable.

Yup, I said it: it is our fault.  Period.  We let them get this way by electing them, re-electing them, and supporting them.  We kept going out in support of them, even though they kept on lying to us, time and time and time again.  And they have grown fat and sassy on the sweat of our backs and brows.  They now believe themselves unassailable, comfortable in the hands of the government they corrupted to serve their own interests, instead of the interests of our country.  And in the progress, the corruption has spread like a damned plague to ourselves.

I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I can see the problems.  And so can all of you.  You know you can; we see it every day.  The fearmongers on MSNBC and FoxNews and CNN and the Evening News portray the worst of all news.  MSNBC and FoxNews are no more news organizations than this blog is.  I don’t pretend to report the news.  I am just an editorialist, the same as all of them.  They don’t give us the news; they give us the news with their own agenda and spin on it.  And it’s bullshit.  And yet they tout themselves as “fair and balanced.”  I call bullshit on that!

And we, the public, are the ones encouraging them!  Seriously!  We keep watching the crap day in and day out.  We don’t do our own thinking or research on issues; we invite Mr. Beck, Mr. Olbermann, and worse to spin an opinion for us.  We can’t be bothered to form our opinions.  We empower them and enable them.  We swallow it, hook, line and sinker.  And the more we listen, the lazier we get, and the more we beg for it.  We really have become complacent livestock, waiting to be slaughtered to feed the herders we put in charge of ourselves.

Welcome to the New World!

Well, I don’t want any of it.  I am sick of being a mushroom.  I am not a Liberal or a Conservative; I am not a Republican or a Democrat (or, more accurately, Republitard or Democreep).  I am not Left or Right.  I am just an American, plain and simple.  I am not picking one side or the other because they are both so blind and stupid, I would rather not dumb myself down to that level.  Either of the sides of the road are full of maniacs and morons.  Me?  I’ll pick the middle of the road.  Sure, greater chance to get hit by a maniac or a moron, but the options and the view are so much better.

Who’s with me?