The crazies have come to town and have been running the roost in the US Congress with the business community standing by, while doing little to reign in these tea party republicans. Finally they took a stance this past week by voicing their objections to the Indiana supposed  “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” When the Governor Mike Pence of Indiana signed this legislation and with Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, poised to sign similar legislation, it was big business along with LGBT activists and the media exposure which turned the tide. The RFRA had originally been written to be discriminatory towards the LGBT community but both state legislators were pressured to rewrite this law to protect their rights (week of 4/1/15).

Yes, the law, as originally drafted, was intended to be discriminatory against the LGBT community. This law was written with input from a Christian conservative lobbying group, Advance America. Here are excerpts from their blog:

“Religious Freedom is in danger in Indiana!”

“On Thursday, April 2nd, the Indiana Senate and Indiana House of Representatives will be voting to destroy the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed earlier by the General Assembly(Click Here) to see the Press Release issued earlier.”

“Senate Bill 50 is the legislation the Senate and House will be voting on that has been written in secret and behind closed doors! The citizens of Indiana have not had the chance to see and or comment on it! There has not been one public hearing!”

“Among the things that will happen, Christian bakers, florists and photographers would now be forced by the government to participate in a homosexual wedding or else they would be punished by the government! That’s not right!”

“Urgent Action Required!”

“Please call and email your State Senator and State Representative by noon on Thursday, April 2nd with the following message: “Please vote against Senate Bill 50 which would take away religious freedom for Hoosier businesses they have now.”

85 dysfunctional congress

I have been wondering when big business would finally flex their power against the tea party, extreme right who have become so intransigent, inflexible and dogmatic in so many ways that are counter to their interests. For example, the right’s insistence in denying the existence of climate change despite the preponderance of scientific evidence harms some major businesses such as property and casualty insurance companies. Most business entities would benefit if the US infrastructure was being updated to compete with the rest of the world. The inability of the US Congress to deal with immigration reform, is a real thorn in the side of the business world. For years, I read about how employee medical insurance benefits were becoming too expensive and now Obama Care has slowed down the rate of  medical insurance cost increases to the lowest percentage in over 50 years. While some in business may find fault with Obama Care, lets get real. The republican party while under the stranglehold of this tea party, far right group were not going to offer an alternative.

Here is what Robert Pear wrote in a 12/3/14 NY Times article:

” Spending on health care in the United States grew in 2013 at the lowest rate since the federal government began tracking it in 1960, the Obama administration said Wednesday.”

“It was the fifth straight year of exceptionally small increases in the closely watched indicator. The data defied critics who had said such slow growth would not continue for long once the recession ended in mid-2009.”


139067_600 tea party burialThe question is why do even moderate republicans keep pandering to the evangelical Christian supporters? Let me make this clear! When ever you read about religious freedom type laws; laws limiting public access to reproductive medical care services including abortion; anti same sex marriage laws, the republican legislators are catering to the demands of the evangelical voters.

There is a 11/5/14 Huffington Post report which explains well why republicans keep trying to please/ appease the evangelical base. Here are some excerpts from the article, “Midterm Elections 2014: White Evangelicals Helped Tip The Scales For the GOP” by Carol Kuruvilla:

“White Evangelicals turned up at the polls in large numbers on Tuesday, playing a key role placing Congress in the hands of the Republican Party.”

“Evangelicals tend to be more enthusiastic than other groups about the midterm elections, according to polling data from  Reuters/ Ipsos.”  Election Day 2014 was no different, with exit polls showing that Protestants and other non-Catholic Christians made up about half of the electorate and tended to cast their votes in favor of the GOP by about 60 percent.”

“More specifically, 26 percent of voters self-identified as white evangelical or born-again Christian. Of that group, 78 percent voted for Republican candidates.”

0401toonwasserman BIGOT REPUBLICAN

In highly contested races in the Southern states of Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina, exit polling shows that white evangelicals showed up to vote in high percentages, according to Religion Dispatches.”

“In Arkansas, for example, 52 percent of the electorate was composed of self-identified white evangelicals or born-again Christians. About 73 percent voted for Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, which helped unseat two-term Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor.”

“Conservative voters of faith were the largest constituency in the electorate in 2014,” Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, said in a statement. “Their share of the electorate exceeded that of the African-American vote, Hispanic vote, and union vote combined. Religious conservative voters and the issues they care about are here to stay. They will be equally vital in 2016. Politicians of both parties ignore this constituency at their peril.”

“The religious landscape of Tuesday’s elections was largely similar to the last midterm election in 2010 and to the 2012 presidential election, according to Religion News Service blogger Mark Silk.”

“About 71 percent of white Protestants and 59 percent of white Catholics voted Republican, according to exit polls. Individuals who attended religious services regularly were also more likely to vote Republican.”

“In other election news, Alabama voters showed overwhelming support (by about 72 percent) for an amendment to the state constitution that prevents foreign law from being applied in state courts, reported, The amendment follows previous election-year efforts in other states to ban Islamic sharia law.”

The 4/1/15 Washington Post Opinion by James Downie reports the following:

“It would be easy to think, given how quickly Pence and Hutchinson folded, that they were worried about voter backlash. And it’s true that the media are portraying this debate as effectively over, as something Republicans want to avoid. But even in national polls, 40 per cent of Americans still oppose gay marriage; the numbers are higher in both of those states. Fifty percent still think businesses should be able to reject gay customers on religious grounds; it’s a safe guess that that number is higher in Indiana and Arkansas. Yes, those numbers will continue to decrease, but for now, there’s no electoral reason for Pence, Hutchinson et al. to fold. By comparison, 92 percent of voters want stricter background checks on guns, and we’re still waiting for those.”

“The electorate was divided on abortion-related ballot initiatives, according to the Religious News Service. Voters in Colorado and North Dakota rejected proposals to grant rights of personhood to fetuses. Pro-choice advocates feared that such initiatives would have banned abortions. Tennessee voters decided to add an amendment to the state constitution that would give state lawmakers more power to regulate abortions.”

Dear Big Business,  if you would like to see moderate, sensible, well qualified and competent legislators in Congress, you need to support legislation that places state gerrymandering districts in the hands of an above board, non partisan, non elected body of competent of individuals. There is available, sophisticated software that can divide the districts to reflect better the will of the people. In short, if 60% of the state population is republican, then the gerrymandered districts should reflect this. Of course, the opposite is true. In too many states, this is not the case because the parties in power are drawing the voter maps to favor themselves. This is why there are inflexible ideologues in Congress with a disproportional amount of power.

Dear 2016 potential voter, every vote does count! You have the power to overcome huge money donations from special interests, big money lobbying campaigns, tea party, right wing extremists with your vote. Take time now to do whatever you need to do to be able to vote during the 2016 elections. You do make a difference and so, do not let apathy overtake your thinking. YOU GET WHAT YOU VOTE FOR!


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