Ben Carson’s confirmation as HUD secretary condemned by the Secular Coalition

Image: YouTube/CNN screen capture
Image: YouTube/CNN screen capture

The US Senate voted to confirm Ben Carson as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Thursday morning.

“The Department of Housing and Urban Development is tasked with creating ‘strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all’,” wrote Secular Coalition Executive Director Larry Decker in a statement. “Today the Senate voted to entrust this vital mission to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has repeatedly disparaged LGBT persons, comparing homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia. During his confirmation hearings, Carson characterized LGBT anti-discrimination laws as granting ‘extra rights.’ As the Head of Housing and Urban Development, Carson will be on the frontlines combating the epidemic of LGBT youth homelessness and protecting same-sex couples from housing discrimination. Carson’s confirmation advances a political agenda at the expense of some of our nation’s most vulnerable communities.”

On Facebook, the former surgeon wrote that he viewed his responsibilities as “ensuring that both our physical infrastructure and our spiritual infrastructure is solid.”

He did not go on to explain what he meant by “spiritual infrastructure.” While it’s entirely possible this is simply empty Carson rhetoric, one should also be aware of the previous uses of HUD to push religious agendas.

In 2003, President George W. Bush used HUD to allow taxpayer money to go directly to houses of worship. HUD also allows religiously affiliated organizations to accept federal contracts and grants and discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion with those federal dollars.

Carson has even gone as far to call the HUD communist.

Now with his confirmation, HUD is likely all but destroyed.

[Part of this story have been previously published.]

Arizona school teacher resigns after tweeting that immigrants should be killed

immigrant_tweet

Arizona teacher Bonnie Verne resigned this week from the Pardes Jewish Day School in Scottsdale after suggesting online that immigrants should not be deported but instead killed.

“Why deport? Just kill them,” Verne responded to a tweet by Ann Coulter. “Or we can just put a bullet in their head immediately,” she added.

Her Twitter has since gone private and the tweets deleted, but not before screenshots had been taken.

Verne had worked at the school for 12 years as a third-grade teacher before resigning.

The school said they supported her freedom of expression, however, they felt the comments she made “have no place in our school.”

“[Verne] deeply regrets having in recent days made comments using her personal social media account that were inappropriate, offensive and unbefitting of a Pardes teacher,” a statement from the school reads.

Welcome to Trump’s America.

Let’s see the free speech warriors defend this one.

 

CNN’s Rick Santorum: ‘Millions’ of Americans using pre-existing conditions to scam health care

Image: CNN/YouTube screen capture
Image: CNN/YouTube screen capture

CNN contributor Rick Santorum said Sunday morning that “millions” of Americans are scamming the healthcare system by claiming to have a preexisting condition.

Without data to back up his claim, during a panel discussion, he argued that Republicans must “repeal and replace” The Affordable Care Act because Obama’s provisions had damaged the entire health care industry.

“Pre-existing conditions, though it’s very popular,” the former Republican senator claimed, “what the reality is today that thousands, maybe approaching millions of Americans, are paying nine months for insurance. Why? Because you pay for your insurance for nine months, there’s a provision in Obamacare that says you can’t be thrown off your plan for three months.”

“So, you stop paying in September until the end of the year,” he continued. “You have a right to guaranteed [coverage for] preexisting conditions. You can buy a new plan in January. So people are paying nine months for 12 months of care. And it’s happening more and more and more as people get the gig.”

“Obamacare is a failure! But you’re going to need 60 votes to change preexisting conditions and other things to make the system work. And that’s the problem of repeal and replacing is you can’t do it because it’s a broken system.”

This argument, made with the same baseless assertion Republicans use for welfare fraud comes at a high cost to those whose lives were saved by the ACA.

Because of the risk of someone committing fraud, Santorum and others in the Republican Party are willing to throw out cancer patients, and others living currently or with chronic illness.

After the GOP destroys the ACA there is little doubt many with pre-existing will be tossed out of their health care plans and have a hard time finding new ones, at an affordable price, willing to take them on.

The reality is, the GOP plan to destroy the ACA is a death sentence to many.

Kentucky official: Ark Encounter is not living up to economic promises

Image: Ken Ham / YouTube screen capture
Image: Ken Ham / YouTube screen capture

Kentucky’s Grant County Judge-Executive Steve Wood said during a recent budget meeting that Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is great but that it hasn’t “brought us any money.”

Last year, the mayor of Williamstown made this same complaint.

Only 600 people showed up to the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday for the attraction’s new exhibit, “Why the Bible is True.”

Ham still believes the park is going to hit the 1.4 to 2.2 million visitor goal by the end of the year saying they are “getting so many calls a day that they can’t keep up with it.”

However, even if the park does hit its goal, Grant Co. is still suffering.

The county is on the brink of bankruptcy and many had hoped that the Ark Encounter would help boost the local economy.

The truth is, it hasn’t. Ham had promised hotels would come to the region, major chain restaurants, and more.

None of this has happened.

The county is now looking at passing a 2% payroll tax on all county workers to help balance the budget.

Wood said he believed the park could help them.

“I was one of those believers that once the Ark was here everything was going to come in. But it’s not done it. It’s not done it. I think the Ark’s done well and I’m glad for them on that. But it’s not done us good at all.”

The county gave Ham a $74 million land grant for the park and it appears they won’t get anything in return.

Ham sold them a great lie like he does his followers. Unfortunately, it will be the citizens of Grant Co. who suffer while Ham counts his cash.

Nazi Richard Spencer kicked out of CPAC conference, called ‘anti-Semite’ and ‘racist’

Image: YouTube screen capture / ABC News Australia
Image: YouTube screen capture / ABC News Australia

There is a certain sense of irony to this, but CPAC officials have escorted alt-right Nazi Richard Spencer out of the annual conference citing his political views.

Dan Schneider called the alt-right “a sinister organization that is trying to worm its way into our ranks”.

“They are anti-Semites. They are racists,” he said.

In a speech at the convention, Schneider said, “They are not an extension of conservatism. They are nothing but garden-variety, left-wing fascists.”

The left-wing comment is a head scratcher. It’s almost as though he is borrowing from the classical liberal playbook by blaming all the world’s problems on the left.

For whatever reason he said that, he couldn’t be more wrong.

Yet it is ironic that the blatantly racist, homophobic, transphobic, Muslimphobic conference finds Spencer’s views too extreme. Apart from actually using Nazi symbolism, CPAC speakers and Spencer are hard to tell apart.

Earlier in the day, Spencer said he felt welcomed at the conference, joking no one had punched him in the face.

A California City Council voted to impeach President Donald Trump

Image: Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons
Image: Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

The City of Richmond, California’s City Council has voted in favor of asking Congress to impeach President Donald Trump.

They are the first city in the nation to do so.

It is certainly rare for a City Council to make such an act, but it seems desperate times call for desperate measures.

“Unfortunately with this president it’s oddly appropriate,” said Richmond City Councilmember Jael Myrick.

“This is our voice,” added Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin who proposed the resolution. “This is our country. We have a right to speak up.”

Only one resident spoke out against the resolution, claiming the council doesn’t “have a voice,” but he was thrown out of the meeting after swearing at the council members.

“Actually you don’t have a voice because the GOP controls Congress and you people are stupid enough to think Congress will impeach Trump,” said Richmond resident Mark Wassberg.

While he may be right, Congress is unlikely to impeach Trump while the GOP holds control, he is clearly wrong that the American people don’t have a voice.

I personally find it refreshing that politicians are willing to take a stand like this.

Stop praising atheist NH lawmaker Brandon Phinney – he’s super racist

A lot has been written on Patheos this week about NH lawmaker Brandon Phinney.

Phinney is being praised for writing this in the local paper:

In an age of information, scientific progress and exploration and the understanding of the workings of our world, it is difficult and to be frank, rather foolish, to hold onto archaic beliefs that deny reality.

That sounds like a guy on our team and a Republican! Wow, you don’t see that every day. Until you learn more about him and realize he is also a mega-racist.

Now, many of you may not know this, but I grew up in Rochester, NH, the same city Phinney is in. While I am a bit older, he knows my brother.

Late last year, I engaged in a conversation with Phinney on my brother’s Facebook wall.

The topic was part political commentary, part trolling on my brother’s behalf, yet the topic took off and white people, as they usually are, got offended when they had to check their privilege.

Phinney though, felt white people are the real victims here and referred numerous times to people of color as the real racists.

You can see the conversation here, though Phinney, once someone mentioned that he was running for office deleted his comments.

I did grab this screenshot:

Photo Feb 21, 9 42 44 PM

Now, I understand this isn’t the most compelling evidence of racism. Phinney was smart to delete all of his comments quickly (or at least block me so I can’t see them), but the point here isn’t to start a witch hunt against him.

I simply want atheists to stop praising him for being an atheist. He’s also a terrible human being. We don’t praise Nazi Richard Spencer for being an atheist, and we shouldn’t praise Phinney either.

He has no business being an elected official with his racist views, yet, at the very least, we can cancel this assholes 15-min and send him and his backwoods ideals back where they belong.

Milo Yiannopoulos resigns from Breitbart upsetting free speech dogmatists

Image: YouTube screen capture
Image: YouTube screen capture
Alt-right nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos announced Tuesday afternoon that he is resigning from Breitbart, the all but state-run media site responsible for attacking people of color, the LGBTQ community, and women’s rights.

Make no mistake, this is a huge victory against neo-fascism and hate speech.

Over the weekend, video resurfaced showing Milo advocating for the molestation of children during a 2015 interview with Joe Rogan.

Before quitting the outlet, Milo also lost his speaking invitation from CPAC and then lost his book deal with Simon and Schuster.

CPAC, S&S, and much of the media was willing to sit by and rocket Milo to fame while he harassed transgender students, advocating for the doxxing of immigrants, and organized targeted harassment of people of color. It was only after the video resurfaced that he faced actual backlash for his views.

However, it seems that conservatives and even liberals who hold dogmatic views of free speech are still rushing to Milo’s defense, showing us that not even protecting children from rape is important enough to stand up against monsters.

One atheist philosopher, Russel Blackford attacked Simon & Schuster for canceling Milo’s book deal over “an unpopular opinion.”

Yes, these pseudo-liberals (or as they call themselves, classical liberals) view child rape as an “unpopular opinion,” and one that should not result in ending your career.

Yet watch these same individuals hold all Catholics accountable for child rape by priests, or demand all Muslims denounce Muhammad for his 9-year-old bride.

Classical liberalism is hypocritical in every way. They defend Milo’s comments about pedophilia but don’t apply it to worldviews they don’t agree with. They argue for a marketplace of ideas, but when their ideas lose, they cry foul.

Free speech, they argue, is more important than anything else, and apparently, that includes child safety and the rights of minority groups to live in peace.

But let’s make something clear.

Milo has no right to publish a book with S&S and if they for any reason feel he is damaging to their brand (and as a two-time published author, I 100% guarantee it’s in his contract) they can cancel the deal.

Milo has no right to CPAC’s stage. They can disinvite him all they want, it’s their conference.

Milo resigned from Breitbart, but watching these classical liberals and conservatives blame the left is priceless.

And lastly, Milo has no right to any stage. He is and will continue to be deplatformed by the left. His message if of hate and causes serious, real life harm to people lives. The left is doing the country a service by taking a stand.

Milo is getting everything he deserves and like clockwork, these free speech warriors are coming to his defense because they can’t stand to see one of their own take a hit. They are bending over backward to string Milo’s backlash into some leftist conspiracy theory.

Yet, they need to take one second and think about their worldview if it requires them to defend the advocacy of pedophilia and the constant harassment of marginalized groups.

Unfortunately, their dogmatism to this cause is as deep as the most fundamental religious fanatic.

Trump administration is set to rescind transgender student protections

photo credit: Donald Trump via photopin (license)
photo credit: Donald Trump via photopin (license)

According to a source close to the White House, the Trump administration is set Tuesday to rescind Obama-era protections for transgender students barring discrimination and ensuring they have access to the restroom that matches their gender identity.

“This is the first day of the president’s second month in office and he is now fully coming after LGBT people,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “I’m angry; I’m outraged. This is about kids who just want to go to school who just want to be themselves, and to hear the president a week or two ago talk about how supportive he is of LGBT people, it’s just outrageous that he go after trans kids this way.”

According to The Pride LA:

Jointly issued in May under the Obama administration by the Justice Department and Education Department, the guidance asserts that denying transgender students access to the restroom in accordance with their gender identity violates the prohibition on sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Under Trump’s administration, such discrimination will be legal and schools will be able to force students to use bathrooms that match their birth certificates rather than their own gender identity.

This will put millions of students across the nation at risk of abuse and harassment.

More than 800 parents of transgender students along with numerous pro-LGBTQ groups sent letters to the Department of Education and the administration pleading to keep the guidelines in place. Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joined the parents and groups calling the coming decision “deeply disappointing.”

If there is any good news from this it is that pro-LGBTQ advocates say this won’t actually remove the right’s of transgender students, saying students can still sue the school and school district if they are discriminated against because they believe Title IX still applies, regardless of the president’s order.