Archive for the ‘poverty’ Category

voting-republican-1Most everyone agrees that the Republican party and their policies favor the wealthy.  In fact, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll showed that 70 percent of all Americans believe that the policies of the congressional Republicans favor the rich, at the expense of the poor and middle class.  Two-thirds of Americans disapprove of tax cuts for millionaires and corporations.  In 2012, Obama’s “Buffet Rule,” which would place a minimum tax rate of 30% on millionaires received only one Republican vote in Senate, while most Americans (72%) supported the bill.

The question:  If so many people believe that a particular political party has only the best interests of a small elite in mind, why do so many still continue to vote for them?  Why do working class, low and middle income families continue to support a party that gives little to no benefit to them, and in fact, whose policies continue to harm them?

It makes economic sense for the wealthiest Americans to vote for the Republican party because they want to protect their own private finances without giving others the chance for more upward mobility. What makes people scratch their heads is the idea of a working class person, who earns $50,000 a year, voting for a party that continues to give tax breaks to the wealthy and pays for it by cutting the programs that benefit lower and middle class income families.

Wayne Flynt has written about why Americans often vote against their best interests in his book “Poor but Proud.”romney_bumper_sticker

“It’s because preachers tell them that the Democratic Party is a godless party, and because the rich (the owners of FOX News) tell them that the Republican Party is God’s party.”  

Dr. Flynt points out that in many southern states, Evangelical Christians make up the majority of the voters, most of them Republican.

With the recent insurgence of the Tea Party movement into the national Republican party, Christianity has made its way into secular society. Today, more than ever before, religion has found its way out of the home and church and into the political process, a place where religion was never intended to be when our founding fathers crafted the United States constitution.  And what conservative Christianity has emphasized more and more over the past few decades, over justice, over equality, over speaking out against oppression, over attending to the needs of the “least among us,” is sex (abortion, homosexuality, birth control, etc.).

“If you are a truck diver, a plumber, an electrician or a steel worker and you live in Alabama, and you are surrounded by conservative Christians, you figure that everybody thinks the way you do…and you vote Republican, because you’ve been told that that’s the “right” way for Christians to vote, that it is God’s Party because it is the “moral party,” regardless of how the Republican Party hurts you, your family and your community.”

“When conservatives leave church on Sunday, they go home and turn on the TV to Fox News, or set the radio dial to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Michael Savage – and, of course, those programs are owned by rich Republicans, and their message is loud and clear:  ‘Vote Republican…it’s God’s party.'”

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By Stephen Foster, Jr.

sex-edLong one of the most conservative states  in the nation, Oklahoma is one state that has steadfastly refused to implement comprehensive sex education that includes contraception. Instead, Republicans in the state have advocated for abstinence-only plans that have been proven not to work time and time again. And because of that epic failure, one school district is defying the GOP.

In a move that is certain to draw the ire of the Christian Right, the Tulsa Public School district is ditching abstinence-only programs and will begin teaching comprehensive sex education to 7th, 9th, and 11th grade. And why is Tulsa doing this, you ask? Because abstinence-only is a total failure that has resulted in the state having the fourth highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, resulting in nearly half of all impregnated teens not graduating from high school. This, in turn, hurts Tulsa and the state because these young women don’t have the education they need to get good paying jobs which causes a higher need for welfare.

According to the Tax Foundation, Oklahoma ranks 15th in the nation in the amount of federal dollars it receives compares to what it pays in taxes. For every dollar Oklahoma sends to Washington DC in taxes, the red state gets $1.36. That makes Oklahoma a welfare state, and it only gets worse as more teenagers are forced to drop out of school because of an unwanted pregnancy. Meanwhile, Oklahoma has spent millions on abstinence-only programs over the years. Such programs have failed miserably and only contribute to Oklahoma’s status as a welfare state.

Tulsa Public Schools spokesman Steve Mayfield told Tulsa’s Channel 9 News:

Forty-four percent of students who become pregnant or who are married at that age fail to graduate from high school, and that’s something that affects them for the rest of their life.

Many of these teens end up being single mothers who lack the resources and education to get a well-paying job that helps them sexedu2raise their child. About a quarter of young unmarried mothers end up in poverty, and poverty is itself a cause of teen pregnancy. It’s a vicious cycle that Republicans don’t seem to care about. But educators in Tulsa seek to end it by actually teaching sex education that really does work.

Oklahoma Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy Director Kim Schultz concurs with Mayfield and applauds the district’s switch.

We really view the teen pregnancy prevention program as a drop out prevention program,” Schulzt said. “This is really going to help students stay in school, finish school, go onto college, get good jobs, make Tulsa a better place to live. I think, ignoring the issue is something we don’t have the luxury of doing any longer.

When he spoke to the Tulsa World, Mayfield said that as far as he knows, Oklahoma schools have always taught abstinence-only and have never taught students how to properly protect themselves from HIV, STDs, or unwanted pregnancies.

I can’t remember it ever being a topic in TPS – even embedded in a biology class or something before,” Mayfield said. “I’ve read the entire curriculum, and the first priority is abstinence. The key to this that I really like is it shows you the HIV and disease rates. Kids don’t think in those terms, but they need to.

 

Study after study proves that abstinence-only doesn’t work to lower teen pregnancy rates and the spread of HIV. Statistics show that conservative states that rely solely on abstinence-only programs have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country. That includes Oklahoma. Furthermore, when states implement comprehensive sex education in their schools, the teen pregnancy rate tumbles accordingly, like it did in California this year.

Abstinence-only programs also cause higher abortion rates, which is something that Republicans don’t want to hear, but it’s true. When teen girls don’t have a clue how to protect themselves when they have sex, they end up with an unwanted pregnancy which leads to more abortions. If teens were to learn about contraception in school and have easier access to it, they can prevent unwanted pregnancies, thus preventing the very abortions that conservatives claim to despise. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reveals  that when women have free access to contraception, unwanted pregnancies and the abortion rate plummets.

Clearly, Tulsa Public Schools is taking action to halt the rising teen pregnancy rate in Oklahoma. The question is, will Republicans follow suit and replace abstinence-only programs with comprehensive sex ed or will they stand in the way…as usual.

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From Addicting Info (author unknown)

images-179Take just 5 minutes. Imagine an America where only one religion dictates the law of the land like Rick Santorum suggests. Where things like the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay-style camps that enable no right to fair trial are created. LGBT Americans cannot only not serve in the military but have their children confiscated. Women cannot vote. Blacks cannot marry whites. You can be fired for being Hispanic. Muslims cannot worship freely. There are no Pell Grants to put your child through school. There is no Medicare for your parents. There is a government that spends twice as much on average ($60B vs. $35B) and creates half as many jobs (73.4MM vs 34.8MM). Imagine it… having trouble? It is called Iran. Afghanistan. Pakistan. Saudi Arabia. It is called America without Democratic Presidents and their legislation. Take away all what Democrats have achieved in last 100 years and you will get an America not too different from places you fear the most.

Each of the statements below reference factual numbers, actual legislation, or true data.  All of this can be easily validated.

1. Since 1932, Democratic Presidents have created 73.4 million new jobs, Republicans have created only 34.8 million. Thus, Democrats created more jobs lifting my standard of living. (Source: International Business Times | Bloomberg)

2. Democrats got my mother, sister, and all other women a right to vote by fighting the GOP for 7 years (Source: Woodrow Wilson 1912-1919). Even 100 years later, Democrats fight Republicans as they introduced a law in Wisconsin that would criminalize single mothers. (Source 1 | Forbes)

3. Land Grant Institution funding triggered under Great Society Programs lifted me and many of my friends from lower middle class to upper earning brackets through affordable college education. (Sources: Colorado University | US History | Wikipedia)

4. Democrats got me a right to get married to the person I love while GOP made constitutional bans for same-sex marriage in almost all GOP controlled states. (Source: HRC Housing | Employment | Hospital Visitation)

5. Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Programs created “Work Study” which enabled me to work 20-hours a week in addition to lk081110dBP-500classes to pay towards my college tuition and make a life for myself. (Sources: Colorado University | US History | Wikipedia)

6. Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Programs created Pell Grants, which helped me and millions of other people complete college education and go on to create new businesses and opportunities for ourselves and others. (Sources: Colorado University | US History | Wikipedia)

7. Democratic President Barack Obama repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to empower me and other LGBT Americans to serve our country with self-respect and dignity, unifying our nation. (Source: White House)

8. While GOP governments have legislation in 12 states to ban Islamic faith called Sharia, Democrats created a nation where people of all faiths can freely practice under our first amendment right by never introducing legislation to ban an established faith. (Source: MSNBC)

9. In last 70 years GDP rose 12.6% under Democrats versus a GOP increase of 10.7%. From 1960 to 2012 the gross domestic product measured in dollars rose an average of $165 billion a year under Republican presidents and $212 billion a year under Democrats. Thus, Democrats made this nation more prosperous. (Source: Washington Post)

images-18110. The Bayh-Dole Act, passed by a Democratic House and Senate and signed by Jimmy Carter, has created 5000 companies including Google. It created millions of jobs for me and my fellow citizens. (Source: Act | Wiki Information)

11. Democrats in 1967 legalized interracial marriage across the US, giving me and my friends a chance to find and marry the best person for us irrespective of race. The GOP opposed it. (Source: Wikipedia)

12. Democrats created anti-discrimination laws under Great Society Programs that protect me, and millions of other Americans from being denied housing, jobs, or other services on the grounds of race. The GOP opposed it. (Sources: Colorado University | US History | Wikipedia)

13. Lyndon Johnson enacted a massive expansion of Social Security (also created by a democratic, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and Medicare so older Americans that have worked hard and spent their lives making this nation great are not left alone in the dark. One day, I will also take advantage of such programs. (Sources: Colorado University | US History | Wikipedia)

14. Democrats created Medicaid under Great Society Programs to help enhance healthcare access for men, women, and images-180children who otherwise couldn’t afford it. The GOP still wants to dissolve it. (Sources: Colorado University | US History | Wikipedia)

15. Democratic Presidents hold the record for all of the following:

  • Greatest gross domestic product (GDP) growth: Clinton
  • Biggest jobs increase: Truman
  • Best after-tax personal disposable income rise: Carter
  • Highest industrial production growth: Johnson
  • The lowest Misery Index, which is inflation plus unemployment: Kennedy
  • The lowest inflation: Truman
  • The largest federal budget deficit reduction: Clinton

Each one of the above made this country a stronger and larger economy to make all Americans more prosperous. (Source: Washington Post)

16. Democrats spend far less; spending breaks down as $35 billion a year under Democratic presidents and $60 billion under Republicans on average. If you assume that it takes a year for a president’s policies to take effect, Democrats have raised spending by $40 billion a year and Republicans by $55 billion. Thus, the GOP is more responsible for the debt that we have amassed, lowering our credit rating. (Source: Washington Post)

17. While giving people of faith a full free choice to do what they deem fit, Democrats made access to birth control available to all women so those suffering from PCOS, ovarian cancer, ovarian cysts, and hormonal disorders can save their lives by using it. The GOP still fights that. This made lives of people close to me better. (Source: Detailed Affordable Care Act | Graphic | Related Blog)

GOP-Alternative-Policies18. Democrats have created anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBT individuals from being denied housing or jobs based on their sexual orientation which is similar to providing protection for people who choose to affiliate with a certain religion of their choice. This has created an America where my friends and I can thrive based on our work not our race, religion, or sexual orientation. 31 GOP states have still refused to follow this trend enacted in 19 liberal states to protect LGBT Americans in a diversity bucket. (Source: HRC Housing | Employment | Hospital Visitation | State Laws |Interactive)

19. Out of 18 states that produce more wealth than what they take in from the Federal Government, 16 are liberal, one swing (FL), and only one Republican (TX). On the other hand, of 32 states that take in more money than what they produce, aka welfare states, 4 (MD, ME, HI, VT) are liberal, one swing (PA), and an astonishing 27 are full-out conservative. (Link) Thus Democratic legislature and fiscal policies have created a better living environment for me, conservative legislatures have failed to do the same for its loyal base. (Source: Tax Foundation)

20. A Democratic legislature and President Obama in 2010 enacted HealthCare Reform that eliminates discrimination for insurance against people with preexisting conditions, prevents women from being charged twice as much, makes preventative care available, enables young adults to stay on their parents plan till 26, and removes lifetime caps to make sure that children born with serious conditions are not left out to die. The beauty of this was that the reform is not a government takeover, relies on private insurance, and expands coverage for all my fellow citizens making all of our lives better. (Source: Lifetime Caps | Women Pay More | Detailed Affordable Care Act |Graphic)

America, wake up. Facts are staring right at you.