Refusing to Learn…

It should not be surprising that Trump’s stupid trade war seems to be harming Americans more than anyone else.  If actions speak louder than words – and they do – Trump seems to be anti-American.  The Chinese (among other nations) have decided to respond to Trump stupidity by attacking Trump supporters in this trade war.  The retaliation the Chinese imposed is aimed directly at “heartland farmers” for example – they’ve cancelled nearly their entire order of soy beans from the US.  This has caused many on the left to declare that perhaps NOW the Trumpsters will see what’s happening.

Don’t hold your breath…

These are not fact-based people.  They’re fully faith-based and they will not allow the interruption of their faith by a few obnoxious facts.  Fox “News” will find some way to blame Democrats and the Trump loyalists will just accept it – the same way any religious fundamentalist accepts what their minister says.  (“God WANTS me to touch you here…”)

Sure, it’s grabbing an anvil for use as a life preserver, but they’ll cling to their faith all the way to the bottom…

The Newest Religion…

Truth?  I’m not much on religion.  But I’d take any one of the “Big 3” Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) over this newest entry known as “Movement Conservatism” any day.  At least the Big 3 are acting like they’d like to make the world a better place.  Movement Conservatism is quite blatant about their desire to damage people, places, and things.  It’s the ‘Crush, Kill, Destroy’ part of their dogma.

If you didn’t recognize Movement Conservatism as a religion, you can be forgiven.  It arrived masquerading as a political movement but the more one interacts with a Movement Conservative, the more one sees the parallels to more mainstream religions and, after awhile, the similarities are simply too abundant to ignore.

Consider: the first and most important aspect of any religion is faith, right?  Archie Bunker best sums up faith when he says, “Faith is believing in something you’d have to be crazy to believe in!”  Basically, it comes down to accepting positions despite available evidence rather than in keeping with it.  I don’t advise accepting things on faith if you have a choice but religious thinkers live that way on a day to day basis – and then wonder why things don’t work the way they’re “supposed” to…

But faith, alone, isn’t the only aspect of religion.  Religions promote sacred texts.  A few of the favorites of Movement Conservatism include ‘Atlas Shrugged’, written, ironically enough, by Ayn Rand – an atheist.  There’s also ‘Democracy in America’ by Alexis de Tocqueville, ‘The Conscience of a Conservative’ by Barry Goldwater and ‘The Turner Diaries’ by William Luther Pierce…

Religions thrive on myths and other sacred stories, as well.  We’ve all heard them.  One of the favorite myths of Movement Conservatives involves their patron saint, Ronald Reagan who once said, “…tear down this wall” and, in the myth, the wall was gone the next day – a miracle!  (Okay, so it took years after that speech before the wall came down and, yes, every President from Kennedy to Reagan gave some version of the same speech but only Reagan gets the “win.”  See the entry on ‘Faith.’)  There are others, of course.  “Tax cuts for the rich benefit everyone” and one of the newest, “They’re sending criminals.”  The stories are intended to reinforce the teachings.  They’re supposed to make the faith-based aspects seem real…

Religions use symbols.  Christians have crosses.  Jews have the Star of David.  Movement Conservatives have Pepe the Frog, the Confederate Flag, and various forms of the Swastika.  Symbols are important to religions.  They give the acolytes something tangible to look at to remind them who they are…

There are supporting social structures to Movement Conservatism, too.  These can best be seen in the rallies that take place from time to time, hosted by their current leader, Donald Trump but the daily gatherings at Fox “News” serve to keep the acolytes believing…(and contributing)…

Religions are supposed to offer ethical and moral directives to their followers that teach them how to behave and Movement Conservatism is no different.  They offer teachings like, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will come to believe it”, “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps”, and “Knock the crap out him, would you?”  This is probably my biggest issue with Movement Conservatism; it intentionally seeks the worst of humanity rather than trying to support the best.  As an example, Christianity teaches that among the worst qualities of humanity are pride, greed, envy, gluttony, and wrath.  But those are the very attributes Movement Conservatism embraces and promotes…

“Wait,” you might wonder, “what about their God?  It can’t be a religion without a God to worship, can it?”  Well, no, it can’t but they’ve got that, too.  Movement Conservatives worship the great Prophet Profit.  There can be no greater God and all things must be done in His holy name…

Religions are often born of other religions.  Christ was a Jew, for example.  In the same way Jews left Judaism to become Christians, Christians have now, in turn, left Christianity to become Movement Conservatives.  It’s often a slow-moving thing.  Early Christians continued to count themselves Jews for a long time but after awhile, it became clear that the beliefs of Christianity had so deviated from Judaism, they needed to be their own group.  The same is happening to Christians today.  The Movement Conservatives sprang from Christianity but the differences have already separated the goats from the sheep – if you take my meaning.  (If you don’t, check Matthew 25:31 in the Christian Bible.)

Many Movement Conservatives still count themselves Christians – but they aren’t.  Not anymore.  When one embraces Movement Conservatism, one rejects Christianity.  The teachings are at odds – diametrically opposed as a matter of fact.  You can be one or the other…but you can’t be both.

I’ll tell you this: the next time you find yourself in a discussion with someone who seems perfectly reasonable but WILL NOT accept factual information no matter what you say, what source you cite, what proof you offer, realize you’ve fallen into a religious, NOT a political, debate.

Who Wins?

Scary.  That’s the only word I can think of for what’s coming.  Scary.  I just finished reading an opinion piece from the BBC called, ‘What is Donald Trump’s Family Separation End-game?  The writer opines that there’s a two-fold strategy in place: one, get his stupid wall or, failing that, two, motivate his base.

It should say enough that terrorizing little children motivates his base to fall out in support.  It’s motivating Democrats and progressives to fall out as well but in defiance – so at least lefties won’t find themselves on the wrong side of history and they won’t have to tell themselves comforting lies in the future.  The question is, who wins?

Ted Cruz says liberals will crawl over broken glass to vote in the upcoming mid-terms.  Republicans, of course, will be the ones breaking the glass.  I’ve never wanted to agree with Ted Cruz but I hope he’s right about this one.  Dems and Progressives MUST fall out to vote.

History supports the notion that Republicans win when there’s low voter turnout.  (Do a search onGoo Goo Syndrome.”  They KNOW this to be true.  It’s the reason they work so hard on voter suppression.)  But they can be counted on to vote in every “election”, every single time.  Dems and Indies are less…compliant.  But history ALSO supports the notion that when something big is happening, Dems DO come out in large numbers.

There are more sane people in this country than Republicans so, if Dems DO come out in force, we’ll win.  We’ll take enough control of Congress to stop President Beeblebrox in his tracks.  (For the uninitiated, the reference is to Zaphod Beeblebrox in Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ series.  His job, as President of the Galaxy, is to distract people from noticing what’s really going on around them…)

But the punitive crowd will still come out as well – and in force.  Dems often don’t bother with mid-terms.  So the question is, who wins?  The results will have consequences that determine the very soul of this once-great nation.  No, we’re not going to be able to impeach Trump – not just yet, anyway.  Sure, the House might vote for it but the feckless Republicans in the Senate will not lift a finger to stop Trump because he’s so lucrative for them.  Still, we CAN stop him…or, at least, slow him down.

It’s curious.  I have this belief that anything begun dishonorably is destined to fail.  It’s a fairly easy argument to make that the United States of America – what with all it’s official support of enslaving human beings – was begun dishonorably, which, in turn, means it MUST – sooner or later – fail.  Every day that goes by and the country I love falls further and further into a pit of it’s own making that it may never climb out of, I’m vindicated in my larger, over-arching belief.

But I’ll tell you this: I’m not happy about it…

Better Check Your Soul…

Donald Trump is a coward.  The self-described master of the deal is so hopeless at creating deals he has decided to kidnap children and hold them for ransom.  Only HE doesn’t do the kidnapping.  He orders his ICE minions to handle that part – the actual ‘doing’ part.  He can’t get his wall – the one he assured his acolytes Mexico would pay for; the one NO one is willing to pay for because it’s such a stupid concept.  So he does what he always does, blame someone else and throw a tantrum.  But it’s HIS policy and if you support him, you really need to think about it in stark terms:  He’s terrorizing children in an effort to blackmail Congress to give him his stupid wall and he blames Democrats for the policy HIS maladministration put into place.  For me, it creates the image of the abusive spouse who starts beating his woman (again) while intoning, “See what you make me do?”

I’ve heard the bullshit response: If you don’t want your children stolen, don’t bring them to this country illegally.  So much for your respect for the Constitution.  You see, the Constitution of the United States specifically bars cruel and unusual punishment.  It’s in the Eighth Amendment.  (Wait, there are Eight?  I thought it was just the Second…and the First when I want to talk…)  No, there are many more, in fact, but in the Eighth is says, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Is stealing someone’s child a cruel and unusual punishment?  Well, no OTHER civilized country on the planet does it, so it seems pretty unusual.  If I have to try to convince you that tearing a child from his or her mother is cruel, you’ve got bigger problems than a political discussion is going to solve.  You may or may not see it, but this is a new low from a group who specializes in new lows.

It DOES relieve the pressure of ever having to pretend again that you give a flying fig about either the Constitution OR your Holy Bible.  You just want the political “win”.  I AM actually relieved that I no longer have to extend deference to your religious beliefs.  ‘Conservative’ and ‘Christian’ are mutually exclusive terms and the phrase ‘Conservative Christian’ is an oxymoron.  That evil imp, Jeff Sessions, tried to lure you in by quoting Romans.  But if you claim to be Christian, aren’t you supposed to try to follow the teachings of Jesus?  You know…the CHRIST?

Oh, and that’s an important little bit of information there, that “try to follow” bit.  Apparently, it’s understood that people will make mistakes, perhaps backslide from time to time.  But you’re putting WAY too much faith in that whole “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven” bumper sticker.  Turns out, there’s more to it than that.  In order to receive your forgiveness, you’re supposed to have a contrite heart.  That means you’re supposed to know you made a mistake and intend to NOT make that mistake again.  If you think you can break a commandment on Saturday and then ask forgiveness on Sunday all the while planning to break the same commandment on Monday, your forgiveness will NOT be forthcoming.  (Not my rule – it’s YOUR book…)

Okay, so Romans was written by Paul.  But you’re not ‘Paulines’, you’re (ostensibly) Christians.  DID your Christ ever say anything that may have touched on the subject?  Let’s look at Matthew, shall we?  Specifically, Matthew 25:31 through 46, written in red (meaning the words are directly attributable to Jesus).

He says that when He comes back He’ll separate the people into two groups as a Shepard separates sheep from goats.  He’ll set the sheep at His right hand but the goats at His left hand.  Then He’ll tell the group on His right that they get to go to Heaven because “I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me“.  The group was all, “We didn’t see you, when did we see You?”  Jesus said, “Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these, My brethren, you did it to Me“.

Then, he’ll turn to the other group – a sea of MAGA hats (made in China).  He’ll say, “You feckless fucks are going straight to hell.”  (They had to clean it up for later publication, of course…)  What the book actually says is, “I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick or in prison and you did not visit Me.”  Of course, the whiners all demand to know when they saw Jesus and failed to minister to him and he answers, “Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me“.

I’ll tell you this: If you continue to support Donald Trump after watching him terrorize children in an effort to blackmail Congress into doing his bidding, you’re following a deceiver and you’re doing it gleefully because you think you’re getting a political “win.”

But you’ve lost your soul…

Oh, look…1984…

I’m going to write stuff that regards the Andy Lopez shooting from a few years ago but my intent is NOT to re-open that debate.  My goal, here, is to highlight an example of a real-life 1984 moment.  My point is about the corruption of the “free press” and how that affects day to day living.  For any who may have missed the book, ‘1984’ is a future dystopian novel written by George Orwell.  The protagonist in the book is a guy named Winston Smith whose job is to re-write – that is, “fix” – archived news stories that no longer support the current government orthodoxy.

Andy Lopez was a 13 year old boy who was walking down the street in Santa Rosa, California with a toy gun that looked real when he was shot dead by a Sheriff’s Deputy named Gelhaus.  Originally, I thought Deputy Gelhaus must have been alone in the cruiser but it turned out that Gelhaus was the passenger and the driver was another deputy named Schemmel.  Deputy Schemmel was an experienced deputy but new to the Sonoma county Sheriff’s Office, so Deputy Gelhaus was showing him some of the areas he was going to need to know.

When I found out there were TWO deputies on the scene at the time of the incident, a question popped into my mind: why did Deputy Gelhaus empty his service weapon into the kid while Deputy Schemmel never fired a shot?  It’s not an unreasonable question.  It became my focus because, to me, it was critical in the question of whether Deputy Gelhaus had acted properly or not.  So, I waited and watched for the answer.  I got it, too.

The Santa Rosa Police Department conducted the investigation into the shooting.  At the conclusion of their investigation, a Lt Henry of the SRPD did a press conference to disclose the findings.  A reporter asked the question I had asked, why one shot and the other didn’t.  The answer was that Deputy Schemmel was still maneuvering the car into the “ready position” and by the time he stopped the car, the threat had been “neutralized.”  It’s a key detail.

Cops have a way of protecting themselves in these situations.  It’s called the “ready position.”  They park the car, open the doors, then crouch down behind them, using the door as a shield and the gap between the car frame and the door frame to shoot through should shooting become necessary.  The day after the shooting, the local paper, ‘The Press Democrat’, ran a photo of the two officers in the ready position.

But Lt. Henry reported that Deputy Schemmel was still parking the car while Deputy Gelhaus was “neutralizing the threat.”  Whoops.  How could Deputy Gelhaus have fired from the ready position if the car was still moving?  THAT meant Deputy Gelhaus had left the support of his partner and the security of his cruiser and put himself in a position where he might very well have felt “vulnerable.”  But, in turn, THAT meant that Andy Lopez died as a result of poor police procedure.

It has come up again because now, the pseudo-Supreme Court is being asked to shield the deputy that did the shooting from lawsuits and the story that reported the information said the deputies had taken the ready position and THEN confronted the young Andy.  Because it had been a focus of particular interest to me, I knew that was wrong.  I started looking for the contemporaneous news stories that had reported that Deputy Gelhaus had left the vehicle before it was parked.

I couldn’t find them.  They’re just…gone…

I DID find the official DA Report that supported the story that the Deputies had taken the ready position before confronting Andy.  I found other newspaper accounts that said the same thing.  Frustrated (and, frankly, a little scared), I kept digging.  All I could find said the same thing.  Then, I stumbled on this story in the Press Democrat.  The story, itself, was about a witness tho gave information that conflicted with most other eye-witness reports but it contained this: “The two deputies have said they spotted him from their patrol car and pulled up behind him. Gelhaus said he got out of the car, drew his gun and ordered Lopez to drop the rifle while Schemmel parked the car.” (Emphasis added.)

It seems Winston missed one.

Deputy Schemmel was still parking the car while Deputy Gelhaus was “neutralizing the threat” but that story highlights possible poor procedure – so the story has been changed.  Even if the original report had been wrong, good journalism says you don’t pull the story.  You correct the original and report the correction.  I’ll tell you this: I know that District Attorneys cover for cops all the time.  It’s part of the job, really.  But when the press does it too?  That’s ‘1984’ territory…

A Thought From 2004…

I used to write a different blog called ‘Doc Harmony.’  I was reviewing the archives, looking for something else entirely, when I came across this bit I wrote in 2004.  That’s 14 years ago!  I’ve taken the liberty of correcting a couple of spelling errors but other than that, it’s exactly as originally presented…

11/25/2004 Archived Entry: “I’ve been thinking…”

I’m a big proponent of the adage that actions speak louder than words. I’ve been wondering why so many “Joe Six-packs” around the country can come up with effective strategies the Dems could take to offset the actions of the GOP yet the “leaders” of the Democrats never seem to do anything. Well, anything effective, anyway.

Apply the adage. Actions speak louder than words. If the Dems aren’t doing anything to stop the GOP, they must not want to do anything to stop the GOP, right? The “loyal opposition” seems to be too focused on “loyal” and not focused enough on “opposition”.

Just using the “smell test”, I’m starting to think the Dems are “in on it” with the GOP and it’s We The People who are left to suffer. (After all, none of the “representative” Dems are doing any too badly themselves.)

History shows how this plays out and it shows us over and over and over again. The rulers and the wealthy with continue to oppress the “lower” classes, they’ll eventually overreach, the “lower” classes will finally have had enough, the revolution will come, and the current “ruling class” will get their heads lopped off in a public forum someplace. Much ugliness and bloodshed.

So why not just skip all the interim difficulties and start lopping off rich people’s heads today?

Just a thought…

Important Note: I do not seriously advocate violence of any kind…

Rights…and Wrongs…

Well, the pseudo-Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the religious guy who won’t bake a cake for the gay couple.  The first thing I’d like to say is that, mostly, I think it’s a stupid argument.  If I was looking for a special cake for my special day, I most certainly wouldn’t want someone to make it who didn’t want to regardless of their reasons.  Having said that, though, I think the court – as usual, ever since it got fraudulently packed with conservatives – is wrong.

How would the court have ruled if the couple had been male and female – but black – and the baker refused because his “religious beliefs” are based in KKK interpretations of the Bible?  We already know the answer to that question.  Think lunch counters and ‘separate but equal’, which was certainly NOT equal.  That got struck down by the high court.  You can’t discriminate against a person because of the color of their skin.  It’s a natural occurrence.  People have no choice…

But there are a LOT of folks out there who have decided that being gay IS a “choice.”  If it’s a choice, then it can be a sin, right?  AND…one can “balance” one person’s choice against another person’s choice.  But gay isn’t a choice.  It’s just a thing some people are in exactly the same way heterosexual is just a thing some people are.  You know what ISN’T a natural occurrence?  Religion.

If a person isn’t taught – at a VERY young age – to think wrong (by which I mean “religiously”) they simply won’t buy the story.  The couple just wanted a cake.  The baker made the choice to be religious.  For the SCOTUS to find for the baker, even narrowly, they had to decide that gay IS a choice just like religion.  They were wrong…

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CAN Trump pardon himself?  I say no.  People keep saying “read the Constitution.”  Okay.  It says, “…he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences (sic) against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”  See that “except in Cases of Impeachment” part?  To me, that means if he has committed a crime for which he might be impeached, he can’t pardon himself until the impeachment issue has been settled.  It’s actually pretty straightforward – unless you don’t WANT it to be.  One can pretend it’s all so murky and unclear – but they’re just pretending…

I’ll tell you this: there are no two ways about it, if you support the idea that the President can pardon himself no matter what, you support monarchy (or, perhaps, a dictatorship) but NOT a constitutional republic…