These are our Republicans folks … there are no other “good ones” waiting in the wings to correct things.

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Classical “republicanism” was all about the sovereignty of the people:  of the people, by the people and for the people.

I truly wish that our current Republican Party were truly in that category.

However, these ain’t those folks.

These are “Fox News Republicans,” dancing arm-in-arm and in lockstep to the music of Big Money. “Of the people, by the people and for the people” is the least thing on their minds.

These folks have taken the NFL’s “Lombardi Doctrine” to an obscene extremity in prostituting their pretend allegiance to our country at the feet of a corporate capitalist presidential shyster.

Led by Trump, the Fox News Republican Party has sold us out because for them winning has been the ONLY THING.

For years now we have seen, read and heard Republicans posturing as “patriots” who with ugly disingenuity proclaim that welfare corporate capitalism is really the ideal of American society. This has been a blatant attempt by Fox News Republicans to claim ownership of our cultural and philosophical high ground.

If you buy into the sales pitch that Fox News Republicans represent our purest American values you have purchased the snake oil. You have fallen for the so-called “art of the deal,” and in doing so you have probably assumed that such snake oil is the liniment for “making America great again.”

I agree with Shawn Vestal of Spokesman-Review

Vestal: McMorris Rodgers backs GOP health care plan stripping insurance from Eastern Washington’s poor

Recall, if you will, the words of Cathy McMorris Rodgers, uttered in a press conference in the Capitol on Jan. 10:

“Let me be clear. No one who has coverage because of Obamacare today will lose that coverage. We’re providing relief. We aren’t going to pull the rug out from anyone.”

This was a surprising, even shocking, statement from McMorris Rodgers, who is part of a team whose goal has always clearly been based on just that: yanking that rug, hard, to lower taxes for the wealthy.

But, because this is a difficult thing to come right out and say in decent company, McMorris Rodgers and her fellow House repealniks have danced and dodged, finessed and fudged, omitted and insinuated that what they’re doing will not be bad for the millions and millions of Americans who obtained health insurance under Obamacare.

Her statement on Jan. 10, though, was of a different order than the usual slip-sliding. It was a clearcut, seemingly humane, recognition of a sense of responsibility for the potential effects of what she and her fellows were trying to do.

Which is probably why it didn’t seem even remotely true. That was confirmed later the same day, when a spokeswoman for the congresswoman launched the moonshot of oily political weaseling: McMorris Rodgers, the spokeswoman said, had misspoken. She meant to say “people who are covered under Obamacare will not lose coverage the day the bill is repealed.”

Ah yes. The day of. After that, though …

Read the opening paragraph by Abby Zimet, staff writer at Common Dreams.

 Let ‘Em Die  gop-let-em-die

Rant time. The obscenities and idiocies of Thursday’s proposed budget are almost limitless.

Egregious examples: Slashing Meals on Wheels, which feeds a half million veterans and many (often-Trump voting) elderly residents while allowing them to stay at home, when one $3,000,000 golf trip to Mar-a-lago would cover 419,000 meals and, by year’s end at this rate, 20 million meals.

Cutting an annual National Endowment for the Arts budget that will only cover Melania’s security at Trump Tower for almost five months.

Cutting National Historic Sites funding that will give her a couple more months, or PBS, which is only worth three weeks.

Hiking the defense budget $54 billion for more war, which could fund conflict resolution work at the Institute of Peace for 1,543 years; their funding will instead be cut.

Slicing funding for low-income housing that could cause a new epidemic of homelessness. And, in one more vote for death and destruction, slashing climate change and other environmental programs as “a waste of your money.”

And please tell me how the public good would be served – what socially redeeming effect – would justify this:

Are we willing to concede that the Fox News Republican politics, culture and philosophy are more American than anyone else’s?

This is not partisan politics. It is a parent’s legitimate and necessary patriotic duty to the country and to his family.

 

Bill Owens says he refused to meet Donald Trump who authorised the special forces raid, in which 25 civilians also died, days after his inauguration

“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration?” he said. “Why?

“For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen – everything was missiles and drones – because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?’’

My generation is one in which there are still many living veterans. Furthermore, from ours and succeeding generations primarily come the children who make up the current blood and guts of America’s military.

If our children – or their children – come to us when considering enlistment or a commission, asking our reaction or even our blessing for their willingness to sign the bottom line, are we ready to speak honestly with them?

Have the things we’ve taught them about citizenship and patriotism come back to gratify us?

… or haunt us?

What is it we try to instill in them regarding a civic and patriotic sense of duty?

What did we teach and model for them when they were young and we were younger? Boomers … from the Vietnam era – a generation of soldiers betrayed by a government we all wanted desperately to trust?
The letter from college arrives.

“Dear Dad …….

Dad, I’m signing on and I’d like your blessing and advice.

I’m not having too many doubts about signing on Dad. Not too many questions – but I want your support and endorsement. You’ve never talked much about your service and I need to know what’s in your mind before I leave.”

Very well then ….

Dear Daught … Dear Son

As you know, you do not come from a family of warriors.

Your Grandfather was drafted.

Your uncle and I joined up in the 1960’s because it was that or the draft. Our national leadership had failed us badly because of their misguided and exaggerated fear of communist enemies;

There were afraid of rivals who had never proven themselves capable of toppling continents nation-by-nation, domino-like; let alone conquering the world based on military or economic power.

As a result of those years, the extremely poor choices made by politicians we trusted and elected left us with a powerful legacy not previously seen so powerfully in this country … acceptance of dissent as a patriotic act.

To this day that concept has not been refuted. More so, this current government has tragically demonstrated again just why it is vital that citizens hold government accountable.

Viet Nam  and the manipulation of the truth to justify the invasion of Iraq legitimized a permanent change in civic thinking. That’s why at least a part of our society remains  willing to question motives and speak out against the administration … and with greater empowerment to resist the social stigma of being isolated and marginalized by pseudo-patriotic politics. Our perspective is much more legitimate than it was in the 60’s and 70’s. We as citizens are duty bound to take and hold the ethical and moral high ground in this country rather than trust pretend presidential geniuses and broadcast blowhards who never wore the uniform in war.

The party officials, cheerleading TV networks and pundit blowhards don’t have a monopoly on patriotism. Those are – every one of them – the least qualified to tell you or me what it means to be patriotic. They are the cut-and-run actors from my generation who have never served and have never justifiably spoken for the troops and veterans in today’s world.

You are going to join an all-volunteer military force that has the same commission given the military services during World War II. The big difference today is that the bulk of the troops back then were drafted. Your choice is voluntary – signing a contract offered by the Pentagon.

When you sign, remember that we who are not military members make up – along with you – the American population that expects you to honor that contract you endorse.

Citizens of this country expect total fealty from you which means loyalty to the United States, to the Constitution, and to the Flag.

Citizens of this country expect the same from our elected leadership. The leadership owes  us that same fealty, loyalty to the United States, to the Constitution and to the Flag.

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Citizens also expect of our soldiers the highest honesty, integrity and honorable behavior of which they are capable. Political behavior that is dishonest, lacks integrity and dishonors troops, citizens and country is a betrayal of all that America has traditionally stood for.

Citizens do not expect that our fully trained and capable military members are so brainwashed to fight and kill that they have transitioned to a place of shame. While desiring that our military children develop instinctive and effective military and combat skills, we do not expect our children to be turned into mindless killing machines devoid of conscience or the ability to make a moral choice.

Arguments insisting that combat training must teach instinctive hate, bigotry, racial profiling and cultural inferiority in order to create armies and soldiers capable of efficient killing and destruction of enemies are not legitimate reasons for why we fight. Nor do they hold out a possibly for what we hope the end result of a national military objective will look like.

Citizens want and expect that our troops are warriors of honor who instinctively act and react with exceptional valor;

…Warriors who reflect national ethics, a positive national morality, compassion and respect.

If those things are lacking in the leadership, a way to intervene before a corrupt leadership can poison the military is vital.

The nation cannot abide armies of failed or corrupted warriors.

If those values are lacking in the country, it is the citizens who have failed the military.

Military service is and should always be thought of as an honorable profession where men and women serve with honor;

… are treated with honor by a grateful nation.

If you are joining the military, I expect you to have a career of honor.

I fear for you but will keep those fears managed in my own heart.

It is your life, not mine, and I do not pretend to dictate your choices.

Nor is it a life that belongs specifically to a General, a Secretary of Defense, a President or a Political Party.

You are not to be a tool of helping a party focus national priorities in such a way as to win elections.

There is no military code of silence or submissive loyalty to the Commander-in-Chief that requires that you do not seriously consider the legality and morality of orders given you regardless of their source.

I of course hope that your own sense of civic and moral integrity is honed sufficiently strong as to allow you to perceive almost instantaneously whether or not an order is illegal.

But if you need time and have time, then I expect you to take that time and make up your own mind. Whatever decision you make – if informed by your own study, searching and wisdom – is all anyone can ask of you.

You have a right to expect to serve under the integrity and honor of the Commander in Chief of the military.

You have a right to expect and demand the Commander In Chief’s honesty, honor, skill, wisdom and understanding of all reasons when and why military citizens are to be placed in harm’s way.

I in turn have a right to expect that you pay attention – for me, for your family and for your country – to whether or not your Commander in Chief is being honest, honorable and legal.

The Commander-in-chief is hardly going to order me to do something illegal or immoral. If he gives an illegal or immoral order there’s a greater risk he will give it to you whom he might see as bound to obey blindly and without question.

So your father, your family and your country are at the mercy of your ability to discern and act on that discernment.

You are then left at the mercy of your father’s, your family’s and your country’s ability to discern the acts of our President, to hold him accountable and take action – if necessary – to make sure he is accountable.

You must trust me to be willing and supportive in making sure the leadership does not waste your vital blood, devotion and patriotism in pipe dreams, self-interested agendas and ideologies.

In closing, my adult child, I express my pride in you and your willingness to act on your desires only after you’ve given them serious thought and consideration.

I accept and endorse your decision as I trust it is your own.

You do your part and serve.

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I’ll do my part and cover your back.

Anyone inside or outside this government who wants to criticize, harm or otherwise betray you will have to deal directly with me.

I promise.

Love, Dad

“The lies fly out of the White House like flocks of pigeons”

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artist: Mr Fish – Truthdig

The sheer numbers of Americans who have serious trust issues with our broadcast and print media is staggering. However staggering it may be, at this time the justification for not trusting our news sources is extremely high.

I see where our President, 45, has excluded CNN from his working list of broadcasters with whom he will permit participation in covering news coming out of the White House. 45 does not trust CNN.

Personally, I find CNN somewhat easy to see through. Although bearing a tradition of news broadcasting that in the 198o’s took the news industry by storm and almost overnight became a cable equivalent of the ABC, CBS and NBC as major television news sources. In recent years, CNN’s credibility toadied down as its audience share was itself overtaken and left behind by Fox News. Being able to see through CNN’s attempt to compete with the sensationalized bias of Fox, I only trust CNN – as I do the 3 majors – to a degree that allows me to check other sources. I don’t trust Fox News at all, except to be the broadcast flagship of Kindergarten Konservatism and the Republican party at their worst.

I wrote the above paragraph as an explanation as to why my “news” bookmark folder on my browser has more than 50 links. When I need news I have to sift through the biases, right and left to get news and then use my link list to find secondary and tertiary verification. So goes the news business in this country.

Truthdig is one of the sources I use. The are a “News site providing expert coverage of current affairs; thoughtful, provocative columnists, presented from a progressive point of view.”

Chris Hedges is a columnist at Truthdig. I own two of his books, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America 2007 :  and  Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle 2009

Hedges’ current article is American Psychosis, something I seriously recommend you read. My experience with Chris Hedges is that he has a progressive outlook but the two books of his that I own also bear seriously genuine conservative overtones as he laments the loss of perspectives and values which we ought to have held but did not.

American Psychosis reads to me in that same vein. I have posted a brief excerpt to encourage you to read it.

The lies fly out of the White House like flocks of pigeons: Donald Trump’s election victory was a landslide. He had the largest inauguration crowds in American history. Three million to 5 million undocumented immigrants voted illegally. Climate change is a hoax. Vaccines cause autism. Immigrants are carriers of “[t]remendous infectious disease.” The election was rigged—until it wasn’t. We don’t know “who really knocked down” the World Trade Center. Torture works. Mexico will pay for the wall. Conspiracy theories are fact. Scientific facts are conspiracies. America will be great again.

Our new president, a 70-year-old with orange-tinted skin and hair that Penn Jillette has likened to “cotton candy made of piss,” is, as Trump often reminds us, “very good looking.” He has almost no intellectual accomplishments—he knows little of history, politics, law, philosophy, art or governance—but insists “[m]y IQ is one of the highest—and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.” And the mediocrities and half-wits he has installed in his Cabinet have “by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled.”

It is an avalanche of absurdities.  – Chris Hedges, American Psychosis – Truthdig

When religious rhetoric is used to garner electoral support we all lose.

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The key to a viable democratic republic is not a common religious righteousness. Rather, it’s a harmonious diversity in which there is an appreciation for differing perspectives. Differences are buttressed by an on-going tradition of keeping sacred the long-time legal reverence for individual rights and freedom.

It’s THAT freedom the we have seen denigrated through political rhetoric that portrays America as a global victim somehow authorized to extract vengeance against imprecisely defined “others”;

… that insists we can justifiably redress perceived wrongs against us with belligerent and rash behavior contrary to what I thought we all mutually considered “core values.” It’s THAT freedom that we have seen denigrated through religious social rhetoric that portrays American Christians as a social victims somehow authorized to assert themselves at the expense of the Bill of Rights – attempting to formalize social vengeance against imprecisely defined “others”;

Although it may not be necessary that those reading these lines immediately get out of their pajamas, turn off the computer and go picket the nearest Christian church, it is necessary that we pay attention to the voting patterns and habits of the last 35 years. In particular we ought to note the increased intensity of those who seem to feel that they are the only “moral-values” voters. These are the voters who have been apparently stampeded into the only political action required of them by their own activist Christian political celebrities.

They must continue to vote every two years.
They must be stampeded into keeping the supposed Christian-in-the-White-House IN the White House, accompanied by loyal and partisan congressional Republican crusaders; they who – on their horses with flags flying, lances ready and swords drawn – are ready to force their political ideology on those very gullible voters who bought the snake oil.

Showdown Coming

I see the “showdown” as not between conservative and liberal Christians nor as between conservative Christians and a coalition of every other citizen in this country. What I see is the possibility of conservative Republican congresspersons driven by the radical religious horses that got them there actually going so far as to legislate something that seriously alters how life is lived in this country.

I see foolish people triggering a showdown between right/left and liberal/conservative that explodes in an uncontrollable way – forcing everyone to choose sides when they badly would not want to choose – a choosing that has no socially redeeming value for human freedom and personal rights in America.

It’s one thing to enact laws the keep taverns 200 feet from churches. It’s something else to enact laws that seriously alter our national habitual understanding of – for example – our Bill of Rights and a separation of church and state.

If that happens, these radicals who thought changing the laws was all that was needed will have no clue as to why rioters don’t “play fair” just because “it’s the law now.” They will not be prepared to cope with mass refusals to quietly allow themselves to be taken off to jail instead of rioting and striking back.

If Taliban-like laws were enacted we could see narrow-minded militant literalists become self-appointed and God-approved executioners. We could see a mindless, illogical and unreasonable acting against the gay, non-Christian, political liberal or abortionist in the tradition of those who perpetrate hate crimes.

The first time a jury in a community dominated by literalist thinking found such a person not-guilty I think these radical religious politicians would find themselves with more than they could handle.

Would you just sit around and moan if periodically a van came down your street and you watched as your gay neighbors, your neighbor who had a private abortion, or liberal speaker-outers were loaded up and hauled off?

Not for long …

That’s the naivete behind the assumption that making a law enacts a specific morality which everyone will observe BECAUSE we are all afraid of the law and the consequences of breaking it.

That’s the tragedy that could come to pass so long as our public patriotism has the substance of tissue paper and we live afraid of paper tigers.

America has a chance … lest all the rebels die.

T’was the Sunday Before Christmas when all thru the American House

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To those who insist that America is – regardless of its cultural diversity – a “Christian Nation,” those core values must then logically be directly connected to Christ’s teachings.

In previous articles I have contrasted the fundamentals of those teachings with the sort of theological rationale we have heard from the self-appointed movers and shakers of right-wing Christian politics.

Jesus won’t go away on this one.

In the same sense that political leaders and parties do not have a monopoly on defining patriotism in this country, neither do the biggest mouths and loudest voices have a monopoly on what constitutes Christian thinking, doctrine and beliefs in America.

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Teresa Whitehurst …

You can’t argue a person out of his or her identity. As most of us have learned the hard way, you should never try to convince a Republican that he’s a Democrat, a pacifist that she’s pro-war, or a hard worker that he’s a lazy bum … ‘I can surrender my opinions if your argument is effective and I’m in a receptive mood, but I’ll fight to the death for my identity.’

This is what we must keep in mind about Trump supporters: they may seem indifferent to suffering and uninterested in the facts, but what really prevents them from hearing what we assert when we disagree with them is fear – the fear of losing their manufactured identity, not to mention the fear of having become part of a serious electoral mistake.

Everywhere they look, they seem to project a sense of fear-driven anger, almost mindless in its imagined reality. Once having chosen to be a Trumpist, there seems to be then a real fear of being challenged.

Why? Simply put, those who committed their votes put themselves at risk of straying from the Trumpist herd and thereby suffering rejection, even hatred, from others if challenged.

I would also propose that this unfortunate circumstance is not primarily the fault of Donald Trump. No, someone else is at fault for this circumstance where the rugged idealistic American – possessor of ethical and moral goodness –  “has been transformed … to a fearful child who’s willing to apply peer pressure to silence critics (even those in his or her own family) in order to avoid personal and collective punishment” [Whitehurst].

Candidate Trump capitalized on that circumstance and therein lies the real fault – but not solely the fault of Trump.

That “someone else” includes all those who years ago decided that rendering unto Caesar and rendering unto God should become one and the same. Entry into the political process began with preaching at first. But then – with popularity exploding into the notoriety – coercion through fear, shame and guilt has put before us self-constructed images of righteous crusading knights slaying dragons of evil.

Now these Shameless High Priests insist that they speak for all of us. Many let them do it at the price of their own spiritual integrity. In this regard, personal religion has been dragged out from the personal to the public for all of us whether we like it or not. Attempt to discuss religion and the old adage about not talking about religion and politics is brought forth as a shield to protect the sheep who have voted to look the other way while Jesus has been co-opted as a political bumper sticker.

Christian Crusaders historically were never heroic, not so long as they fought military battles in the name of Christ, thrusting with spear and sword through the bodies of men, women and children – all the time pretending to themselves that they believed their religious leaders who insisted that God approved.

There is nothing heroic in these current times about hiding in congregations and voting as a block according to demagoguery where the pseudo-Christian generals out front make mountains out of moral molehills. That is not the courage of conviction, not the courage of Christ, not the courage of the martyrs killed by Roman persecution nor the courage of the victims of inquisitions.

It is the ignorant moral cowardice of the Salem witch trials, gay and minority-bashing by sons and daughters of American Christian parents who for too long failed to teach the gospel of peace because they themselves perhaps were not taught it.

It is the cowardly righteous indignation that behaves as if abortion, gay-rights, school prayer, and a “war” on Christmas are all more vital to the pursuit of goodness in humanity than any prayerful study of Sermons on Mounts, Good Samaritans, Prodigal Sons and “neither do I condemn you, go your way and sin no more.”

Fear and cowardice are not the same things except when fear leads to cowardice.

Which is the harder choice?

It’s tortuous work attempting a life of quiet desperation and the uneasy conscious-stricken restlessness of having to look the other way as one’s identity gets grouped among those responsible for war, murder and human destruction. Or having to actively, mentally and spiritually question the integrity of one’s identity in order to keep it sanctified?

You don’t have to be a theological scholar to understand the depth of moral shame and anti-Christ behavior to which many American Christians have given their assent. If you must leave a congregation that leaves you uneasy inside then leave it. There are still lilies in the field arrayed in all their glory. Christianity remains at its most powerful in the individual conscience-informed life …

and at it’s weakest and most harmful in the blind submissive behavior of massed Christian irrational anger.

There is a better way – the oldest Way.

To Religious “Social Conservatives” too proud to admit to a foolish vote for Republican God-Talkers

 … and who still  pretend that they know better than we do what God wants us to

Republican Christians have no special credibility for passing moral judgment on anybody else. We have even more Christian Celebrities stepping into the spotlight, selling books, expanding televangelist ministries as well as the usual pretenders who claim and act as if God is prompting their every word and deed.

It is to all of you I respectfully request a purpose-driven and honest exposition, scriptural or otherwise. No individual, no Christian church and no Christian alliance of like-minded evangelicals, fundamentalists, traditionalists or liberals has any right or responsibility to define for me how I should exercise my consciousness of how I practice citizenship.

In fact, as a citizen, and in the tradition of American free-market sharing of ideas and concepts, I see it not unreasonable to invite those blowing the hardest to tell me more about God and Politics. Not believing that my own outlook is absolute and inerrant, I’m willing to be more informed.

So to you big time Brothers and Sisters; all of you born-again politicians, all you self-described moral conservatives: you owe it to the entire American audience – and not just the religiously gullible whom you have targeted. You must speak honestly to those whom you haven’t made captive by media, technology and social conformity. Please elaborate on  issues raised by the apparent conflict between belief, assumptions and reality:

1- Are ALL of your political and economic policies divinely inspired?

2- Are they based on and do they include the precepts taught by God, your preachers and prophets as written in scripture; a God-writing which most fundamentalists insist is inerrant and which the Mormons insist to be true as far as it is translated correctly?

3- Should the skeptics among us believe that opposing Republican political policies is opposing God’s will? Speak plainly here because when you guys imply that it’s so, those who think you’re smarter than they are when it comes to making God talk will conform.

4- Do ALL of your policies enhance human life? In that regard, do the families of the evil-doers – parents, spouses and children – fall into the category of deserving the sword? As a matter of fact, if God places you folks at the head of this country, what is God’s position on collateral damage?

5- Jesus was outspoken in advocacy of human dignity in clear and unambiguous terms. So how does God justify your and your candidates’ ambivalence about torture as a means of exporting righteous American freedom worldwide?

6- What does God say about the justifications from your candidates and preachers that sexual debasement is justified in pursuit of said exportation?

7- Has your version of God declared that our processes of education and scientific study are of the devil? You must speak plainly if you believe you speak for God. Do you believe that the encouragement of responsibility around human sexuality is sinful and displeasing to Him?

8 – Is social justice important to God?

9 – Did Jesus believe that profit was more important than compassion?

10 – Has God repudiated Jesus’ declaration that the laborer is worthy of his hire?

11- Is it God’s will that working against gay marriage is more important than working to put people back to work?

12- Is it God’s will that Republican economics – voodoo or otherwise – is the one and only sacred economic approach to feeding and sheltering the people?

13 – Does God support deception as a political tool?

14 – Does God endorse a policy of political mud-slinging rather than reaching agreement with those who disagree with you? What about yea yea and nay nay?

15 -Does God want our politicians to put our elderly at economic and health risk?

16 – Does God believe that generating massive profits to drug companies is a greater good than relieving human suffering?

17 – How does that align with honoring father and mother?

18 – And finally, is Jesus really going to come as a thief in the night? Or has he revealed to you and the rest of the Christian Right that He cannot come until American Christians maneuver Israel into a circumstance that unlocks the Key to the End Times?

Christian practice as taught and exemplified by Christ is not something complex nor is it something that requires convoluted logic and ideological twisting in order to ponder treasure in Heaven.

Christ said directly, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.”

He did not say that Caesar and God are one and the same.

Until you teach the difference, you and your sheep remain a primary cause of the lack of harmony, lack of social conscience and absence of real moral outrage in this country.

When it comes to moral outrage, your hypocrisy and failure to reflect social conscience on a comprehensive and all-inclusive level generates legitimate moral outrage.

You do it deliberately and apparently by arrogant ignorance.

Your sheep do it with apathy.

 

although for the life of me I can’t conceive of a place where they wouldn’t become moochers.

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If you are thinking- challenged and haven’t found something popular to be mad about, how about your neighbors who don’t speak English?

There is nothing dumber than the statement that “My immigrant ancestors had to learn English and these are no better.”

Those immigrant ancestors who managed to  learn English did so as a matter of expediency, need and genuine willingness to adapt and enter our society. They did it as the wisest practical solution –  and not because candidate and pundit fat heads made tough speeches about forcing people to learn English and requiring the government to print no forms in anything but English.

It almost makes you wish that some particular immigrants – those whose descendants have become unreasonable jingoists or mindless bigots –  had not come here back then.
The American Dream might be more alive and well rather than a nation’s biggest lie.

… as if speaking English then entitles immigrants to the total respect of all the angry white folks who think Fox News is fair and balanced

… as if those viewers – demands met – would then welcome anyone who is “not-U.S.” to be with “U.S.”

Those immigrant ancestors who did manage to learn English (and there were many more who never did) didn’t do so because American jingoists (I know that’s a big word for people entirely raised or entertained by four-letter English words) refused to talk to them.

I was asked once to teach a conversational Spanish class for business and  health care persons in the local community college. Class never got held because enrollers were too few.

Fifteen years ago, through my Episcopal parish, we started an ESL (English as a Second Language for all you English-speakers who get stuck after 4 letters) primarily aimed at local Hispanic families.

When the number of those who signed up reached 46 the college saw $$ in fed funding and actively started recruiting me to turn the class into a college-based course. Local immigrants wanted to learn English but had to balance the demands of a local job market and economy. This in an area of  high unemployment where many English-speaking white folks refused to work for minimum-wage labor in seafood canneries that support the entire community.

I remember my Russian classes at Syracuse University in 1969. Our teachers were mostly White Russians or their descendents who fled the USSR at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution. Most if not all were degreed and still spoke English with a heavy Slavic accent.

In fact, because I could already speak Spanish, my Russian grammar professor laughed and told me that I spoke Russian with a Spanish accent, not an American accent.

You know, Russian has its own alphabet with more letters than in the English alphabet. Russian is expressed with words whose spelling and pronunciation are changed depending on what are called declensions: the variation of the form of a noun, pronoun, or adjective, by which its grammatical case, number, and gender are identified.

I didn’t know what a declension was til Syracuse and I thought the Russian was impossible project for me.

Consider the following:

There is nothing dumber than the statement that “My immigrant ancestors had to learn English and these are no better.”

Written in Russian: Там нет ничего глупее, чем утверждение, что “Мои предки иммигрантов изучать английский язык, и они не лучше”.

Transliterated (using English letters to try to pronounce the above statement): Tam net nichego glupeye, chem utverzhdeniye, chto “Moi predki immigrantov izuchat’ angliyskiy yazyk, i oni ne luchshe.

My point was that my Syracuse instructors were far more educated than most Americans, yet they insisted that English was much harder for them to learn than Russian would be for us. They did it but not under an insane and bigoted threat of deportation if they did not. And we as a nation are all the better because of our immigrants regardless of their language.

Because of their perseverance brash young military students in 1969 who qualified for the Russian course in the first place by getting higher aptitude scores than most citizens of this country were capable of achieving became bilingual Cold Warriors. Why? Because immigrants came here and were allowed opportunities  to become citizens, to contribute and to receive benefits from our American dream.

Which causes me to express the idea that our citizens’ weak abilities with their own language is embarrassing. Such is much more a national shame than whether or not our immigrants learn English at all.

More of the immigrant problem lies not with the immigrants but in the hearts of sons and daughters – both elected and unelected – who are descendants from immigrants, but who seem to think that every one of THEIR particular ancestors learned to speak English via some sort of divinely jingoistic American osmosis.

I might suggest that we should make it a law that all Americans who do not learn to speak English correctly and effectively should be imported to places where their language laziness wouldn’t matter … although for the life of me I can’t conceive of a place where they wouldn’t become English-speaking moochers.

“If insistence on decent treatment of all Americans makes me a liberal in the eyes of conservatives, then maybe we should take some time to reflect on who our modern conservatives actually are. The world is watching.”

liberal-conservative-phony-definitions

I don’t know who’s smart and who’s dumb in this country. I thought I knew and got judgmental about it. I thought that  I was one of the smart crowd among the electorate. Seems like I wasn’t.

But then it seems that the “smart crowd” among the electorate is a myth.

We’re all not so smart … we were all duped … we all seem to have bought and taken long drinks of the snake oil that spin doctors in both parties, in the media and in not-so-likely places like churches and other pot-luck gatherings where snake oil was dumped in the punch.

A citizen’s knowledge of civics matters.

Civic duty matters.

Honest questioning and honest disagreeing with anyone of influence matter. Now is the time to be willing to dissent if you don’t go along with where the drivers of the bus seem to want to take us. Don’t tell yourself you are a good civic-minded American if you disagree and are afraid to speak up … to muzzle your own voice out of fear of shame or rejection is a coward’s way out.

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” -Teddy Roosevelt

Now is not the time to stop keeping score. Now is not the time for the pollyanna notion about getting behind the new president in some sort of patriotic show of respect. Regarding the idea of “giving him a chance,” he will get that chance. He was hired for a four-year term and barring something doofus that leads to resignation or impeachment, he will have four years to justify all the votes he received.

He has the means, the congressional majorities, a future supreme court majority. None of us have control over that. He and they will try to do what they will to do. There is no reason for me or any of us to cut him slack – not for even a moment; right from the get-go; not for a day, not for 100 days, not at all.

Our civic and patriotic duty is to defend and advocate for what we believe is right. That never goes away. Do not listen to the newly self-appointed victorious peacemakers who tell us to “get over it.”

And to those pseudo-patriots demanding we give him a chance I quote my friend David Neiwert:

“Yes, we will extend to President-elect Trump exactly the same respect and opportunity to prove himself that Republicans gave to President-elect Obama.”

Seems to me that most who voted for the candidate voted for the snake oil promises he made.

The Pew Research Center made a preliminary analysis of the 2016 election and how the faithful voted.

Apparently 61% of my fellow Mormons voted for Mr. Trump. I have to assume that having been taught civic duty and participation in the Church (as I was for most of my life), that these active Mormons searched, pondered and prayed about the best person for the job. I have to assume that they took into account the incredibly foolish behavior, the acknowledgements and admissions on his part as to his highly inappropriate and immoral behavior towards other human beings, particularly mothers, wives and daughters.

Furthermore, Trump was accurately portrayed and repudiated by a Mormon of my own generation, Mitt Romney, to his credit – and this before most of the revelations that followed. In my book that makes Mitt Romney a genuine moral Mormon.

As for the voters from my culture, to vote for the promise at the expense of morality is nothing less than religious hypocrisy; 61 per cent worth.

Recommended reading this week:
What Now? – Sean Patrick Hughes

This is a long excerpt from a longer thoughtful, inciteful and well-written article.

On Tuesday, we took one giant leap backward on the arc of our journey to one people. And over the last four days, I’ve been bombarded by explanations of why Donald J. Trump was just elected president. I don’t need any more. I didn’t need them in the first place. I know why he was elected. He was elected because the only message that matters for the American government in 2016 is a need for change. And when the alternative to that change was someone who moved into the White House when I was fifteen, (I’m 40 now) that choice was clear for some. But it was a choice. And the ultimate choice that was made, the one people will remember a hundred years from now, was a willingness to ignore personal decency and fair treatment towards people who are different in service to that change. That was the choice that the minority of the American electorate made. That was the choice that about a quarter of eligible American voters made.

I’m not here to argue the legitimacy of the results. And I don’t get to pick and choose whether I support democracy because of the outcomes. I won’t tell you that you are a racist or a bigot if you voted for Donald Trump. I won’t even tell you that you personally are indecent. But I will tell you what you just bought with your choice. You bought a very vigilant, sensitive and loud American majority who will cry foul at the drop of a hat for anything that resembles attacks on those we have fought so hard for these last fifty years. Because what you showed us with his nomination and your vote in the election, is that you can’t be trusted to do it without us.

Many of my devout conservative friends were remarkably quiet when their candidate trashed their personal values. And they were remarkably quiet when their candidate made inexcusable first hand remarks about minorities, women and disabled Americans. And they were remarkably quiet when the dark forces of white supremacists aligned themselves in support of their candidate. I understand why. You couldn’t live with the alternative. So you rationalized out of fear that speaking up would enable it. Well, that risk is gone now. You avoided the end you couldn’t live with. That excuse is gone. And now it’s fair to say that tolerance of that behavior from here on can only be seen as an endorsement of it. So when there’s a KKK rally in North Carolina to celebrate the election of the candidate you support, you no longer have any excuse not to condemn it with the same uncompromising vigor that you condemned Hillary. Let’s see the memes. Let’s see the Facebook posts. Let’s see the outrage.

Perhaps the rest of America can trust you to hold the leader of our government to the change you so uncompromisingly sought. But we won’t trust you to look out for our fellow Americans who are different. So get ready for four years of vocal, loud, peaceful I pray, dissent. If you thought the core Trump supporters would be loud if Hillary Clinton won, what do you think is going to happen now that you’ve marginalized a group that has much more to lose than freedom from background checks for guns and a ten percent lag in wage growth? At stake for them, is participation in our society. And if their vocal insistence on it is something you aren’t willing to tolerate, then perhaps you might consider a different path in thirty months when you get to choose your next leader without the looming evil of Hillary excusing your choice. You can’t point to her any more as cause.

If insistence on decent treatment of all Americans makes me a liberal in the eyes of conservatives, then maybe we should take some time to reflect on who our modern conservatives actually are. The world is watching.

About Sean

Sean Patrick Hughes is a writer, veteran and special needs parent. As a veteran of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, he served ten years on active duty and completed three deployments, receiving the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.  Sean lives in Southern California with his wife and three sons. He’s a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and The University of San Diego School of Business. Today he leads high performing teams in the consumer technology industry in California. He’s a veterans advocate and Co-founder of the non-profit corporation, Care For Us which specializes in providing support, education and advocacy for special needs parents.

Good Samaritans Wanted

thegoodsamaritan2

Regarding the homeless …

the poor …

and right now particularly, the veterans.

If we can’t see them they don’t exist in our moral conscience.

They are subject to priorities governed by agency number crunchers

… governed by legislatures driven by political considerations and misguided perceptions of how the public feels about it’s military society and its poorest segment of society.

Welfare reform as legislated nationally by the self-righteous political thugs a la Gingrich-America-contractors in the mid 1990’s was in some ways cynical – primarily driven by negative images designed and created by the framing forefathers of partisan swift-boat crowd that can turn Johnny Appleseed into Oil Can Henry.

Images…

a single mother standing in the grocery checkout line with a child sitting in the grocery cart and with food stamps in her hand

… surrounded by presumptuous non-food-stamp patrons smug in awareness of being “better-than” and resentful of that young mother

who probably cheated on her application in order to qualify for food assistance.

Furthermore, I’ve met smug Daddies who have bragged about their sons’ studhood; their procreative ability to seduce girls but then dodge responsibility and accountability when that stud-ness results in conception;

… jerk baby-boomer-aged blowhards who actually insist that the slut who lured their wunderkind son into bed deserved what happened. Despite birthing his grandchild she deserved nothing from their son but contempt.

Except when after the child is born they sometimes push their sons into courtrooms for custody of what might be their only grandchild.

What happens in a society when a father teaches his son irresponsibility and that it’s okay to whisper anything necessary in the dark in order to get the clothes off?

And then find the junior-high-level maturity of that lover-boy stud in a tavern bragging pridefully about how they did it while whining indignantly when the Division of Child Support comes knocking.

Single pregnant females of course are accountable and responsible for their pregnancy as well as the males. But we as a society tend very much to blame the mothers almost entirely, look the other way regarding a criticism of the father because he’s out of sight and therefore out of mind.

That’s the same sort of thing that drives public apathy toward the homeless.

And don’t get me started about churches who get all straining and diahhretic about what gays are doing but don’t pour out of their churches and into the street in moral outrage about how a nation stays bereft of real morale values while worshipping consumption.

There is no redeemable capitalistic corporate civic benefit to the people for what is happening there.

solidarity-with-standing-rock-defend-the-land

Ah … capitalism … utilizes self-interest at the point of guns in the false name of supposed law and order. There is no redeemable corporate civic benefit to the people for what is happening there. But there is tons or gallons of civic good for what the tribes of all Americans in opposition are doing. I add my vote and endorse the resistance.

Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline Opposition

Gosh, they’re out there … guys of my generation … not old mossybacks … no, these are hornybacks.

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Donald Trump, left, and Newt Gingrich at a campaign rally in Cincinnati. (John Minchillo/Associated Press)

 

Trump’s party of angry, white, abusive males

 

Might there be a pattern here? White, unhinged men, most well past their prime, acting abusively toward women.

It is remarkable the company Trump keeps and how these men find solace in each other’s company. In their fury and contempt for women, they reveal how uncivilized they are. They occupy space far outside the norms of polite society, one in which women are there to do as the men want and called liars, nasty and devious  if they object. Trump and company use power to go after people they perceive as weaker than they are. They assume that women can be taunted, abused and kept quiet.

A social and cultural course adjustment hiccupped by a political campaign?

republican-ass

Three opinion pieces with excellent breakdowns of the approaching day-after-the-election: the beginning or continuation of a “what just happened?” moment … better said, “What is happening?”

The debasing of American politics – The Economist (UK)

“The city on a hill
Must it be this way? Once you start throwing mud in politics, it is very hard to stop. Yet, every so often, you get a glimpse of something better. When Todd Akin lost a winnable Senate seat in 2012, after haplessly trying to draw a distinction between “legitimate rape” and the not so legitimate sort, Republican candidates and political consultants took notice.

Such a realisation needs to strike home on a grand scale. Healthy politics is not gang warfare. It involves compromise, because to yield in some areas is to move forward in others. It is about antagonists settling on a plan, because to do nothing is the worst plan of all. It requires the insight that your opponent can be honourable and principled, however strongly you disagree. The 2016 election campaign has poured scorn on such ideas. All Americans are worse off as a result.”

USA Today: Trump implosion goes way beyond politics: Mastio & Lawrence

David Mastio, a libertarianish conservative, is the deputy editor of USA TODAY’s Editorial Page. Jill Lawrence, a center-leftish liberal, is the commentary editor of USA TODAY. Follow them on Twitter @DavidMastio and @JillDLawrence.

Mastio: Inaugurating the first woman president was always going to change things in the United States, but the question was how much. Our first black president has changed America, but it is still the country I remember from 2008. That’s in part because Barack Obama’s presidential opponents were basically pretty decent guys. Donald Trump is not. What we are going to witness over the next few weeks is what Obama’s 2008 campaign would have been like if Obama had been running against unrepentant segregationist George Wallace and not maverick Sen. John McCain. The next few weeks may see the Sweet Meteor of Death bring the Masculicine Era to an end. What comes after will include far bigger changes in relations between the sexes than we saw in relations between the races from 2009 to 2016.

Lawrence: In the best possible world, the Trump crackup will be one of those moments where the entire country says, My God, what were we thinking? The Republican Party will rededicate itself to voting rights and political compromise, and let go of its slavish attachment to supply-side economics. Parents who wore “Hillary is a c—“ when they brought their children to Trump rallies will repent. College campuses will allow all kinds of speakers and communication. We will all re-learn the difference between “political correctness” and simply being civil to our neighbors and fellow Americans. And Democrats will not gloat. It’s true they did not nominate a Trump-like presidential candidate, but that bar is subterranean.

And this from John McCain’s 2008 campaign manager:

A GOP strategist explains why the Republican Party is about to break in two   –  Steve Schmidt — a GOP consultant who worked on George W. Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004 and ran John McCain’s campaign in 2008 — thinks it very well might be.

The Trump campaign is over — Hillary Clinton is going to be elected president. The question that remains here, the open question, is the degree of the collateral damage, right? The Republicans are going to lose the US Senate. The question is how many seats can they lose in the House. It is possible but not probable yet that they lose the House majority. So the question is, how far below 40 percent is Trump in the popular vote?

Then there’s a long-term implication for the civic life of the country, the vandalism being done, which will culminate for the first time in American history with his refusal to make an ordinary concession where he grants to the winner legitimacy by recognizing the legitimacy of the election. I think it’s very clear he’s going to go out saying it’s a rigged system.

I think what you’re gonna see is Steve Bannon monetizing 30 percent of the electorate into a UKIP-style movement and a billion-dollar media business.

And I think the Republican Party has an outstanding chance of fracturing. There will be the alt-right party; then there will be a center-right conservative party that has an opportunity to reach out, repair damage, and rebuild the brand over time. America, ideologically right now, is a centrist country — it used to be a center-right country — but it’s by no means a Bernie Sanders country. Not even close. The market will demand a center-right party.

The last implication for it behaviorally is it exposes at such a massive scale and at such magnitude the hypocrisy of the Tony Perkinses and the Jerry Falwell Jrs. and the Pat Robertsons. These people are literally the modern-day Pharisees, they are the money changers in the temple, and they will forever be destroyed from a credibility perspective.

There are millions of decent, faithful, committed evangelicals in this country who have every right to participate in the political process. But this country doesn’t ever need to hear a lecture from any one of these people [Perkins, Falwell, etc.] again on a values issue, or their denigration of good and decent gay people in this country.

And finally Recommended reading from a genuine republican – the kind both parties ought to have.

On removing the Republican majority in the House and Senate. Here’s why and I fully agree:

repub-majority

Article published here in its entirety as it was mailed to me by the author.

The rats are quickly jumping from the sinking ship of Trump. But not so fast, dear Republican senators and congressmen. Trump may have verbalized his misogyny, sexism and abuse of women into an open microphone, but over the past decades you – YOU – have LEGALIZED it. He may talk of “grabbing” sexual organs, but YOU have created laws that legally grab control over women’s bodies. Trump may brag about his power over women; YOU, the Republican legislators (and your backers, the Christian Right and rich businessmen), have made sure women aren’t paid the same as men, don’t have paid maternity leave, or can’t get easy access to birth control.Trump has been called “disgusting” for his remarks. But you, by actually blocking women’s equal rights, you’ve been rewarded for your misogyny with re-election, campaign cash and future lobbying jobs. You think by disowning Trump now that we, the people, are going be grateful to you. But we know that Trump is only the natural result of a Republican culture that has viciously fought the women’s agenda for years. Trump hasn’t destroyed your party; he’s your end game, the grim reaper from the seeds you have sown, showing up now to preside over your demise. Defeating Trump, or pushing him to drop out, is NOT what will make this right for the majority of us Americans. Like any good doctor, we need to remove the cancer from its source, and that source is you.

Don’t try to make Mike Pence out to be some sane, better alternative. This guy was behind the legislation to require women who have an abortion to hold an actual funeral for the fetus! The rest of you have tried to kill Planned Parenthood and many other things that make life a bit easier for women.

Trump bragged to Billy Bush about his “grabbing pussy.” But those of you who are the elected officials, who have spent this weekend decrying Trump with your crocodile wails of “shame” and trying to distance yourselves from him, YOU are the ones who’ve been “grabbing” women the legal way by passing laws that, in effect, assault them. It is an assault to pay women less. It is an assault to block day care for all. It is an assault – and a form of gender apartheid – when only 20% of Congress is women, the majority gender.

As far as I’m concerned, there are 54 Trumps in the US Senate and 237 Trumps in the House. You can’t make this look good by removing your endorsement from Trump. Yes, Trump has to go — but so do you, all of you. Starting with the election on November 8th, we need to show up at the polls and remove as many of you as possible. This abuse of women stops now. I believe that most women and many men are going to determine their vote with this one thought, thanks to you and Trump:

“YOU’RE EITHER WITH WOMEN, OR YOU’RE AGAINST THEM.”

And if you’re against women, you’re over. There’s a fourth wave of feminism afoot now — and you are going to be its first casualties.

Or, as I prefer to see it, its first victory.

Thank you for letting the American public see your true (orange) face. I’m glad you “grabbed” our attention and mobIlized the masses against you. The only thing sweeter than seeing the lot of you gone would be a 50-state sweep for Hillary.
GOP, RIP?

— Michael Moore