Hypocrisy & Bigotry in the Name of Security

​https://youtu.be/ofmgafP9Ht4

Trump’s ban led to people who were on flights to the US when the executive order was signed being detained or sent back, and even affects green card holders, who are very well vetted as I’m sure you know. 

So Trump cites the 9/11 attacks as part of his justification for a total ban, but NONE of the countries that the actual 9/11 hijackers came from are actually on the list… like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, and the Emirates. 

Why? Well, none of the countries Trump has major business interests in are on the list … like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Emirates.

And as far as Americans killed by terrorists fromTrump’s magnificent seven, the total is 0. Zero. Zilch.

Now, for Americans killed by terrorists from Trump’s not-banned business buddies, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Emirates: 3,000.

Well, at least Trump is putting one American first.

Source: New York Daily News

A Bit of Good News (Chelsea Manning)

​https://youtu.be/iEAhkZsKx38

Amid the flood of “alternative truths” spewing forth from the inaugaration, it’s easy to lose track of one President Obama’s last good deeds as President: he commuted Chelsea Manning’s sentence. 

Now,  I’m not saying she should have served the time she already has, or that Obama shouldn’t have done this sooner. 

After all, Obama’s administration put her in prison in the first place and kept her there all this time. I’m not saying he’s a hero. I’m saying that he did the right thing as of 2017.

There have been a number of people tirelessly working for Chelsea Manning’s release since day one. Most have never even meet her face to face. They’re the real heroes here.

I hope that she’s able to build a life in or out of the spotlight,  whichever she chooses. 

Just Keep Swimming. ..


It’s official:  America has elected the most unqualified, racist,  sexist demagogue in recent memory. 

White supremacy reigned last night, add the man with the KKK endorsement took the Presidency. 

So what do we do? 

Don’t panic (I’m working on that one myself). There are chances every day to build back the bridges Trump’s supporters are trying to burn,  to make this a country for all of us, not just straight white Protestant males and their wives.

In the words of Dory, “Just Keep swimming.”

I’m With Her

As Jeph Jacques said, “we have a choice between electing the first female president and a racist,  sexist sociopath.”

Whatever past animosity I had toward Secretary Clinton melted away in the face of Trump’s continual steam of outrages and abuses (torture, sexual assault, fraud,etc.)

And when that animosity faded, I was able to see that she is highly qualified and has the mindset and temperament to be president,  add well as the intellect. 

Vote Today! No Excuses!


Like I said yesterday, the Republican candidate is a terrifying, unqualified, cruel,  egomaniacal, racist misogynist who’s advocated torturing the families of suspected terrorists and has allegedly sexually assaulted multiple women and allegedly even a couple of young teen girls … And who has bagged about sexually assaulting women when he didn’t realize the microphone was on. 

He’s demonstrated an unprecedented disrespect and disregard for the rule of law and even for the constitution. 

If you’re not a Republican,  step up to defeat him for obvious reasons.

If you are a Republican,  step up to defeat him and force your party leaders to nominates someone sane and qualified in 2020.

Monday: Vote Tomorrow! That’s Tuesday, November 8, 2016. No Excuses!

​https://youtu.be/WCqFCCgU1xk
Seriously, we have an unlikable but qualified woman running against an egotistical, ignorant, cruel, racist, authoritarian, torture-praising misogynist who can be sent into a rage by an errant tweet.

Vote tomorrow.

No excuses.

Of course, if Trump loses, he might not actually concede the election. He said he’s going to “keep us in suspense.”

God help us all.

Donald Trump Is Not “Pro-Life!” 

In case you’re thinking about voting for trump because he’s pro-life,  think again. Despite his 11th hour “conversion” to pro-life talking points,  he is certainly the most pro-death candidate in the race.

I’m not the first to make this point. Matthew Lee Anderson at Mere Orthodoxy makes this point very well from a consevative perspective, Rachel Held Evans makes it from a progressive perspective, and Shannon Dingle has made it well from a largely non political perspective. 

Hillary Clinton, Jill Stein, and Gary Johnson all oppose increasing restrictions on abortion. They’re “Pro-Choice” as the terms go.

Clinton has repeatedly said that while she does not want to ban abortions, she wants to make them rare, largely through education and contraceptive access that will prevent unwanted pregnancies, and also through an increased social safety net.

Donald Trump has shared the same pro-choice opinion for his entire career, until he realized he needed evangelical votes to win. Since then he’s “seen the light” and worked in some anti-abortion talking points. Few people believe he’s actually going to follow through on any of it.

The American Solidarity Party is strongly pro-life, but they aren’t on many states’ ballots.

The Lancet and the Guttmacher Institute have both found that, worldwide, abortion rates don’t go down when the penalties for abortion go up. 

Instead, the lowest abortion rates are present when a greater social safety net takes away the “desperation abortion,” and where contraception and education about contraception is freely and easily available.

Think about it:  prohibition didn’t work on alcohol in the 1920’s. The drug war hasn’t settled people from doing drugs,  and gun bans don’t stop criminals from getting weapons,  even when the whole country bans them (Mexico, for example). 

Back alley abortions are extremely easy to do, much easier than constructing or smuggling an illegal gun, or even making meth.

A lot of people present the typical abortion as involving some self-involved, cosmopolitan, well-off woman who just can’t be bothered to fit a baby into her busy social schedule, or who doesn’t want to lose her tight abs and gain post-pregnancy stretch marks.

That’s a great talking point for the Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akins of the world, but that’s really all it is. Abortions mostly happen because women are struggling just to survive (and take care of any kids they already have), and don’t think they can take care of another child. In fact, according to The Lancet, married women are the most likely to get an abortion.

Increasing the social safety net takes away that fear factor, and abortion rates adjust downward, naturally. Providing easier access to contraception also reduces abortion, so the Hobby Lobby’s of the world’s can’t really call themselves pro life in any meaningful way. 

During Reagan and Bush 1’s Presidencies, abortion rates began to fall. During Clinton’s presidency, they fell rapidly. During Bush 2’s Presidency, the abortion rate fell, but more slowly. During the Obama Presidency, the abortion rate fell 13%, a faster fall than under any of the Republican Presidents.

So while the abortion rates have been falling overall, there’s no reason to believe they’d fall faster under Trump than under Clinton, and some small evidence to believe the reverse might be true.

So that leads us to other aspects of being “pro-life.”

I mean, if you only care about abortion rates, you’re not really pro-life, just anti-abortion. And what good is that, really?

  • Clinton is certainly less likely to get us into another ground war. To be sure, she’ll use air power liberally (no pun intended), and kill far more people than I’d find acceptable, but Trump will almost certainly do much, much worse things.
  • A former CIA diector has labeled Trump a threat to national security
  • Clinton is less likely to tear families apart through bigoted and impractical mass deportation scenarios (Muslims, Mexicans, or whoever Trump names off next).
  • Oh, and speaking of worse things: Clinton is against torture, while Trump has advocated torturing and killing the families of suspected terrorists. This is unspeakably evil, a literal crime against humanity.
  • Clinton is far more likely to reform our justice system, bringing some reduction in the number of people killed by police and the outrageous percentage of our population that we keep incarcerated (more than any other sizable country, by a huge margin).
  • Clinton is more likely to support policies that will support families and mothers, like paid maternal leave, widespread health insurance, and social safety nets for economically disadvantaged mothers-to-be.
  • Clinton pushed for CHIP, a program that has provided medical care for huge numbers of otherwise uninsured children over the last 19 years.
  • Trump has been accused of sexual assault by several women, and his hateful misogyny is clear. I don’t know if this matters to the pro-life crusaders,  but it matters to me. 

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that some of the third party candidates might be just as pro-life or more so. Stein and Johnson are much more dovish than Clinton. The American Solidarity Party is dovish, pro-safety net,  and anti-abortion in every way. They are also anti-LGBT+ rights and borderline theocratic, so your mileage may vary.

    At any rate, none of them have a viable chance in November.  They didn’t even meet the threshold to be included in the debates. 

    That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vote third-party. Just be realistic about the outcome. 

    Trump or Clinton will be our next President. 

    As far as lives lost and destroyed go, I think there’s really no question. Fewer people – born and unborn alike – will be killed, maimed, and tortured under a Clinton Presidency than under a Trump Presidency. Bottom line.

    And that means Hillary Clinton is as close to pro-life as we’re gonna get this year. 

    Election Forecast: Russian Roulette

    Five Thirty Eight,  Nate Silver’s political polling and statistics site, gives Hillary Clinton an 85% chance of winning the U.S. Presidential election, about a 5 in 6 chance.

    That leaves Donald Trump with about 15%, or 1 in 6, chance.

    The same odds as Russian Roulette. Lovely. 

    And the same outcome, at least for some people. Remember,  you’re voting for a man who’s promised to commit war crimes, intentionally target civilians, assassinate, and even torture the families of suspected terrorists, without trial.

    Remember the 1990’s? Maybe it’s time to bring back the old bracelets & slogan: “What Would Jesus Do?”

    Wayne Grudem Is NOT a “Good Man Giving Bad Advice” 

    [I wrote this in early August, but shelved it until I’d cooled off some. Sometimes being timely isn’t worth it] 

    Conservative evangelical theologian Wayne Grudem wrote a terrible article called “why voting for Donald Trump is a morally good choice.”

    In it, he whitewashed Trump’s misogyny and racism, including his refusal to denounce the KKK.

    Grudem minimized the dangers of having such an egotistical, unstable bully at the command of the world’s most powerful military.

    He raised the spectre of widespread persecution of Christians under a Clinton presidency,  with no real evidence that this would happen,  while ignoring the persecution of Muslims that Trump has promised.

    Obviously, I disagree with Grudem. So do conservative theologians like the Southern Baptist Convention’s Al Mohler and Russel Moore, though perhaps for different reasons. 

    In fact, there had been a lot of pushback against Grudem from the Christian Right, which is encouraging.

    This article sums up the general approach these articles have taken, assuming that Grudem is a generally good and wise man who has been misled by fears of who Clinton might appoint to the Supreme Court.

    I want to take a more critical approach. Wayne Grudem and Donald Trump are a near-perfect match.

    Torture: Donald Trump has advocated not only torturing trout suspects (without trial) just as his Republican predecessor,  evangelical darling George W. Bush did, but even torturing their families if it helps get useful information.

    Wayne Grudem called waterboarding and other Bush-  era “enhanced interrogation” techniques a “moral responsibility” of government. Not only did he give his sanction to torture, so long as it was the kind that didn’t leave permanent scars, but he actually said “not to have used them would have been morally wrong…” (Politics According to the Bible, p 432, quoted in Christianity Today).

    Christian supremacy: Donald Trump has shown open hostity toward Muslims, even the Muslim parents of a soldier killed in action.

    And while few people actually believe Trump’s conveniently timed religious awakening (an awakening that has not led him to change any of his positions, apologize to anyone he has wronged or insulted, or divest himself of his strip clubs and casinos), it’s pretty clear which religious group he’s currying favor with.

    Wayne Grudem’s examples of religious liberty in his endorsement all centered around Christians being allowed to deny God’s and services to people the disagree with (mostly gay people) Or limiting medical coverage for their female employees, Hobby Lobby style.

    Grudem’s book on politics us called Politics According to the Bible, a title that is certainly ambitious, if not hubristic. Much of what he advocates is standard Christian Right “get this country back to God” soft theocracy.

    It is safe to say that Trump’s hostility toward religious minorities is of no real concern to Grudem.

    Misogyny, or at least male dominance. Trump has proven his misogyny over and again on the trail. And that’s leaving aside a history of adultery, objectification, rpe allegations, abd sexualizing his daughters on talk radio.

    Grudem is one of the leading proponents of complementarianism, a theory in which the men lead and the women submit and support thrm. Men are spiritual and worldly leaders, protectors, and providers. Women are caretakers. They raise the children, support their husbands’ ministries and activities, and follow.

    This aligns him with Trump, who proudly claimed to have taken little role in raising his children, other than bringing home a lot of money, and whose three wives have all set their careers aside for him.

    Sure,  Grudem is a moralistic man who’d never be involved with something as crass or sleazy as a strip club, who’d never say “grab ’em by the pussy“, but fundamentally, he and Trump are the same: authoritarians who believe in male dominance, force, torture, and the suppression of civil rights for unpopular minorities.

    If you call that “good,” you know how to vote in November.

    If not, you can be like Al Mohler and Russel Moore and vote third party, or you can be like Rachel Held Evans and Shannon Dingle and vote for Hillary Clinton.

    But let’s not pretend that Wayne Grudem’s endorsement of Donald Trump was some weird, outlier mistake. The two are much more alike than they seem.

    Thoughts on the Presidential Debate 

    Watching the presidential debates, it occurs to me that Donald Trump either cannot or will not answer the question as asked. 

    He talks in whatever direction he wants to talk about, rambling on, repeating the same points and going over the same lines again. 

    When asked about his earlier comment that Hillary didn’t have the presidential “look,” he claimed that he’d said she didn’t have the stamina to be president. 

    He literally ignored the actual question and his actual (sexist, inappropriate)  comment. He pretended it didn’t exist. 

    Clinton was specific and knowledgeable, going into detail. She went after Trump for being vague. I doubt that will hurt him much, but eventually he’ll have to give some details. 

    Trump didn’t come off as a mad cartoon like he had in some interviews and soundbites.

    But he was evasive, as if he either didn’t know the answers or didn’t want to answer the questions.

    And sometimes he outright lied. Like how he repeatedly said he was against the Iraq war from the beginning, when he actually said in 2002 on the Howard Stern Show,  this: 



    But revisionist history is pretty much a part of the Trump game. People are quick to buy that he’s the pro-life candidate, but he only “became” pro-life once it was time to run for office as a Republican. Before that, he was in favor of partial birth abortion being legal:

    For the record, Clinton said she could support a ban on partial birth abortions so long as it had an exemption for the life and health of the mother. 

    That’s more pro-life than Trump’s old position,  but less pro-life than the position he is vaguely but vociferously taking now, I think. 

    Honestly, I’m worried. Trump sounded more reasonable and sane than I’d expected. 

    I feel like we’re one step closer to having a bribe paying, scam college runningtorture advocating, warmongering, strip club owning, misogynist, unqualified, alleged child rapist as our president. 

    Sigh.

    I don’t want to sound like I’m trashing Republicans in general. I’m not. The GOP presidential field was pretty weak this time, but someone like McCain, Kasich, or even Romney would probably do a good job in the White House.

    I know I’ve moved to the left quite a bit since I was younger, but Donald Trump really seems like the worst human being to run for president in my lifetime, maybe longer. I think he’s dangerous in a way that no nominee I’ve ever seen had been.

    And it frightens me that so many sane, functional, good,  intelligent people disagree. 

    It really frightens me that he may be leading our country for the next 4 to 8 years.