A Powerful Statement about Authoritarians

By Martin Mycielski, Committee for the Defence of Democracy (#KOD) resistance movement. All rights reserved.

What to expect?

  1. They will come to power with a campaign based on fear, scaremongering and distorting the truth. Nevertheless, their victory will be achieved through a democratic electoral process. But beware, as this will be their argument every time you question the legitimacy of their actions. They will claim a mandate from the People to change the system. Remember – gaining power through a democratic system does not give them permission to cross legal boundaries and undermine said democracy.
  2. They will divide and rule. Their strength lies in unity, in one voice and one ideology, and so should yours. They will call their supporters Patriots, the only “true Americans”. You will be labelled as traitors, enemies of the state, unpatriotic, the corrupt elite, the old regime trying to regain power. Their supporters will be the “People”, the “sovereign” who chose their leaders. Don’t let them divide you – remember you’re one People, one Nation, with one common good.
  3. Through convoluted laws and threats they will try to control mainstream media and limit press freedom. They will ban critical press from their briefings, calling them “liars”, “fake news”. They will brand those media as “unpatriotic”, acting against the People (see point 2). Fight for every media outlet, every journalist that is being banned, censored, sacked or labelled an “enemy of the state” – there’s no hope for freedom where there is no free press.
  4. They will create chaos, maintain a constant sense of conflict and danger. It will be their argument to enact new authoritarian laws, each one further limiting your freedoms and civil liberties. They will disguise them as being for your protection, for the good of the People. See through the chaos, the fake danger, expose it before you wake up in a totalitarian, fascist state.
  5. They will distort the truth, deny facts and blatantly lie. They will try to make you forget what facts are, sedate your need to find the truth. They will feed “post-truths” and “alternative facts”, replace knowledge and logic with emotions and fiction. Always think critically, fact-check and point out the truth, fight ignorance with facts.
  6. They will incite and then leak fake, superficial “scandals”. They will smear opposition with trivial accusations, blowing them out of proportion and then feeding the flame. This is just smokescreen for the legal steps they will be taking towards totalitarianism. See through superficial topics in mainstream media (see point 3) and focus on what they are actually doing.
  7. They will propose shocking laws to provoke your outrage. You will focus your efforts on fighting them, so they will seemingly back off, giving you a false sense of victory. In the meantime they will push through less “flashy” legislation, slowly dismantling democracy (see points 4 and 6). Focus your fight on what really matters.
  8. When invading your liberal sensibilities they will focus on what hurts the most – women and minorities. They will act as if democracy was majority rule without respect for the minority. They will paint foreigners and immigrants as potential threats. Racial, religious, sexual and other minorities will become enemies to the order and security they are supposedly providing. They will challenge women’s social status, undermine gender equality and interfere with reproductive rights (see point 7). But it means they are aware of the threat women and minorities pose to their rule, so make it your strength. Women and minorities should fight the hardest, reminding the majority what true democracy is about.
  9. They will try to take control of the judiciary. They will assault your highest court. They need to remove the checks and balances to be able to push through unconstitutional legislation. Controlling the judiciary they can also threat anyone that defies them with prosecution, including the press (see point 3). Preserve the independence of your courts at all cost, they are your safety valve, the safeguard of the rule of law and the democratic system.
  10. They will try to limit freedom of assembly, calling it a necessity for your security. They will enact laws prioritizing state events and rallies, or those of a certain type or ideology. If they can choose who can demonstrate legally, they have a legal basis to forcefully disperse or prosecute the rest. Oppose any legislation attempting to interfere with freedom of assembly, for whatever reason.
  11. They will distort the language, coin new terms and labels, repeat shocking phrases until you accept them as normal and subconsciously associate them with whom they like. A “thief”, “liar” or “traitor” will automatically mean the opposition, while a “patriot” or a “true American” will mean their follower (see point 2). Their slogans will have double meaning, giving strength to their supporters and instilling angst in their opponents. Fight changes in language in the public sphere, remind and preserve the true meaning of words.
  12. They will take over your national symbols, associate them with their regime, remake them into attributes of their power. They want you to forget that your flag, your anthem and your symbols belong to you, the People, to everyone equally. Don’t let them be hijacked. Use and expose them in your fight as much as they do. Show your national symbols with pride, let them give you strength, not associate you with the tyranny they brought onto your country.
  13. They will try to rewrite history to suit their needs and use the education system to support their agenda. They will smear any historical or living figure who wouldn’t approve of their actions, or distort their image to make you think they would. They will place emphasis on historical education in schools, feeding young minds with the “only correct” version of history and philosophy. They will raise a new generation of voters on their ideology, backing it with a distorted interpretation of history and view of the world. Guard the education of your children, teach them critical thinking, ensure their open-mindedness and protect your real history and heritage.
  14. They will alienate foreign allies and partners, convincing you that don’t need them. They won’t care for the rest of the world, with their focus on “making your country great again”. While ruining your economy to fulfil their populist promises, they will omit the fact that you’re part of a bigger world whose development depends on cooperation, on sharing and on trade. Don’t let them build walls promising you security instead of bridges giving you prosperity.
  15. They will eventually manipulate the electoral system. They might say it’s to correct flaws, to make it more fair, more similar to the rest of the world, or just to make it better. Don’t believe it. They wouldn’t be messing with it at all if it wasn’t to benefit them in some way. Oppose any changes to electoral law that an authoritarian regime wants to enact – rest assured it’s only to help them remain in power longer.

And above all, be strong, fight, endure, and remember you’re on the good side of history.
EVERY authoritarian, totalitarian and fascist regime in history eventually failed, thanks to the PEOPLE.


Authoritarian checklist:

  •  Win elections on fear & populist promises
  •  Reclaim power for the People from the “elites”
  •  Place cronies in positions of highest power regardless of their competence
  •  Purge highest positions in key government institutions
  •  Brush off any critical press as “fake”, “corrupt”, “acting against the People”
  •  Bluntly lie to the People
  •  Ban press from parliament/congress/White House or selectively limit their access
  • Limit press freedom & quietly take control of mainstream media
  • Label opposition & protesters as “traitors”, “elites trying to reclaim power”
  • Limit freedom of assembly
  • Fix highest court to be able to bypass Constitution “for the good of the people”
  • Limit minority & women’s rights
  • Ruin the economy to fulfil your populist promises in the short term
  • Alienate international partners and allies, “making your country great again”
  • Quietly fix electoral law under the disguise of making it better
  • Start over, until there’s nothing left…
    – With love, your Eastern European friends.

6 RULES for survival under an authoritarian regime


Rule 1
Don’t stay indifferent. It WILL concern you eventually. It will concern your family, your friends. Voice your objection IMMEDIATELY. Show them you care. RESIST.
Rule 2
They thrive on FEAR & IGNORANCE. Expose their scaremongering, show flaws in their arguments. Raise awareness, EDUCATE people around you. They will try to distort FACTS, rewrite history. DON’T LET THEM.
Rule 3
Organize protest movements, mobilize civil society. They’re well organized, so should you be. FLOOD THE STREETS. They WILL back off when they see your numbers. They depend on you – the PEOPLE.

Rule 4
Don’t let them DIVIDE you into different classes of citizens, “true Americans”, “patriots” vs “traitors”, “enemies of the state”. You’re ALL citizens, ONE nation, despite different beliefs and ideology. Make your diversity your STRENGTH. Stay TOGETHER for a common goal – survival of your country, of freedom and democracy.
Rule 5
Don’t give up, don’t get tired, and don’t try to wait it out. Don’t hope it will pass. It WON’T. They will manipulate the people, control the media to sway public opinion, fix the electoral system and STAY FOR GOOD.
Rule 6
If you don’t get them to back off or to step down, you better make goddamn SURE that when the next elections come, and if there’s still any democracy left, NO ONE will vote for the same bastard(s) again!

What if your neighbor, friend or relative supports the authoritarian regime?
7 RULES on approaching political opponents close to you
Rule 1
Don’t look down on them, don’t patronize them, even if you know what they’re saying has no factual basis or you find it offensive. Don’t preach, ask questions. Try to understand them, where they are coming from, what their problems are and why they see solutions to them in the regime. Treat them as people, as equals. They believe what they’re saying is true and they might have valid reasons for their support.

Rule 2
Don’t get emotional, don’t get provoked into heated arguments. Fight the other side’s emotions with your calm, logical approach. The angrier they get, the calmer you should be. They’ll calm down eventually.
Rule 3
Focus on what you have in common. Do you live in the same neighborhood? Do you work in the same company or sector? The smaller the community, the easier it is. Give examples, like “we all need to get this done for all of us, if we don’t cooperate neither of us will have it”.
Rule 4
Use their language, don’t treat it as inferior or below you – don’t seem patronizing (see rule 1). If they curse, curse with them. If they approach you with humor, don’t get angry or uptight about it, reply with humor. Show them you’re actually not that different (see rule 3). As long as you communicate on two different planes, you will never meet.

Rule 5
Don’t block their news sources, don’t turn away from their leaders and authority figures. Treat them as an insight to their worldview and tactics. Use them to your advantage, to better prepare for their arguments. Whenever you don’t agree with something or detect a lie, voice it calmly, expose it with factual arguments.
Rule 6
Pinpoint the practical, negative effects of their side’s actions, ones that affect them directly. Find examples of how they, their families, children or friends will be personally impacted by their policies, or how it will affect your shared community.

Rule 7
If all else fails, don’t turn away, don’t abandon your friends and family, don’t shun your neighbors. Remember – an authoritarian wants to divide you to control you. So invite them over to your BBQ, crack open a beer, and who knows, maybe they’ll realize you’re not so different after all.

With love, your Eastern European friends.

The downfall of Return of Kings

I was overjoyed to see this announcement:

Return Of Kings Is Going On Hiatus

Return Of Kings Is Going On Hiatus

After six years of continuous operation and 5,800 articles published, I’m putting ROK on an indefinite hiatus so I can take a break from the daily grind of maintaining the site. I don’t know when the hiatus will end.

The first factor for this hiatus is that site revenues are too low. We’ve been banned from Paypal and countless ad partners, which forced me to lay off the site editor last year and also lower payments to regular contributors. This started a negative spiral of declining content quality, site traffic, and revenues. Even the beloved comments section, which many see as the highlight of ROK, was badly hit when Disqus banned us. Currently, ROK receives half the traffic of its peak and less than one-fifth of the income.

The second factor is that I’m burned out. Keeping ROK updated, writing books, posting articles on my blog, doing live streams, and maintaining the forum has put too much on my plate. Out of everything on that list, working on ROK has become my least favorite activity because duties are centered more around editing other people’s work than creating my own.

I’m sure many of you understand that we are in the early stages of a censorship wave that will sweep through society. Scoundrels like myself get banned first, and then soon the hammer will come down on anyone who dares to share the truth. Personally, I believe that I will suffer death by a million cuts, but until then, you can continue to follow my work here:

[List of where he continues to publish his bullshit]

Lastly, I’m planning on doing a book tour in 2019, mainly in the United States. If you are interested in attending, complete this brief survey to help me identify which cities I should visit. The tour will probably happen in the summer.

In the meanwhile, if the situation with ROK changes, or I miss updating it, articles will return. Thank you for supporting the site all these years.

UPDATE: Here are some more thoughts on my decision…

[A video that has already disappeared]

What truth was he sharing? A sample of that may be found here:

An Ugly Anti-feminist

The truth is that he, like his fellow anti-feminist bigot Milo Yiannopoulos, wasn’t a victim of censorship, since only governments can do that. Paypal, Disqus, and ad producing companies are private business entities, and in a free market economy, they can choose freely to reject association with and enabling of hate speech and writing masquerading as political commentary.

Roosh made a CHOICE to bash women in hateful, childish language, and no one but himself is to blame for his website falling into disuse.

free_speech

When people like Roosh and Milo are able to discuss serious topics regarding men and women in a mature, fair manner, they may be allowed to return to the table of discussion on those topics. I won’t hold my breath about that.

We must DESTROY the Republican Party!

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18, 2020, followed immediately by the so-called President Donald Trump and the Senate dictator Bitch McConArtist conspiring to replace her before the 2020 election, has illustrated to all that the Republican Party is run by absolute hypocrites and tyrants and is therefore a threat to the liberty of most Americans and the integrity of the nation as a whole. It must be completely defeated and put out of business forever! Remember that the Senate dictator refused to allow President Barack Obama to nominate a Supreme Court Justice in an election year, 2016, arguing that it should fall to the next President to decide such an issue. That was clearly a bullshit political maneuver that should have gotten the Senate dictator arrested and imprisoned for sedition. And if Joe Biden becomes the next President and the Democrats win a majority in the Senate next year, the former Senate dictator should be expelled outright from that body and locked up for the rest of his life! And there should be NO ONE in the future having the absolute power over the Senate that McConArtist has now!

I am painfully aware that the Democratic Party as a whole is too corrupt and conservative to do what really needs to be done to make America an more ethical society, but unless and until the Republican Party is completely pushed out of the political mainstream forever, reforming the Democrats won’t succeed. Republicans have been playing hardball with us since the 1980s, so we need to play CANNONBALL right back at them to make it clear to the American people that the Republicans can never be trusted again to lead the nation! We must break the Republicans, first on a federal level and then in most of the individual states. We just have to figure out how.

Trump supporters = Nazis-lite

The question was posed, “Why do people continue supporting Trump no matter what he does?” A lady answered it this way:

You all don’t get it. I live in Trump country, where racists are still common. It was never about what he does. He’s just something to rally around and hate liberals, that’s it, period.He absolutely realizes that and plays it up. They love it. He knows they love it.The fact that people act like it’s anything other than that proves to them that liberals are idiots, all the more reason for high fives all around.If you keep getting caught up in “why do they not realize this problem” and “how can they still back Trump after this scandal,” then you do not understand what the underlying motivating factor of his support is. It’s defeat liberals, that’s pretty much it. Have you noticed he can do pretty much anything imaginable, and they’ll explain some way that rationalizes it that makes zero logical sense? Because they’re not even keeping track of any coherent narrative, it’s irrelevant. Defeat the liberals is the only relevant thing. Trust me; I know firsthand what I’m talking about. That’s why they just laugh at it all because you all don’t even realize they truly don’t care about whatever the conversation is about. It’s just a side mission story that doesn’t matter anyway. That’s all just trivial details – the economy, health care, whatever. Destroy liberals. Look at the issue with not wearing the masks. I can tell you what that’s about. It’s about exposing fear. They’re playing chicken with nature, and whoever flinches just moved down their internal pecking order, one step closer to being a liberal.You’ve got to understand the one core value that they hold above all others is hatred for what they consider weakness because that’s what they believe strength is, hatred of weakness. And I mean passionate, sadistic hatred. And I’m not exaggerating. Believe me. Sadistic, passionate hatred, and that’s what proves they’re strong, their passionate hatred for weakness. Sometimes they will lump vulnerability in with weakness. They do that because people tend to start humbling themselves when they’re in some compromising or overwhelming circumstance, and to them, that’s an obvious sign of weakness.
Kindness = weakness.

Honesty = weakness.

Compromise = weakness.

They consider their very existence to be superior in every way to anyone who doesn’t hate weakness as much as they do. Just like the Nazis in Germany! They consider liberals to be weak people that are inferior, almost a different species (think European Jews before the Holocaust), and the fact that liberals are so weak is why they have to unite in large numbers, which they find disgusting, but it’s that disgust that is a true expression of their natural superiority. Go ahead and try to have a logical, rational conversation with them. Just keep in mind what I said here and be forewarned.

From a Facebook post

You couldn’t reason with the Nazis; they had to be defeated in a war that killed over 60 million people. And we may have to go to war here too.

Another fight in reddit over Rev. Todd Eklof’s publicity stunt of 2019

For some background, read these earlier blog entries:

https://dalehusband.com/2019/07/12/reopening-old-wounds-among-unitarian-universalists/

https://dalehusband.com/2020/02/25/a-debate-in-the-uu-subreddit-over-the-2017-hiring-controversy/

https://dalehusband.com/2020/07/19/another-call-for-unitarian-universalists-to-stop-fighting-for-consistent-racial-justice/

In reddit, my primary focus has always been debunking and opposing the Baha’i Faith, but I am also dedicated to promoting Unitarian Universalism, despite issues like that above. The occasional hypocrisy that crops up among UUs, unlike that other religion, is not a direct product of its contradictory teachings.

Continue reading

The Bell Curve of Morality

In some previous blog entries, I described my concept of Spiritual Orientation. But it occurred to me later that I was assuming that most of my readers have a morality similar to my own. But that does not explain so much of human behavior throughout history.

Take a look at this illustration:

http://www.consciousnessparadigm.com/7-levels-of-consciousness/

Strictly speaking, there is no designation of “good” or “evil” here, though obviously good people would be mainly in the top three levels, while evil people would be in the lowest three. I myself would be in the Pluralistic level, even while knowing that I should be even higher. Imagine what our world would be like if the vast majority of humanity were in the Transcendent level!

Here are other versions of that concept:

These versions imply that anyone can reach the uppermost level, though sheer effort of will. I think that is a better way of expressing the matter.

Another concept I find helpful is the Bell Curve, which is described here:

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bell-curve.asp

A bell curve is a common type of distribution for a variable, also known as the normal distribution. The term “bell curve” originates from the fact that the graph used to depict a normal distribution consists of a symmetrical bell-shaped curve.

The highest point on the curve, or the top of the bell, represents the most probable event in a series of data (its mean, mode, and median in this case), while all other possible occurrences are symmetrically distributed around the mean, creating a downward-sloping curve on each side of the peak. The width of the bell curve is described by its standard deviation.

I have made my own version of a Bell Curve to represent my view of humanity and their moral values, or lack thereof:

As the illustration shows, only a minority of people are truly good and very rarely do we find anyone that is extremely good. As far as I can tell, the only people I know to be truly Godly would be Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood fame and the musical Copus family of 2002 new age fame. Rogers was universally loved even by people who were not as good as him because his spirit was so incredibly pure. And no, that had nothing to do with his religion, though there is no doubt his Spiritual Orientation was Christian. (Shocking fact: He was ordained a Presbyterian minister before going into television.)

Conversely, evil people are rare also and there are very few that are so evil that they have no sense of morals at all. That would apply to serial murderers like Ted Bundy, Jeffery Dahmer, and John Wayne Gacy. Likewise, some dictators like Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Pol Pot were Satanic.

The vast majority of people have NEUTRAL morality (not to be confused with having a neutral Spiritual Orientation, though they are related). They do not have a strong internal motivation to be good or evil, but simply conform to the standards of their prevailing culture for social purposes. That’s why when you have a government that is run by evil people, the people in general appear evil too. To change the people, you must change the government, which is why the tyrannies of Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan had to be overthrown at the end of World War II. And also why we must be vigilant at preventing an evil leader from rising to power in the first place. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, TRUMP SUPPORTERS! I consider you and your leader to be evil or at best neutral. There is nothing good about you degenerate hypocrites!

Blizzard and Activision need to be split apart!

Read this outrageous article:

https://www.businessinsider.com/activision-blizzard-salary-disparity-issues-2020-8

Employees at Blizzard, maker of ‘World of Warcraft’ and ‘Overwatch,’ were reportedly paid so little they were forced to skip meals to pay rent while the CEO made $40 million

Free market capitalism is what makes America the prosperous society it is. Of course, there is nothing wrong with making money at a chosen profession, but when the ones that do most of the work in the company do NOT get most of the financial benefits, that’s unethical! Bobby Kotick should be fired and Blizzard should end its union with Activision so the workers can be paid what they are worth.

I quit World of Warcraft, and I now only play Overwatch and no other Blizzard games. And this news is not encouraging me to become more loyal to the company and its games!

Donald Trump MUST be defeated this year!

I have discovered a YouTube channel dedicated to Republicans who once supported Donald Trump for President……and now oppose him because of his lies, bigotries, and failures.

https://www.youtube.com/c/RepublicanVotersAgainstTrump

Here are some videos of these people:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just have two questions for those people.

  1. What the hell did you think Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America great again” meant when it was unveiled in 2015? Wasn’t it obvious that it was White Nationalist dog-whistling, implying that America stopped being great just because a black man (actually, a half-white man) became President in 2008? By making Trump your nominee in 2016, you made your party the RACIST Party!
  2. Did you really think that someone with absolutely NO political experience or even any public service at all would serve well as our President? That never made any sense at all! Hillary Clinton may have been far from perfect, but she was way better than Trump for any number of reasons anyone could name. But you voted for the one who mirrored your own ignorance at the time and believed that a woman was not fit to be President, period!

You failed this country in 2016, both as Republicans and as Americans in general. Instead of starting a populist revolution, like Bernie Sanders promised, you elected the ultimate ELITIST into power! And we must NEVER tolerate that again. And the only sure way to prevent such a tragedy from repeating itself……is to completely dismantle the Republican Party and push its Conservative ideology, with its racist, sexist, Christian supremacist and plutocratic views, out of mainstream American politics……..

FOREVER!

The Murdoch media empire is troubled

Read this story:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/31/media/james-murdoch-resigns-news-corp/index.html

James Murdoch resigns from News Corp, citing ‘disagreements over certain editorial content’

Updated 7:19 PM ET, Fri July 31, 2020

New York (CNN Business) James Murdoch, the youngest son of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, made a dramatic break from the family business on Friday.

He resigned from the board of directors of News Corp, the family’s publishing empire, and said he was exiting the company over “disagreements over certain editorial content published” by its news outlets and “certain other strategic decisions.”
James Murdoch, whose older brother Lachlan Murdoch serves as the CEO of Fox Corporation, had already left that side of the family business, partly due to his disgust of Fox News.
But he had remained on the board of News Corp — something that had intrigued friends of the family.
The younger Murdoch repeatedly clashed with his father and brother’s conservative political views, occasionally even in public. He donated to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and fumed about climate change denialism.
By staying on the board of News Corp, he was “testing the proposition of making change from the inside,” an insider said in an interview earlier this year.
Friday’s move indicates that he has given up on that proposition.
The News Corp umbrella includes papers such as The Wall Street Journal and New York Post. It also includes the book publisher HarperCollins and a raft of newspapers in the United Kingdom and Australia.
A spokesperson for James Murdoch had no further comment and said that the letter spoke for itself.
In a joint statement, his father Rupert Murdoch and brother Lachlan said, “We’re grateful to James for his many years of service to the company. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
Those further endeavors could include additional investments in news startups and other media enterprises. He launched an investment company, Lupa Systems, in early 2019.
His Friday resignation from News Corp represents his growing distance from the family business.
But he is still connected to the family through the Murdoch Family Trust, which holds key voting shares in both companies.
Rupert Murdoch has four votes in the trust, and his four adult children have the other four votes. What happens to the companies in the event of Rupert’s death is a constant source of media industry speculation.
On Friday night a source indicated that the resignation letter was not the result of any abrupt action within New York.
On the contrary, the source said, tensions had been building for months.
In January, for example, James and his wife Kathryn joined the criticism of Murdoch properties’ coverage of wildfires in Australia.
A spokesperson said at the time that James and Kathryn had “well established” views on climate change and were “particularly disappointed with the ongoing denial among the news outlets in Australia given obvious evidence to the contrary.”
Here is proof that not all people raised to be degenerate bigots stay that way. Not even people brainwashed by media outlets like FOX News. We can only hope that in the next few decades, James Murdoch helps bring down the Fox media empire and allows news coverage to be truly fair, balanced, and HONEST, like it always should have been!
And in the meantime……

Another call for Unitarian Universalists to stop fighting for consistent racial justice

Read this blog entry published by Mel Pine and written by Rev. Richard Trudeau:

https://trulyopenmindsandhearts.blog/2020/06/24/uus-in-the-pews-please-help/

Here are excerpts from it in red and my responses in blue.

I am writing this for lay members of Unitarian Universalist congregations. I believe there is a crisis in the national UU movement, and I believe that laypeople are in the best position to help resolve it. The rub is, very few laypeople are aware of the crisis…

Why would you assume that? Many reports about what has been happening over the past few years have been published online and in print, by bloggers like myself, on Facebook, and even in the UU World magazine itself.

What integrity in leadership looks like

An Open Letter to the New President of the Unitarian Universalist Association

Stop whining about “censorship”!

A debate in the UU subreddit over the 2017 hiring controversy.

I’m a UU minister. I first learned about the UU movement in 1960, as a teenager unhappy with my Catholic upbringing; I decided then that if I ever returned to church, it would be to a UU church. In the early 1980s, I started attending a UU congregation, which I then joined. I was granted UUA ministerial fellowship in 1994 and was ordained in 1995. I served two UU churches, 1992-2012. I am now semi-retired, preaching a total of about twenty times a year at a dozen or so UU churches in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

So he is someone who has credibility because of his long association with UUism. Granted.

The crisis I see is that a majority of our UU national leaders have become committed to a particular ideology that threatens two aspects of UUism: our commitment to social justice, and our values of reason and free expression.

These leaders — at the Unitarian Universalist Association, in our two seminaries, and in the UU Ministers’ Association — have become so committed and intransigent that I have started to think of the ideology that has captivated them as a mental virus with which they have become infected. By this analogy I do not mean to imply that they are mentally ill, of course, but only that they seem stuck in a rut (think Communism, 1917-1989). Victims of this mental virus can be recognized by their calls to “dismantle our white supremacy culture.”

I would think that efforts to dismantle white supremacy culture IS promoting social justice. And people have used their own reason and free expression to call for it. Freedom can’t be one sided.

I said this mental virus threatens the UU commitment to social justice. I was present at a ministers’ meeting ten years ago at which someone who had just ended a term on the UUA Board reported that there was then a consensus on the board that the UUA racial-justice strategy — at the time called “Journey Toward Wholeness,” and underway for thirteen years — had accomplished disappointingly little. What the UU leaders of today are doing is to double down on this same strategy.

While the name “Journey Toward Wholeness” has been retired, and the rallying-cry has changed from calling on whites to “confess our complicity in institutional racism” to calling on all to “dismantle our white supremacy culture,” the underlying strategy has not changed.

The racial-justice strategy our leaders are pursuing is a strategy that doesn’t work to make Black lives, or any other lives, better.

I think his claim is false. Read this:

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/new-uua-hiring-practices

New hiring practices help UUA live into its values

Careful attention to hiring practices has diversified the staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association and deepened its commitment to antiracism, antioppression, and multiculturalism.

The UUA Leadership Council is 42 percent people of color in January 2020.

Last October, at a symposium on Black theology sponsored by Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Carey McDonald, executive vice president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, shared exciting news with the Rev. William G. Sinkford: In just over two years, the UUA had more than doubled the number of people of color in top leadership roles, meeting an ambitious diversity goal Sinkford set for the UUA during his ten-week interim co-presidency in the spring of 2017.

Sinkford, the first African American elected as UUA president, had led the association from 2001 to 2009. In his final full year as president, the UUA’s Leadership Council—its senior staff, including the president—was 14 percent people of color; the staff as a whole was just under 14 percent people of color. Eight years later, during the final year of the presidency of Sinkford’s successor, the Rev. Peter Morales, the first Hispanic president of the UUA, people of color made up 20 percent of all employees, but the number of people of color on the Leadership Council had not changed. For an association with a stated commitment to antiracism and multiculturalism, the numbers of people of color, especially in top leadership positions, frustrated and angered some UUs. Critics said the UUA was routinely favoring white ministers when hiring for senior positions, and a denominational crisis over hiring practices erupted in March 2017, three months before the end of Morales’s second term. Morales and two other top officials resigned in April 2017.

Instituting a shared model of leadership it had not used before, the UUA Board of Trustees named three people of color as interim co-presidents—Sinkford, the Rev. Sofía Betancourt, and Dr. Leon Spencer—until a new president could be elected in June 2017. The board also established a Commission on Institutional Change to assess institutional and structural racism in the UUA. The co-presidents announced a hiring freeze until new policies could be set and added two people of color to the Leadership Council: Jessica York, the interim director of Ministries and Faith Development, and Carey McDonald, the UUA’s Outreach director.

Soon the co-presidents announced new hiring goals: at least 40 percent of people in managerial and decision-making positions on the UUA staff should be people of color and/or indigenous people, they said, and, overall, the UUA staff should be 30 percent people of color/indigenous people. While no UUA employees were to be terminated to meet the goals, the policy was to guide all new hires.

At the BLUU symposium in Saint Paul, McDonald told Sinkford that today, through focused and concerted effort to transform UUA culture, the Leadership Council is 42 percent people of color, and the overall staff numbers have risen to 30 percent people of color.

“My response,” says Sinkford, “was to be both impressed and delighted.” Moreover, Sinkford encouraged McDonald to make sure the story got told: in less than three years, the UUA had moved from a particularly low point to a place of celebration—albeit qualified by a clear recognition that there is much work to be done.

So it appears the latest efforts have been more successful than those of the past because clear difference in policies and practices were made. So what’s the problem now?

The reason I lean toward the analogy of a mental virus infecting the majority of our national leaders is that I have no doubt that they are well-intentioned, and for the most part capable, people, yet their behavior is to me incomprehensible. I can only understand it if I imagine them as victims. Just as a physical virus, like the one causing COVID-19, exploits laudable human traits to gain entrance to our bodies — like our human desire to be physically close to one another — the mental virus of which I speak seems to have gained entrance to our leaders’ minds by exploiting their laudable qualities of empathy and passion for social justice. But the result is that their judgment seems to me impaired; they are no longer thinking clearly.

So just because you do not understand the motivations behind the people you disagree with, you claim they are somehow diseased! That’s no way to have a fair dialogue on the matter, but then again if you wanted that, you would not be publishing your insults in Mel Pine’s blog, right? He quit the UUA, so most UUs wouldn’t even notice his works now. It’s now an anti-UUA echo chamber.

I said that the mental virus also threatens the UU values of reason and free expression. This is clear from the treatment accorded over the last year to Rev. Todd Eklof of our Spokane, WA congregation. Rev. Eklof wrote a book, The Gadfly Papers, that expressed concern about the crisis in UUism to which I have been referring. Since the book’s appearance, the UU Ministers’ Association has publicly censured him and then expelled him; he has been fired by a UU seminary as a supervisor of ministerial interns; and he has been removed from UUA fellowship by the UUA’s Ministerial Fellowship Committee. These organizations have claimed procedural irregularities as the reasons for their actions, but upon close inspection I don’t find that any of their explanations hold water. And as a result of the example that has been made of this one minister, UU ministers across the land are intimidated.

Eklof wasn’t punished merely for writing a dissenting book. That was absolutely his right. However:

Reopening Old Wounds Among Unitarian Universalists

With the election of a new President of the UUA at the 2017 General Assembly (GA), it seemed like we could start to move forward to heal the racial divisions. But then came the GA of June 2019, which was held at Spokane, Washington. Imagine the shock among the attendees when the minister of the UU church at that city, Rev. Dr. Todd F. Eklof,  backstabbed the rest of them with a book he had written and was trying to distribute at the GA without prior notice. This book, titled The Gadfly Papers: Three Inconvenient Essays by One Pesky Minister, attacked all the efforts to solve the racial problems, angering many non-white UUs. When the UUA leadership tried to talk to Eklof about what he was doing, he refused to meet with them, putting them in the awkward position of expelling him from the GA itself! (Emphasis mine)

The betrayal was felt so strongly because Eklof’s congregation was supposed to be HOSTING the General Assembly, which was expected to continue dealing in unity with racial issues. Eklof’s stunt would be like me as a known critic of the Baha’i Faith invited to a meeting of mostly Muslim people and after arriving instead of giving a speech criticizing that Faith, attempting to give attendees there copies of this:

Contradictions of orthodox Islam

No, I wouldn’t do that! That would only get my @$$ thrown out of there. You can’t force people to listen to a message they didn’t expect to hear and are not receptive to. Eklof should have known better!

I hate writing this essay. As a minister, my instinct is always to bring to the people in the pews a message that is positive. And what I have written today is hardly that.

Somehow, I doubt you hated writing that too much. I never hate writing anything I feel strongly about and think is important. And I write a LOT of negative stuff on my blog.

What I have said today is that UUism is under attack by those sworn to uphold it. They are destroying the commitment to reason and free speech that attracted so many of us in the first place. And they are wasting our energy on an approach to racial justice that doesn’t work.

How would you know it doesn’t work? Can we wait another decade or so and find out?

What can be done? You might think, “This should be brought up at General Assembly.” But General Assembly is not really democratic, according to the UUA Board’s Fifth Principle Task Force (2009), and the UUA has since become even less democratic because all UUA Board members are now elected at-large and do not represent local constituencies.

Well, a lot of UUs of color didn’t think the UUA was democratic enough because their views were not being heard. Now they are and….that bothers you. You know, if people who have been privileged are not feeling a little uncomfortable about social changes, then the changes are meaningless, merely window dressing without substance. 

What can be done? All I can suggest is that lay UUs look into these matters for themselves and, if they agree with me that the situation is alarming, express their unhappiness loudly to their congregational leaders, to their Regional staff, and to the UUA itself.

UUs in the pews, please help!

And what will you do if they don’t agree with you and even oppose outright your opinions as I do? Quit being a UU also?

What a waste of keyboard strokes! As a UU layperson myself, I feel profoundly insulted by Rev. Richard Trudeau’s diatribe!

She could have been my daughter!

Read this online obituary:

https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/franklin-oh/sarah-grossman-9203495

Sarah Rae Grossman

October 7, 1997 – May 30, 2020
Obituary of Sarah Rae Grossman

With great sadness we announce the death of Sarah Rae Grossman, age 22, of Columbus, Oh (formerly of Springboro, Oh) on May 30, 2020. Born October 7, 1997 in Naperville, Il, Sarah is survived by her parents, Todd and Christi Grossman, and sister Jessa Grossman, of Springboro Oh; Grandparents Lonnie and Thelma Mullins, Mel and Shelley Grossman, and Phillip and Sue VanKersen, and many loving and amazing friends, aunts, uncles and cousins. She was a 2016 graduate of Springboro High School.

Sarah graduated May 3, 2020 from The Ohio State University with an Honors Degree of Bachelor of Science in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Her specific course of study within the EEDS program (Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability) reflected her life passions. Prior to the Covid pandemic, Sarah planned to complete a second degree in Spanish in 2021 while attending the Universidad of Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

It is impossible to find the words to describe her kindness, unique spirit, and unwavering dedication to her convictions. Sarah was a fierce but compassionate supporter of environmental issues and social justice. A genuine friend who loved and cherished her extraordinary friendships. She was the most caring and thoughtful daughter, a beloved granddaughter, and a loving sibling and best friend to her sister Jessa.

Sarah had spent the past two summers in Guatemala researching the harvesting industry. After graduation she planned to pursue work promoting positive environmental, climate and land use policies, assisting migrant workers and indigenous communities. She wanted to help the voices of the underserved be heard. She opened our eyes to both lovely ideas and ugly truths. In addition to being a full time student, she was a hard working employee, having held over six jobs in her short life, most recently at Stauf’s Coffee, and Chadwick Arboretum in Columbus, Oh. Sarah loved nature and being outdoors- hiking in the great National Parks of this country, collecting and caring for plants, watching the sun set and the moon rise. She had many interests that brought her joy- creating ceramics and art, finding that awesome thrift store find, and she definitely loved her coffee! She had visited nine countries- always wanting to learn about the world through the eyes of another. She lived a short but full life.

We will forever miss those big dimples and sweet smile. Those who knew her will understand what a beautiful soul the world has lost.

And how did she die? According to posts on Twitter:

Wow. I know some people on Twitter are still in denial about this:

Erin Stalcup
@stalcup_erin4
Replying to

Hey, this claim is currently unsubstantiated. As such, her family is asking that tweets like these be taken down until such time as they can prove them and are ready for all of the negative attention that has come upon them.
2:27 PM · Jun 5, 2020
________________
eclair
@canuclairify

Replying to

Hello! Please take this post down immediately out of respect for Sarah’s close friends and family. There is no conclusion as to how she has passed and spreading misinformation is incredibly harmful.
_____________
But I’m sure it’s only because she was a white woman and some people still can’t get their heads around the idea that ANYONE can be a victim of police brutality or racism in general!
Well, think again!

Viola Fauver Liuzzo (née Gregg; April 11, 1925 – March 25, 1965) was a housewife and mother of five. In March 1965, Liuzzo heeded the call of Martin Luther King Jr and traveled from Detroit, Michigan, to Selma, Alabama, in the wake of the Bloody Sunday attempt at marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Liuzzo participated in the successful Selma to Montgomery marches and helped with coordination and logistics. At the age of 39, while driving back from a trip shuttling fellow activists to the Montgomery airport, she was murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

One of the four Klansmen in the car from which the shots were fired was Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant Gary Thomas Rowe.[1][2] Rowe testified against the shooters and was given witness protection by the FBI.[3] The FBI immediately began a smear campaign and leaked to the press what were purported to be salacious details about Liuzzo. The FBI attempted to downplay the situation and to discredit Liuzzo by spreading rumors that she was a member of the Communist Party, was a heroin addict,[4] and had abandoned her children to have sexual relationships with African-Americans involved in the Civil Rights Movement.[5] All of the rumors were entirely false and were wholely fabricated by the FBI.[6][7]

THAT woman could have been my mother or grandmother!

If it turns out that Sarah Grossman did not die because of tear gas, we should correct the misinformation. But she is worth remembering anyway. So is anyone who takes a stand (or drops to a knee, for that matter) to protest injustice.

16142334_10211338387960087_7371942984170139432_n

Police misconduct is not just about killing black people.

With all the protests erupting across America regarding the murder of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands (and knee) of a white cop, I am reminded of an incident that illustrated to me why police can’t always be trusted, even if they don’t kill blacks at all.

Back when I was living in Arlington, Texas, I was traveling down highway 360 when I was pulled over by a cop. He approached my car and said, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
I said, “No clue, officer. I know I wasn’t speeding. In fact, it is impossible to speed on this highway; it’s too congested.”
The cop then said, “Are you lost? Do you need help getting somewhere?”
I said, “No, I’m fine.”
The cop let me go. But I have no doubt that he did so only because of my white privilege. But I was driving a 2002 Saturn that was in such poor condition that I’m sure the cop seeing it from a distance assumed it was being driven by a poor black or hispanic man. So if instead I had been a person of color, he likely would have written me a ticket for some made up excuse and I would have had to go to court to fight it and still risk losing the fight in front of a mostly white jury. I already knew that traffic tickets are a convenient means of a city to raise extra money without raising taxes on most citizens, not merely a matter of public safety. And what better way to keep minorities down than by targeting their pocketbooks?

I have been distrustful of police ever since.

Pixelberry Studios, the Choices app, and Perfect Match.

In 2018, I downloaded and began playing an app on my new smartphone titled Choices: Stories You Play created by a mobile gaming company called Pixelberry Studios. It features stories of romance that you have some control over by making decisions on behalf of the stories’ Main Characters. The characters include teenagers in high school, young adults in college, older adults dealing with mysteries and fighting criminals and other powerful enemies, and even some historical scenarios.

https://choices-stories-you-play.fandom.com/wiki/Choices:_Stories_You_Play_Wikia

Of all the stories I have played so far, my favorite by far has been Perfect Match.

Continue reading

Is Joe Biden a sex offender?

Read this story:

Evidence emerges for sex-assault allegation against Biden

Christopher Wilson

Senior Writer
Yahoo News
 

Over the last week, new reporting has provided corroborating evidence for a decades-old allegation of sexual assault against former Vice President Joe Biden, a charge that has been denied by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign. 

Timeline of the allegations

In March, former Biden congressional staffer Tara Reade told podcaster Katie Halper that in the spring or summer of 1993 that the then-senator from Delaware had cornered her in a private hallway when she was delivering a duffel bag. Reade alleges that Biden began kissing her, propositioned and reached under her skirt and began touching her.

The Biden campaign has denied the allegations. 

“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s communications director, said in a statement to the New York Times earlier this month. “He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”

The Associated Press contacted 21 former Biden staffers, none of whom said they remembered any complaints filed by Reade, who was a 29-year-old staff assistant at the time. Reade said that after complaining, her duties were scaled back and she was eventually told she wasn’t a good fit before being given a month to find another job. Reade said that she filed a written complaint at the time with a Senate personnel office, which could be with the rest of Biden’s senatorial papers at the University of Delaware. The university has said that an archive related to the former vice president “will remain closed to the public until two years after Mr. Biden retires from public life.”

Last year, Reade said in multiple interviews that Biden had touched her shoulders and played with her hair but did not mention assault.

Corroborating accounts

On Monday, Business Insider published a story from veteran investigative reporter Rich McHugh that included an on-the-record interview with two women who said that Reade had told them about the incident in the mid-’90s.

“I remember her saying, here was this person that she was working for and she idolized him,” Lynda LaCasse, Reade’s former neighbor, said. “And he kind of put her up against a wall. And he put his hand up her skirt and he put his fingers inside her. She felt like she was assaulted, and she really didn’t feel there was anything she could do.”

“I don’t remember all the details,” added LaCasse, who said she was a Democrat who still supported Biden. “I remember the skirt. I remember the fingers. I remember she was devastated.”

Another woman, Lorraine Sanchez, told McHugh that she recalled Reade complaining to her in the mid-’90s that her former boss in Washington, D.C., had sexually harassed her and that she had been fired for raising concerns. Sanchez and Reade worked together in the office of a California state senator.

Other allegations

In March 2019, former Nevada lawmaker Lucy Flores alleged that Biden had kissed and touched her inappropriately in 2014. In response to Flores’s allegation, Biden said it “was never my intention” to make Flores or another woman feel uncomfortable.

“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately,” he said in the statement. “If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”

He added that he did not recall the alleged interaction with Flores, but said, “We have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences.”

Shortly after those allegations were made, a half dozen other women spoke up to say that Biden had made remarks or touched them in ways that made them uncomfortable, although none alleged assault. One was Reade, who told a local California newspaper that Biden had inappropriately touched her and made her uncomfortable. She did not raise an accusation of assault. In 2019 interviews with the Washington Post, Reade said that Biden “touched her neck and shoulders but did not mention the alleged assault or suggest there was more to the story.”

On April 9, Reade filed a report with the Washington, D.C., police accusing Biden of sexual assault. She said she did not mention the assault at the time because she was scared of retribution, and though she twice voted for the Obama-Biden presidential ticket, she said she doesn’t plan to cast a vote for president in November. Reade has had her credibility questioned due to positive comments she wrote about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In an April 12 story on the allegations, the New York Times talked to a number of staffers who said they had not heard of the incident and said it was out of character for Biden. However, two former interns told the Times that they “recalled that she abruptly stopped supervising them in April, before the end of their internship,” which echoes Reade’s claim that her duties were scaled back.

The mother’s call

Last week, the Intercept published an August 11, 1993, call to Larry King’s CNN show. Although not identified at the time, the caller was Reade’s mother, Jeanette Altimus, who Reade says she told about the alleged assault at the time it occurred.

“I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington?” said the caller, who was identified as a woman living in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where Altimus resided at the time. “My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.”

King replied, “In other words, she had a story to tell but, out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn’t tell it?”

“That’s true,” said the caller.

Congressional records list Reade’s last month of employment as August 1993. 

It is possible that Biden does indeed have some personal boundary issues, but so do lots of other men, including Donald Trump, he who said he wanted to grab a woman by her “pussy”. That did not stop Trump from getting elected in 2016, however. So why throw similar accusations at Biden? And more to the point, why NOW?

Since this incident was said to occurred in 1993, the proper time to bring it forward would have been in 2008, when Barack Obama had just chosen Joe Biden as his running mate. Then Obama could have dropped Biden and chosen someone else to be the next Vice-President, increasing the chances of Obama winning later. But not a peep about the matter came out…..until THIS year, when Biden is running for President against a man who is KNOWN to be a pervert. Could this be a desperate last ditch effort by Republicans to ensure the reelection of Trump?

Democrats have a problem I call “moral puritanism”, which one would have expected Republicans to have had with their conservative ideology. But clearly morality is no longer an issue if Republicans are willing to elect to the Presidency a twice divorced serial adulterer with scandalous business practices and NO political experience at all. As long as Trump can ramrod the right-wing agenda through the Congress and the Supreme Court, Republicans can overlook moral issues. By contrast, Democrats are often willing to turn on their own politicians for similar issues, which is why Sen. Al Franken resigned after he was accused of sexual misconduct. In hindsight, I think THAT WAS A CRITICAL MISTAKE. Franken should have kept his seat in the U S Senate and faced the voters in the next election.

By making similar allegations at Joe Biden, Republicans hope Biden can be discredited enough to force the Democratic Party to reject him and choose another candidate, who might turn out to be weaker. Biden won the primaries because the rank and file Democratic voters consider him the strongest candidate; they themselves would be less likely to support wholeheartedly anyone else, and the centrist non-partisan voter even less so.

We hit absolute rock bottom with Donald Trump and even if the allegations against Biden are true, he is still better than Trump. After Biden purges the Presidency of Trump’s filth, we can then elect an even better person as Biden’s successor, and ultimately raise up an entire generation of young men who will know better than to violate the bodily autonomy of women. It’s too late for older men like Franken, Trump, and Biden who were raised with different standards and we need to be realistic about that. As long as Democrats and Republicans are NOT on an even playing field, this bloodletting among Democrats must end! We can move forward only by ensuring that Republicans and fellow Democrats can’t make political issues out of private behavior.

The Coronavirus and Republican Death Panels

Read this shocking story:

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/04/trey-hollingsworth-coronavirus-economy

GOP Congressman: Lawmakers Must “Put On Our Big Boy and Big Girl Pants” and Let Americans Die

According to Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, between dying of the coronavirus and a recession, dying “is the lesser of two evils.”
Representative Trey Hollingsworth a Republican from Indiana speaks during a House Financial Services Committee hearing...
 

Even as the novel coronavirus continues to kill an incomprehensible number of people, many a policymaker, business leader, and president alike want to know one thing: How soon can we get people back to work and everyday life, and can it be sooner than whenever you’re going to tell me because honestly that doesn’t really work for my schedule or the economic platform I was hoping to run for reelection on. While Donald Trump wants to “reopen” the country as soon as possible, actually knowledgable person Dr. Anthony Fauci has said the government is “not there yet” when it comes to having measures in place that could conceivably allow some businesses to safely reopen, like significantly expanded testing capacities and the ability to trace every individual who has been infected.

Also urging caution are a number of Democratic governors, including New York’s Andrew Cuomo, California’s Gavin Newsom, and their counterparts in Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, and Connecticut, who have said that many other conditions will have to be met before relaxing restrictions, including the ability of hospitals to handle a spike in patients; a reduction in the exposure of vulnerable groups; a plan for businesses, schools, and other groups to implement social distancing measures; and a plan to reimpose restrictions if infections begin to rise again. And while we would absolutely hate to draw some sort of distinction between the approach of the two political parties, it would appear that whereas Democrats are urging vigilance, science, and an emphasis on preserving human life, the general take of Republicans might be summed up as: Screw it, some people are going to have to take one for the team. You’ve had a good run, but them’s the breaks.

On Tuesday, that take was summed up by Indiana congressman Trey Hollingsworth, who told a radio-show host that it’s Congress’s job to sit Americans down and explain to them that dying in a pandemic isn’t as bad as the havoc said pandemic is wreaking on the economy. “We are going to have to look Americans in the eye and say, ‘We are making the best decisions for the most Americans possible,’” Hollingsworth told WIBC. “And the answer to that is unequivocally to get Americans back to work, to get Americans back to their businesses.”

Asked by host Tony Katz how he will respond to the critics who will inevitably say he’s anti-science and is going to get people killed, Hollingsworth—who strangely did not mention which of his family members he’d be willing to let the virus knock off for the greater good—replied: “It is policymakers’ decision to put on our big boy and big girl pants and say, ‘This is the lesser of these two evils. And it is not zero evil, but it is the lesser of these evils, and we intend to move forward in that direction.’ That is our responsibility, and to abdicate that is to insult the Americans that voted us into office.” Sure, some might argue that the bigger insult is to suggest that people should be willing to die to save the economy—which won’t be in a great place if infections and deaths start surging again as a result of relaxed restrictions—but potato, potahto.

Hollingsworth—whose parents must have had a sixth sense that he’d give this interview one day when they named him Trey—is of course far from the only member of the Grand Old Party making such proclamations. In March, White House National Economic Council chairman Larry Kudlow said in an interview that “The cure can’t be worse than the disease, and we’re gonna have to make some difficult trade-offs” because the “economic cost to individuals is just too great.” Later in the month, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick claimed on live television that “lots of grandparents” are willing to “take a chance” on their survival for the good of the economy, saying “Those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country, don’t do that, don’t ruin this great America.” After all, it’s like the founding fathers said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and sorry if you’re over 70 or have asthma but I refuse to spend another Saturday not strolling the aisles of Bob’s Big Lots followed by a dine-in experience at the Cheesecake Factory, you selfish pricks.”

Bankruptcy and unemployment are lesser evils than DEATH, you bastard? Absolutely not so. If you are bankrupt, unemployed, or even homeless, you can reverse these problems. But you cannot rise yourself from the dead. And even sacrificing your lives would make sense if we were being invaded by an enemy army, instead of an extremely contagious virus. The best way to combat the virus is to stay home and avoid contact with people.  Rep. Trey Hollingsworth(less) is actually a TRAITOR!

We need to start auditing our politicians, because I suspect most of them, especially the Republican ones, own stock in corporations that are losing money in this present crisis. So……they want others to sacrifice their very lives so they can continue to make profits?! We should make it illegal for state and federal representatives to own stock in such corporations, to end the obvious conflicts of interests that result from them owning some of the very private companies the government is supposed to regulate on behalf of the people.

I can’t wait for November to come!  #voteoutallrepublicans

A debate in the UU subreddit over the 2017 hiring controversy.

For some background, read these:

What integrity in leadership looks like

Stop whining about “censorship”!

A Critical Mistake in the UU World

Reopening Old Wounds Among Unitarian Universalists

Now, the issues dealt with in those blog entries are being rehashed yet again in a UU subreddit.

Continue reading

“Diplomatic immunity” must be abolished everywhere

Read this story:

Equatorial Guinea argues luxury Paris mansion was part of embassy when raided

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Equatorial Guinea argued on Monday that a luxury mansion in central Paris used by the son of the country’s president was protected by diplomatic immunity when it was raided by French authorities in 2012.

The case at the International Court of Justice is seen as a test for the limits of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity, which shields government officials from prosecution abroad.

Equatorial Guinea launched the case in 2016 after the residence of Teodorin Obiang on the grand Avenue Foch was raided as part of a corruption investigation that resulted in a conviction for embezzlement, confirmed last week.

The conviction came after a collection of 25 supercars he owned, including a Ferrari Enzo and a Bugatti Veyron, were confiscated by the Geneva prosecutor’s office under a deal ending a money-laundering inquiry. The cars fetched nearly 27 million Swiss francs ($27 million) at auction in September.

Obiang, 50, is the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, for more than three decades.

A representative for Equatorial Guinea told the court’s judges on Monday that the luxury apartment, in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world, had been bought by the African nation in 2011 and was part of its embassy.

“France has refused to recognize the diplomatic pretext of the building under the false pretence it belongs to the private domain”, ambassador Carmelo Nvono Nca, Equatorial Guinea’s agent, told the judges.

In coming days France will present its side before the United Nation’s highest court for disputes between states. A ruling is expected later this year.

In earlier hearings the French argued Equatorial Guinea was attempting to shield Obiang, known for posting pictures of his glamorous lifestyle on Instagram, by retroactively adding his opulent 101-room home to its diplomatic mission.

Police raided Obiang’s residence as part of a corruption investigation, eventually seizing 100 million euros worth of assets including paintings by Renoir and Degas and another fleet of luxury vehicles.

Obiang was convicted last week by a French court of embezzlement of public funds and ordered to pay a 30 million euro ($33 million) fine.

Diplomatic immunity in any case is a concept by which officials representing a country are allowed to openly violate the laws of another country while living there.  It is a form of disrespect for the second country’s government and the people there that are subject to those laws. A basic standard of ethics and justice is that NO ONE should be above the law.

And this is not about some young idiot that didn’t know that he was doing wrong.

Obiang, 50, is the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, for more than three decades.

Being 50 myself, I know damn well if I were not the son of a ruler who has been in power for far too long, there would be no question of me being imprisoned for my crimes. This case angers me too!

I hope the International Court of Justice rejects this appeal and ultimately abolishes the concept of diplomatic immunity completely. And also that the people of Equatorial Guinea themselves rise up and force their corrupt leader into retirement, and also prevent his son from ever ruling. Sheesh!

 

I couldn’t care less about nationalism and “states’ rights”!

Well, it finally happened!

https://www.yahoo.com/news/britain-hails-start-says-farewell-eu-042859889.html

New era for divided Britain as it leaves EU

London (AFP) – Britain on Friday ended almost half a century of European Union membership, making a historic exit after years of bitter arguments to chart its own uncertain path in the world.

There were celebrations and tears across the country as the EU’s often reluctant member became the first to leave an organisation set up to forge unity among nations after the horrors of World War II.

Thousands of people waving Union Jack flags packed London’s Parliament Square to mark the moment of Brexit at 11 pm (2300 GMT) — midnight in Brussels.

“We did it!” declared Nigel Farage, the former member of the European Parliament who has campaigned for Brexit for years, before the crowd began singing the national anthem.

<snip>

But Britons remain as divided as they were nearly four years ago, when 52 percent voted to leave and 48 percent voted to remain in the EU.

“Rise and shine… It’s a glorious new Britain” said the Brexit-supporting Daily Express. The i, in contrast, headlined: “What next?”

In Scotland, where a majority voted to stay in 2016, Brexit has revived calls for independence and there were protests Friday outside parliament.

And in a sign of potential constitutional trouble ahead First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Scotland will return to the heart of Europe as an independent country — #LeaveALightOnForScotland.”

In Northern Ireland, where there are fears Brexit could destabilise a hard-won peace after decades of conflict over British rule, a billboard read: “This island rejects Brexit.”

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney tweeted: “Goodbye & good luck.”

– ‘Glad it’s over’ –

Johnson, who remains a polarising figure accused of glossing over the complexity of leaving the EU, has avoided any big official celebrations that might exacerbate divisions.

<snip>

“What happens now marks the point of no return. Once we have left, we are never, ever going back,” Farage told the crowd of cheering supporters.

At a “Big Brexit Bash” in Morley, northern England, Raymond Stott described the four years since the referendum as “a right cock-up”.

“I am just glad it’s all over. We will look after ourselves. We don’t need Europe,” said the 66-year-old.

But for many pro-Europeans, Friday marks a day they hoped would never come.

“Today is a day of mourning,” said Katrina Graham, 31, an Irish women’s rights activist who lives in Brussels, at a protest in central London.

If I had to choose between staying in the EU and leaving it only to have the UK itself fall apart, I’d choose to remain in the EU.

Only an idiot (or an English hypernationalist, which might be one and the same) can expect the Scots to take this insult to them lying down. The problem with nationalism is that it can apply to Scots as much as to the English.

Since both Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU, their defection from the UK will most likely cause the Union Jack to be retired, due to it representing a combination of the Scottish, English and Irish flags.

Union Jack

It will likely be replaced by something like a combination of the original English and Welsh flags.

1280px-Red_St_George's_Cross.svg

1280px-Flag_of_Wales.svg

A smaller version of the Welsh flag might appear in the upper left of the new UK flag (Wales is not even represented at all in the present Union Jack).

As for the United States, my contempt for the concept of “states’ rights”, which started the American Civil War, has only intensified, to the point that I no longer want to see states represented in the U S flag. Instead, I want only the Union to be shown as one brilliant sun. Like this:

1235px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg

Because a united, peaceful people, in either North America or Europe, is preferable to conflict resulting in chaos, death, destruction and tyranny over minorities.

Mallard Filmore’s creator is a hypocrite

I remember many years ago seeing the comic strip Mallard Fillmore in my local newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mallard_Fillmore

Mallard Fillmore is a comic strip written and illustrated by Bruce Tinsley that has been syndicated by King Features Syndicate since June 6, 1994. The strip follows the exploits of its title character, an anthropomorphic green-plumaged duck who works as a politically conservative reporter at fictional television station WFDR in Washington, D.C. Mallard’s name is a pun on the name of the 13th president of the United States, Millard Fillmore.

I guess I should have paid better attention to it, because…..

Mallard yearns for the “good old days,” and views himself as a victimized underdog in a world that is being overrun with political correctness, religious secularism, and hypocrisy. He is often in a state of outrage over the news item of the day, usually involving liberals.

Mallard’s politics are very close to, if not one and the same as, cartoonist Bruce Tinsley’s; Tinsley told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that “Mallard really is about as close to me as you can get,” in an October 2005 interview.

Other characters from the strip:

  • Mr. Noseworthy is Mallard’s boss at WFDR. He is a parody of political correctness in America, afraid of offending anyone or anything. He is also a parody of the mainstream media, which is portrayed in the strip as having a liberal bias. Noseworthy’s catchphrase is, “If you’d gone to journalism school, you’d know this stuff.” He has a daughter in college who “came out” as a conservative.
  • Chet is a co-worker of Mallard’s at WFDR. He is an arrogant, vain, superficial, Botox-injecting, clothes-obsessed Caucasian male. In a series of strips in late 2003, he discovered he is a “metrosexual.”
  • Chantel, an African-American woman reporter, is a co-worker of Mallard’s at WFDR. She is described as “smart, aggressive, and liberal.” Unlike most liberals depicted in “Mallard Fillmore,” she is presented as an intelligent, competent person. She is usually used whenever a scene calls for a minority or a minority perspective – although she is offended when her colleagues assume she speaks on behalf of all African-Americans. On average, she appears about once or twice a year.
  • Dave Quat, a conservative Vietnamese man, is Mallard’s best friend, who generally agrees with Mallard’s politics. He is the owner of his own diner, aptly named “Dave’s Diner.” His wife has never been seen.
  • Rush Quat is Dave’s young son. Rush is in the fourth grade and hopes to someday become a professional basketball player; he sometimes plays basketball with Mallard. Unlike most of the kids in his class, he does not take Ritalin.
  • Eddie is Mallard’s pet fish. Unlike Mallard, he does not speak but only comments in thought balloons.
  • Congressman Pinkford Veneer is a fictional Washington, D.C. Democratic Congressman. He is a spineless, hypocritical, out-of-touch politician who enjoys tax hikes and opposes school vouchers, even though he sends his own children to a private school. In April 2000, he authored a bill that would require criminals to “give their victims a 30-second waiting period to unlock their trigger-locks” on their guns.
  • OSHA-Boy is a guardian of workplace safety and safe working conditions who is authorized to “annoy virtually anyone suspected of violating a regulation.” He appears to be a flying, glasses-wearing dwarf (or other creature) with a superhero-like costume, and a clipboard in hand. He appears to be a physical manifestation of OSHA.
  • Dr. Dilton Twinkley, an education expert, often appears as a guest on WFDR to talk about education issues. He appears to be an exaggerated parody of the NEA and U.S. public school system officials.
  • Larry, a co-worker of Mallard’s who gets agitated whenever Mallard does not purchase candy from his son for his school’s annual fundraisers.
  • Mr. or Ms. P.C. Person, a superhero-like physical manifestation of political correctness who prides hirself on being gender-neutral.(This character has come under fire from transgender rights groups because they felt the character promoted bigotry and mockery of transgender individuals.)

 

I wanted to learn more about the strip’s creator, so I went to:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Tinsley

And then read THIS:

In 2006, Tinsley was arrested twice for driving while intoxicated, once in August and again in December, both Class A misdemeanors.[1][2] After the December incident, he attacked the sentencing judge, Roderick McGillivray, in several of his comics.[3]

And he’s a conservative? Shouldn’t he be a supporter of law enforcement and not a drunk trying to justify himself even if he screws up?

Clearly, his strip shouldn’t be running in newspapers if those incidents are true!

Boris Johnson has signed the United Kingdom’s death warrant

Read this story:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/50869096

Brexit: MPs back Boris Johnson’s bill

MPs have backed the Prime Minister’s plan for the UK to leave the European Union on 31 January.

They voted 358 to 234 in favour of something called the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, that’s a majority of 124.

Boris Johnson said the bill will allow the UK to “move forward”.

Boris JohnsonGetty Images

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told his MPs to vote against the deal, he said there was a “better and fairer way” to leave the EU.

It had been expected that the bill would pass, because the Conservative Party won an 80-seat majority in the general election.

The bill will be discussed again in January after MPs come back after the Christmas break. The details will be looked at at the Committee stage and any proposed changes will be decided on.

The final stage of the bill in the Commons will then take place on Thursday, 9 January, before it heads to the Lords for approval.

Only then can it be made into law.

In a previous blog entry, I pointed out the hypocrisy of English nationalists wanting to leave the EU.

Ironically, the overwhelming majority of the people in Scotland voted AGAINST Brexit. Wouldn’t it be fitting if the UK did leave the EU only to have Scotland revolt and leave the UK? What goes around comes around!

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Because of this, Prime Minister Johnson does NOT have an actual mandate for Brexit; he would only have that if BOTH English and Scottish majorities have voted for it.

If Johnson pushes ahead with his obsession with brexit next year, it is certain that the Scots will revolt and leave the United Kingdom, causing it to dissolve. The Scots have fought for their independence before.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wars_of_Scottish_Independence

The Wars of Scottish Independence were a series of military campaigns fought between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

The First War (1296–1328) began with the English invasion of Scotland in 1296, and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton in 1328. The Second War (1332–1357) began with the English-supported invasion by Edward Balliol and the ‘Disinherited’ in 1332, and ended in 1357 with the signing of the Treaty of Berwick. The wars were part of a great crisis for Scotland and the period became one of the most defining times in its history. At the end of both wars, Scotland retained its status as an independent state. The wars were important for other reasons, such as the emergence of the longbow as a key weapon in medieval warfare.

Obviously, Boris Johnson flunked history courses in school!