Reopening Old Wounds Among Unitarian Universalists

Over two years ago, a massive controversy over racially biased hiring practices in the Unitarian Universalist Association caused its leadership to experience a turnover to try to solve the problem of white supremacy among them.

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! After that happened, UUs in both Facebook and Reddit had an uproar about it.

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Cell phones are NOT a luxury now

I found an interesting statement on Tumblr about homeless people.

“If it’s so hard to be homeless, how come they all have nicer phones than I do?”

If you work with the homeless, you hear this sentiment a lot. A lot.

Everyone who hates seeing their tax dollars go to the needy seems to think that this is the ultimate “gotcha”. How can that person possibly be homeless if they have a nice cell phone? How can homelessness really be so bad if you have an Android? How can social programs be underfunded when their clients have iPhones?

You want to know why the homeless have smartphones? There’s a couple of good reasons:

  • It’s leftover from a previous, more stable life. Homeless people aren’t video game characters, they don’t just spawn on street corners, fully formed. Most people do not experience long-term homelessness – the average homeless person is on the streets for less than a month. These are people who used to have jobs, apartments, cars, etc, until some sort of catastrophe put them on the street. You might lose your apartment or car, but most people own their cellphone outright, and can hang onto it when something bad happens.
  • It was given to them by a concerned family member or friend. Most homeless people do actually have non-homeless family members and friends who care about them. Their family might not be able to let that person live with them at the moment, due to addiction or mental health problems, but they still need a way to get in touch with that person and check in on them. Giving them a cellphone is the easiest way to do that.
  • It was picked up second-hand. People upgrade to the newest device all the time, and when they do that, many of them will sell their old phones. It’s easy to find cheap, secondhand cellphones on the internet or in pawn shops, and they’re a valuable tool worth having.
  • It was given out by a social services agency or charity. When you work with the homeless, getting in touch with them is one of the biggest challenges you face. You need to be able to get hold of them at a moment’s notice to let them know about appointments, openings in important programs, updates on applications, and all sorts of other crucial information. Instead of wasting hours and gas driving around looking for people the old-fashioned way, many social agencies just give out cheap phones to their clients, to make sure that they can always contact them.
  • It doesn’t have a plan. Many people who see a homeless person on a cell phone assume that that person is also paying for a costly phone and data plan. That’s usually not the case. Many homeless people use pay-as-you-go phone minutes that they can top up whenever they happen to have the money. Even without any minutes, phones are valuable – free public wifi can be used to make phone calls, look up information and stay in contact with friends.
  • It’s for emergencies. By federal law, even old, deactivated cell phones are able to place calls to 911. Sleeping rough is dangerous, and it never hurts to have a phone nearby, even if its only use is to call for help.

Cell phones are probably the single most useful tool any homeless person can have – you can use them to look for shelter openings, hunt for jobs, navigate transit, stay connected to friends, find resources and information, remember appointments, wake yourself up on time, call for help, and entertain yourself through long and boring days. They are an essential tool, not a luxury item, and it’s unfair to suggest that homeless people somehow aren’t suffering just because they have one.

Instead of asking why that homeless person has a phone, ask yourself why they don’t have a safe place to sleep tonight.

Need I mention that cell phones are also a lot cheaper than paying for a house or apartment? Or even a car?

Rewriting a Sexist Story to Make it Just

It is shocking how rigged our laws and our so-called justice system is with regards to women that are victims of domestic violence. Read this story:

Florida Woman ‘in Fear of Her Life’ Arrested for Turning Her Estranged Husband’s Guns Over to Police

A woman in Florida was arrested for theft June 15 after turning her husband’s guns over to police. She was reportedly afraid for her life.

Courtney Irby, 32, of Bartow, Fla. allegedly went to her husband’s home on June 15, took two of his guns, and brought them to the Lakeland Police Department. This happened while her estranged husband, Joseph Irby, was in jail for allegedly trying to hit her with a car. He was arrested June 14 on domestic violence charges.

After Courtney Irby turned over the weapons, authorities arrested her and charged her with two counts of grand theft and one count of armed burglary.

A police report obtained by the Miami Herald said she was “in fear of her life.” The Herald also notes that the wife had obtained a restraining order against her husband. Joseph Irby told the Miami Herald from jail that he planned to press charges against his wife.

On June 20, a Polk County judge released Courtney Irby on a $5,000 bail. She was ordered to make no contact with Joseph Irby and prohibited from possessing a firearm, according to the Miami Herald.

According to a report from the Brady Center released last October, over 525 women on average annually were murdered by a partner using a firearm between 2006 and 2016.

Since when it is theft to act in good faith to prevent a possible act of murder and expect the police to protect and serve you, not betray you?

If the events had occured in a just and logical manner, this is what would have happened instead:

Florida Woman ‘in Fear of Her Life’ Turns Her Estranged Husband’s Guns Over to Police

A woman in Florida was commended for turned her husband’s guns over to police. She was reportedly afraid for her life.

Courtney Irby, 32, of Bartow, Fla. went to her husband’s home on June 15, took two of his guns, and brought them to the Lakeland Police Department. This happened while her estranged husband, Joseph Irby, was in jail for trying to hit her with a car. He was arrested June 14 on domestic violence charges.

After Courtney Irby turned over the weapons, authorities promised to keep the guns until the legal issues with Joseph Irby were settled in court.

A police report obtained by the Miami Herald said she was “in fear of her life.” The Herald also notes that the wife had obtained a restraining order against her husband. Joseph Irby told the Miami Herald from jail that he had no intention of shooting his wife.

On June 20, a Polk County judge denied Joseph bail. He was ordered to make no contact with Courtney and prohibited from possessing a firearm indefinitely, according to the Miami Herald.

According to a report from the Brady Center released last October, over 525 women on average annually were murdered by a partner using a firearm between 2006 and 2016.

I blame opponents of gun control and the officials in government that are bought and paid for by those gun nuts for what really happened. Will we EVER learn to stop treating firearms like they are toys to play with?!

Oh, and please let us dump that idiotic “all suspects are innocent until proven guilty” nonsense in cases of domestic violence. That favors the criminal and endangers the victim too.

Comicsgate

Take a look at this story:
https://www.bleedingcool.com/2019/05/07/transphobic-attacks-comicsgate-label-transphobic/

The Latest Transphobic Attacks From Comicsgate Falsely Label Others As Transphobic

Posted by May 7, 2019

Comicsgate, the comics activist group that’s recently promoted a number of crowdfunded comic books, had an early history in making transphobic comments against creators like Mags Visaggio, Tamra Bonvillain, Lilah Sturges and Michelle Perez. The motivation seemed to come from the idea that some people weren’t getting jobs in comics while these people were, and that they were only getting those jobs because they’re trans. Added to this was the allegation that certain creators weren’t ‘really’ trans, and it was all just an act to get work from a comics industry that was so politically correct it would hire people without talent as ‘token’ hires, or supporting liberal, left-wing, even socialist comic book storylines, while denying work to straight, white, cis, conservative men. Richard Meyer‘s ‘Dark Roast‘ concentrated a lot of that sentiment, it gained momentum with a very vocal group and never really went away.

<snip>

So what have a number of Comicsgaters done? Some have systematically removed any previous transphobic comments they may have posted, editing their profiles so that they now appear to identify as non-binary, changing their pronoun preference to they/them or similar – and then reporting any anti-Comicsgater who has referred to them as he or him (and it usually is he or him) for hate speech. And getting them suspended or banned off Twitter. It’s a deliberate misunderstanding and mocking of the common trans refrain of “to be trans you only have to say you’re trans,” which is meant to encourage people who don’t have the access or desire to medically or physically transition and reassure them that their gender is still valid and self-identification is more than enough.

One commenter spoke out on this issue in a truly brilliant way.

You’re sick. You and your CG buddies are repellent human beings who openly mock transgendered people and then try to gaslight people into thinking you’re the victims. Just because you personally don’t like someone’s work doesn’t mean that they’re “untalented” or “undeserving.” No one without talent gets work in comics just because of their gender identity. No one. That’s not how businesses run. That’s not how publishing works. People are hired, and books sell copies, based on talent first and foremost. In an earlier time, you and your ilk would have been complaining about “all them women who are taking men’s jobs” or before that, “all them black folk stealin’ the jobs of whites.” This bullshit tin-hat conspiracy theory that somehow terrifically talented artists and writers are being shut out by no-talents hired purely because they’re SJWs or from the LGBTQ+ community is absolutely nothing but sick jealousy on the parts of the never-will-bes. Take your rationalization and shove it up your ass.

2015_03_24_d7_07.05e6c

Who was Joseph Smith?

Joseph Smith…..
……was born on December 23, 1805, in the town of Sharon, Vermont.

…..lived as a teenager in the “burned-over district” of upstate New York.

……was originally known as a treasure seeker and a teller of tall tales among his friends.

……married Emma Hale on January 18, 1827, despite the objections of her father.

……had a total of nine children with his wife, only four of whom lived to adulthood.

……claimed to have been visited by an angel named Moroni who instructed him to found a new Christian church and locate golden plates.

……..allegedly used the golden plates to write the Book of Mormon.

……named his new religious movement the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and its members “Mormons”.

…….founded the Mormon Church on April 6, 1830 with five other men.

……moved to Kirtland, Ohio, then to Jackson County, Missouri and finally to Nauvoo, Illinois to build up his religous community.

……..claimed that God now permitted polygamy in the Mormon church.

………faced bitter opposition from non-Mormons almost everywhere he and the Mormons settled.

……….was arrested for ordering the destruction of a printing press called the Nauvoo Expositor that had published criticism of Mormonism.

……….was killed on June 27, 1844 with his brother Hyrum in a gun battle against a lynch mob at the local jail of Carthage, Illinois.

A Critical Mistake in the UU World

The UU World is the official magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), the religious organization I belong to. About two years ago, a controversy erupted over the embarrassing fact that despite its stated commitment to racial diversity, the UUA was far too white dominated and people of color were being passed over for positions in it that they were indeed qualified for. When this became too obvious to ignore, it forced President Peter Morales to resign.

Now, two years after that blew over, another problem has emerged: the disrespecting of transgender people by the magazine itself!

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is kicking @$$ in Washington D. C.

For most of American history, the federal government in the USA, including its Congress, has been a haven for elitist jerks with no interest in relating to the average American. Most members of Congress are millionaires, after all.

Enter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a young New York woman who was a waitress only a year ago, but who this year upset all expectations by overthrowing a member of the Democratic establishment in the primaries and then went on to win a seat in the House of Representatives. And what is she doing now to change things?

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The Foundational Lie at the Center of all Conservative Politics

One of the biggest problems with our modern society is the limited vision far too many people seem to have and their unwillingness to look beyond that vision and outside their comfort zone to see all of reality and what it involves.
For example, the average white person in the USA rarely deals with black people on a personal level and thus has no idea of how racism affects blacks on a frequent basis. Because their dealings with police are usually pleasant or at least respectful, they assume that blacks are treated the same way by police. So when they hear of cops shooting unarmed blacks, they assume that the black suspect must have provolked the cop in some way. But even if that were true, being defiant towards a cop should not merit the death penalty, so the excusing of the killings is racist on its face.
Let me emphasize one important point about those in the media who defend the political status quo and those who are privledged because of that status quo; they are ALL liars. Because those in power want to feel comfortable about their power, these media thugs rush to tell their followers what they already assume to be true, thus the followers express confirmation bias rather than looking for objective truth to take all the facts into account.
Rush Limbaugh is a liar.
Ann Coulter is a liar.
Bill O’Reilly is a liar.
Shawn Hannity is a liar.
Michael Savage is a liar.
Dinesh D’Souza is a liar.
I could go on with dozens more names of media personalities as well as hundreds of names of officials in our various federal, state, and local governments, but you get the point, right?
And what are all these different conservatives lying about? One basic concept, which can be summed up as follows.
“There is no need to reform or improve society, what we have right now (or had in the past at some point) is what we should have forever in the future, because change will be too painful for us to endure.”
Doesn’t that sound like self-serving cowardice to you?
In the 1960s, there was a tremendous struggle over civil rights for blacks in America, especially in the south where they were kept in dire poverty and even denied voting rights in most cases, as well as cut off from the same opportunities whites enjoyed. The U S Supreme Court ruled against these racist institutions and forced most of them to change. Afterwards, most whites across America thought the racial problems had been solved. But the white supremacists, while they were down, were certainly not out and they began to strike back.
Indeed, I have come to believe that the Religious Right of the 1980s and the Tea Party that rose up in response to Barack Obama becoming President were both scams that enabled white supremacists to sneak into and take over the Republican Party and then through that to grab control of the entire political apparatus of the United States federal government, not merely taking back control of the southern states. And with Donald Trump they have finally succeeded.
Why is conservatism so harmful to society? Because human nature is corrupt and abusive. When people allow themselves to act according to their default biological programming, the result is always tribalism, the placing of members of your own group above outsiders instead of promoting equal justice for everyone.
Ironically, Christianity, which most American conservatives claim to believe in, teaches this very thing, that we are all sinners who can’t be trusted to control ourselves without guidance from above. However, it is clear that even authorities in conservative forms of Christianity can’t always be trusted; they promote religious bigotry rooted in the past instead of ethical standards that fit the real needs of real people in this present age (ironic, considering that Christianity itself started as a rebellion against Jewish legalism). That’s what secular humanism does. And democracy is a humanist ideal.
Whenever people believe, for any reason, that society is good enough and needs no improvement, they actually open the door for society to become corrupt and abusive later; the only sure way to protect the people is to constantly look for ways and means to improve society. I am therefore a champion of “perpetual revolution”; the American Revolution of the 18th Century was only the beginning of reforms and progress and should never end as long as we have viable societies of any kind. There should be NO place whatsoever for Conservatism in American politics, period. To be consistent, the aforementioned conservatives in the media should be bowing down to the British government that Americans rebelled against in 1776, but they don’t because they are hypocrites.

Sinéad O’Connor goes off the deep end

I’ve written about Sinéad O’Connor before:
https://dalehusband.com/2010/03/27/sinead-oconnor-was-both-wrong-and-right/

And I’ve also written about the Irish and the abuse they have suffered from the Catholic Church:

https://dalehusband.com/2011/01/20/the-irish-people-must-abandon-catholicism/

So it does not surprise me that she would finally reject any allegiance to Catholicism, just I would have urged her to do. But I never expected this:

Sinéad O’Connor Says She Never Wants to ‘Spend Time with White People Again’

Sinéad O’Connor is taking her commitment to her new religion one step further.

The 51-year-old “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer, who now goes by the name Shuhada Davitt, shared in a series of tweets early Tuesday that, a few weeks after officially converting to Islam, she wants to avoid everyone who does not share her spiritual beliefs.

In the first message, she wrote, “I’m terribly sorry. What I’m about to say is something so racist I never thought my soul could ever feel it. But truly I never wanna spend time with white people again (if that’s what non-muslims are called). Not for one moment, for any reason. They are disgusting.”

If her spiritual orientation is indeed Islamic, by all means she should embrace it. But this sounds like bigotry against non-Muslims. How can you promote the virtues of Islam except by interacting with non-Muslims to show them how good the religion is for you?

Then, O’Connor called into question the social platform’s policy about blocking hateful content. “Interesting to see if Twitter bans this when it allows people like Trump and Milbank spew the satanic filth upon even my country,” she said.

The musician also addressed the role of violence in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. O’Connor is a known critic of the Catholic church.

“BTW if one IS an intelligent theologian and has taken the journey, one would know there is no more talk of ancient violence in the Q’ran as the Tanukh, the Bible or The sodding Mahabarata. And its ALL EQUALLY [IRRELEVANT] TO OUR TIMES,” she mused, adding in a follow-up tweet, “Everyone says the Poor Americans are the victim of Trump. But you hired him. So fire him. Otherwise you’re complicit. It is the same with all so called Islamic Terrorism. Which is exactly what the devil wants and loves.”

If the violent stories in the Quran are indeed irrelevant to our times, why would anyone assume that the dogmas and rituals associated with Islam are relevant to this present day? Does simple logic not occur to her?

Tying in her own Irish culture, the singer continued, “No Irish person on earth would disagree. We didn’t fire the church. We let them please themselves in our children right under our noses and there is no recompense. No balm in gilliad for Irish human beings under ‘[civilization].’ “

To conclude, O’Connor acknowledged the bizarreness of the rant: “Final word. If its ‘Crazy’ to care. Then by all means, spank my ass and call me Fruity loops : )”

It is never crazy to care, but remember when you tore up that photo of the Pope on Saturday Night Live and the fallout resulting from that? That was a crazy stunt. And it seems you learned nothing from that failure.

Last month, she confirmed on Twitter her conversion to Islam, explaining that her new faith “is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey.”

“All scripture leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant,” the Grammy winner added, before revealing she would henceforth be known by a new name. “I will be given (another) new name. It will be Shuhada.’”

In addition to changing her name on her Twitter page, she also replaced her profile picture with a photo that reads “Wear a hijab just do it” alongside the Nike swoosh logo. Additionally, her Twitter bio now reads, “PLEASE BE AWARE THAT IF YOU POST RACIST OR ANTI MUSLIM RHETORIC ON THIS PAGE YOU WILL BE BLOCKED.”

Demanding tolerance for your beliefs while being intolerant towards those who disagree? We have a word for that.

I wonder if she ever considered the Baha’i Faith. A Baha’i could just as easily proclaim that “all scripture leads to the Baha’i Faith. Which makes all other scriptures redundant.” As a Christian, I was taught that most of the “Old Testament” pointed to Jesus as the fulfillment of the Jewish covenant, which would have been an offensive thing to claim to any Jews that heard it. Well, as a non-theist, I think they are ALL wrong. There is no final religion, no perfect religion and no “true” religion. And no one can prove otherwise. That’s why we have so many religions and the many, many, MANY divisions within all of them.

The day after revealing her big news, O’Connor shared that she had been given her first hijab, writing that she wouldn’t be posting a photo because it’s “intensely personal,” before humorously adding that there was a second reason for her decision.

“I’m an ugly old hag,” she wrote. “But I’m a very, very, very happy old hag.”

Over the next couple of days, the Irish singer went on to share a number of photos of herself wearing a head covering, simply writing that she was “happy.”

O’Connor was ordained as a priest in 1999 in a dissident Roman Catholic group.

She has previously spoken out against the abuses of the Catholic Church, even ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II during a Saturday Night Live appearance in 1992.

The singer has struggled with her mental health in recent years, including suicidal ideation, yet said she was open about her issues in the hopes that it would inspire others suffering to seek help.

Could her conversion to Islam also be a sign of mental illness? I’m not saying that all Muslims are mentally ill, of course. But her stated contempt for white people, while herself still being white, reminds me of THIS lunatic, Rachel Dolezal:

https://dalehusband.com/2015/06/14/lying-to-fight-racism/

And both should be ignored.

What will it take to end the abuse?

Look at this disturbing news story:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/04/america-minority-rule-voter-suppression-gerrymandering-supreme-court

Rigging the vote: how the American right is on the way to permanent minority rule

Underhand Republican tactics – gerrymandering, voter suppression, more – underpin a vice-like grip on power

The American right is in the midst of a formidable project: installing permanent minority rule, guaranteeing control of the government even as the number of actual human beings who support their political program dwindles.

Voter suppression is one, but only one, loathsome tactic in this effort, which goes far beyond just winning one election. Minority rule is the result of interlocking and mutually reinforcing strategies which must be understood together to understand the full picture of what the American right wants to achieve.

Examples are everywhere. Take North Dakota. In 2012, Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, won a surprise victory in a Senate race by just 2,994 votes. Her two largest county wins were in the Standing Rock and Turtle Mountain Reservations, where she won more than 80% of the vote. Her overall vote margin in counties containing Native reservations was more than 4,500 votes.

Observing that Heitkamp literally owed her seat to Native voters, North Dakota’s Republican legislature enacted a voter ID law that requires voters to present identification showing their name, birth date and residential address. There’s the rub: many Native voters do not have traditional residential addresses, so this law effectively disenfranchises them.

Or take Georgia, where the Republican nominee for governor, Brian Kemp, is the secretary of state and in that capacity has placed more than 50,000 voter registrations on hold, many from urban areas with high black populations. That is in keeping with Kemp’s privately expressed “concern” that high voter turnout will favor his opponent – Stacey Abrams, running strongly to be the first black female governor in US history.

Exacerbating voter suppression is the ongoing partisan gerrymandering effortthe redrawing of electoral maps to favor one party over another. After the 2010 census, the Wisconsin legislature (controlled by Republicans) drew a map for the state’s legislative districts explicitly designed to ensure they would retain control of the legislature even if they received a minority of votes. It worked: in 2012, despite receiving only 48.6% of the vote, they won 60 of 99 seats. Democrats won an outright majority of votes cast but secured just 39 seats.

To this, Wisconsin added a voter ID requirement designed to make it harder to vote at all. Voila: voter turnout in the 2016 presidential election was the lowest since 2000 and Donald Trump carried the state. (To be sure, there were other factors at work.) The combined, national effect of partisan gerrymandering is such that in the 2018 midterms, the Democrats might win the popular vote by 10 points and still not control the House.

Legislative maps designed to promote minority rule plus voter suppression of the constituencies opposed to it is a potent combination. And there’s more.

The two most recent Republican presidents have entered office despite receiving fewer votes than their opponent in a national election, thanks to the electoral college, which systematically over-represents small states. (California gets one electoral vote per 712,000 people; Wyoming gets one per 195,000.) With the presidency in hand in the run-up to the 2020 census, minority rule will be further entrenched by adding a citizenship question to the census. This will result in systematic undercounting of the population in heavily Democratic areas, which will in turn further reduce their influence as legislatures draw maps based on the data.

Then there’s the Senate. Because of its bias toward smaller, rural states, a resident of Wyoming has 66 times the voting power in Senate elections as one in California. Thus, in 2016, the Democratic party got 51.4 million votes for its Senate candidates. The Republicans got 40 million. And despite losing by more than 11 million votes, the Republicans won a supermajority (22 of 36) of the seats up for election, holding their majority in the chamber.

The hideously malapportioned Senate and electoral college permit the last piece of the minority rule puzzle to snap into place: the supreme court. In 2016, after losing the contest for the presidency and the Senate by millions of votes, the Republicans were able to install two supreme court justices. There may be more.

In fact, when the Senate confirmed Trump’s first nominee, Neil Gorsuch, it was a watershed moment in American history. For the first time, a president who lost the popular vote had a supreme court nominee confirmed by senators who received fewer votes – nearly 22 million fewer – than the senators that voted against him. And by now, it will not surprise you to discover that the senators who voted for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh represent 38 million fewer people than the ones who voted no.

With the supreme court in hand, all those other tactics – partisan gerrymandering, voter ID and the rest – are protected from the only institution that could really threaten them. But it doesn’t stop there. The supreme court can be used to do more than approve the minority rule laws that come before it. It can further the project on its own.

In 2015, the court came within one vote of holding that independent redistricting commissions (which reduce partisan gerrymandering) are actually unconstitutional. The swing vote in that case, Anthony Kennedy, is gone. And the court in 2013 famously invalidated a major portion of the Voting Rights Act which put checks on voter-suppression efforts of the kind now taking place all over the country.

Taken together, this is a powerful set of tools. Draw maps that let you win even when you lose. Use the resulting power to enact measures to suppress the vote of the other side further. Count on a minority rule president to undercount your opponents in the census, and a minority-rule Senate to confirm justices who will strike down any obstacles to the plan.

With the deck this stacked, it isn’t enough to win. Wresting control back from the entrenched minority will take overwhelming victory. It may take, in other words, a genuine political revolution.

  • Ian Samuel is Associate Professor of Law at Indiana University Bloomington’s Maurer School of Law. He is also the co-host of @FirstMondaysFM
In short, the USA is  becoming the 21st Century version of South Africa under apartheid.
Which brings up the obvious question: Who will be the American version of Nelson Mandela? Who will be willing to fight, to be imprisoned, or even to die to put an end to the Republicans’ efforts to destroy democracy and freedom among us?

We can start here:
Then proceed with:
More details on gerrymandering:
And also see:
Unless and until people of all colors, both genders, various religions and even different social classes are finally willing to rise up and OVERTHROW the Republican Party and its march towards fascism, we won’t have freedom, period. We can only truly be free if we fight for it.

 

The Downfall of Sears

Sears as a corporation has been dying for many years. This past week it finally filed for bankruptcy, even though it was once one of the largest companies in the entire world. Just as the Roman Empire was once a superpower but fell into ruin in 476 AD.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhrK3GKNmLY

Here’s a video from two years ago showing how bad things were even then:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORV4kYa8J18

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A Violation, an Apology and a Lack of R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Read this disturbing story:

Bishop at Aretha Franklin’s Funeral Apologizes to Ariana Grande for Touching Her, Taco Bell Joke

Bishop Charles H. Ellis III has apologized to Ariana Grande for the way he behaved towards her at Aretha Franklin’s funeral.

During an interview with the Associated Press at the cemetery where Franklin was laid to rest following her 8-hour “Celebration of Life” funeral service on Friday, Ellis expressed regret for the way he touched the singer onstage and for saying he initially thought the 25-year-old singer was a new menu item at Taco Bell.

“I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community,” Ellis said. “When you’re doing a program for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there.”

He also apologized for touching Grande too close to her chest during their televised interaction.

Ariana Grande and Bishop Charles H. Ellis III

“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast. … I don’t know I guess I put my arm around her,” Ellis continued. “Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologize.”

Continuing, he added: “The last thing I want to do is to be a distraction to this day. This is all about Aretha Franklin.”

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande

After watching Grande honor the late Queen of Soul at the service, the American Apostolic Pentecostal preacher said that, “When I saw Ariana Grande on the program, I thought that was a new something at Taco Bell.”

“My 28-year-old daughter tells me, ‘Dad! You are old at 60’ ” he joked.

In the moment, Grande appeared to take the joke in stride, as she proceeded to laugh and give Ellis a hug.

“Girl, let me give you all your respect,” Ellis then remarked. “Did you enjoy this icon? She is an icon herself. Come on, make her feel loved.”

There is absolutely no reason this incident should have happened. This was done at a FUNERAL (is nothing sacred anymore?) of one of the world’s greatest singers (who demanded respect in one of her songs, which clearly was not shown to Ariana Grande), long after so many Catholic priests have been condemned for sexual abuse of children and the “MeToo” movement has highlighted the problems with sexual abuse and sexual harassment of women by powerful men…….and yet it happened anyway.

An apology cannot be enough. This Bishop should be defrocked and banned from serving in a clerical position in any religious institution. If he did this idiotic act in public, what the hell could he be doing in private?

Debunking Libertarian Economic Bogosity

The title of this blog entry refers to this earlier one:

Shane Killian sells out!

It’s time to revisit that issue. Look at this meme:
37211526_10211829385762290_2164135833207046144_n

The whole premise of that meme is a lie. Capitalism and corporatism are one and the same and have been for at least 300 years. The attempt to make a distinction between them is profoundly dishonest, implying that “real” capitalism does not exist. If so, it never did and never will. The only real alternative to crony capitalism is Democratic Socialism, period.

Here’s what really happens:

A individual has an idea.

That individual forms a company and makes a product with that idea.

Consumers give the company money for the product.

The company becomes successful.

Someone else has a better idea and creates a better product.

The first company uses its money to buy out the new product from its inventor and sells it in addition to or even instead of the original product, increasing its profitability and leaving the actual inventor with almost nothing later.

As a result, the company makes money no matter what product it sells.

Always remember this:  Those who already have a lot of money will always have an unfair advantage over those who don’t.

Government corruption does NOT produce corporatism. Tyranny and abuses can also come from economic forces too if government does nothing to stop them with policies such as “trust-busting” and progressive income taxation, among other tools at government’s disposal to redistribute wealth. That is why Libertarianism is worthless.

The Friendzone is a Sexist Myth

A friend of mine linked me to this blog entry and having known beautiful women who were great friends and I did not feel like I had to have sex with them to be with them at all, I am quite happy to have the word “friendzone” tossed out of the English language.

Feminists-at-Large

by Erin Riordan

The Friendzone isn’t real. The idea that every “Nice Guy” is owed sex or a romantic relationship by his female friends is ridiculous. And if you think that’s not what Friendzoning is about, it absolutely is.

The movie Just Friends perhaps explains friendzoning best with the line, “See when a girl decides that you’re her friend, you’re no longer a dating option. You become this complete non-sexual entity in her eyes, like her brother, or a lamp.”

Or Urban Dictionary with, “When you are expected to support a girl you really like while she searches for a smarter, richer, or more handsome boyfriend. There is little you can do to get out without feeling like a dick. All in all, one of the meanest things girls do, whether they mean it or not.”

To some degree, the assumption of every guy claiming to be “friendzoned” is that…

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Muslim-bashing and Libel Against Ex-Baha’is in Reddit

This is a direct sequel to Treachery of Baha’is @ reddit

Baha’is in reddit have come up with a new tactic for attacking those who dare to leave and then criticize their former religion; they are claiming most ex-Baha’is are just Muslim enemies of the faith who never joined.

First see this:
https://www.reddit.com/r/bahai/comments/8vd7rj/do_bahais_worship_bahaullah/

At one point, a Baha’i named t0lk asserts:

A word of caution about r/exbahai, it is mostly populated by Muslims and not by people who were formerly Baha’is.

This was noticed and commented on here:
https://www.reddit.com/r/exbahai/comments/8vhhiq/a_word_of_caution_about_rexbahai_it_is_mostly/

Continue reading

“Good Guy” vs. “Strong Guy” Dichotomy

In my younger days, I was often rejected by girls and young women even though I tried to be as loving towards them as possible. I assumed that it might have been because they thought I was ugly or weak. But the real issue seems to be something I often see in politics too.

Women naturally want men that are strong to protect them and their children, and our culture seems to depict men that have a strong sense of empathy and compassion for others to be “weak”, therefore such men are not considered as suitable for a domestic partnership as men that are highly aggressive towards others.

Likewise, people generally want a leader that is highly aggressive for the same reason. That explains why George McGovern lost so badly to Richard Nixon in 1972 despite having a much better character and this was repeated with Jimmy Carter losing to Ronald Reagan in 1980, and Donald Trump winning his election in 2016.

But what people often fail to consider is that the same aggressive attitude that makes a man look strong can be twisted to hurt or abandon the very ones the man is supposed to be protecting, including his love partner and their children. By contrast, a loving, empathic man can encourage a woman to stand up for herself rather than just let a man fight for her. And he would not leave her as long as she loved him just as deeply.

I have known several cases of women who used to see me as just a friend who after being abused and/or neglected by the men in their life, later took another look at me and decided I would have been the better partner for them after all. And I would consider it an honor to help care for them.

Likewise, I am hopeful that the American people will stop being seduced by the mere appearance of strength and seek in future Presidents the most powerful character trait anyone can have: LOVE! Its being seen as weakness is sheer ignorance. Have you ever seen a mother bear fight to protect her cubs?

The Issue of Alimony

As a firm believer in the equality of men and women, I see no justification for alimony being paid to a wife as part of a divorce settlement. Child support, certainly, but NOT money to the wife herself, unless and until she is disabled and completely unable to work to support herself.

Read this:

http://start.att.net/news/read/article/people-john_schneider_sentenced_to_jail_after_failing_to-rtime/category/entertainment

John Schneider Sentenced to Jail After Failing to Pay Alimony to Estranged Wife: Report

Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider has reportedly been sentenced to jail for not paying over $150,000 in delinquent alimony.

John, 58, was sentenced to three days in the Los Angeles County Jail on Monday, according to TMZ, for not paying the spousal support due to his estranged wife, Elvira “Elly” Schneider, by mid-March.

In addition to jail time, John, who famously played Bo Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-85), will also have to complete 240 hours of community service.

A rep for Schneider did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

In February, the outlet reported that a judge gave him until March 14 to pay more than $150,000 in support to Elvira. At the time, the judge reportedly ordered John to transfer his Apple Valley property to Elvira and to resolve the property’s tax liens. TMZ reported that he did not resolve the tax liens.

Elvira filed for divorce in Los Angeles county on Nov. 14, 2014, after 21 years of marriage. She cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for their split, according to court documents.

In September 2016, he was ordered to pay Elvira $18,911 every month, TMZ reported.

The couple have three adult children: Leah, Chasen, and Karis.

This REALLY bothers me because I myself went through a divorce from my wife Cheri in 2012, and she was mentally and physically disabled, but I was not required to pay her alimony, because she still was able to work a job. Indeed the issue was not even brought up. But that was in Texas; I suspect the divorce laws are much more backward and corrupt in California.

People in California, and any other state that has this sort of absurdity, need to push for abolition of alimony in divorces. It is a relic from the time when women were either not working at all or could only hold jobs that paid far less than men. That’s not an issue now.

Israel Commits Another War Crime

Can you think of any justification for military snipers to shoot down an unarmed MEDIC trying to treat injured people in the open? That is an incredibly cowardly thing to do. And that is what a soldier of Israel has just done!

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/03/middleeast/razan-al-najjar-gaza-nurse-killed/index.html

‘Her only weapon was her medical vest’: Palestinians mourn death of nurse killed by Israeli forces

Israel is not worth defending if this is what it is willing to do. There is nothing to investigate; the killing of a unarmed person is itself an act of cold-blooded MURDER and must be avenged.

This was Razan Al Najjar and she was 21 years old.

Another Compelling Statement of Economic Truth

One of the biggest outright lies politicians have ever told their people was told by Republicans under the Reagan Administration in the 1980s, that cutting taxes would enable the rich to invest more and result in a stronger and more active economy. But that is not realistic. Ironically, conservatives want to cut welfare programs because poor people getting money from the government is supposed to make them lazy……so why would allowing the rich to keep more money due to lower taxation make them invest more? The opposite should be expected, because the whole point of investing is to make more money and they don’t need to so much if their taxes are lessened! And despite those repeated tax cuts, we keep having recessions repeatedly too.
Just as a poor person working even while getting welfare would be considered GREED, so would the rich investing more after getting a tax cut! And we should condemn both.

Trickle down lie

 

If your Spiritual Orientation is JEWISH…

Jewish Star

Judaism, unlike the Christian religion that later branched off from it, is a tribal religion made for one specific people, which is why to this day most Jews make no effort to proselytize and the Jewish religion and Jewish ethnicity (sometimes called Hebrew) are often considered one and the same. This blog entry is for those who have either embraced Judaism from a non-Jewish background or are considering doing so, as well as people raised as Jews seeking to live in a modern world with others.

  1. Consider that most of the Jewish Scriptures (which Christians have named the “Old Testament”), have a highly biased point of view, depicting other nations around Israel as evil and even ancient Hebrews who did not follow the dogmatic teachings of ancient Judaism as corrupt. These scriptures often claimed that the many tragedies that Israel suffered from was the result of disobedience to God. The truth is more complex; even when Israel was independent, it often warred against other nations and committed many atrocities against them. This was considered normal and it was only later that Jewish religious philosophers who wrote the Jewish Scriptures sought to reconcile their lofty ethical teachings with the war crimes their own ancestors had committed before.
  2. Being a religious Jew means you must follow certain rules and practice certain holidays. Most of those holidays refer to specific events in ancient Jewish history. And most of those rules, including Judaism’s dietary laws, were based on superstition, not science. Islam later borrowed some of those dietary laws, such as the ban on eating pork. Be sure to practice those rules in moderation, not blindly for their own sake.
  3. Christianity should not be considered an enemy religion. Indeed, the spread of Christianity around the world has brought knowledge of the Jewish people with it, making Jews. both ancient and modern, far more famous and respected than they would be otherwise. The antagonism between Jews and Christians that occurred resulted from a perversion of Christian teachings, not anything Jesus himself ever would have taught or allowed. He was himself Jewish!
  4. The modern republic of Israel has only a vague relation to the ancient nation that shared its name. It was created by Jews from Europe who wanted to establish a state of their own in Palestine, and in the process they displaced many thousands of Arabs that had previously been living in peace with Jews for many centuries. You can be a perfectly good Jew and not be a supporter of a nation that can only maintain itself through exclusion and persecution of non-Jews. Do not equate opposition to Israel’s policies with anti-Semitism and certainly not with the Holocaust that occurred in Europe during World War II; that is simply a lie. One of the things I was taught as a child was that if you do to others what was done to you before, then you are no better than your enemies. The past persecutions of Jews in Europe in no way justifies how Israel conducts itself now against Palestinians. Israel may have been fighting for its right to exist in 1948, but that has not been an issue since the 1980s. Instead, the Zionists of Israel are currently seeking TOTAL DOMINATION OVER ALL OF PALESTINE. So now Israel is its own worst enemy and it is making anti-Semitism around the world look respectable.
  5. Do not be fooled by American support for Israel; many Americans are brainwashed into believing that the establishment of modern Israel is a fulfillment of prophecies recorded in both the Jewish and the Christian Scriptures. They think that eventually Jesus will then come and overthrow the nations of the world and become the absolute ruler of the world instead. This is absurd; if that was going to happen, it would have occurred over 1900 years ago when the generation that knew Jesus still lived.
  6. If you want to join with a Jewish group that embraces freethinking rather than dogmatic bigotry, go here: http://uuja.org/    or here: http://www.shj.org/

 

A useless effort about Mormonism

Read this story:

http://kutv.com/news/local/exclusive-imagine-dragons-lds-singer-urges-change

LDS rock star wants to be voice of change from inside Mormon church

It is commendable that Reynolds wants to defend the dignity of teenagers in the LGBTQ community, but the most effective way to do that is to abandon Mormonism altogether and attempt to destroy totally the political influence of that religious movement. Then work to dismantle bit by bit the cult itself. It simply shouldn’t exist. Its false and irrational dogmas must be totally debunked from top to bottom, replaced by objective truth.

The homophobia of Mormonism is bad enough. What about the blatant racism in the Book of Mormon itself? Will Reynolds address that too? Discrimination is discrimination and bigotry is bigotry. We should stand up against ALL of it and tolerate NONE of it, even if it comes from religion.

There is an obvious alternative for LGBTQ members who were raised Mormon. They can leave it and join Unitarian Universalism. They can add their stories to the many others here: Ex-Mormons. They can go here and learn about others who have done the same:
https://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/

I really do not understand people who insist on staying within a religion like that. Even mainstream Christianity is preferable to Mormonism, no?