Monday, November 30, 2015

An Update to the Update: Trump Sees "Love" in Meeting with Black Clergy

First there was yesterday's post re: Donald Trump and the 100 Black Pastors, then there was today's Update, Donald Trump and the 100 Pastors, the Oops Factor and now...

An Update to the Update (with thanks to reader Sandeep A.)

Turns out the meeting happened after all.

"Trump claimed there were more than 100 people in the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, and that he expected "many, many endorsements" to come...

...Last week, his campaign initially trumpeted the event, calling it a meeting with "a coalition of 100 African-American Evangelical pastors and religious leaders who will endorse the GOP front-frunner after a private meeting."

But several black pastors invited to the gathering quickly rebutted the endorsement talk.  This forced the cancellation of the planned press conference and left Trump in an awkward spot...

...Asked...to address Black Lives Matter movement, Trump said he had no interest in going there.

"I don't want to discuss that," he said...

...Not everyone attending Monday's meeting was supportive of Trump.

Arriving at Trump Tower, some even shared their deep concerns about the candidate's rhetoric, paricularly about race and immigration.

Pastor Victor Couzens of Cincinnati, Ohio, who attended Monday's meeting and is not endorsing Trump, said the candidate owed the Black Lives Matter protester an apology.  He also expressed reservations about what he considers Trump's inflammatory rhetoric."

eye'm thynkin':  Well, since the Trump campaign wouldn't allow media into the meeting, we will undoubtedly be treated to two different versions of what actually happened and what was really said.  By next week, Trump will probably be telling his followers there were a thousand black clergy clamoring for face-time with him and that ten thousand of those were endorsing him.

I expect the story from the actual attendees will differ substantially.

And now we wait.

Read more at CNN

Quote for Monday, November 30

A cautionary tale:

monday quote:
"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities."
(Voltaire, French author, 1694-1778) 


Right-Wing Rogues Gallery - Lies Have Consequences


Left to right, the charges: Accessory to murder before the fact, accessory to murder before the fact, murder.  I say "Guilty" to all.  How say you?


Update: Donald Trump and the Tale of the 100 Pastors, the Oops Factor


Yesterday, I published a post about Donald Trump and how an invitation to black pastors to meet with him in New York today had somehow morphed into 100 endorsements from those same black pastors.  The clergy who were roped into Mr. Trump's publicity scheme were none too pleased.

Update:

Poor Donald.  What's a braggart to do when confronted with such a public lack of cooperation?  
Well first, on Sunday you have your campaign issue a press release that states the meeting will be closed to the press (wouldn't want any nasty media reporting on what obviously was not going to be a Trump love-fest), and don't forget to continue with DonnyBoy's embroidered tale that "a number of attendees are expected to endorse Mr. Trump."   When those unreasonable media types asked the obvious "How many?"question, there was no response.

Then, when it becomes obvious that the candidate is going to look like a fool standing in front of an empty room pontificating to no one, you have the candidate himself make a personal appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe where he can float a new Trump Tale to cover his obvious lack of support from the 100 black pastors who just a few days ago were so eager to become public fans of the Trump Trainwreck.  

Yes, folks, this morning, Mr. Combover found a way to turn his original lie into an even better one.  Black religious leaders, he said, had really wanted to meet with him, but he had to cancel the meeting because all those minority clergyman who were so eager to shake his hand were pressured by members of Black Lives Matter to withhold their public support.  His proof was simple: "I have a great relationship with the black pastors."

what eye thynk:  Ohio Pastor Darrel Scott, who organized the canceled meeting, told the media there was a "miscommunication."  Or, as I like to call it: Oops-nobody-bought-my-bulls**t-so-lets-throw-this-against-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

November 29 - More Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 - Huckabee: Pro-lifers are Victims of Planned Parenthood Shooting Because This Makes Us Look Bad
eye'm thynkin': How is this man able to look at himself in the mirror?
Go to Political Pollution 

Remembering Rand Paul...


...who some people still believe will rise from the ashes of the Republican Party, and take the White House in 2016.  Or as I call it: a funny story told by conservatives who forgot they all lack the humor gene.



Fact-Checking the GOP: Donald Trump and the 100 Black Pastors

The Statement:

Last week, the Trump campaign issued a press release: "Mr. Trump will be joined by a coalition of 100 African American Evangelical pastors and religious leaders who will endorse the GOP frontrunner after a private meeting at Trump Tower."

On Wednesday, Donald himself told the media that 100 black pastors would be endorsing him during a meeting that is scheduled for 1:00 PM tomorrow.

The Facts:

Darrel Scott, pastor of the New Spirit Revival Center in Ohio, assisted in organizing the event.  Mr. Scott later told the media that the invitations were never meant to be seen as an endorsement of Mr. Trump's candidacy. (Give La Donald an inch...)

Black pastors on the invitation list are not happy that their names are being circulated by the Trump campaign as examples of Mr. Trump's support from the black community.  Bishop Corletta Vaughn, Senior Pastor of Detroit's Holy Spirit Cathedral of Faith, said she was shocked to see her name on a list of black pastors endorsing Donald Trump. "Let me be clear.  I was invited to attend a gathering of clergy to listen to Mr. Trump... I respectively (sic) declined as I do not support nor will I endorse Donald Trump."

Bishop Paul Morton, a pastor from Atlanta replied to his presumed endorsement by tweeting, "I was asked 2 meet with Mr Trump too but I refused because until he learns how to respect people you can't represent me thru my endorsement."

Bishop Clarence McClendon of Los Angeles responded, "I am not officially endorsing ANY candidate and when I do you will NOT need to hear it from pulpitting courtjesters who suffer from intellectual and spiritual myopia."

Rev. Jamal Bryant, an AME pastor in Baltimore said "The 100 pastors they say are endorsing Donald Trump?  I don't know where those 100 are from."

The Trump campaign did not respond to inquiries from the Daily Beast as to which pastors will be endorsing Mr. Combover.  CNN likewise was greeted with silence when they questioned campaign representatives if the black pastor conclave was, perhaps, not exactly as advertised.

m'eye Verdict:

Ah, Donald, Donald, Donald.  You may claim to have the best memory in the history of mankind, (you wouldn't exaggerate about that would you?), but there seems to be a blind spot in your mastery of the English language. "Meeting" and "endorsement" do not mean the same thing; they're not even close.

However, La Donald doesn't deserve the full 5 out of 5 treatment for his latest bit of personal puff-uppery.   To be honest, (someone has to be), he probably believes that his preternatural powers of persuasion are such that he will easily have these black pastors calling for his coronation and toasting him with single barrel Trump Kool-aid by 1:15.  


Since the meeting hasn't actually taken place yet, and I can't prove that Mr. Trump will not be able to find 100 black clergy who accept that encouraging the beating of a black protester during a Trump rally is really a sign of respect, I'm forced to give him the benefit of the doubt.    

Had I waited and posted this tomorrow, I expect he would have earned a full compliment of Gops; but with the facts we have today--and because delusional aggrandizement is more mental illness than prevarication--Mr. Trump's fantasy earns him 3 1/2 out of 5 Gops.



Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bernie Sanders: "Bitter rhetoric can have unintended consequences."

"As police continue their investigation into what prompted a man to walk into a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood and start shooting people, the nation is left in that unsettling gray zone between being able to call this tragedy what it is and pretending--some more desperately than others--that it could be anything else.

While most politicians hedge their bets and refuse to call this act of terrorism an act of terrorism, Bernie Sanders just pointed out the elephant in the room... To think that Republicans could continuously slander Planned Parenthood with lies comparing them to 'baby killers' and murderers and not provoke a violent response from some of their least stable supporters is lunacy. Words have consequences...

...Republicans who had hoped they could score cheap political points by spreading lies about Planned Parenthood...have been put on notice.  You need to own this tragedy.  Pro-life?  Not when it comes to spreading dangerous ideas about a group of doctors and nurses whom you happen to disagree with...

...As if to demonstrate their guilt, the entire Republican presidential field has been uncomfortably silent in wake of the shooting spree.  No calls for prayer.  No condolences to the victims.  Just deadening silence.  It's almost as if their consciences are feeling an unsettling twinge deep inside their chests and they don't know what to make of it.  Guilt will do that." 

eye'm thynkin':  You can't continue to spew hate and not take responsibility when your supporters act hatefully. 

Read more at Addicting Info

Sounds reasonable to me.


I hear Ben will be providing proof in just a few days.

3 Dead at Planned Parenthood Clinic - Republicans Respond

"Here's the Unbelievable Response From the GOP Following the Planned Parenthood Shootings.

Silence...

...A lone gunman decided to shoot up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday, killing a police officer and two civilians, while injuring nine other people. Not ONE of (the Republican presidential candidates) issued a statement about the terror attack."

eye'm thynkin':  Poor Republicans.  It's awkward to condemn a terrorist-type attack that kills fellow-Americans when the location is an organization they've spent months defaming.  How can they possibly be expected to rally outrage from the base over that? Do they even dare call it terrorism?

If only the shooter had cried "Allahu Akbar!"Or, even better, been a Syrian refugee! Imagine the air time they could have gotten over that.  Really, they'd be all over it.  But this guy was white! And the people who died were at a baby killing factory!  Expressing compassion might be misread by their supporters. 

What to do, what to do? I know, lets hawk campaign goodies, boast about polls, and look forward to some weekend football!  Oh, and bash the President over his response to the attacks in Paris.  That's important too.

Read more at Addicting Info

Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Holidays!


So shut up about some non-existent war on Christmas.
Your insensitivity to those who may not celebrate YOUR holiday is really, really  unbecoming.

Daddy Had HIS War, Big Brother Had HIS War, I Want One Too!

"Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush urged President Barack Obama to take more aggressive approach in the fight against the Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the deadly Paris terror attacks earlier this month.

'Are we fighting a war or is this a law enforcement exercise?  Make it a war,' Bush said during a Tuesday campaign stop in South Carolina.

Last week, the former governor of Florida called for sending U.S. ground combat troops to destory the terrorist group, becoming the latest Bush to advocate for a military campaign in the Middle East."

eye'm thynkin':  Two Bushes, two Middle East wars.  We don't need a third.  No - More - Bushes!

Read more at HuffPost Politics

I give you prime example #1:


Demagoguery's Foremost Practitioner


Thursday, November 26, 2015

My all time favorite Thanksgiving cartoon.

H   A   P   P   Y
T   H   A   N   K   S   G   I   V   I   N   G


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gay Drama Teacher's Response to Homophobic Parent--It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This

"An openly gay drama teacher in the United Kingdom had the best response this week to a homophobic parent who sought to withdraw her children from his tutelage."


eye'm thynkin':  Anything I could add would pale by comparison.

Read more at HuffPost Gay Voices

How to Recognize a Christian? Just Ask Jeb!

"It's tempting to give Jeb Bush credit for being far less ridiculous than Donald Trump on, well, pretty much everything.  Over the last week, as Trump's radicalism has exceeded any normal boundaries of propriety, the former governor has been willing to call out the New York developer for going too far.

But if Bush is going to claim any credit for taking the high ground, he's going to have to stop dipping his feet in the same waters in which Trump is taking a swim.

Last week, for example, the Florida Republican argued that the United States should reject Syrian refugees for reasons he has not yet explained.  Bush later clarified that some refugees might be able to enter the country, but only if they're members of a religious group he approves of.

'You're a Christian--I mean, you can prove you're a Christian.' Jeb inexplicably argued."

Read more at MSNBC

"...Jeb Bush said in a radio interview Tuesday that 'you can tell when someone is a Christian in the Middle East... I can promise you that,' Bush told New Hampshire radio host Jack Heath. 'By name, by where they're born, their birth certificates.  There are ample means by which to know this.'...

...On Tuesday, Bush also repeated that he feels the country has a 'moral obligation' to support Syrian Christians."

Read more at Buzz Feed

eye'm thynkin':  So only people  BORN Christian and given a name off a pre-approved list would pass the ex-governor's sniff test?  No one else would be deemed good enough for Jeb? I find it difficult to imagine Jesus asking for proper ID before welcoming anyone into his temple.

John Kasich, Anything BUT a Moderate on Women's Health Issues

what eye thynk:  News stories in Ohio continue to uncover more and more of Governor John Kasich's (R) long suspected web of behind the scenes maneuvering against a woman's right to choose in his state. His style of backdoor anti-abortion work is simply more of the same sneaky tactics reporters uncovered last year with regard to his anti-environment work assisting the Republican dominated legislature's moves to make Ohio the first state to go backwards on the development of renewable energy sources.

Now Mr. Kasich is trying to portray himself as a moderate Republican presidential candidate while continuing to push for more and more abortion restrictions in Ohio.  The state legislature has passed three new prohibitions.  Mr. Kasich has not signed them, though he has said he supports all three.  It seems he is holding off signing the new prohibitions into law while he weighs the political pros and cons for his limping campaign.

(Any underlines are mine.)


Eye Recommend:
Why did John Kasich hid his agenda against women?  Why didn't he claim his role in crafting targeted regulations on abortion providers? He even tried to distance himself after the Associated Press...exposed email exchanges between his staff, legislative staff, and Ohio Right to Life. 
Discovering the evidence of Kasich's legislative actions is like finding a cockroach in the kitchen--where there is one, there are surely more. 
Passing new (anti-abortion) laws was just the beginning for John. He also sat Ohio Right to Life president Mike Gonidakis (who does NOT have a medical degree) on the state medical board, and tasked political appointee Richard Hodges with the job of using the Department of Health to harass abortion providers... Hodges replaced Dr. Ted Wymslo (director of the Ohio Department of Health) because of pressure from Gonidakis.  Gonidakis met with Kasich the day before Dr. Wymslo's resignation.
Why did Kasich hide his role?  Because he didn't want us to realize how many cockroaches he has running his kitchen...or raise the ire of voters before his 2014 reelection campaign.
Mr. Kasich and the Ohio legislature insist the three new restrictions passed this year are designed to save lives--whose is a question that doesn't have a clear answer. One restriction defunds Planned Parenthood, even going so far as to restrict state money from being used for cancer screenings and HIV tests. (Neither Mr. Kasich nor any of his minions have offered to explain how this will save women's lives.)

A second restriction would force Ohio women to carry a non-viable fetus to full-term, in effect, forcing a women to suffer through months of carrying what she and her doctor are fully aware is an infant that will either be born dead or die within minutes of birth.  (I can't figure whose life they think they're saving here, since the only one left standing will be a woman who has suffered needlessly so some politician can gain bragging rights for being more pro-life than some other politician.)

A third restriction waiting for the governor and "moderate" presidential candidate's signature is equally senseless.  Under this prohibition, a woman who is told she is carrying a fetus with Down Syndrome would be prohibited for aborting it for that reason.  Her neighbor could still, even under the limited abortion access left by Governor Kasich's and the Ohio legislature's actions, abort a healthy fetus without having to state a reason, but find out your fetus has Down Syndrome and abortion is no longer an option.
If Kasich finds himself struggling with conservative voters in Iowa or New Hampshire, he simple needs to snap his fingers and one of these three proposals will be passed to his desk for a signature, to send a signal of his core beliefs.
All along, Kasich has wanted to impose his morals on others without having to pay the political price.  He has hidden his involvement as he thought ahead to position himself as a moderate for 2016.  This way, he can wait to see how his restrictions play out and then decide how much credit to claim.  If his ideas don't poll well, he will claim his administration merely enforces the laws.
Please don't disturb the cockroaches in his kitchen.  They're still trying to cook.
Governor Kasich's campaign has shown how uncomfortably awkward he is around women.  Maybe he'd feel a bit more at ease if he stopped using us a political pawns and started seeing us as people.

November 25 - More Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 - My Wife is a Muslim, and Not a Terrorist; But I'm Scared of Her Anyway (photo)
m'eye thoughts: Because sometimes you just need a laugh.
2 -  What the Pro-Schmooze Pundits Fail to Understand
This is interesting.  What we were told about the President's failure to form a rapport with congressional Republicans is wrong.
Go to Political Pollution 

Trump's Lawyer Thinks We Shouldn't Sweat the Details

"Trump has argued, repeatedly, that he saw video footage of thousands of people in New Jersey celebrating a devastating terrorist attack.  Now his lawyer is saying it could have been one guy and we shouldn't be too picky about the details, while his campaign manager continues to insist the imaginary video exists, even if no one can find it, and this is all part of a conspiracy to help elect an 'establishment candidate,' who'll be 'controlled by the special interests.'...

...Ben Carson, who endorsed Trump's bogus claim before changing his mind a few hours later, is also trying to blame news organizations...

...He added that reporters 'had an agenda' when they asked about this on Monday."

eye'm thynkin': We're supposed to think it's understandable that Trump could mistake one guy for thousands?  And asking Carson a question about something he said earlier is an agenda?  

Since conceding he lied would be too much to expect, how about admitting to an exaggeration (Trump) and how about acknowledging a careless response made without checking the facts (Carson).  Would that really be too much to ask?  Apparently, yes.  

Read more at MSNBC

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Syrian Refugee Saga...


...has made me feel sad, angry, frustrated, but mostly ashamed.

Hey, Ben: We're Still Waiting


what eye thynk:  Ben Carson's 15 minutes at the top of the Republican polls have come to an end.  He has pretty much been relegated to second tier news these days; but there are one or two things I'd like to clear up before he becomes the Michele Bachmann of the 2016 presidential election cycle (good for a laugh, but still glad to see her/him go):

1.  Earlier this month, Ben Carson was caught in a false story about the overwhelming "honesty" he exhibited while a student at Yale.  He was so honest that the Yale newspaper came to photograph him!  The story was bogus, his proof was actually satire, but he still insisted he had that photo and he was going to show it to the world "in a few days."  That was November 9.  We're still waiting.

2.  A few days later, Mr. Carson claimed China was working in Syria.  No one else in the world knew anything about this, but Mr. Carson said he had sources who told him it was true--sources better than the President's.  His campaign promised they would be releasing evidence during the weekend.   The weekend is over.  We're still waiting.

This week, he decided to jump in bed with America's leading narcissist and talked about seeing video of thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the fall of the World Center towers on 9-11  He backed out of that obvious falsehood pretty quickly without offering to present proof to the media. (I'll admit to being a little disappointed about that.)

I guess the Carly Fiorina Proof Creation Team he hired is a little backlogged with the other work he has sent them.

So for now, we're still waiting

Birth Control from the Pharmacy, No Doctor Visit Necessary

"Groundbreaking laws in two Western states will soon make access to birth control easier for millions of women by allowing them to obtain contraceptives from pharmacists without a doctor's prescription...

...Women in California and Oregon will be able to obtain (hormonal) birth control by getting a prescription directly from the pharmacist who dispenses them, a more convenient and potentially less expensive option than going to the doctor...

...The contraceptives will be covered by insurance, as they are now."

eye'm thynkin':  The article continues with arguments from proponents of making birth control an over-the-counter drug who say this will slow down their movement.  

What those pushing for over-the-counter access are ignoring is, if they truly want to prevent unwanted pregnancies (and abortions), a woman having access to FREE contraceptives through a pharmacy is vastly superior to a woman having to PAY for an over-the-counter contraceptive.

Read more at The New York Times   

November 24 - More Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 - Senator Rubio's Stealthy Donors
m'eye thoughts: "The group, called the Conservative Solutions Project, was created by veteran Rubio loyalists.  According to tax law, a nonprofit group like this is supposed to be largely nonpolitical, 'promoting the common good and general welfare of the people of the community as a whole'--not investing in the welfare of candidate Rubio.  Yet the group has underwritten $5.5 million in pro-Rubio ads this year..."
2 - Trump Resurfaces Idea of Third Party Run
Poor widdle Donny.  Doz big bad mans said sumfing not nice about hims and his widdle feewings got hurted.  Awwwww.
 Go to Political Pollution

Monday, November 23, 2015

Quote for Monday, November 23

Thinking about all the noise coming from Republican governors and Republican presidential candidates about turning away Syrian refugees. Thinking about the Republican Party presidential primary front runner who sounds more and more like a card-carrying member of the Neo-Nazi Party every day.  Thinking about the people who are cheering them and him on.  And I'm thinking about what it says about the type of people they are.

monday quote:
"You are your choices."
(Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher, playwright, political activist, 1905-1980)
 
 

A 1941 Dr. Seuss Cartoon for 2015 Republicans

"Dr. Seuss was actually a political cartoon contributor for New York's PM Newspaper for part of his early career. This was his piece on October 1, 1941. 

(It was created) in reaction to the fact that most Americans opposed Adolph Hitler's anti-Jew policies while also being opposed to granting safe haven to refugee Jews.

And here we are again today, over 74 years later, where people are being executed by an occupying force and need to get out of the country...

...You want America to be a hero to the world.  Well, here's the news flash: heroes take risks... There are gobs of refugees in so many other countries, countries that aren't separated from ISIL by an ocean... And yet, they're the ones stepping up.

So much flag-waving.  So much faux patriotism.  You just want America to be viewed as a hero, but you want to make her a coward... You demand the world's respect without wanting to do any of the work, without taking any of the risk...

...Other countries are (stepping up), but your big, tough, macho Republican leaders are cowering like children.

We're turning our back on desperate people who need us, and the rest of the world is picking up our slack.  And don't think the rest of the world doesn't notice.

eye'm thynkin':   Fifty years from now, will America be remembered as the wolf?

Read more at Patheos

Unfundamentalist "Christians"(?)

  I young friend of mine posted this on his Facebook page this morning.


what eye thynk:  It came from a group named "Unfundamentalist Christians," which I think is a misnomer.

I'd call it typical Republican logic.  The reason it became "Unfundamentalist Christians" is the way the Republican Party is trying to shove a brand of conservative, evangelical Christianity down our throats.  They have made it such a large and loud part of their party's ideology that Republican opinion and "Christian" opinion are becoming the same thing in the public's perception. 

The more open and accepting (and unfortunately quieter) Christian churches all become painted with the same brush--just as all Muslims are being painted the color of Islamic jihadists.  It's an unfortunate example of "the squeaky wheel gets the grease."

To change that perception, we need to be as loud as the current Republican Party.  We need to shout them down by voting them out.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Donald Trump Doubles Down on His Bid to Be the 21st Century Hitler

"On Thursday night, an NBC reporter gave Donald Trump a chance to back away from his alarmingly proto-facist proposals to close mosques, increase surveillance on American Muslims, and issue special IDs to identify Muslim-Americans.  But Donald Trump did what Donald Trump does--doubling down and plunging deeper into the abyss, saying that he would forcibly register the 5 to 12 million Muslim-Americans in a government database.  'I would certainly implement that--absolutely.'  At this point, he's gone beyond simple racebaiting and rabble-rousing and into a realm of politics that ends very badly.

Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party of Germany forcibly registered all German Jews and monitored them--before driving them into ghettos and to the gas chambers... Joseph Stalin and the USSR forcibly registered and monitored ethnic minorities before resettling them through brutal mass deportation... Apartheid South Africa used registration and ID cards to oppress and subdue the black majority.  At this point, Trump has playfully endorsed forced registration, special ID cards, and mass deportation of illegal immigrants--and that's why this circus isn't funny anymore.  A reporter even asked Trump straight-up how his policy differed from Nazi Germany's and Trump replied only with 'You tell me.'"

eye'm thynkin':  Donald Trump and the rest of the Republican Party seem to view "If we do not learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them" not as a warning, but as a challenge.

Read more at Occupy Democrats

Racism, Political Ideology, and Religious Violence

what eye thynk:  David Brooks is a New York Times columnist and a man with whom I very often disagree.  In this case, he may just be right.

(Any underlines are mine.)

Eye Recommend:
FINDING PEACE WITHIN THE HOLY TEXTS, by David Brooks
It's easy to think that ISIS is some sort of evil, medieval cancer that somehow has resurfaced in the modern world.  The rest of us are pursuing happiness, and here comes this fundamentalist anachronism, spreading death.
But in his book "Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence," the brilliant Rabbi Jonathan Sacks argues that ISIS is in fact typical of what we will see in the decades ahead...
...Humans...are meaning-seeking animals.  We live, as Sacks writes, In a century that "has left us with a maximum of choice and a minimum of meaning."  The secular substitutes for religion--nationalism, racism and political ideology--have all led to disaster. So many flock to religion, sometimes--especially within Islam--to extremist forms.
Here I think he has made an overly wide generalization and in doing so has overlooked the brand of racism currently flourishing in this country, not in the secular community, but within the demographic that self-identifies as conservative, evangelical and Christian. We may not have experienced the degree of violence radical Islam has produced, but looking at American mass shootings and American church burnings, and you cannot ignore the evidence of racism.  

Carrying that further, in the U.S. that brand of racist, anti-women, anti-gay (anti-us) Christianity has found a home within one political party where religion is part and parcel to the way the party is viewed and embraced.  That party's political ideology is not a secular substitution for religion, but in fact encompasses a conservative, insular brand of Christianity as a basic tenet.
...Religion fosters groupishness, and the downside of groupishness is conflict with people outside the group.  Religion can lead to thick moral communities, but in extreme forms it can also lead to what Sacks calls pathological dualism, a mentality that divides the world between those who are unimpeachably good and those who are irredeemably bad...
...This leads to acts of what Sacks calls altruistic evil, or acts of terror in which the self-sacrifice involved somehow is thought to confer the right to be merciless and unfathomably cruel.
That's what we saw in Paris last week. 
Sacks correctly argues that we need military weapons to win the war against fanatics like ISIS, but we need ideas to establish a lasting peace.  Secular thought or moral relativism are unlikely to offer any effective rebuttal.  Among religious people, mental shifts will be found by reinterpreting the holy texts themselves.  There has to be a Theology of the Other; a complex biblical understanding of how to see God's face in strangers...
...Sack's great contribution is to point out that the answer to religious violence is probably going to be found within religion itself, among those who understand that religion gains influence when it renounces power.
It may seem strange that in this century of techonology, peace will be found within these ancient texts.  But as Sacks points out, Abraham had no empire, no miracles and no army--just a different example of how to believe, think and live.
"...to see God's face in strangers."  To accept that we are all different but equally important, that it is our differences that give us worth, that it is our equality that grants us the right to live under laws that see us all as strangers.  What a beautiful idea.
You can read Mr. Brook's full text here 

My man, Stephen Colbert, telling it like it is.


November 22 - More Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 - A Vitter Pill for GOP: Dems Take Governor's Mansion in Louisiana
m'eye thoughts: Edwards' defeat of Vitter is not all sunshine and roses.  Edwards is "anti-choice, pro-gun and opposes same-sex marriage.  But he has strong union ties and has expressed support for raising the minimum wage.  He's also expected to expand Obamacare in Louisiana, a godsend to many who've suffered through eight years of Bobby Jindal."
2 - These Infographics Show Why a Majority of Historians Voted Dubya the Worst POTUS Ever
Ammunition for Thanksgiving when your Republican relatives start to wax nostalgic about what a great president W was.
3 - Texas Governor Orders Private Charities to Refuse to Help Homeless Syrian Refugees
I wonder if he's in church this morning pretending to be a Christian.
Go to Political Pollution

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Something to think about:


Donald Trump Loses to Muslim U.S. Marine

"Donald Trump, who has spent the week embracing his inner Nazi, has officially been put in his place by a Muslim U.S. Marine.

Sergeant Tayyib Rashid, a veteran of the Marine Corps, took a special offense to the GOP presidential front-runner calling for Muslims to have to wear ID badges to track and identify their religion.

In perhaps one of the greatest mic drop moments of all time, Rashid tweeted, 'I'm an American Muslim and I already carry a special ID badge.  Where's yours?'"

eye'm thynkin':  Perfect.

Read more at Addicting Info

Couldn't have said it better myself.


The truth hurts.

Friday, November 20, 2015

November 20 - More Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 - A FACTUAL explanation of the refugee process from someone who knows the system.  It's worth reading. A quote: "First, you do not get to choose what country you might be resettled into...you can not simply walk into a refugee camp, show a document, and say, I want to go to America."
m'eye thoughts: It makes the (mostly) Republican anti-Syrian cowardice look even worse.
2 - Here are 47 Democrats Who Joined Republicans and Voted Against Syrian Refugees
There are links to each coward's Twitter and Facebook accounts.  I'm ashamed to say that two of the people on this list are from Ohio.  Feel free to let them know how you feel about this.  I did.
Go to Political Pollution 

Inhofe Proposes Self-Serving Bill to Eliminate Health Exams for Pilots

what eye thynk:  While it may seem that the people we elected to Congress and who are supposed to be serving us, don't seem to be doing much of anything constructive these days, fear not!  They are keeping themselves very busy--serving themselves.  (Too old to pass the physical for a private pilot's license? Introduce a bill that eliminates the need for a physical.  Problem solved!)
Rep. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma)


Eye Recommend:
A HOLIDAY TREAT FROM CONGRESS, by Gail Collins
In honor of the coming vacation travel season, the Senate is working on a bill that would loosen the requirement that pilots take medical examinations.
Yes! I know that's been on your mind a lot, people.  Next week, as you gather around the Thansgiving table, be sure to express your gratitude to Congress. If you hear a small plan buzzing overhead, drink a toast to the future, when the folks in America's cockpits may no longer be burdened with repressive, old-fashioned health monitoring...
...'The U.S. Senate has an excruciatingly difficult time doing anything, and here they're dismantling something that's been working pretty well,' complained Senator Richard Blumenthal (D) of Connecticut.
Poor naive Mr. Blumenthal thinks Republicans--the party that wakes up every morning thinking "Why bother to create something when there is so much stuff we have yet to tear down?"--actually cares about governing responsibly.
We are talking here about general aviation pilots, the men and women who fly private planes.  They're currently required to get a medical exam by an F.A.A.-approved physician every five years, and then every two years once they pass 40.  The pilots hatehatehate this rule...
...However, I think I speak for most of America when I say that we ought to continue being a little picky about the people we let up there.
The bill's lead sponsor, Senator James Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma, is a very enthusiastic 81-year-old pilot who starred in an exciting airborne adventure about five years ago, when he landed his Cessna at an airport in Texas despite A) The large "X" on the runway, indicating it was closed, and B) The construction crew working on said runway, which ran for their lives when he dropped in.
 As a result, the senator had to take part in a remedial training program.  This irritated him so much that he successfully sponsored the first Pilot's Bill of Rights, which makes it easier to appeal that kind of harsh, unforgiving judgment.
The Senate commerce committee is now considering Inhofe's P.B.R. 2, which would eliminate the current medical exam requirement.  Instead, pilots would just write a note in their log every four years saying they'd been to a physician who said everything's fine.  The bill has 69 sponsors.
 Very little in the current world of Washington is that popular.  You may be wondering why...
...(As Senator Inhofe reminded his colleagues), there are hundreds of thousands of private pilots, many of them rather wealthy.... "So it would be very good to join in on this," Inhofe said pointedly in a recent Senate speech.  Some small-minded observers suspect he also has personal skin in the game, what with having had quadruple bypass heart surgery and all.
The bill hit a small snag on Wednesday when Democrats on the Senate commerce committee proposed that the doctors who do the new exams--who could be anyone from a dermatologist to a golfing buddy--be given a government-approved checklist of problems to look for. 
They lost on a party-line vote... The real problem was apparently resistance from (Senator Inhofe)...
... Bill Nelson (D) of Florida (said they were) not arguing that a dermatologist should be off-limits as a pilot medical examiner.  (They) just wanted to increase the chances that the patient would be asked if he was subject to dizzy spells.
At that moment the committee suddenly discovered it was lacking a quorum.  But everyone expects the bill to rise again in triumph.  "It would have been laughable except it's so serious," said Blumenthal.
Yes, writing federal laws to fit your own personal needs, even if they mean eliminating public safety regulations, is serious business.  Maybe Mr, Inhofe is confused and thinks his long tenure in Congress comes with a crown.
 You can read Ms. Collins entire op-ed piece here

Today's Homegrown Gun Death

"A Thomaston (Maine) woman has died three days after she was accidentally shot by her fiance in the parking lot of the Shaw's supermarket...while he was showing a handgun to a propsective buyer...

...(The couple) had driven to the Shaw's parking lot to meet a man interested in buying the handgun. Grubbs had gotten out of the couple's SUV and was showing his 9mm Taurus pistol to the buyer when it went off and the bullet hit Jones, who was sitting in the front passenger seat...

...(According to the Main State Police), there appears to be nothing inappropriate in the planned sale."

eye'm thynkin':  Another careless gun owner.  Another senseless death. I know it sounds heartless, but I am grateful this man accidentally killed his own girlfriend instead of someone else's innocent wife or mother or sister or child, anyone who only happened to be in the grocery store parking lot because their family needed milk and bread.

Read more at Portland Press Herald

Coal: GOP Says "War", Democrats Say "Myopia"

Sen. Mitch McConnell says the
President is waging a "War on Coal"
1 - It's a War
 "The Senate voted on Tuesday to block President Obama's tough new climate change regulations, hoping to undermine his negotiating authority before a major international climate summit meeting in Paris this month...

...Proponents believe their defiance will have diplomatic repercussions...The strength of the American position at the talks lies in the enactment of the emission-curbing E.P.A. rule--the first major climate change policy put forth by the United States...

...(Senate Majority Leader) McConnell has urged states not to comply with the rules."

eye'm thynkin':  Because nothing says "Patriot" like stabbing your democratically elected leader--the man the people chose to lead the country--in the back.  But, please, you go right ahead and put your own ideology first because the people don't count when there is Koch brothers' money to be had.

Read more at The New York Times


2 - It's Myopia

Eye Recommend:
THE G.O.P.'S MYOPIA ON COAL, by Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona), ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee
(Any underlines are mine.)
It's no secret that American coal companies are facing tough times... 
...Republicans in Congress like to blame what they call President Obama's "war on coal."  In particular, they single out for scorn the president's Clean Power Plan, which will set first-time emissions standards for carbon dioxide on coal-fired power plants by 2022... 
...The industry's self described defenders seem to assume that without these rules, American coal would be financially sound into the foreseeable future...If a hypothetical Republican president forgoes carbon regulations, they believe, the industry's problems will be solved and we can get back to business as usual.
When did the Grimm brothers take over the U.S. Congress?  We need intelligent leaders, not believers in fairy tales, no matter how self-serving. Even if you were a coal miner, would you want to wake up and find out you'd been kissed by Mitch McConnell? (Okay, I admit, that last was a cheap shot...but ewwwwww!)
It's not that simple, and my colleagues help no one by pretending otherwise. Coal companies are struggling largely because domestic coal is not economically competitive with the country's cheap and abundant natural gas.  That would be true no matter who was president or what climate quality standards we had in place... 
...Coal's would be friends in Washington have decided to bash the administration and defend the status quo rather than offer a way forward.  They've also largely ignored legislative attempts to help the industry comply with incoming climate standards... 
...For all their sound and fury on the importance of American coal mining, some of my colleagues have boxed themselves in so tightly by denying the science of climate change that any solution is impossible for them to support... 
...Endorsing federal funding for pilot projects for carbon capture, which the industry wants...would qualify as caving in to the environmental lobby... (This) has become the biggest obstacle to the industry's getting what it wants most: assistance in meeting the new standards... 
...By adopting a post-Obama political vision of lax federal regulation and a return to pre-Obama profit margins, some of my colleagues have made themselves irrelevant to serious discussions about the coal industry's future.  Those of us who want to see coal company employees successfully navigate the rough waters ahead are more interested in providing economic opportunities than in posturing.  But we can't have that discussion as long as climate change is treated as a hoax.
It's time for the Republican Party to man-up and admit that climate change exists.  

The GOP can either go home and admit they've been lying to their constituents (yeah, that will pretty much suck, but they made their choice and now it's time to pay for it), or they can continue on the same Koch-paved road while the world sails on leaving the U.S. alone at the dock and the American coal worker floundering in the undertow.
You can read Mr. Grijalva's entire article here

Thursday, November 19, 2015

November 19 - Other Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 - Chris Christie Can't Believe That the Paris Attackers Weren't Syrian Refugees (video)
m'eye thoughts: It's tough when someone insists you face the facts.  I mean, all that Republican chest beating over keeping Syrian refugees out, well, their voter base is eating that up!
Go to Political Pollution

Syrian Family Waits 3 Years, Indiana Gov. Turns Them Away

The Republican party sees these children as the enemy
"Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has won the prize for the biggest piece of shit in America.

Two Syrian refugee families who had been approved to be moved to the United States and were scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis on Thursday have been officially told they are not welcome.

I want to hear not one damn thing from Republicans about the 'Christian' thing to do from here on (out).  Not one damn thing.  Not one fucking stupid, sanctimonious, pompous-ass thing about Christian values or American exceptionalism... 

...The letters also told Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc. and Catholic Charities Indianapolis to notify its national resettlement agencies that all subsequent arrivals be suspended or redirected to other states.

One of the families has been waiting in Jordan for three years before getting approval to move to the U.S., according to the New York Times.  The family of three will be resettled in New Haven, Conn. the Times reports."

eye'm thynkin':  This was written by Hunter of Daily Kos, and he (she?) is one angry blogger, and rightfully so.  Two SYRIAN families--both thoroughly vetted, one that has been waiting three years to find a home away from the civil war that has made their country unlivable--have been rejected by the land of "bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses" because FRENCH and BELGIAN citizens terrorized Paris last week.  

If this makes no sense to you, you are not a rabid Christian-in-name-only racist Republican like Governor Mike Pence, or Senator Ted Cruz, or Governor Chris Christie, or Donald Trump, or...

Read more at Daily Kos

Update: Texas Board of Education "Fixes?" Its Textbook Problem

Last month I wrote a post about the Texas Board of Education approving a history book that identified slaves as "immigrant workers."


Update:
After that embarrassing fiasco, the Texas Board of Education decided to do something about their "inaccuracies"...but not in a good way.

"A few enterprising school board members proposed a new measure that would ask academic experts to read over textbooks and correct any factual errors before students get their hands on bad information.  Unsurprisingly, the majority Republican Texas Board of Education crushed the proposal.

Despite their dismal track record, board members said they didn't need an additional panel to help them craft their textbooks.  And in fact, in the wake of the measure's defeat, they decided to tweak existing protocol to give the board even more power to screw with history and science.  Rather than go to the internationally recognized experts, the board says it will handpick a group of 'experts' that they personally deem to have 'sufficient content expertise and experience.'"

eye'm thynkin':  This is the state whose governor chose a homeschooling creationist to head the state's education system, so I would expect the "stupid" to continue unabated under the Board's new plan.

Read more at Addicting Info

Ted Cruz and the Art of Pander-Flopping

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at the Sunshine Summit on November 13
what eye thynk:  I'm not sure whether this qualifies as pandering to the Republican we-hate-everyone-who-isn't-a-white-evangelical base, or as flip-flopping in the classic sense.  You decide.

Ted Cruz, February 2014:
(Taken from a video on Mr. Cruz' own website.)
"We have welcomed refugees--the tired, huddled masses--for centuries.  That's been the history of the United States.  We should continue to do so.  We have to continue to be vigilant to make sure those coming are not affiliated with terrorists, but we can do that.


Ted Cruz, November 2015:
According to the Washington Post, the Senator from Texas introduced a bill yesterday that would prohibit refugees from any country the State Department has determined is controlled in part by a foreign terrorist organization from entering the United States."

Or maybe his bill is simply the apex of his "Mr. President, come back and insult me to my face" temper tantrum.  He's like a ten-year-old who knows he can't compete with the other ten-year-old who just humiliated him in the school yard so he soothes his bruised ego by writing insults on the bathroom wall. 

 Just the kind of intelligent, measured response we need in a President, right?