You Mad, Bro?

So what is the proper response to this piece at Salon, continuing their tradition of “If Bernie isn’t the nominee, I’m taking my ball and going home!” posts?

Democrats, you can’t vote for Hillary: The case for writing in Bernie Sanders If Hillary Clinton is the nominee

Can I be Frank?  (Which is only fitting since H.A. Goodman is oh so Ernest.<sic>)  This article comes very close to triggering my “Poe’s Law” alarm.

Yeah, I know it isn’t satire.  I know it is an honest argument against voting for HRC, written by someone who honestly feels that electing her President would be worse for the nation than either President Trump or President Cruz, who of course would be working with majorities in both congressional bodies.  I think that is nucking futs, but I understand how one could get to that belief.

Hillary Clinton as president would seamlessly merge Republicans and Democrats into one party on war and foreign policy, led by the same people who advised Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, and even Richard Milhous Nixon.

*eyebrow raise*  Really?  Seamless merger into one party on foreign policy and war?  Seriously?  I mean, I’ll admit it, HRC is a bit to the right for my tastes.  The entire Democratic party is too far to the right for me, to be perfectly honest.  Yes, I believe that the trainwreck the GOP has become, sending it so far to the right it threatens to come back around, has dragged the Democrats to the right as they attempt to pick up the moderates abandoned by the Republicans.  I believe progressives need to drag the party, kicking and screaming if must be, back to the left.  And we are.  Sure, it isn’t coming fast enough for my liking, but I didn’t think it would be easy.  And yes, I think we need to do it with our votes, in addition to other resources.  I just do not feel the proper time for that is during the general election.  But HRC is not Cruz or Trump.  Or did I miss her pledge to rip up the Iranian deal on day one?

I love Bernie Sanders as a candidate.  I love his ideas, while admitting that I don’t agree with every word that drops from his mouth.  (For the record, I think a national 15 dollar minimum wage isn’t currently a good idea.  I really think that is too high for many areas, including the Altoona, Pennsylvania area where I reside.  It needs to be higher, don’t get me wrong, and in many urban areas <and other locations as well, I’m sure> 15$ is a fair minimum, but instead maybe we should figure out a way to tie it to average housing and food costs. county by county, or some other equation?  12$ an hour would be perfectly fine right now in the Altoona area.  15$ could seriously shut places down.)  But he is my candidate of choice.  When the Pennsylvanian primary rolls around, I will be voting for Bernie no matter what the state of the race may be.  But when the general comes around, there will be no protest vote coming from these hands.  Whomever the Democrats nominate will have my presidential vote.  Why?  One last quote from the Salon piece.:

As for risking a Trump future, I explain why none of Trump’s plans would pass Congress during my recent appearance on CNN International with John Vause.

None of them? Hold on, let me watch his appearance quick and see what he is saying…..

Wow.  I wish I wouldn’t have watched that.  He seriously thinks that single payer healthcare could get through Congress, but none of Trump’s policies would?  I really don’t even know what to say to that.  Maybe his exact policies would run into trouble, but do you really believe he won’t be able to work out a deal on a tax cut for the rich?  That the GOP will block his judicial nominees?  Are we really so sure we should be underestimating Trump’s ability to get things done, when a year ago I would be laughed off the planet for predicting the current nomination battle?

I really don’t know how I should respond to these pieces.  I mean, isn’t rigid political ideology the GOP’s mess, with their pledges to never raise taxes, and their threats to primary anyone who dare compromise, with their House Freedom Caucus and their, well, with Ted Cruz?  Am I just missing the countless Democratic voices complaining about Dino’s at every turn?

Yes, I want the party to move to the left.  Yes, I support Bernie Sanders.  Yes, I think the whole political spectrum needs to move to the left.  But throwing a Presidential election to either Trump or Cruz?  I just don’t get it.  Even if the Supreme Court is the only reason you pull the lever.  Protest voting has a time and a place.  During the primary.

I don’t know.  Maybe its just being a voting progressive in 2000.  Gore won my state, so my vote for Nader didn’t really cost anything, other than running up the popular vote tally.  But if I lived in Florida and cast the same ballot, I would have been begging for the ballot back.  *shrugs*

 

A “Wait, What?!?” That Caused Me To Cover My Monitor In Coffee.

There is so many delusional people in the United States today that it is difficult to pick a most delusional faction of the populace.  Is it members of the GOP who insist they had nothing to do with the rise of Trump?  Members of the GOP who still think Marco Rubio will become the GOP nominee?  Voters who believe Ted Cruz wouldn’t strangle a puppy on camera if it got him the nomination?  Progressives who apparently think the Tea Party and the House Freedom Caucus are on to something and claim they will sit out the election if HRC wins the nomination, refusing to acknowledge that another Clinton in the White House would be better than the modern GOP having control of every branch of government for a few years?  Pro-lifers who honestly believe Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts out of the trunk of their car to the highest bidder?  Gun owners who seriously believe the authors of the Bill of Rights would agree that the private ownership of an assault rifle is a right, not a privilege?  Citizens that truly believe we are living in a post-racial society, even after being smacked in the face with the crime that is the poisoning of Flint?

Just when I think it is impossible to choose a winner, Ed Brayton rescues me, drawing my attention to indeed, the most delusion segment of the population, hands down.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your hysterical overreaction of the day. In an article on Pat Robertson’s CBN website, unhinged anti-gay bigot Brian Camenker of MassResistance says that Christians today are being treated just like the Jews were in Nazi Germany because they’re being “demonized.”

 

Some say American Christians are paranoid, that they’re feeling targeted and persecuted. But is it possible America is facing a growing anti-Christian agenda?

Some on the frontline of the culture wars have responded with a resounding “yes.” They feel it up close and personal – right in their faces.

“I’m particularly sensitive to that because I’m Jewish,” Brian Camenker, with Mass Resistance, told CBN News.

“I saw what happened to Jews in the 1930s and 40s and much of that same thing is happening to Christians now,” he said. “There’s an organized movement to demonize Christians.”

Maggie Gallagher, with the American Principles Project, agreed.

“What we’re seeing very clearly is an effort to target them [Christians] legally when possible and then to humiliate or deprive them of social respect,” she said.

I’m honestly speechless.  Thanks Ed.

Making a List, Checking it Twice….

Dear Bernie Sanders supporters.

Wait, that isn’t right.  I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter.  I consider myself a libertarian socialist (weird party, right?) when forced to place myself inside a box and absolutely love Bernie Sanders as a politician and as a human.  So called “skeletons” in his closet, such as his anti-Vietnam activism and his battles against the Red Scare narrative that could hurt him with some moderate independents come the General Election are positives in my mind.  I support Sanders.  I feel the Bern.  So let’s start over.

Dear Bernie Sanders supporters who have taken to wearing their ideological purity on their chests like a super hero’s symbol.

Yeah.  That looks better.  Now, on with it.

I get it, okay?  Seriously.  HRC is a war hawk who is enthralled by corporate interests, bought and paid for ten times over.  HRC is most qualified Republican running for President this year.  HRC is offering the status quo of a broken political system while Bernie offers a true alternative, a political revolution of the people, by the people, and for the people.  You can stop trying to convince me.  After all, calling Bill Clinton the best Republican President since Eisenhower is my fucking line.

I am not going to try an convince you who to vote for in the primary.  I’m really not.  Politically I am much closer to Sanders policy-wise, but I question his electability as a socialist in a nation that has made “liberal” a dirty word and, more important in my mind, his ability to get anything passed through a divided Congress when it seems, sadly enough, that his army of non-voters that will force Congress to go along with his policies is more of a pipe dream than a reality.  HRC has her own negatives to me.  The email scandal promises to stick around for the whole election and she represents a portion of the Democratic party that may very well be part of the GOP if the GOP hadn’t gone batshit insane over the past decades.  To be honest, at this point it would be pointless to try and convince people to vote either way in the Democratic primary, because HRC flopped the nuts on Super Tuesday, and Sen. Sanders is largely drawing dead.  The army of non-voters has not been showing up to the polls, and while Sanders has made this primary season much more interesting than it otherwise would have been, a path to the nomination for Sanders seemingly no longer exists.  This doesn’t mean that Sander’s campaign has been a failure.  His success has pulled HRC much farther to the left than she otherwise would be at this point, and he has forced people to talk about progressive policy ideas for once.  His campaign is reminding the Democratic party that progressives form an important part of the party, and reminding them that they will not be ignored.  Perhaps Sanders has laid the groundwork for a future progressive Presidency.  While my own vote in the primary will more than likely be meaningless, as Pennsylvania votes late in April, I will, as of now, still be voting for Sanders to let the party know progressive policies matter to me.  I must admit that if I lived in an early voting state, or if PA voted much earlier, I am not sure who I would vote for.  Electability would matter much more if my vote actually counted in selecting the nominee, and I am honestly not sure how I would vote in that case.

But that is the primary.  The general election isn’t even a question.  If Sanders is the nominee, I will vote for Sanders.  If HRC is the nominee, I will vote for HRC.  I’m not going to throw my vote away by writing in Sanders.  I’m not going to take my ball and go home either, sitting out the election in protest.

If that is what you feel you need to do, so be it.  Keep writing articles like “Vote for Hillary, be a sucker: It’s OK to reject the choice of a tyrannical liberal or a right-wing tyrant” for Salon.  Enjoy your ideological purity.  I desperately hope that there aren’t enough of you, and that your articles do not convince enough people, to hand the election to whomever the GOP ends up nominating.

If you really believe that the country is just as fucked with a President Clinton as it would be with a President Cruz or President Trump, then do what you have to do.

If you can look at the polling data coming from the GOP right now, at the racial animosity, the xenophobia, the resentment boiling just under the surface, stoked by decades of the GOP’s Southern Strategy, and honestly say you think the time is right for a progressive political revolution, may I please have a hit of the awesome Colorado bud you must be smoking?

I want rapid change.  I want a progressive revolution.  I want European style socialism.  If I can not have that, then I at least want to hold on to the gains we have made.  No matter what happens, the GOP is going to control the House until the next census.  It is going to be a divided government.  Gerrymandering has made that abundantly clear.  A Presidency for any of the current GOP candidates will see the end of the Affordable Care Act and almost certainly a conservative majority locked into the Supreme Court for possibly decades to come.  If the GOP candidate wins the presidency, we have to assume that the GOP maintains control of the Senate as well.  How much damage do you think the current GOP could do with control of every branch, executive, judicial, and legislative, of government for at the minimum, two years?

I’m sure your arguments absolving yourself of any responsibility and your ideological purity will keep you warm as you watch a dying political party take a nation down with it.

“Things Old White Men Probably Shouldn’t Write” and Thomas Sowell Go Together “So-Well” (See What I Did There!!!!)

From the “Letters to the Editor” page in the Altoona Mirror, I bring you today’s installment of “Things Old White Men Probably Shouldn’t Write, ” submitted to the Mirror by a John K. Coyle (NOT THE SPEEDSKATER!!!) from Bedford, Pennsylvania.  (Bolding is mine as always)

Award-winning syndicated columnist Tom Sowell’s column on “racial representation” is a must read.

In it, he offers his opinion on whether the black race should be continuously complaining of how they are not equally representative in every phase of “what matters.”

He writes with “tongue-in-cheek” of how even the NFL comes up short, with his perfect example of “failure to represent.”

I quote Sowell, “I have seen hundreds of black players score touchdowns, but I have never seen one black player kick an extra point.”

I’m surprised there wasn’t a group of professional protesters at the Super Bowl.

And as always, Tom says it “So-well.”

– See more at: http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/630747/Sowell-makes-his-point-well.html?nav=737#sthash.p016CZLe.dpuf

Oh God, what is that “black race” complaining about now?  I bet it’s something really petty, amirite?  Let’s go to The Jewish World Review to check out the column in question, shall well?

The latest tempest in a teapot controversy is over a lack of black nominees for this year’s Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Wait, what?  That’s the controversy Sowell is writing about?  Is Mr. Coyle misrepresenting Mr. Sowell’s column by only quoting that eye roll worthy joke example of NFL placekickers?  I mean, I admit that I don’t really like Thomas Sowell’s political and social ideas, but he is a nationally known columnist.  Surely he wouldn’t dismiss the lack of nominations for blacks at the Academy Awards the past two years, while the nominations are decided by a voting body that is overwhelmingly white with just that weak ass example.  Right?  I mean, just because he never saw a black place kicker in the NFL doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  At the time this article went to press there had been 4 black NFL place kickers.

I doubt whether any of the guys who grew up in my old neighborhood in Harlem ever went on to become ballet dancers. Nor is it likely that this had anything to do with either genetics or racism. The very thought of becoming a ballet dancer never crossed my mind and it probably never occurred to the other guys either.

Oh, okay.  See?  I knew good old “So-Well” wouldn’t just bring that one sad example.  He has two sad examples.  It took me two clicks on Google to find this story featuring 2 black male ballet dancers from Brooklyn.   I really have no idea what Sowell is playing at by bringing up these two examples.  There are non-racist reasons why some fields (such as NFL place kicking) have lower than normal participation by African Americans.  As the 2012 article said on place kicking:

The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview minorities for coaching jobs. The difference is there were plenty of candidates being ignored when the rule began.

Black kicking prospects aren’t being ignored. They aren’t turned into defensive backs or wide receivers, like promising black quarterbacks used to be. Nobody’s pulling a Jimmy the Greek and saying they lack the leg strength or other “necessities.”

There simply aren’t many out there.

“The hard part is finding a kid who’ll stick with it,” said Oglesby, who runs a kicking camp in Atlanta. “I come across kids who have the talent, but either they’re not interested or don’t have the money to attend camps. Or they play on a team that doesn’t put any emphasis on it.”

Almost all young kickers played soccer, which is not popular in black communities. They get specialized training and don’t depend on high schools developing their skills.

That’s a good thing, since kicking is often an afterthought on the high-school level. And even if a kicker is a young Sebastian Janikowski, the position doesn’t have much sex appeal to an impressionable kid of any race.

As for the ballet dancing, I must admit that I also didn’t know any male ballet dancers growing up.  The thought never crossed my mind, and I doubt it really ever did for most of the guys I went to school with.  Yet I grew up in a school that was 99% white.  How can that be?  Shouldn’t I have been swimming through future ballet principles?  Could it be that some forms of dance, like, ballet maybe, are favored more by girls growing up than boys?  The stereotype when I went to school, which was ages ago, granted, was that little boys played sports while little girls did gymnastics and dance.  Was it sexist as all get out?  Hell yeah.  It wasn’t as divided as I make it seem, girls did play basketball (soccer had yet to catch on) and eventually softball, but the now common sight of a girl playing Little League certainly didn’t occur during my childhood.  The point is that although not the common path, some little white boys and little black boys do decide they want to do ballet.  And if Mr. Sowell, or Mr. Coyle seriously think racism isn’t an obstacle for those black children who want to dance ballet, then they have never done any research into ballet.  Ballet has a serious obsession with “the look.”  Women must be lithe, flat-chested, and delicate while the men must fit their own mold.  The ballet company, the director, and the audience all have an image of what a ballet dancer should look like, and all too often that mental image is of a white person.  Look at Misty Copeland’s rise to Principle dancer and the pitfalls she had to face in spite of her unquestionable talent because she was black with a body outside the classical image of a ballerina.

Even with his pitiful examples, the most audacious part of Sowell’s column is his attempt to obfuscate the  actual argument against the Academy Awards.  Black actors point out the complete white-out for acting nominations, two years running, and Sowell does some quick slight of hand and is suddenly talking about professions where African Americans are underrepresented.  But that misses the point entirely.  Acting is not a profession that is void of black talent.  There were legitimate candidates for nomination the past two years.  This isn’t a case of “well, maybe black folks don’t act, ” or “maybe black folks don’t like to kick balls,” or “none of my black friends danced ballet.”  It’s more “gee, isn’t it funny that this incredibly white voting bloc keeps giving all the nominations to white people, even though there are deserving candidates with differing skin tones.”  It has much more in common with the old “so if white people and black people use drugs at similar rates per capita, then why does such a massive amount  more black people wind up getting arrested?” than Sowell’s sad sack examples.

For Thomas Sowell?  I know, it’s not hard.  As a black conservative columnist, you can pretty much say anything and your intended audience will lap it all up.  But judging by your CV, you are not a stupid man.  So come on, out of intellectual integrity at the least, a bit less baiting, and a bit less switching.

And Mr. John K. Coyle (Not the Speedskater!  Seriously, don’t mess with the speedskating guy, he didn’t say anything.)?  As a fellow white person, although a few decades your junior, I urge you to refrain from ever telling “the black race” what you think they should do.   Especially in a public forum with your name attached while possessing a non-private (not mean enough to link it, it’s easy enough to find.) Facebook account.  I assure you, they do not care what you think, and you sound like your next words will be  “I’m not racist, but…”

Moderate Republicans Probably Still Exist, They Just Aren’t Running For President

There is a major difference between being “too moderate to win the GOP presidential nomination” and actually being a moderate.  John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio is indeed, frighteningly enough, more than likely a member of the former category.  He may even be the most moderate member of the GOP to run for the 2016 nomination.   What he certainly is not is a moderate.

Don’t get me wrong here, compared to the other candidates, Kasich sounds like he belongs in a different party at times.  He used his faith as a reason to accept the ACA medicaid expansion, he doesn’t think deporting 11 million people is a realistic goal,  and he believes climate change is taking place.  Yay?

But check out all of his views.  Sure, his faith caused him to go along with the medicaid expansion, but it also seems to color his opinions on all the issues.  He believes the death penalty is compatible with Christianity, has a nice, fresh “A” rating from the NRA, seems to subscribe to the “just say no” school of drug policy. he supports tax cuts for “job creators” while he deceives people about the so called “death tax” that he wishes to eliminate.  I’m not going to spell out all his views for ya, if you are interested, click the above link.  I just want to point out one of his “moderate”moves as governor of Ohio, as seen on Wonkette today:

still drinking the delicious Kool-Aid flavor called “John Kasich is actually a moderate.”

We are here to tell you that flavor is garbage. That flavor is a lie. Witness Kasich’s latest super moderate action: defunding the ever living fuck out of Planned Parenthood in Ohio.

The bill strips state and some federal funding from health clinics that perform and promote “nontherapeutic abortions,” including Planned Parenthood facilities.

while the bill grants an exemption to abortions performed in cases of rape, incest and preserving the life of the mother, it jeopardizes the fate of other vital women’s health programs.For example, the $1.3 million in state grants that Planned

Parenthood is slated to lose was allocated toward HIV testing, cancer screenings and programs that help prevent domestic violence and infant mortality.

I really don’t give a shit about your views on abortion.  Why?  Because none of that fucking money was going towards abortions.  Cause it isn’t about abortions.  If it was, then the “pro-life” advocates would be screaming for universal access to long term contraception.  You know, something that actually reduces abortions.

Until proven otherwise I have to assume this war against Planned Parenthood is just what it seems.  The policy position that sexually active women do not deserve reproductive health care and cancer screenings because they are slutty slut sluts who should have kept their knees locked.

A Preview “Wait, What?”

So I have some interesting things planned for the next couple weeks as I bring the blog back from the dead for the Presidential election season, including an article using an infographic/advertisement in a way I am fairly certain the provider of said “adver-graphic” never intended, but I thought I’d toss out a late Friday night “Wait, What?!?” to check out the new layout and see how I like it.  (Speaking of, if you ever felt the need to suggest a theme for this blog, I’ll be open to suggestions for a week or so.)   So let’s take a trip to Ohio, via Raw Story:

Senate Majority Leader Tom Patton was blasted on Thursday after comments he made about fellow Republican Jennifer Herold, reports Cleveland.com.

In a radio interview, Patton said, “The gal that’s running against me is a 30-year-old, you know, mom, mother of two infants. And I don’t know if anybody explained to her we’ve got to spend three nights a week in Columbus.  So, how does that work out for you? I waited until I was 48 and my kids were raised, and at least adults, before we took the opportunity to try.”

Patton also referred to Herold as a “young gal” and added: “I want to tell her, ‘Hey Sweetie, I just got 27 percent of the pie in just my district, which is nine times what should have been done.’

“Hey Sweetie”?  Seriously?  He called his competitor “sweetie?”  *facepalm*

Well, at least the head of the Ohio GOP took Senator Patton to task for his outright misogyny.

Faced with criticism over the condescending comments, GOP county chair Rob Frost defended Patton, saying, “These are not sexist or out-of-line comments.”

Frost went on to say that Herold was only outraged over Patton’s remark in order to get attention.

“This is his opponent, who really, you know, is desperate to try to get some attention onto her run, against a guy who is going to do a stellar job.” Frost stated.

According to the GOP head, Patton would have made the similar comments even if she wasn’t a young mother.

“[It] would be the same if he had said, ‘You know, hey, there’s a guy running against me who’s an insurance agent or a lawyer or a radio host,’” he explained.

Wait, what?  Screw this, my niece just earned her doctorate, I’m going to drink a Fist City to celebrate.  I’m sure I’ll have enough sexism to write about next week.

School is Now in Session

Greetings, students.  Please find your seat.  I’m not going to call roll today, but I will insist on enforcing our usual “no cross talk” policy.  Today’s lesson will be quick and hopefully, easy to understand.  Ready?

For arguments sake, let’s say that you run an establishment that hosts weddings.  To really crank up the realism in this scenario, let’s also say that you are a horrible bigot.  Now as a horrible bigot who runs a wedding hosting establishment, I am sure you are asking yourself who you are legally allowed to discriminate against.  You know how it is, life is short and you only get so many chances to ruin someone else’s day for no reason other than your own prejudice or outdated cultural beliefs.  The damn government already pissed in your Cheerios by forcing you to open your establishment to black weddings, and it was only by the grace of god that the resulting lingering odor of fried chicken and watermelon stained table cloths that you were positive would be the end result never materialized.  Thanks again, Jesus, for that small blessing.  Then that damn government went and forced you to open your doors to those unbiblical heathen sinners who were engaging in the abomination of miscegenation.

While you were certain god had a lightening bolt with your name on it for allowing that blasphemy to occur, Jesus apparently understood that you were forced by the evil, mean jack-booted federal thugs to permit these weddings, and approved of your little acts of protest (cranking the AC in the winter and the heat in the summer while claiming the system was broken) enough to spare you and your family.  Even though you managed to escape the fires of hell in that instance, when you saw those two carpet-munching man-haters trying to mock god himself by pretending their demon-possessed souls and father-abused bodies could feel love, god’s perfect gift to the world, you had to put your foot down.  After all, it was Adam and Eve, not Audra and Eve, and didn’t god send Aids down from heaven to deal with dykes like this?  And while Jesus himself may not have said anything about homosexuals, the Old Testament and Saul of Tarsus, who most definitely was not a sexually repressed closet case, both condemned the beast like act.

Imagine your surprise when, after honoring your hateful god and turning those sinners away, you found yourselves the proud owners of a 13 thousand dollar fine for discrimination.  You almost swear, before catching yourself of course, wondering what happened to this great nation when god-fearing Christians can’t even discriminate against a couple of queers anymore.  I mean, you weren’t going to stone them to death, even though, biblically, that’s exactly what you should have done.  You just didn’t want their icky gay germs to contaminate your beautiful wedding location.  What’s worse is that if you catch the Aids from breathing the same air as these god haters, the government probably won’t even let you sue them.  How is that fair?  Having not taken this class yet, you call up your lawyer to see if you can do anything about this horrible infringement on your religious liberty.  Your lawyer, after performing a ton of research on your bank account balance, assures you that you should give him a lot of money.  He definitely, without a doubt, is not telling his friends about the unwinnable case he just took on for a couple of rich religious idiots and how, counting appeals, he just paid for his first house, that sports car he always wanted, and an engagement ring for his soon to be trophy wife.  I promise that, after a couple of lines and beers, he never once said to his friends, “Hey, some people hit the lottery, some people inherit, and some people find well-off religious bigots; we all get rich in different ways.”

Now I totally admit that I made our hypothetical business owning bigots into a pair of ridiculous strawmen.  Yet cases such as this one are currently taking place, as students who clicked the above link now know.  Let’s look at that non-hypothetical case, shall we?  Once again, here is the link.

Owners of a New York wedding venue who were fined $US13,000 for violating the state’s anti-discrimination law are arguing Monday that they should be legally allowed to follow their Christian faith.

The owners of Liberty Ridge Farm north of Albany refused to host the 2013 wedding of Melisa and Jennie McCarthy, citing their own religious beliefs. Now the business, owned by Robert and Cynthia Gifford, is appealing a ruling from the state’s Division of Human Rights that it violated New York law and is seeking to have the fine reversed.

Now note first of all that the owners of this particular venue were fined for violating the New York state anti-discrimination law.  Why is this important?  Because if you take a look at that law you will notice that it applies to the following: “age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, marital status, or disability.”  Well, will you look at that?  Sexual orientation is included.  Unfortunately that is not always the case in the United States, but in New York state it is part of the law.  So let us see what the bigot’s Gifford’s lawyer is going to argue in this case.

“It would violate the Giffords’s faith to facilitate this union,” attorney Caleb Dalton told a five-judge supreme court appeals panel.

But Dalton, counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said the Giffords’s faith did not allow them to participate in a marriage other than between one man and one woman.

So it seems that Dalton is arguing that this case sees two rights in conflict:  the McCarthy’s right to access versus the bigot’s Gifford’s right to religious freedom.  Or as the bigot Cynthia Gifford melodramatically puts it:

Cynthia Gifford told reporters they are asking the court to respect the freedoms upon which the United States was built.

“When the government tells you what to say and punishes you if you don’t, it’s very frightening,” she said. “And all of us Americans should be scared about this, no matter where we stand on the issue.”

Now churches, as far as I know, are exempt from anti-discrimination laws.  It would be kind of heavy handed after all to force a church to hire an atheist pastor.  I believe that exemption ends once the employees no longer have any pastoral duties.  My uncertainty on the matter is irrelevant, of course, because the homophobe’s Gifford’s business is not a church.  Their argument is absurd, which you can discover by substituting any of the other protected classes in place of homosexuals and see how long it would take their case to be thrown out of court.  If the Gifford’s bigoted viewpoint became law, you would immediately have various businesses not only refusing service to homosexuals, but also to blacks, interracial couples, women not accompanied by a man, Muslims, Jews, women, Catholics, the disabled, and white males over 50 (that would be my store.  Hey, they may be a Trump supporter, and I’m not taking that chance.), to name a few.  Perhaps the Giffords feel it should only be a narrow exemption allowing the discrimination against homosexuals, but there is not only no logical reason to limit the religious freedom exemption to only that group, it would also be ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, especially after this year’s ruling on marriage equality.

Now I am sure I have some libertarian students who feel a business owner should be able to serve who ever they want, with the only possible punishment for open bigotry being from the free market.  To those students I kindly say, “Fuck off.”  (I have tenure.)  While they are kindly fucking off, they can remove their cars from the tax funded roads.  Every single business, no matter how small or large, benefits from the public coffers.  Be it the publicly funded roads that their customers travel on, to the publicly funded police force that protects their business, we all depend on public money at some time.  New York state has decided that one of the concessions they demand from people who wish to operate a business in their state is is adherence to the state’s anti-discrimination law.  If you are not willing to obey that law, then you are perfectly free to move your business to a different state or country with laws more to your likings.

We keep hearing people in these situations complain that their religious liberties have been violated.  Bull.  We have freedom of religion in this country, as we have freedom of speech, yet neither freedom is absolute.  I hate the “yelling fire in a crowded theater” example, so instead I will suggest you visit the nearest airport and joke about how long it took you to hide all the bombs in your suitcase.  From your jail cell, please write me and let me know what they said when you played your “freedom of speech” trump card.  Religious freedom has limits as well.  Even if I sincerely believe that the only way to please Jesus and get into heaven is by using copious amounts of heroin, the drug task force is not going to allow me to freely practice my religion.  Child sacrifice, ritual cannibalism, marrying multiple 12 year olds, and the withholding of medical care from minor children are just some of the “sincerely held religious beliefs” we have decided, as a society, are not to be protected.  Your religious freedom stops when it begins to affect the freedoms of other people.

You can march in bigot parades every weekend.  You can attend and tithe a church that preaches that Starbucks includes human semen in their lattes.  You can write internet post after internet post about how all homosexuals are going to burn in everlasting hell.  You can even preach that the bible calls for the death penalty for homosexuals, at an event with presidential candidates in attendance.

What you can not do, assuming you are in a state that protects people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, is deny them the same services you offer to everybody else.  It really isn’t that difficult of a concept.

Quiz on Friday.  Enjoy the rest of your day.

 

Hey Bigots! Can I Have Some Bigot Cake as Well?

Remember Melissa and Aaron Klein?  They are the owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, an Oregon bakery that shot to national infamy by refusing to bake a cake for the local Satanic cult’s 3rd Annual Fetus Cook-Off.  The cake was to celebrate the addition of Planned Parenthood as a Gold level sponsor of this year’s event, and….  Yeah, actually they refused to make a wedding cake for two women because Jesus said very plainly in that book the bigoted Christians really wish existed:

“And Thee Sayeth Onto Thou, Skip a bit, brother, and thee Woman folk I command thusly; Touch no man but thou husband; be pure and chaste in all, but slut in the bed of marriage; enjoy thee not sex, but suffer through it whenever your lawful husband, your master, wishes it; know that if your husband strays, it is your fault, oh woman, once tempted led to the fall of man; God created fellatio, as a way for woman to worship her superior, and you should provide your husband nightly; cunnilingus however, is the work of Satan, never ask it of your husband; and now woman, pay close attention, for this is the key to your salvation.  Thee are permitted, encouraged even, to lick, kiss, touch, feel, fondle, poke, rub, hug, and/or suck on any part of another woman ONLY for the entertainment and pleasure of your lawful husband.  For a woman marrying a woman robs two men of their rightful property.  So spoke Jesus the Christ.  Seriously.  That is what I said.  Jesus.  That’s me.  And that is what I said.  Honest. ” – The Book of “God We Wish We Had This,” chapter 5, verses 11 to 73.

See?  It’s right there in that made up quote from that imaginary book about the mythical sky daddy who tells these people to be bigots.  It’s not their fault!

So anyway, Sweet Cakes by Melissa refused to bake the nice couple a wedding cake and possibly also told them they were abominations in the eyes of god*.  The nice couple sued, and since our judicial system doesn’t base their decisions on what they think a 2000 year old mythical figure would do, Sweet Cakes by Melissa lost and was ordered to pay close to 150k.

So everything worked out alright in the end, right?  The couple, who just wanted a wedding cake, got compensated for being discriminated against, which kinda makes up for their unwanted infamy among the Christian right wing lunatic fringe, the courts did court stuff lawfully, and the cake bakers who refused to bake cakes for people in relationships they did not approve of had to pay a hefty fine.  All’s right in the world!

Until you read this:

Sweet Cakes by Melissa was kicked off GoFundMe earlier this year, but has since raised more than $350,000 on the crowdfunding site Continue to Give. The growing total, which far exceeds the couple’s $150,000 goal, is the largest individual campaign in the history of the three-year-old site, the Washington Times reported. The couple previously netted more than $60,000 from Go Fund Me before that campaign was taken down.

What good are fines at stopping discrimination when there are a whole bunch of bigots out there all too willing to send their bigot bucks to whatever bigot needs bigot bucks at that particular moment?  It’s practically an encouragement to discriminate, a bigot safety net, there to catch bigots who face complaints and lawsuits in a big pile of bigot bucks.**

Which leads us to our next chapter in this story; what the Klein’s decided to do with the leftover cash.

This week, the owners of an Oregon bakery ordered to pay $135,000 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple sent out 10 specially made cakes to LGBT groups.

Sweet Cakes By Melissa sent the cakes, which say “We really do love you!” in white writing over a red heart. The packages also included a DVD copy of “Audacity,” an anti-gay film, according to The Advocate. The film’s website says it “delivers an unexpected, eye-opening look at the controversial topic of homosexuality.”

“Our purpose is to express our love for them as a Christian,” bakery owner Melissa Klein wrote in an email to the Oregonian. “We don’t hate them. We also included in the package the movie Audacity. I feel it is a well done movie that shows what being a Christian is about. My hope is that they will watch it and maybe just understand our heart.  We want to show them that it’s not about not serving them it’s about not being able to partake in an event.”

audacityPic credit: Equality California

Okay, three cheers to the Kleins for a textbook example of the second definition for “audacity”:

au·dac·i·ty
ôˈdasədē/
noun
noun: audacity
  1. 1.
    the willingness to take bold risks.
    “her audacity came in handy during our most recent emergency”
  2. 2.
    rude or disrespectful behavior; impudence.
    “she had the audacity to send GLBTQ organizations a cake with the hate flick Audacity.”

I mean, spot on use of language there.  Very impressive.  Second, you fucking sent them “Audacity”?  While claiming that you love them?  Holy mixed messages, Batman.  That’s like giving your kid a kitten then running the cute, cuddly ball of fur over on purpose,  then replacing said kitten with a puppy because puppy rape is what gets you going.  “Audacity” has an incredible amount of audacity (first definition) in even calling itself a film.  Half the damn movie is Ray Comfort clips from Youtube.  My feelings on “Audacity” can be summed up as follows; if Ray Comfort came up to me with a video camera and started asking idiotic questions about sexuality, I would fuck with him like no other.  But that’s not fair, I know who he is.  If a random stranger with a video camera came up to me and started asking me insane questions on sexuality in the same tone of voice and manner of speaking as Ray Comfort, I would say whatever I thought he wanted to hear to shut him up and get him away from me before he started to shoot or stab people.  If you torture yourself into watching “Audacity,” put everyone of his interviewees in that frame of mind.  If you want the full scoop on Ray Comfort’s masterpiece of Christian cinema, Eli, Noah, and Heath review this gem on The Scathing Atheisthere. (Review starts at the 23:45 part if you don’t like well written comedy. Not that you’ll like the review then either, but I still wanted to include the time stamp.)

So let’s see, we have spot on use of language, and inflicting a film that makes God’s Not Dead look both like  Oscar bait and a subtle, nuanced work of apologetic.  We’ll add that together, carry the one, divide by the square root, multiply by the ………

I got it!

Dear Melissa and Aaron.

Please take your bigot cakes, paid for with bigot bucks, and shove them as far up each of your bigot assholes as you each can reach, you passive aggressive, condescending, holier than thou, asshatted bigots.  While Jesus has surprisingly little to say about homosexuals, considering how much time and effort Christian bigots dedicate to all things gay, your god* could be the most homophobic deity in the pantheon and it still wouldn’t give you a legitimate excuse to not bake the cake.

When you bake a cake for a wedding, you are not giving your blessing and/or seal of approval on the match being made.  No one is asking that of you.  When they ask if anyone has any objection to the wedding, they don’t frantically look around to make sure the cake baker is in the room and giving consent.  It is the same as a county clerk, except even less vital; the clerk is also not approving or blessing the union, they are just verifying that the couple is eligible to get married according to the secular law, while you are just providing a decoration that will probably be shoved into at least one of the couple’s faces.

Melissa, you are a bigot.  Unfortunately, you happen to live during a time period in America where being a bigot pays.  You may have to move to a more bigoted location, or open up a mail order business, but it is beyond certain that while many talented and driven small cake shops will fail in the coming years, you will make a decent living either baking for bigots or speaking to bigots.  But do not let yourself be fooled.  Do not buy into the lie, that you are the one being oppressed, and that you are somehow fighting a fight for religious liberty.  You are not.  You are a homophobic bigot.

Why am I so comfortable in making that statement?  Well, partially this:

When one of the reporters called and asked if the business could make two identical cakes to help a friend celebrate the grant she received for cloning human stem cells, a Sweet Cakes employee simply laughed and said, “It’ll be $25.99 each, so about $50 to start.”

A request for a cake to congratulate a friend on her divorce was also happily accepted, with a Sweet Cakes worker saying, “We can definitely do something like that.”

Sweet Cakes was even happy to take orders for cakes for a pagan summer solstice fete — complete with a green pentagram decoration — and celebrating babies born out of wedlock.

But even more than that is the simple fact that all of you “traditional marriage” people are bigots.  No one is kidnapping the men off your block and forcing them into gay marriages.  You argue for biblical marriage, yet ignore the polygamy running rampant throughout the book.  Marriages were arranged for decent chunks of history, and while clans like the Duggars long for the days when women were passed like property from one man to the next, something tells me that even most Christians are not willingly going to accept arranged marriage.  While we’re keeping things traditional, are we bringing back the dowry as well?  I’ve recently been fascinated with medieval history, and the rare cases where a King or dowager Queen marry for love are often seen as scandalous.  (For one example, the dowager Queen Katherine and Owen Tudor. Or if we’re speaking of dowry, the marriage of Henry VI to “a Queen not worth ten marks”***, Margaret of Anjou.  Ah, traditional marriage.)  If you are that concerned about “traditional” marriage, why aren’t you freaking out about interracial weddings?  Cause you’re fifty years too late?  Cause that type of bigotry isn’t acceptable in polite, Christian circles anymore?  I guess it depends on what “polite, Christian circles” you run in, does it not?****

What about divorce?  You will bake divorce cakes, and something tells me you gladly bake cakes for people’s second (and third, and fourth, and….) weddings when Jesus, your whole fucking reason for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding, was quite clear (for once) on divorce(my bolding):

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.

10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it. Matt 19

See, Jesus’ opinion isn’t “be fruitful and multiply,” it’s “keep it in your pants, but if you absolutely can’t stay celibate, which you definitely should, but if you can’t, I guess you can get married.”  And since he starts the chapter talking about how marriage was totes awesome according to god, who’s the enemy of traditional marriage in this story?  I’ll give you a hint.  It’s the same guy who’s on the other side of the glory hole.

Invariably, about this deep in any anti-marriage equality article, after the author has exhausted the weak arguments available to them, you find the anecdote about the author’s child (or friend’s child) finding out about gay marriage through tv/a magazine cover/ a newspaper cover/ an assigned book in school and that person having to explain something they are uncomfortable talking about to the child, and…..  Well, and then I’m not really sure.  I see this argument all the time I’m really not sure what they want.  The ability to hide reality from their child until that child is of legal age?  Here’s one recent example, from Right Wing Watch (although Wonkette covers it here as well.)

Ruse said that he started to worry when he realized that one of the chefs on Chopped “looked like a butch lesbian” and put his finger on the remote just in case he got exposed to gayness. “But this is the Food Network so we don’t have anything to worry about, right?” he said.

But it was too late. Despite his best efforts, Ruse and his daughter were forced to see a lesbian couple:

So I didn’t have my hand on the trigger fast enough when they did a hard cut to a backstory about this lesbian chef and don’t you know it she’s got her arm around her ‘wife,’ she refers to her ‘wife,’ and I was too slow in fast-forwarding. My eight-year-old Lucy, sweet Lucy, turned to me and said: ‘Did she say wife?’ And I said, ‘No, I think she meant girlfriend.’ And Lucy said, ‘I think she said life.’ God bless the innocence of this child. But they will not let us off the mat, the ideologies who want to cram this thing down our throats no matter where we go.

And it gets worse. Ruse laments that unwitting children may have had their vacations ruined by an edition of USA Today that featured a gay couple kissing:

The day after the decision of the Supreme Court was a full page photograph of two men kissing on USA Today. This is a paper that lands in front of hotel room doors all over the country, this is vacation time, families open that door, children may have opened this door to see two men kissing. They are making us explain things to our children that we don’t want to explain and they know what they’re doing, they absolutely know what they’re doing.

While Ruse complains about being persecuted by the Food Network, let’s remember that this is same anti-gay activist who condemned the United Nations for investigating “discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

I mean, I get the urge to protect your children.  If I had kids (and I do have nieces, a nephew, and a young cousin who’s pretty much a niece) I would want to protect them from Confederate battle flags, neo-nazis, Fox News, Westboro Baptist Church, Catholic priests, The 700 Club, guns, and poster sized pictures of aborted fetuses.  But these things all exist, and at age appropriate times, I think it is important to introduce children to the concepts.  I do not want the first time my daughter hears about a poster sized picture of an aborted fetus to be when she’s walking into a Planned Parenthood for her well-woman check and some protester is shoving it in her face.  “Traditional marriage” supporters will throw my own “age appropriate” comment right back in my face, but we aren’t talking about hardcore gay porn here.  We are speaking of the existence of a group of people who most certainly do exist.  Everyone knows a homosexual.  If you do not know a homosexual, it is more than likely because you are a bigot and the homosexuals you do know just aren’t telling you.  Chances are a few of the kids at your child’s school have gay parents.  A lesbian couple on Food Network is not an endorsement of that lifestyle.  A lip to lip kiss on the cover of a newspaper is not a religious statement.  They are just holding a mirror to society.  What evil lifestyle is the couple on Chopped displaying?  The one where you love someone and commit to them in marriage?  Those bastards.

Marriage equality is about love, consent, and equal rights under the law.  Freedom of religion means you do not have to get gay married.  Your church doesn’t have to perform gay weddings.  You and your pastor/priest can bitch about how gay marriage is going to lead to the end of the world all day long, and twice on Sunday.  You are even free, as sick as it is, to raise your kids believing that homosexuality is a sin and that gay marriage is wrong.  (Hopefully you’re not one of those bigots who will throw their child out of the house if they come out as gay.)

What you don’t get is the ability to force that belief on others.  No anti-gay prayers in school (or any prayers for that matter….and note, I am referring to official prayers, not non-disruptive silent prayers by individual students.)  If you hold elective office (or appointed office) you don’t get to refuse to do your job because Jesus.  You took an oath to obey and support the laws of our nation, not those of your book or church.  If you can’t do your job, then quit.  Save us all the trouble of firing you.  Especially when you are more than likely a “fiscal conservative” as well, and it is tax dollars you are wasting grandstanding for martyr points.  If you are a business, then you serve everyone or no one.  Simple, is it not?  Think that isn’t fair?  Well, how would you feel if I had a business and I refused to serve Christians?  Could you imagine what Bill O’Reilly would say about me?  He’d probably have David Silverman on as a guest, show the one picture of me posing with Silverman, and spend the whole segment yelling over David about how much of a treasonous bigoted scum sucking commie I was. But that whole thought experiment is meaningless to you, is it not?  Because you can not place yourself in another person’s skin.

Enjoy your bigot bucks.  Enjoy sending out your condescending cake with the bigger waste of a disc than “Free AOL” software.  Because on this front of the culture war, you lost.  You can pretend that you will out breed the progressives all you want, but most of your children will end up rejecting your bigotry.  The “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” kerfluffle will be a dark family secret, with their great grand children shockingly discovering those bigot were their ancestors, wondering what went wrong, eventually chalking it up to a different time, just as those of us did with ancestors who protested against things like interracial marriage, women’s suffrage, or ending slavery.

Now, get back to shoving that cake so deep in there that you see it in your santorum for the next year.

*While I never really thought of it before, after listening to this week’s diatribe on The Scathing Atheist, I am making a conscious effort to not capitalize “god,” except when it appears at the start of a sentence.  This is a habit I have had for ages, so please don’t mind the inconsistency as I retrain my fingers.

**Dude, I can not be the only atheist who’s retirement plan looks like this:

  • Fake conversion
  • Plead poverty/persecution due to my new found faith
  • Rake in the bigot bucks
  • Write book on my experiences in the Christian fringe movement.

Fucking ethics and morals.  I wonder how “psychics” and alt-med practitioners get rid of those pesky things.

***From the title of chapter 7 in The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir.  Also from this book comes my personal favorite nickname for the future Queen of England, “la petite creature.” (pg 107)

****Bigotry against an “outgroup” is fascinating.  While I was growing up and during my teen years, bigotry against homosexuals was seen as the standard in my area.  It was the default assumption.  Unless you spoke up, everyone assumed you hated the “fags.”  Those who were different at all for any reason were labeled “fags.”  (Before Nirvana went mainstream, I think I was called “leather fag” more often than my actual name for a while.)  There was also a really strong undercurrent of racism, just not as automatically assumed as the homophobia.  Perhaps because while my school had (I believe, I am not getting out my yearbook) one African-American (in 1994!!!)  and two Indian-Americans in my graduating class, we were just outside of Altoona (and all hung out with people from each school) which had a much more diverse racial make up.

Now, with outright racism largely frowned upon by society and the acceptance of GLBTQ community members as actual normal people, we’re witnessing a strange outbreak of bigotry across multiple fronts as, I don’t know, bigots look for an acceptable place to release it?  From the resurgence of anti-black racism (see the comment thread on any story dealing with Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown) to the last gasps of those who desperately wish they could choke on a nice hard cock (see Brian Fischer, Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, et al.) to the shockingly counterproductive anti-Mexican immigrant hate coming from the GOP’s field of presidential candidates (see. well…all of them?) to the confusing issue of actual post 9/11 anti-Middle Easterner racism being lumped together and equated with legitimate criticism of the tenants of the Islamic religion, it seems society is determined to prove those who claimed we had moved beyond race, beyond bigotry as wrong as possible.  What’s the next group?  It can’t be women, although the GOP has made a go of it over the past couple of years, but women simply have too much voting power.  My guess, and we’ve definitely seen it in action before, I just think it will get much more mainstream: bigotry against the poor.  A group with almost no political power, with no money to buy politicians, that is so easily demonized (they buy steak with food stamps!  They get free phones!  Welfare mommas!  Your hard earned tax dollars, Rabble Rabble Rabble!!!)  It’s coming hard, from your local GOP candidate.  Bet on it.

***** Just a note here.  The piece on Jindal is over half done at the moment.  It hasn’t been the best week as it goes with my family and health, so I’ve been a bit behind.  I’m also just about to become unemployed,  hopefully for a very short period of time, which has been cutting into my time.  I will work on getting it up on Monday.  Thanks all for reading this!

Fight Back.

Saturday saw thousands of the War against Women folks take to the street to protest against Planned Parenthood.  They managed to get several anti-Planned Parenthood hashtags trending on Twitter as well.  While the Center for Medical Progress continues to release its deceptively edited videos to outrage the loud and proud ignorant fringe of the right, elected officials with actual power keep attempting to defund PP while wasting taxpayers money with investigations into PP that turn up no wrongdoing.

It is beyond time to fight back.

Abortion only makes up 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services.  Zero federal dollars out of Planned Parenthood’s funding goes to abortion services.  The federal funds go to the other 97% of services Planned Parenthood provides, stuff like STI testing, cancer screenings, contraception prescriptions, and FUCKING prenatal care.  Sure, there are other locations women can go to get these services, but there aren’t enough of them to handle the overflow that would occur if Planned Parenthood actually  disappeared.  Sure, rich and upper middle class women would still find someone to smear their pap, prescribe their birth control, provide prenatal care, or terminate their pregnancy.  These things are never in danger for the rich and upper middle class.  It doesn’t matter how conservative the state Congress gets, or how many clinics get shut down, rich girls from Texas or Mississippi can just get on a plane and fly wherever they need to go to get whatever service they need.

These attacks on Planned Parenthood are attacks on the health and family planning of all women who can’t hop on the jet for a quick trip to Cali for an IUD or an abortion.

The issue isn’t abortion.  It isn’t “selling” baby parts.

The issue is poor people having sex and the right’s quest to make sure they have to face the consequences.

Donate something to PP.  Write your Congress Critter.  Send out a tweet.

And smack down an anti-PP troll on social media.  Do your part for a great organization.

Really Rachel? Really?

I have to admit, I was so caught up shopping for a gay wedding present for the totes-legal-now-that-the-Supremes-said-that-everyone-needed-to-stop-kung-fu-fighting-long-enough-to-get-gay-married-everybody-even-puppies-goats-llamas-cable-news-shows-websites-and-straight-men-except-not-Jared-from-Subway-cause-seriously-fuck-that-guy impending nuptials joining The Wonkette and The Rachel Maddow Show in the bonds of holy matrimony, wondering what happens on the honeymoon for a website/cable news show marriage, who would get pregnant, and if they would give birth to little podcasts and oh my god this sentence ran on so long I got lost.

Okay, so I was busy doing that thing mentioned in the above sentence so I almost missed this little comment from Rachel Maddow on her show last night, and that would have been a shame because I so disagree with her for once.

There`s no reason to think that Jeb Bush is a terrible person.

I understand, Rachel.  You are always trying to get Republicans to come on your show, and those that do are always treated fairly.  Perhaps in the not too distant future (na na na), when elected Republicans can once again govern like adults without fear of being primaried for the sin of compromise, more members of the GOP will realize appearing on your show is not like a progressive on The O’Reilly Factor.  Of course, for that possibility to, well, be possible, you can’t exactly go around calling Republican candidates for President “terrible people,” now can you?

But I can.  Especially when the Republican in question actually is a terrible person.  In fact, one of the most pressing questions I hope to answer in my 17 part on-going series, Getting to Know the Trip, is if there is a non-terrible person in the field.  (Preliminary answer?  No.  They’re all pretty terrible.)  Things need to change if we have any hope of reclaiming our democracy and building it back up to something other than a world wide joke.  One thing that really needs to change is that the press needs to live up to the responsibility the Founding Fathers gave it by enshrining Freedom of the Press in the Bill of Rights.  The only bias a news anchor/reporter should have is an overwhelming bias towards reality. Stop covering politics like sports and stop being afraid of offending people if a political party takes a stance in opposition to objective fact.

While I am going to save most points for when I get to Jeb in my Goat Countdown, hearing Rachel last night compelled me to let you all know a few reasons why yes, Jeb Bush is a terrible person.  And we’ll start off with the two words that should immediately disqualify him from the Presidency:

Terry Schiavo

Raise your hand if you remember this ghoul trying to score political points by reinserting the feeding tube into a women in a persistent vegetative state, forcing her to “live,” against the wishes of her husband (and guardian) and, if you believe her husbands word, and I have no reason not to, against her own wishes as well.  Die with dignity? Not with Jeb on duty:

She had left no will. No written instructions. She was 26. To try to determine what she would have wanted, there was a trial, in the Pinellas County courtroom of circuit judge George Greer, in which Michael Schiavo relayed what she had told him in passing about what her wishes would be in this sort of scenario. Others did, too. She also had next to no chance of recovery, according to doctors’ testimony. Greer cited “overwhelming credible evidence” that Terri Schiavo was “totally unresponsive” with “severe structural brain damage” and that “to a large extent her brain has been replaced by spinal fluid.” His judgment was that she would not have wanted to live in her “persistent vegetative state” and that Michael Schiavo, her husband and her legal guardian, was allowed to remove her feeding tube.

But that was before the Jeb signal went up!

So on October 15, 2003, Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube came out. Judge’s orders. She would die within two weeks. This stage of the case looks in retrospect like the start of a test. Just how much power did Jeb Bush have?

HB 35E was filed after 8 at night on October 20. Many lawmakers already were gone for the day. Gelber, the state representative from Miami, put his suit back on at his apartment in Tallahassee and hustled back to the Capitol. Fellow Democrats gathered around as the attorney and former prosecutor began to read the bill one of Bush’s staff attorneys had helped to write.“Authority for the Governor to Issue a One-time Stay …”

Gelber looked up.

“I don’t have to read anymore,” he said. “It’s clearly unconstitutional.”

“The governor can’t just change an order of the court,” Gelber explained this month. “It’s one of the most elemental concepts of democracy: The governor is not a king.”

But the governor is Jeb!  He’s better than a king.  Letters poured into his office, each attempting to suck his dick a little bit better than the previous one.  Oh, it must have been good to be Jeb in those heady days.  Unfortunately, those pesky courts, you know, the ones who had earlier ruled in favor of Terri’s right to die with dignity?  Yeah, those ones.  Well, they were about to meddle around and ruin poor Jeb’s good day.

Back in Florida, though, the courts were focused not so much on what was “morally obligatory” but more on what was legally mandatory.

A circuit judge ruled Bush’s “Terri’s Law” unconstitutional.

Well, that’s only a circuit court.  Wait til it gets to the Florida Supreme Court.  They’ll see it Jeb’s way, I just know it.

The seven state supreme court judges took less than a month to dismiss unanimously “Terri’s Law.”

Oh.  Well, that was embarrassing.  Unanimous?  Damn.  The only thing worse would be if the Chief Justice released a written smackdown that Foster could mark up with bolding and italics on his blog, in this article.

“If the Legislature with the assent of the Governor can do what was attempted here,” chief justice Barbara Pariente wrote in her ruling, “the judicial branch would be subordinated to the final directive of the other branches. Also subordinated would be the rights of individuals, including the well-established privacy right to self-determination. No court judgment could ever be considered truly final and no constitutional right truly secure, because the precedent of this case would hold to the contrary. Vested rights could be stripped away based on popular clamor. The essential core of what the Founding Fathers sought to change from their experience with English rule would be lost …

But that was like, forever ago.  Surely Jeb has learned from his attempt to destroy the system of checks and balances to score cheap pro-life points.  No matter how many letters from supporters he received over the matter, he had to hear the overwhelming outcry in opposition to his privacy and self-determination shredding power grab.  Right?

No, not really.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Friday he had no regrets about fighting to keep Terri Schiavo alive, addressing the mid-2000s controversy on his second trip to New Hampshire this year.

“I don’t think I would have changed anything,” he told New Hampshire business leaders at St. Anselm College’s Politics and Eggs breakfast in response to a question about whether he would have handled things differently with the benefit of hindsight.

Speaking of the past, it turns out that Jeb longs for the good old days, back when adulterous women were forced to wear large letter “A’s.”

Public shaming would be an effective way to regulate the “irresponsible behavior” of unwed mothers, misbehaving teenagers and welfare recipients, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) argued in his 1995 book Profiles in Character.

In a chapter called “The Restoration of Shame,” the likely 2016 presidential candidate made the case that restoring the art of public humiliation could help prevent pregnancies “out of wedlock.”

One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.

Bush points to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter, in which the main character is forced to wear a large red “A” for “adulterer” on her clothes to punish her for having an extramarital affair that produced a child, as an early model for his worldview. “Infamous shotgun weddings and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter are reminders that public condemnation of irresponsible sexual behavior has strong historical roots,” Bush wrote.

Who’s a cute little misogynist?  Come on, Jeb, make that “grrr” noise.  It will go great with this quote from Alternet:

After all, we’re talking about a man who once put the life of a disabled woman who’d been raped at risk by intervening legally to force her to carry her child to term — a move a Florida court later found illegal.

We’re talking about a man who, as governor, signed a controversial abortion ban into law — and praised a similar measure passed by the House on Wednesday as “humane and compassionate.”

We’re talking about a man who likes to defend his anti-choice record by saying “the most vulnerable in our society need to be protected” — even though he’s shown he’s not above playing politics with a child’s body, once going so far as governor as appealing the decision of a court that ruled a 13-year-old girl could have an abortion when her pregnancy posed an extreme risk to her health.

We’re talking about someone who likes to talk a big game about how taxpayer dollars should never be used to fund abortions — even though he slipped millions in taxpayer dollars to Florida “crisis pregnancy centers” notorious for lying to and misleading women about their reproductive health choices. (This, in a state where 73 percent of counties have no abortion providers and crisis centers may be the only places women have to turn for the medical care they desperately need.)

And let’s not forget that Jeb once held $1 million in family planning grants hostage until the programs receiving the money agreed not to discuss birth control at all.

And since I want to save most of the ammo for my 6k or so word introduction of Jeb that is still probably a couple months away, I will leave you with this recent little gaffe.  Wasn’t Jeb supposedly the establishment candidate who wouldn’t make stupid gaffes?  From Correct the Record, though you can find it just about anywhere:

 Jeb Bush: “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.”

I know you were trying to be nice, Ms. Maddow, but he is a terrible person.

Now I’m going to do a knife hit to get the taste of yet another bush out of my mouth.  Have a good weekend, I’ll try to get a few posts up during the weekend.

For those interested, here is the order for the next few parts of Getting to Know the Trip

  1. Bobby Jindal
  2. Lindsey Graham
  3. Rick Perry
  4. Jim Gilmore
  5. George Pataki

I will try to have Gov. Jindal up on Monday, although his is going to be so much fun that it may take til Wednesday.  I mean, this is a Governor who has pissed off just about every single voter in his state in his hopeless attempt to win the presidential nomination.  A legitimate answer to the question “What is wrong with the United State’s method of electing a President?” would be simply pointing at Jindal.  He is a guy who got himself elected Governor of a state solely as a stepping stone to higher office, and every single decision he makes as Governor is informed by his higher goal.  Yes, it will be fun.

After I finish out the under 2% gang I’ll make a schedule for the other candidates.  I’m thinking of going by national poll numbers, which is meaningless, but hell, Fox News thinks they mean something, so why not?  We’ll see.

If you have a few minutes, I urge you to read the whole piece on Jeb and the Terri Schiavo over at Politico, titled “Jeb ‘Put Me Through Hell’.”  It’s worth checking out, if only to remind you of the situation.