Wednesday, June 22, 2016

EVANGELICAL PASTORS AND HOMOSEXUALS

Many Evangelical pastors seem to subscribe special powers to gays:

[Pastor] Swanson asked, “Is this
a coincidence that this was the worst year
in the history of Colorado, at least if you
use God’s law as a means of
determining human ethics?”
He slammed the state legislators who
“committed homosexual acts on the front
page of the Denver Post,” which, along
with marijuana and abortion rights,
prompted the “worst year ever in terms
of flood and fire damage in Colorado’s history.”*
And then there are those who cite Biblical passages that say Gays should be killed to excuse their views:

Last weekend Senator Ted Cruz, along with fellow GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, spoke at a conference in Des Moines headed up by a man who advocates the execution of gay people — per his interpretation of the bible — and who made his call for mass extermination once again, onstage at the event, the National Religious Liberties Conference. Pastor Kevin Swanson has said in the past that Christians should attend gay weddings and hold up signs telling the newly married gay and lesbian couples that they “should be put to death.” He was an advocate of Uganda’s infamous “Kill the Gays” bill, which he saw as a model.**

And where are the Evangelicals who oppose killing of Gays?

It may be true that the “death to gays” pastors and their followers represent a tiny portion of evangelicals. But a much larger group of white evangelicals (and their leaders), which represented half of all GOP primary voters in the current presidential race, is not speaking out against the people making claims in the name of their religious faith. And by not doing so they are giving tacit approval to calls for violence, murder and genocide.***

Not all Evangelical Pastors recommend killing Gays.  A North Carolina Pastor recommends an electric fence in pen where male homosexuals are put in one part. Separated from them is a space for Lesbians.  They are to be fed and live out their natural lifetime after which there would be none left.****
“Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long —
put all the lesbians in there,” Worley suggests in the
clip, reportedly filmed on May 13.
He continues: “Do the same thing for the queers and
the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so
they can’t get out...and you know what, in a few years,
they’ll die out. Do you know why?
They can’t reproduce!”
* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/20/colorado-floods-gay-blame_n_3962912.html
**http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/post_10496_b_8544540.html; http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/christian_pastor_says_gays_worthy_of_death_at_conference_with_3_gop_presidential_candidates; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/09/robert-gallaty-anti-gay-pastor_n_5792996.html; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/anti-gay-pastors_b_1566346.html
*** http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/do-all-evangelical-leader_b_1562032.html
**** http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/21/north-carolina-pastor-gay-rant-starvation_n_1533463.html


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGNS

I'm 85 yrs old and have been through a lot of elections.  My opinion is that at this time, voters are playing around so that polls are not particularly accurate.  They will say that anyone is better than my party's candidate so I'm going to vote for the other party, but when the time comes to pull the lever, they just can't stand to pull the other party's lever.  People begin to get serious maybe 4 days before the election and many will decide in the voting booth.  So I wouldn't put too much stock in today's polling.

About 35% of the voters will vote Republican no matter what, likewise about 35% will vote Democratic.  The only way you can affect these voters is to convince them not to vote.  Among the independents, a large number are Right leaning and a similar number are Left leaning.  There is hope of swaying these voters and that decides the election.  Democrats have a particularly hard time getting their voters to come out on mid-term elections.  On-the-other-hand, Republicans are more emotional and come out for all elections.  The result is divided government.

Lots of working people are with Donald Trump because of the way he talks.  They think he is with them. but they should be very careful.  After all, Donald Trump on at least two occasions has said that he thinks American wages are too high.*  You have to remember that he is a con man and he will con you if he can.  So he may not be as sympathetic with the workers as he sounds as he has studied what they want to hear (Like President Obama is not an American born citizen.).

But as I survey the Republican field (and I include Paul Ryan in this), Donald Trump looks like the best Republican candidate with the exception of John Kasich.  Jeb Bush may be a bit better than some of the others, but he is awful when it comes to the Right To Life and single-handedly kept Teri Schiavo on life support systems for years after she was brain dead.**  Even after a couple of bad weeks for Donald Trump, he is only a few points behind Hillary Clinton in the polls (fewer than 10 points in any poll).

My point is that it is still very early in the election cycle, and, so far as I am concerned, the winner is still open.  Remember that Hillary is doing rather well because she finally is officially the Democratic presumptive Democratic nominee and is getting a bounce from that.

* http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/12/politics/donald-trump-explains-wages-too-high-comment/
** http://www.nbcnews.com/id/8225637/ns/us_news/t/schiavo-autopsyshows-irreversiblebrain-damage/#.V2lSRPkrKM8

Monday, June 20, 2016

WHERE ARE THE IMMIGRANT TERRORISTS?

There are two types of immigrants: legal and illegal.  On the one hand we are told that illegal terrorists are streaming across our southern border among the illegal Hispanics; on the other hand we are told that there a loads of legal immigrants streaming into the country concealed among peaceful immigrants.  Of course there are also  terrorists that must be coming into the country.  Where are all these terrorists?

Shootings The New Town, CT, school shooter and the Aurora, CO, theater shooter were both non-Muslim Americans.  Going further back, the Columbine, CO, shooters were the same.  The 2014 Ft. Hood shooter (Ivan Lopaz) was born in Puerto Rico so was also an American citizen and wasn't a Muslim. No immigrant or illegal terrorists there.  The VPI shooter(Seung-Hui Cho), a South Korean citizen and not a Muslim.  He was on a permanent visa and was the only foreign, non-American citizen among the group.

The 2009 Ft. Hood shooter (Major Malik Hasan) was an American born psychiatrist and Muslim born to Palestinian parents.  He had several brothers, all but one of them have moved to Jerusalem.  The Orlando nightclub shooter (Omar Mateen) was American born to "moderate Muslim" parents.  His father immigrated from Afghanistan in the 1980s.  There are questions as to whether Mateen's massacre was a terrorist attack.  Though both of these were Muslims, neither was an immigrant, legal or illegal.  This brings us to the San Bernardino, CA, shooters (Sued Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik), where the husband was American born of Pakistani descent and Malik was born to Pakistani parents but lived in Saudi Arabia.  She is the sole Muslim immigrant on a visa, therefore legal, but not a U.S. Citizen.

Bombings  The major successful bombing was, of course, that of Oklahoma City, OK,  by the duo of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, with many more deaths (168) than any of the shootings.  Their motive seems to have been to avenge the Ruby Ridge standoff and the Waco David Koresh cult fire.  There are the Boston Bombers, too, the Muslim, Chechen Tsarnaev brothers (Tamerian and his younger brother Dzhokhar who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2012.).  They originally entered the U.S. legally with their parents seeking political asylum.  U.S. authorities were warned about the older brother twice.

What about the non-successful terrorists?  The failed Times Square Bomber (Faisal Shahzad) was a naturalized Pakistani-American citizen.  The failed Shoe Bomber (Richard Reid) was a Brit who had converted to Islam while in jail and tried to set off a bomb on an American airlines flight from Paris to Miami.  The Underwear Bomber (Umar Mutaliab) was from Nigeria and has a Nigerian father and Yemeni mother.  He tried to set off a bomb on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Domestic Airlines Even the 9/11 airplane hijacker terrorists were in the U.S. on legal visas, and none had come "streaming" across of southern border or from Canada, or by stealth boat.

I see no evidence of of terrorists streaming across our southern border, perhaps because of easier ways of entering the U.S.  Of the mass shootings, al were American born except for tow , one of which was a Muslim.  So far, at least, there is no evidence of a large number of people coming into the the U.S. legally or illegally to commit terrorist or other deadly acts.  Certainly as the CIA Chief, John Brennan has said,"To compensate for territorial losses, ISIL will probably rely more on guerrilla tactics, including high-profile attacks outside territory it holds," Brennan said. "A steady stream of attacks in Baghdad and Damascus demonstrates the group's ability to penetrate deep inside enemy strongholds."  We must be vigilant, but there is no need to panic as some politicians would have us do.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

Something I can't forgive John Boehner for not doing was to bring the Senate Immigration Bill up for a vote in the House which he never did.  The bill passed the Senate with more than 60 votes with votes to spare.  It included 19,000 new agents on the border (a decent jobs bill), more drones, and more observation towers.  Yes, there was some provision for how an illegal could become legal, but the hoops to be jumped through were so draconian that I doubt many would try it.

It seems the Republicans actually want to keep illegal immigration as an issue rather than to try to solve the problem.

I think Boehner should have fallen on his sword and let the bill be voted on.  The problem for Boehner was that it probably would have passed.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/09/26/1425070/-The-Dark-Truth-Of-John-Boehner-s-Resignation?detail=emailclassic&link_id=2&can_id=af3794f2758d0c72ac0763afb2350d28&source=email-teachers-facebook-resignation-post-goes-viral-because-she-is-100-right&email_referrer=teachers-facebook-resignation-post-goes-viral-because-she-is-100-right___77189&email_subject=i-got-pregnant-after-taking-plan-b

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

TAKING MY COUNTRY BACK AGAIN?

What do people mean when they say "I want my country back again."  Most commenters seem to feel it has racial, immigrant, sexual orientation, gender, and religious connotations like "I want Jim Crow back again.."*

But it can be much more than that including objections to things that don't even exist like, "I don't want the government telling me how much soda's I can drink."  The government urges you to limit the amount of sugary drinks you consume but there is no law that says something like, You can't drink more than XX ounces of sodas a day."  For awhile there was a rule in New York City that limited the size of the container you ordered, but you could still get another if you wanted.  That rule, however, was thrown out by the courts in their wisdom.

A WSJ article expands on this:
This woman is easily imagined clicking through TV news channels or websites and encountering this montage: Black Lives Matters protesters bullying the latest object of their ire; a lesbian couple kissing at their wedding ceremony; a mother in Chicago weeping over the death of her young daughter, struck by an errant bullet from a gang shootout; a panel earnestly discussing the need for men who “identify” as women to have access to the public lavatories of their choosing; college students, showing the results of their enfeebling education, railing about imagined psychic injuries caused by their professors or fellow students.
............................................................................
What the woman who said she wants her country back really meant was that she couldn’t any longer bear to watch the United States on the descent, hostage to progressivist ideas that bring neither contentment nor satisfaction but instead foster a state of perpetual protest and agitation, anger  [emphasis mine] and tumult.**

They say they want freedom, but freedom for whom?  Seemingly most of these same people want the government to tell us what we can do in our bedrooms, what women can do with their bodies, and what religions we can belong to.  Most of these people even feel that a Muslim is bared by law from becoming president whereas there is nothing of the sort though it is very unlikely to occur in this climate.

Remember the phrase (source unknown), "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-j-elisberg/the-noble-i-want-my-count_b_741606.html
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/3/29/1374127/-What-Do-Conservatives-Want-When-They-Say-When-I-Want-My-Country-Back
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jill-sobule/protest-song-we-want-our-america-back_b_1097453.html?ref=politics&ir=Politics
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/11/18/white-evangelicals-republicans-and-wanting-to-take-our-country-back/
http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=23621
** http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-trumpkins-want-their-country-back-1465596987

For a list of references on the topic see:  https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=What+is+meant+by+Wanting+My+country+Back&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-002

Saturday, June 11, 2016

IT IS THE SUPREME COURT, STUPID

The problem with Donald Trump is not his views,  but that he says things in public that they say only  in private.  There are some real issues like Trump's opposition to foreign trade though workers are with him on this, but Trump's anti-women, anti-minorities, anti-Muslims, anti-handicapped, and anti-gays stances are not the problem.  In fact many people, white male workers in particular, became Republicans in hopes that the Republican Party will keep "them" in line.

But every once in awhile Republican private conversations become public like Romney's 47% statement.,and one hears about Makers and Takers a lot.  There is little sympathy with the poor (undeserving-poor) and the feeling is that they are poor because they want to be poor.  One wonders how they, who say they are Christians, reconcile their view with those of Jesus who was all for helping the poor?  They talk about how hard they work for their money in their desk jobs, as if the guy jack hammering up a concrete driveway and loading chunks of concrete into the back of a truck is not working hard, as if loading and unloading furniture being moved is not working hard.

And I strongly oppose their claim that modern Republicans are the party of Lincoln.  In 1964 Republicans in congress voted strongly for the Civil Rights Act and in 1965 they strongly voted for the Voting Rights Act, putting both Acts over the top.  Can you imagine the current Republican Party doing that?   In fact they are doing everything they can to discourage minorities and working women from voting.  In the early 1960s Republicans could claim they were the party of Lincoln, but not now.

But the white working class has been conned by the Republican Party to leave their unions and thus being disarmed.  The feeling of the powers -that-be are that these working people are overpaid.  Even Donald Trump has said on at least two occasions that American wages are too high.  All that the white workers have gotten out of being Republicans is being told during many election years that they are the "True Americans."  Is it no surprise that the white workers have grabbed onto Donald Trump who talks like they do.  But has Donald Trump conned them to?

But please don't be distracted.  What is at stake in this election is party control of the ultimate political body - the Supreme Court - and overturning such decisions as the tragic Citizen's United decision that has really opened up the financial wars in presidential politics as well as congressman.  All the rest is negotiable, I guess.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

THINGS TO DO IN AUSTRALIA

While in Australia, you will want to do some things unique to the area.  Perhaps top of the list is a Kangaroo pocket ride.  If you are much over 5 ft 5 in. you will have to do some hunkering down to fully get into the pocket though some Kangaroos are quite large, and, of course, you will want to see out as it is thrilling.  The rides are only for a few minutes (you won't want longer because Kangaroos hop, remember and you get a little shaken up).  I haven't been to Australia for maybe 25 yrs, but when I was last there, the Kangaroo rides were not expensive, around $10 as I recall.

Another marsupial is the Wombat.  To get a pocket ride in a Wombat is more difficult because they are much smaller than Kangaroos.  To do this you almost certainly  have to go through the new Australian Size-Reduction machine, an experience unique to Australia at present.  Say you are 5 ft 10 in., you will have to be reduced by a factor of 10 to, say, 7 in. tall, but the machine can easily do this.  You have to decide, however, if you really want to take a chance on this because  there is a bug in the machine and it cannot always restore your height, though this is quite rare.  But a Wombat ride is much different from a Kangaroo ride because a Wombat is a burrowing animal so the pocket faces to the rear to prevent the pocket doesn't get filled up with dirt (isn't nature wonderful?.  Wombats can move quite fast, actually, and the rides are, again, quite thrilling.  there can be a problem, however, in that the ride can be very smelly.  The companies that organize Wombat rides clean the animals assiduously, but you are "back there," if you know what I mean.

You can also get a ride on the back of a Kanagroo, but I don't recommend it because of the tendency for Kangaroos to stand upright.  Though the saddles are Western type with a horn to grab onto, it is very difficult to stay in place, and you can get hung upside down with your feet in the stirrups or on your back if your feet are free, possibly getting hurt.  And Australian laws are quite lax on personal injury cases where you have signed a document saying you realize the hazards.

If you are very small, you might want to get a ride on a Greater Glider, which is a marsupial possum, similar to a very large flying squirrel that can fly from tree to tree up to 100 ft.  But again you could go through the Australian Size-Reduction machine  to get down to size, though as stated above, has a certain hazard, though small.

A different sort of experience is to go to Kuranda and hunt for opals.  Don't worry if you can't find one because there are lots in the trinket stores in all sizes and types for a reasonable cost.  While there you can attend an Aboriginal native show including a musician who can blow continuously, apparently for as long as he wants.  He has developed a knack of breathing in through his nose while he blows out with his mouth. through a long tube.  It is a strange sound.

A simple pleasure is to go out in the countryside at night and look at the Southern Sky with its abundance of stars.  You can enhance this experience by sipping on a mug of Kangaroo tail soup while looking at the sky.  A wonderful way to end the day.

Well, this is enough for one trip.