Living Large In Carson City: The Crazies Are In Control Of the Asylum Edition

Any serious shift towards more sustainable

societies has to include gender equality.   Helen Clark

The Trump clown car just took a hard right to the edge of the proverbial cliff and shows no signs of slowing down . . . again. As if the administration, and Republicans in general, didn’t have enough on their plates what with the Muller investigation, subverting the rule of law, subpoena scoff laws, a basic misunderstanding of how tariffs work, or even Donald, Jr.’s lying to Congress woes, now they are after women and LGBTQ people . . . again. Some days it appears conservatives are really just B actors auditioning for stand up comedy roles in a not funny and sad parody of a panned episode of The Office. Their efforts, as sincere as they might be, are hard to understand, and at times, just downright loopy.

Example 1: Let’s continue to take away a woman’s right to choose . . .  again.

If Americans haven’t been paying attention, and let’s face it, many Americans tuned out the demise of Western Civilization the day Trump took office, those pesky fly over, southern, evangelical wackos are at it again. The tune is as old as the Women’s Movement, “Abortion bad, ugh! Man say no.” Of course, this is just another verse of the old favorite, “98 Feminists on the Wall” sung to the tune of “98 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” but meaner and less enlightened. From Alabama to Ohio, Neanderthal state legislators are trying to undo 45 years of Roe vs Wade. Correction: not undo it, but rather, smash the hell out of it.

Early abortion bans, known as ‘heartbeat bills,’ are being proposed in at least ten states. So far, those in MissouriMississippiTennesseeGeorgia, and Kentucky have advanced the farthest in state legislatures.

The bills would outlaw abortion after a fetal heartbeat is present, which can be found within six weeks of the beginning of a pregnancy.

Despite the wave of new proposed legislation, every ‘heartbeat’ bill passed to date has been overturned in state or federal court.

In other states, those bills were never signed into law. NBCNews

It’s actually understandable that this would be happening now. If Donald Trump is anything, he understands tapping into the angst and anger of his solidly loyal base. It’s hard to imagine the Orange One caring about anything other than his own ego, but by backing his people on an issue like this one, no matter how unpopular they may be,  he knows he can depend upon them come 2020. But Americans might say, the article states that all of the passed bills have been overturned or never signed into law. True, but that isn’t what this is about in the end. This is one of those situations where evangelical Christians are throwing everything they can up against the wall and hoping something sticks.

This term turns my stomach, but they really are “playing the long game” here. Their goal and end destination in mind is the United States Supreme Court. The high court that Trump has appointed two sycophant cronies to in the persons of Neil Gosurch, and wait for it, “I like Beer” Brett Kavanaugh.  Gorsuch showed a flair for choosing the worst quote possible for his Columbia University yearbook when he quoted Henry Kissinger who once said, ” “The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer.” Kavanaugh isn’t worth quoting in this post, simply because, he may not have ever had an original thought in his head as demonstrated in his confirmation hearing.

Evangelical legislators understand the dynamic of the Supreme Court today and hope against hope that one of their “heartbeat bills” makes it on the docket in months or years to come. There again, however, there seems to be a bit of hope, in that, the court has ruled on Roe vs Wade many times and seems reluctant to go against precedent. Still, hope springs eternal in the tiny minds of these seriously misguided legislative hacks.

Example 2: Hell, they’re queer. They don’t deserve no stinkin’ rights.

This one is just downright batshit crazy. The players include run-of-the-mill wacko evangelicals, wacko evangelical United States Congressmen and women, and the American LGBTQ community. The bill was presented to Congress stating,

Introduced in House (03/13/2019) This bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system.

As Ronald Reagan once said, “America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere”, one would think that ensuring a portion of American society has equal rights would not be an issue. Think again. On one chilling note, when the bill made it to debate, some of the amendments proposed were down right laughable. One is more than a little, well, confusing,

The distinction for the most condescending and superficial amendment goes to Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), who proposed an amendment to change the Equality Act to to the “Forfeiting Women’s Rights Act” . . .

A total of 34 amendments were submitted Friday to the House Rules Committee, which will evaluate the measures during a committee session and determine which are eligible for a vote on the floor . . .

Republicans proposed 28 of those amendments, many of which are anti-trans in nature or seek to broaden the religious exemption in the bill to allow anti-LGBT discrimination. The Washington Blade

Some of the amendments were meant as clarification like exempting abortion from the mix, securing parental rights, and others that tried to water down the impact of the bill, but some were downright frightening,

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who has a long anti-LGBT record in Congress, proposed an amendment that would restore the application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, making anti-LGBT discrimination possible under that law. Fourteen of Gohmert’s Republican colleagues co-sponsored the amendment. The Washington Blade

This is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s safe to say there is an overarching anti-LGBTQ tenor to the Republican amendments to the point of paranoia. Granted, this is a flash point issue, one that evokes strong opinions on both sides. Yet, in the 21st century, to read the hateful thoughts of  some of our elected officials who have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States demonstrating their true beliefs on this topic does, and should give, every American pause. Just for the record, the Trump/Pence White House came out in opposition to the bill.

Example 3: Trump and Bob Barr are beyond redemption

A Raw Story headline says it best, Shocker: Trump and Barr refuse to defend ban on female genital mutilation. Yes, you read correctly, female genital mutilation, or FGM. One might ask why is this an issue in America? For the last 20 years, it hasn’t been because of a ban on the procedure. The ban, however, was recently struck down because of a loophole found in a court case discussed in the article. Now, normal thinking Americans who love their daughters and mothers would naturally assume that the ban would be looked at, the loophole closed, reinstated, and everything would be peachy. You would be wrong. Not in Trump and his lapdog Attorney General, Bob Barr’s, world.

The DOJ could have appealed the ruling, but Francisco told Feinstein there’s no legal basis to defend the 20-year-old ban, and therefore it’ll allow the law to disappear. It’s up to Congress, the Trump administration wrote, to amend the law or to pass a new one. If that sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve seen this tactic before. This is also how Trump dealt with DACA as well as his current strategy for repealing the Affordable Care Act. Kill it then use it as leverage. It wouldn’t shock me if we discovered Trump planned to use the FGM issue as a negotiation ploy, just like the ACA and DACA. We haven’t heard any rumors to that effect, but the precedent exists. The Raw Story

Negotiation ploy? Let’s be clear. Trump and Barr are willing to allow young girls to be physically restrained by their families, or worse, by complete strangers, to be held down, their most private parts removed in the most horrific manner, or as the article states, “. . . using everything from “knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades”, and this is not an issue our president finds worthy of supporting a ban on?

Before I began writing this post, I thought America was in crazy times. Now, it’s Mad Max and the Thunder Dome reality. Don’t be alarmed by the sound of a revving engine. It’s Trump’s clown car picking up speed.

 

Living Large In Carson City: Choosing The Lesser Of Two Evils, Is Still Choosing Evil (Jerry Garcia) Edition

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The one thing that truly puzzles me about Donald Trump, and there is a lot to be puzzled by, is why do religious people have such a love affair with this jerk who is obviously amoral and one of the most ungodly people to ever walk the face of the earth. I am a recovering Southern Baptist, and I can tell you from my upbringing Trump is definitely not a saint. The pious among us in my youth would have called this guy out long ago assigning him to a brief footnote in history. Not so today’s religious leaders. Here is how Trump measures up to the Christian gold standard of how one should live their lives, the 10 Commandments:

The 10 Commandments

  • I am the Lord thy God! Thou shalt have no other Gods but me!

Hmm . . . let’s see. Trump’s god is money, power, and himself.      Busted

  • Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain!

Personally, I can’t verify this myself, but I wouldn’t be surprised.  Toss up

  • Thou shalt keep the Sabbath Day holy!

If God calls 18 holes of golf  holy, Trump’s good.                                 Busted

  • Thou shalt honor father and mother!

Again, I can’t say for sure.                                                                        Toss up

  • Thou shalt not kill!

We just don’t know.                                                                                    Toss up

  • Thou shalt not commit adultery!

Ha! This one is a no brainer.                                                                    Busted

  • Thou shalt not steal!

Ask people who have done work for Trump through the years.      Busted

  • Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor!

On Hillary alone, Trump would burn in hell for all time.                   Busted

  • Do not let thyself lust after thy neighbor’s wife!

Let’s turn to that muse of the porn world, Stormy D.                            Busted

  • Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, nor his farm, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his!

Trump’s Weird Love Affair with Eminent Domain                                 Busted

Seven out of 10 sums up my consternation. Even with giving religious people the benefit of the doubt, it still doesn’t square the fact that Trump is a sinner of monumental proportions. I mean bigly. Still, the question has to be asked, “Why does Donald Trump get a Get Out of Hell Free card” when the rest of us would be crispy critters from the get go? I can think of several reason; none of them good for America or encouraging that things will get better.

First of all, America knows that the religious right is at the core of support for Trump. Their worldview includes ending Roe vs Wade, removing the walls between church and state, supporting Israel, and protecting the president from moral outrage that should have long ago ended Trump’s presidency. All the big names in religion are represented  Graham, Falwell, Jeffress, Bachman, Reed, Perkins, and that old wackadoodle, Pat Robertson. They along with a multitude of lesser names and congregations across America (mostly white frightened Christians) are reveling in the fact they think they have one of their own in the president’s chair. Sure, they may have to hold their collective noses to assuage their consciousnesses, but hey, they believe God put Trump in office for a purpose. Who are they to judge?

Of course, power is by far the most important perk to many of the leading religious groups today. The separation of church and state as delineated in the First Amendment has always been a burr under these people’s hides. Trump saw the opportunity to play these rubes to the hilt. One of his most controversial acts was, not just placate the religious, but to enhance their access.

Trump expanded the role faith-based agencies play in the federal government in several important ways. First, his executive order creates a new office within the White House to oversee this religious expansion. That office will be staffed by an adviser to the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, a new position. The adviser will be “supported by experts and various community and faith leaders from outside of the Federal Government,” according to the White House.

The initiative also directs all executive departments and agencies that do not currently have a faith-based office to designate a liaison from that agency to the White House. Rewire

In the personality politics of today, access defines power. It should be noted that there are evangelicals and then there the crazy evangelicals. What is upsetting is Trump doesn’t seem to have a filter on which is which. Take Kenneth Copeland, one of the scariest men in the universe. He is one of the prosperity evangelicals who believes he can milk Christianity (read his parishioners) for all they are worth. For instance, Copeland is adept at getting his congregations to buy him airplanes. He had this to say about the new world of Trump and religion,

Copeland said that if God puts something on his heart that needs to be delivered to the president, he’ll now have a direct line to deliver that message.

“I have no doubt,” he said, “if something were to really strike my heart, if God really showed me something that I felt like and that the Lord would say, ‘You deliver this,’ I have no doubt that I could deliver it, and that was not true in presidents past even though we had influence in some areas in some ways.” Faith

Copeland is also a proponent of a National Sunday Law. Honestly, I never heard of such a thing. Well, Texas did have Blue Laws that restricted selling of certain items on Sunday, and supposedly, the Sunday Law is an extension of the old Blue Laws making it a law that Sunday is a day of rest and worship. Legislating this idea into a federal law is scary on so many levels. At this point people either believe a Sunday Law is coming soon, or that it is simply a conspiracy theory that is only a wet dream of evangelicals in their chest of wants and needs. But there is this.

Access and power are all well and good, but do they answer the question of why evangelicals are so willing to support Trump even in light of his notoriously reprobate behavior? This is where Israel comes into the equation. Christianity’s last ditch stand against the Satan and the wickedness of man comes down to Judgement Day. This is when Jesus is supposed to return the earth and smite all non-believers. Where will this confrontation occur? Israel, of course, the Holy Land. This fact makes it incumbent on believers to protect Israel’s “homeland” at all costs. After all, Judgement Day marks the day that all Christians will be taken up to heaven where they will live happily ever after.

Trump is no fool when he sees a mark ready for fleecing. Moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a poorly disguised sop meant to give the rogue state of Israel more credibility and American evangelicals the belief that they wield power to instruct the government in matters of policy.  Israel will never be anything but a terrorist state until they give back the land they illegally occupied after the 1967 war per international law, and consequently, evangelicals are complicit in the ongoing apartheid military action that Israel is visiting upon the hapless Palestinians.

So, the upshot is that evangelicals have made a deal with the devil and are stuck with the consequences and loss of any moral objectivity they once had if they ever had any at all. Think about it. They openly choose to support a known philanderer, a pussy grabber, a stupendous liar, cheat, and a morally bankrupt narcissist to secure a few repressive laws and policies that will be wiped away once the Democrats take control of the White House. Yet, the cost of laying down their vaunted Christian ideals seems to be a bothersome as a sore thumb or a paper cut. However, as the old saying goes, “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” They should be careful what they ask for.

Living Large Watching Ted Cruz Take a Lickin’ . . . by his own kind, no less

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Image from the Huffington Post

In regard to my previous post about Ted Cruz’s wildly false accusations that the Dems would try to repeal the First Amendment last week, here is what some Texas voters and an Internet site had to say about the fibber Cruz:

John Coby

And here:

Right Wing Watch

Cruz may think that no one actually listens to what he has to say. For the most part, this  is probably true except for a select few Tea Party diehards. However, most people of this ilk are smart enough to understand that statements like the ones Cruz made about this issue, not only harm their cause, but sadly, make them look like supporters of buffoons with little relevance on the national political playing field. 

If past performance is any indication (Politifact), this isn’t the end of Cruz’s outlandish statements. With a dearth of ideas, his only hope is to grasp at straws by making idiotic statements to call attention to himself. This probably worked for him in grade school, but it’s time he grew up and shut up or start telling the truth.