Gerald (Jerry) Zezas

Home » 2015 » May

Monthly Archives: May 2015

Dennis Hastert and Josh Duggar are Only the Latest. Why Are There So Many “Conservative” Perverts?

I haven’t got a problem with sex. Straight or gay, pre-marital, post-marital, extra-marital or whatever other (your choice of words here)-marital sex there is. It’s been around long enough that I’ve kind of accepted that people are going to have it, with wives, husbands, lovers, men, women and, at times, Republicans. C’est la vie as far as I’m concerned. Boff your heads off whenever you like. I really don’t care. I create my own moral universe and don’t need anyone else’s advice. Nor do I give any regarding personal sexual predilections. As long as its legal and mutually consenting, I couldn’t care less who you do.

What I do care about is when you gain notoriety, fame and sometimes political office by claiming to have this or that moral position on sex, and then, after you’ve locked in said notoriety, fame or policial office, completely disregard that which you’ve been admonishing others not to do as sinful. And then getting caught doing it. You know, like the Christian right.

Now some of you will immediately pull up your pants and say “Wait a minute! Democrats have affairs too!” To which I would respond, “Of course they do”, like Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, and Elliot Spitzer, but they tend not to go around the country claiming how morally superior they are to all of us who dive, genitals throbbing, on the first willing victim who’s breathing. (yes, Democrats require them to be breathing).

And so, my friends, I decided to compile a list of those Christian right hypocrites who continue to tell us to keep it in our pants, while wiping their faces of, well, you get the picture.

1. Jimmy Swaggart

Pentecostal televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, who is a cousin of rock-and-roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis and country singer Mickey Gilley, was preaching fire-and-brimstone Christian fundamentalism before the 1980s; his television program started in 1975. But it was during the 1980s that Swaggart rose to prominence in right-wing politics and, along with Rev. Jerry Falwell, Rev. James Robison, and Rev. Pat Robertson, greatly influenced the Christian Right’s influence on the GOP. Swaggart’s sermons are as political as they are religious, and he has never been shy about describing feminists, liberals, Democrats and rock musicians as agents of Satan who promote immorality at every turn. But in 1988, it was revealed that the adulterous Swaggart had been cheating on his wife with a New Orleans prostitute named Debra Murphree. And his association with prostitutes did not end after his famous “I have sinned” speech of 1988. In 1991, Swaggart was with prostitute Rosemary Garcia when he was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol; Garcia said Swaggart had asked her for sex. On top of all that, Swaggart has admitted to having a long history of porn consumption (even though he has often called for tougher enforcement of obscenity laws). And he appears to have dabbled in something else Christian fundamentalists condemn: BDSM. In a 1989 Penthouse interview, a woman named Catherine Campen said that when she was having an affair with Swaggart, he asked her to beat him with a riding crop.

2. Laura Schlessinger

Although America’s Religious Right has been dominated by Protestant fundamentalists, not all far-right culture warriors are Pentecostals or Southern Baptists. For example, talk radio host Laura Schlessinger, a.k.a. Dr. Laura, was a convert to Orthodox Judaism (before renouncing it in 2003), and she has made a career out of railing against sex education, abortion, premarital sex, porn, feminism and homosexuality (the gay-bashing Schlessinger once said that “a huge portion of the male homosexual populace is predatory on young boys”). But for all her moralizing, Schlessinger hasn’t always acted like a Puritan; in the late 1990s, some nude and topless photos she had posed for in the mid-1970s were published on the Internet. The photos were taken by the late radio shock-jock Bill Balance, who sold them to an adult Web site. Schlessinger filed a lawsuit for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement, but a court ruled that the photos were not her intellectual property. Schlessinger’s “queen of family values” routine is also laughable considering that when her mother died in 2002, it was widely reported that Dr. Laura hadn’t spoken to her since 1986.

3. Newt Gingrich

In 1998, President Bill Clinton was lambasted by a long list of Republicans when it was revealed that he had cheated on his wife, Hillary Clinton, with intern Monica Lewinsky. One of his loudest critics was House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich (who asserted that Clinton showed “a level of disrespect and decadence that should appall every American”). But while Gingrich was lambasting Clinton for committing adultery and trying to get him impeached, he was also cheating on his second wife, Marianne Ginther, with a woman (Callista Bisek, who became his third wife) who was 20 years younger. And that wasn’t the first time Gingrich committed adultery. In the early 1980s, Gingrich cheated on his first wife, Jackie Battley, with Ginther—and when Battley was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery, Gingrich insisted on discussing the terms of their divorce. After that, Mr. Family Values refused to pay Battley either alimony or child support (a local church took up a collection to help her out financially). Despite his history of serial adultery, Gingrich had no problem playing the “family values” card during his recent bid for the GOP presidential nomination.

4. David Vitter

Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana is infamous for his extreme social conservatism and for pandering to the Christian Right. Vitter has supported a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage nationwide (although he claims to support “states rights,” Vitter makes an exception when it comes to gay marriage), promoted abstinence-only sex education, called for school board meetings in Louisiana to open with prayers, and repeatedly preached against abortion. Vitter loves to play the red state/blue state card, saying that he represents socially conservative “Louisiana values” rather than secular “Massachusetts values.” But in 2007, it was revealed that Vitter had been a client of the Washington, DC escort service operated by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, a.k.a. the DC Madam; Vitter admitted he had cheated on his wife with a prostitute, but no criminal charges were filed because of the statute of limitations. Despite his blatant hypocrisy, Vitter was re-elected to the Senate in 2010.

5. Rush Limbaugh

“The Rush Limbaugh Show” has always been full of sexual contradictions. On one hand, the far-right talk radio host has a long history of supporting the Christian Right and telling his audience that the Republican Party is the true voice of morality in the United States. On the other hand, the twice-divorced Limbaugh is quite fond of off-color humor (“PMSNBC” is his name for MSNBC) and sexual innuendos. Limbaugh will use sex to boost ratings at the same time he’s preaching God, family values and morality to the GOP base. Limbaugh’s schizophrenic relationship with sex was recently exemplified by his heavily publicized attack on Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, whom he denounced as a “slut” and a “prostitute” for saying that health insurance plans should cover female contraception. Limbaugh said that if other people were going to pay for Fluke to have sex, she should film the sexual act for his viewing pleasure. In other words, he was asking Fluke to make a porn video, which is ironic in light of how much time Republicans have spent railing against the adult entertainment industry. Limbaugh’s hypocrisy doesn’t end there; previous Limbaugh scandals have ranged from his well-documented addiction to painkillers in 2003 to being detained for three hours at the Palm Beach Airport in 2006 for possessing a bottle of Viagra that wasn’t in his name.

6. Larry Craig

During the many years he spent in Congress (18 years in the Senate preceded by 10 years in the House of Representatives), Republican Larry Craig of Idaho was a strident social conservative with a very anti-gay record. Craig opposed gay men serving in the U.S. military, and he favored adding an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would have outlawed same-sex marriage nationwide. The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT advocacy group that rates politicians’ voting records on gay issues, gave Craig a rating of 0 in 2004. But in June 2007, the married Craig was arrested for lewd conduct in a men’s room stall at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport; an undercover police officer said that Craig’s behavior indicated he was seeking a sexual encounter (Craig pled guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct). And in December 2007, no less than eight gay men alleged to the Idaho Statesman that they had either had sexual affairs with Craig or that he had made sexual advances to them.

7. Ted Haggard

Evangelical minister Ted Haggard has never been known for embracing a moderate approach to Protestant Christianity. Very much a fundamentalist, Haggard was a strong supporter of George W. Bush’s presidency and did a lot to rally GOP “values voters” in 2004. Haggard has been quite the culture warrior, loudly preaching against abortion, premarital sex, adultery and gay marriage. But in 2006, a male escort named Mike Jones revealed that the married Haggard had been a client; in addition to paying for sex and committing adultery, Jones said, Haggard was fond of using crystal meth. Admitting to his followers that he was guilty of “sexual immorality,” Jones resigned from his position with the National Association of Evangelicals.

8. Henry Hyde

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, but the late Illinois Republican Henry Hyde (who spent 32 years in the House of Representatives and died in 2007) threw plenty of stones (figuratively speaking) during the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton. Clinton, Hyde insisted, had disgraced the presidency by committing adultery and lying about it under oath. But it turned out that Hyde had his own history of adultery. In the 1960s, Hyde was married with four sons when he had an affair with a woman named Cherie Snodgrass, who had three children with Fred Snodgrass, her husband at the time. In a 1998 interview with Salon.com, Fred Snodgrass denounced Hyde as a “hypocrite who broke up my family.” Hyde described his affair with Cherie as a “youthful indiscretion,” although he was 41 when the affair started.

9. Jim Bakker

Jimmy Swaggart was not the first right-wing Pentecostal televangelist to be involved in a major sex scandal. In 1987, Jim Bakker (who co-hosted “The PTL Club” with his wife, Tammy Faye Bakker) was disgraced when it came out that he had cheated on his wife with church secretary Jessica Hahn and paid her $265,000 to keep quiet. In 1989, Bakker was convicted of fraud and racketeering charges in a federal court and sentenced to 45 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, but he was granted parole in 1994. Swaggart, ironically, was vehemently critical of Bakker in 1987, calling him “a cancer on the body of Christ” because of his affair with Hahn—and all the while, Swaggart was every bit the adulterer himself.

10. James West

The late Republican James West, who died in 2006, was a champion of anti-gay causes during his years in Washington State politics (first in the Washington State senate, then as mayor of Spokane). West promoted, among other things, a blatantly discriminatory bill that would have prohibited gay men and women from working for schools, daycare centers and certain state agencies. But in 2004, West was caught in a sex scandal when the Spokane Spokesman-Review conducted a sting operation and alleged that West, in a gay online chat room, offered a possible City Hall internship to someone he thought was an 18-year-old man (in reality, the “18-year-old” was a private investigator hired by the Spokesman-Review). The Spokane County Republican Party called for West’s resignation, and in 2005, he lost his position as mayor when voters opted to recall him.

11. John Ensign

During the years he represented Nevada in the U.S. Senate (and before that, the House of Representatives), Republican John Ensign was held in high regard by the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family and other Christian Right theocrats. Staunchly anti-abortion, he was a Pentecostal who considered himself “born again.” He voted in favor of a constitutional ban on gay marriage, and he was active in the Promise Keepers. The Christian Coalition gave him a 100% rating in 2003, while the Human Rights Campaign gave him a rating of only 11% in 2006. Like many other Republicans, Ensign called for Bill Clinton’s resignation in 1998, saying that an adulterer was unfit to be president. But as much as Ensign liked to talk about the sanctity of marriage, he didn’t practice what he preached; Ensign ended up resigning from the Senate in 2011 because of the scandal surrounding his adulterous affair with Cynthia Hampton, the wife of Douglas Hampton, an administrative aid in Ensign’s office and a close personal friend.

12. Michael D. Duvall

As a member of the California State Assembly, Republican Michael D. Duvall had a reputation for being an outspoken social conservative. Duvall opposed abortion as much as he opposed gay marriage, and he insisted that heterosexual marriage had to be protected because it was the backbone of America. But in 2009, Duvall not only admitted to cheating on his wife, he bragged about it. During a lull in an appropriations committee meeting, Duvall told fellow California State Assembly member Jeff Miller that he had been cheating on his wife with two different women (one of them a lobbyist). Duvall didn’t realize that a microphone was picking up the conversation, and his comments, some of which were quite graphic, became a matter of public record. For someone who loved to paint himself as a staunch moralist, Duvall certainly took a great deal of pride in committing adultery. Duvall resigned from the California State Assembly the day after the story broke.

13. Bob Allen

Like James West and Larry Craig, Bob Allen is among the Republican politicians who has a history of being anti-gay but ended up in a gay sex scandal. Allen supported a lot of anti-gay legislation during the seven years he spent in the Florida House of Representatives. In July 2007, Allen was arrested after offering to pay an undercover police officer $20 if he could perform oral sex on him in the public restroom where they met. Found guilty of solicitation for prostitution, Allen didn’t serve any jail time, but was sentenced to six months probation and fined $250. Allen resigned from the Florida House of Representatives shortly after that.

14. Tony Alamo

In the 1970s, evangelist/cult leader Tony Alamo, a.k.a. Bernie Lazar Hoffman and his wife Susan made a name for themselves in evangelical circles preaching a far-right version of fire-and-brimstone fundamentalism. But in the ’80s, Alamo’s behavior became so bizarre that much of the Christian Right distanced itself from him. After his wife’s death from cancer in 1982, Alamo put her embalmed body on display for months and insisted that when his congregation raised her from the dead, she would tell them when Jesus Christ would return to Earth. Also around that time Alamo began publishing his conspiracy theories involving the Catholic Church (which he considered “the Great Whore of Babylon” and believed was controlling the Soviet Union, Islamic terrorists and the Reagan Administration all at the same time). Initially, Alamo was a Ronald Reagan supporter, although he turned against Reagan when he decided that his administration was pro-Vatican. The worst, however, was yet to come. In 2009, Alamo was sentenced to 175 years in prison on a long list of charges that included sexual abuse and transporting underage girls across state lines for sexual purposes. Alamo’s ex-followers testified in court that he was guilty of numerous acts of pedophilia, including taking an eight-year-old girl to be his “wife” and having sex with her. Despite a mountain of damning evidence, the sociopathic Alamo has maintained that he is innocent of all the charges he was convicted of and insists that he was framed by the Vatican.

15. Bob Livingston

When numerous Republicans were attacking Bill Clinton in 1998, porn tycoon Larry Flynt was anxious to expose their hypocrisy and offered $1 million to anyone who could prove that a Republican member of Congress was committing adultery. Flynt obtained concrete proof that Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana had cheated on his wife numerous times. Livingston was among the many Republicans who had demanded Clinton’s resignation over the Lewinsky scandal, and Flynt was happy to show the public that the Louisiana congressman was very much an adulterer himself. Livingston, who probably would have replaced Gingrich as speaker of House of Representatives had it not been for that sex scandal, resigned from the House.

16. Mark Sanford

These days, the Christian Right has so much influence in the Republican Party that it is next to impossible to become the Republican governor of a southern Bible Belt state if one isn’t a social conservative. Mark Sanford had a socially conservative record during his years as governor of South Carolina (he was elected in 2002) and before that, a member of the House of Representatives. He opposed abortion and gay marriage, voted to impeach Bill Clinton, and described Clinton’s actions during the Lewinsky scandal as “reprehensible.” Sanford, however, became involved in a scandal of his own when, in 2009, it was revealed that he had been cheating on his wife with a woman from Argentina named María Belén Chapur (whom he had met in Uruguay in 2001). Sanford was censured by the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee for his misuse of state travel funds.

17. Lou Beres

Lou Beres is the former head of the Oregon Christian Coalition as well as the former chairman of the Multnomah County Republican Party. In 2005, when he was 70, Beres confessed to police that he had a history of sexually molesting adolescent girls, including his sister-in-law Elizabeth Jonas in the 1960s and two friends of his daughters in the 1970s. Because the crimes occurred so long ago, Beres wasn’t facing any criminal charges; Jonas was in her 50s when she came forward. But a civil lawsuit was filed against Beres, and Jonas was seeking $2 million in damages.

18. Mark Foley

Florida Republican Mark Foley served in the House of Representatives from 1995-2006, during which time he had a reputation for being socially conservative even though he wasn’t quite as conservative as some of his fellow Republicans would have liked. In 2003, Foley received an 84% rating from the Christian Coalition, which was lower than the 100% rating John Ensign received that year but much higher than most Democrats typically received from that organization. And his voting record was generally anti-gay, which was ironic in view of the fact that, in 2006, he got caught up in a gay sex scandal involving teenage male congressional pages. Foley, who had been sending the pages sexually explicit emails, resigned from Congress.

19. Roy Ashburn

Republican Roy Ashburn had a very anti-gay voting record when he served in the California State Senate from 2002-2010; he organized rallies opposing gay marriage, and he voted against having a day in remembrance of the slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk. In 2010, however, Ashburn was arrested for DUI after leaving a gay nightclub in Sacramento. Ashburn announced that he was gay, and gay activists pointed to his anti-gay voting record as a classic example of self-hatred.

20. Rev. Michael Hintz

When George W. Bush was running for re-election in 2004, Rev. Michael Hintz (a youth counselor at the First Assembly of God Church in Des Moines, Iowa) asserted that re-electing Bush was the Christian thing to do. The United States, Hintz said, was in the middle of a major culture war, and the country needed a man of God in the White House who would fight against abortion and porn. But it was also in 2004 that Hintz (who was 35 and married with four kids at the time) was fired by the First Assembly of God Church for becoming sexually involved with a 17-year-old girl he had been counseling

How can you people stand being you?
.
.

Advertisements

Ink Up for Gun Rights!- A reprint of my blog from August 2013

I’ve been noticing that there are some militant gun owners who’ve chosen to get tattoos of the Second Amendment. This curious trend made me want to research exactly what these people thought they were accomplishing by doing so. On it’s face, it appears that they believe that, having read one sentence out of The Constitution, their brilliant legal minds were instantly able to deduce that all one needs to know are these 27 simple words regarding gun rights. As is quite typical of those who perform these simplistic and reductive acts, they should have read juuuuust a little further along, since there’s quite a bit more to the story.

2nd-amendment-tattoo-143948

Second Amendment: A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The “well-regulated militia” part is the subject of great debate, with some asserting that it limits the right to bear arms only to a militia. We will not address that issue here because it is, admittedly, vague. I will assume that this amendment gives everyone the same rights, militia or not.

The second part, which says that the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed, is the part that appears to be quite black and white,(aka Tattoo-worthy) with some believing that it settles the argument about gun rights. That would be true until you remember that the Constitution is not limited to the Second Amendment. There’s a few other words in there as well…

photo

Tenth Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

This amendment quite simply states that if the Constitution does not address an issue, then the states may do so. It is often ignored by those who are biased toward the Second Amendment, since it doesn’t serve their purposes. What a shocker.I guess it also doesn’t look as good scrawled across one’s back on a drawing that looks like aged parchment.

So, by simply reading just one more of the Amendments, we should understand why any state can pass laws to modify the Constitution, within the limits of the Tenth Amendment.

Below you will find the language of the State Constitutions of 8 states, which do, in fact, modify the Second Amendment to make it mean something quite different. This list is not comprehensive, only a sampling of the states that have chosen to modify the right to bear arms in their respective states.

I picked out these specific states because there are many, like Michigan and Alaska, among others, which do not modify the Second Amendment at all. In those states, there is no infringement whatsoever on your right to bear arms. In the states I’ve list below, however,(some will surprise you), there are quite specific, legal limitations on your right to bear arms.

On a side note, if anyone doubts the veracity of what is printed below, I got it directly from the NRA’s web site at http://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state-laws.aspx. We all know that the NRA would never lie, so we’ll use their data to make our point.

Florida: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law.” (This basically says you can, unless we say you can’t).

Georgia: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne.” (Same restrictions as Florida. Yes you can, unless we change our minds).

Kentucky: “All men are by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned: … 7) the right to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state, subject to the power of the general assembly to enact laws to prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons.” (If they can regulate concealed weapons, they can regulate all weapons).

Missouri: “That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned; but this shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons.” (Same as Kentucky).

Oklahoma: “The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power, when thereunto legally summoned, shall never be prohibited, but nothing herein contained shall prevent the legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons.” (The legislature can regulate, which is basically saying that the legislature can “infringe”).

Tennessee: That the citizens of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defense; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime.” (Once again, if that “regulation” lessens anyone’s right, then it is “infringement” and is apparently legal in Tennessee of all places).

tattoo

Texas: “Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime” (Who would have thought that Texas can decide when you can or can’t “wear” your arms).

Utah: The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the State as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the legislature from defining the lawful use of arms.” (Here they simply say that your rights will not be “infringed” but that the legislature gets to define just what “infringed” means).

Second-Amendment-tattoo-tattoo-150012
.

Interpret this as you will, but there is not a lot of road between “regulating” and “infringing”. You can debate this all you like, but the fact that some states limit your Second Amendment rights, and have for quite some time, proves, via statutory as well as case law, that they can.

For this reason, if you don’t want to look like an imbecile, it would be advisable that you know what you’re doing before you put ink to skin.

Unless looking like an imbecile is just how you roll…
.
.

.
.

The Pencil is Mightier Than the Pen

.
Science writes in pencil. As it progresses, it joyfully keeps handy an eraser. Religious dogma is written in pen, as indelible as it is lacking in relevance.

.
.
.
.

The Iraqi War and The Amateur President. Did You Forget Already?

When we invaded Iraq, it was not, as the Repubs are currently trying to convince us, that everyone believed they had WMD. Some Washington politicians may have believed it. Bill Clinton may have believed it (but, interestingly, not enough to take us to war over it). Hillary Clinton may have believed it, (or was just stupid enough to believe inaccurate intelligence). All the Repubs may have believed it. But the millions who protested, round the world, for months before the invasion didn’t believe it, mainly because it seemed ever so convenient that right after 9/11 Bush came to the miraculous conclusion that Iraq was such an imminent threat and needed to be invaded immediately. Not a peep out of him before 9/11 though.

No one I know believed it. We all thought it was to avenge his father, whom Saddam allegedly threatened to kill. I’m not sure if I’ve stopped believing that yet, but, moving on…

The issue about Saddam Hussein being such a horrible mass murderer, killer of his people, etc, didn’t seem to be as much of an problem for Bush’s daddy, G.H.W. Bush, or Ronald Reagan during the time he was actually gassing the Kurds, in 1983. The video of Donald Rumsfeld visiting and shaking hands with Saddam in 1983 is HERE Yes, this video was taken when we were supplying weapons to Saddam, which is the exact time he was actually gassing the Kurds. Seems like brutally killing your own people was not such a problem at the time, ay?

Most people I knew said the same thing: Saddam, badass that he was, at least kept the Middle East in check. Iran was not the powerhouse they are today because Saddam crushed them during their war. Libya, Syria and Yemen were not nearly so powerful when Saddam was in power, since he had the 4th largest army in the world and the largest, by far, in the Middle East. It was the invasion of Iraq, and subsequent imbecilic disbanding of their army by Paul Brenner (Bush’s man in Iraq), which caused an enormous power vacuum, creating what was then known at the Insurgency, which was made up of the officers of the Iraqi army, who revolted against the regime that Bush had put into place. That group of people, those exact people, are now senior members of ISIS. That, my friends, is where ISIS came from, and no place else.

Remember John McCain running around the country telling anyone who’d listen that “the surge worked”. He was referring to the military surge that he championed and which drove the insurgency out of Iraq, mainly into Syria, where they formed ISIS. (The meaning of the letters of ISIS are Islamic State In Syria).

Yes, the current ISIS threat which Repubs are desperately trying to blame on Obama for pulling out of Iraq too early was formed by those military leaders who were fired by Paul Brenner and run out of Iraq by John McCain’s “surge”. That was the genesis of ISIS.

Folks, don’t let the Repubs selective memories persuade you differently. Remember how the country and the world reacted to our invasion of Iraq and how horribly botched it was. Remember the world-wide protests, the Million Fist March in Washington. Remember that we lost over 4000 soldiers and $2 Trillion, turning the surplus economy that Bush inherited into the worst recession in 50 years and two wars that he left for the next President to figure out.

Remember the bumbling Vice President who, to this day, denies that he said Saddam definitely had WMD, even when confronted with the video tape of him saying exactly that. Here is a very enlightening video that I’m sure not a single Repub will watch.

Don’t let them distort the truth. Don’t let this horrible, horrible family and their advisors take back the Whitehouse and put us back in the same ditch we’ve spent the last seven years digging out of. Don’t vote for anyone, Repub or Democrat, who doesn’t have the courage to say that Iraq was one of the biggest foreign-policy mistakes in the history of the country, and that, if he could do it over, would not.

They are relying on our stupidity being as profound as theirs. Please don’t make that true.
.
.
.

Marco Rubio’s Tax Plan-The Poor Must Pay More! The Rich, Not So Much…

For all my Repub friends who like to claim to know what they like to call “facts”, I just got finished reading a big one. Yup, I read Marco Rubio’s tax plan. No, not an article about Marco Rubio’s tax plan. The actual tax plan. For all of my friends on the Repub side I’ll give you the link so that you can duly ignore it:

Here is Marco Rubio’s Tax Plan

It’s actually a strange document, full of commentary about our broken tax system. You’d think that a bill that is to be proposed to Congress would avoid Fox “News” types of editorializing, platitudes and cliche’s and just get to the point, but, et, voila…

It goes on to discuss all the problems with our tax system including its complexity as if that is the fault of someone other than the exact Congress who claims to want to fix it, but alas…

The important parts are as follows.

1. It lets corporations avoid income “repatriation” and continue to hide money overseas for the purpose of paying lower taxes. Amazing that Repubs, who love to refer to themselves as Patriots, would want to avoid something called “repatriation of income”. Sounds ironic, but not surprising.

2. It stops what corporations like to call double taxation. Once to the corporation, then again to the shareholder in the form of capital gains taxes. This means, to those of my readers who are working stiffs and will never have any substantial equity holdings in large corporations, that Mitt Romney will no longer pay the taxes on any of his investments. This further means that investment will not be taxable to anyone, but what you do every day, you know, work, will be. Let that sink in. If you work 40 hours in a job that wears you out and keeps you from your family all day and make, say, $40,000 per year, according to Rubio, you must be taxed. If you’re Mitt Romney or Donald Trump, and you make your money by investing other people’s money and do nothing else, you will be tax-free. Got it?

3. It does offer a few tax decreases for middle-income people, but it has some glaringly interesting added benefits and drawbacks. Currently, if you’re married and make $18,000 per year, (which is about one person earns on minimum wage) you pay 10% income tax. Under Rubio, you will pay 15%! So, McDonalds workers take heart! Marco thinks you’re not paying enough taxes and wants to increase them by 50%. He thinks the poorest of Americans are getting too much of a free ride! Oh, and before you bring up the Earned Income Credit, he says he wants to “reform” that, but doesn’t say how. Can’t imagine that means he wants to increase it, can you?

4. Oh, and he didn’t forget his richest Repub friends either. Currently, if you earn say, over $464,000 per year, you pay 39.6% income tax, which is much, much, much lower than almost all developed countries, even those who don’t support the largest military that has ever existed on the face of the earth. Well friends and neighbors, under Marco’s plan, you will only pay 35%! That’s right! Marco, in contrast to his plans for McDonalds workers paying more, thinks that the CEO of McDonalds should be paying less! I shit you not! To expand that out a bit, outgoing McDonalds CEO Don Thompson will earn about $40 million this year, so, under Marco’s plan Mr Thompson will save $1,840.000 in taxes this year alone! That’s a shitload of Big Macs, ay Mr. Thompson? Especially if he orders off the Dollar Menu!

Marco Rubio will save Don Thomspon, on taxes alone, the equivalent of 1000 times the entire yearly earnings of the McDonalds worker! One thousand workers could be hired, at minimum wage, on this single person’s tax savings alone! But do you think Mr. Thompson will be so generous as to do so? Get back to me when you figure it out…

I know that most people aren’t nerdy enough to actually read the tax proposals of Senators who want to be President. I consider it a service to all my friends who, although they like to brag just how informed they are, rarely look past the TV and a couple of websites for what they so adorably call “information”.

Well, here is it for you. No charge.

The Courage of Liberals

From Websters: (with no embellishment on my part)

Conservative:
Believing in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society: relating to or supporting political conservatism. Not liking or accepting changes or new ideas.

Liberal:
Believing that government should be active in supporting social and political change: relating to or supporting political liberalism. Not opposed to new ideas or ways of behaving that are not traditional or widely accepted.

When it comes to opinions about current affairs, it would benefit those who expound the loudest to consider one thing:

If your opinions for or against something benefit you directly, then you aren’t courageous or insightful. You’re selfish, self-centered and cowardly. You don’t care about others and consider your own needs before those of others. For example:

If you’re a gun owner and you’re pro-gun, that’s not a courageous stance. It’s transparently self-serving.

If you’re straight and make anti-gay comments, that’s benefitting no one but yourself. It doesn’t make you a tough guy.

If you’re white and are constantly harping about all the bad things that blacks do, you’re being banal and predictable, not “politically incorrect”, insightful or smart.

If you’re a man and you think, in your heart of hearts without ever saying so, that women aren’t as smart as you, or that men haven’t oppressed them for centuries, that’s not a carefully thought out belief, that’s just you being a self-important idiot.

If you’re a Christian and think that your so-called religious freedom entitles you to tell others how to live, you are truly lacking in the gift of original thought and apparently think that you are positioned at the top of the morality food chain.

It takes no brains whatsoever to try to protect your own side. It takes no healthy objectivity to believe that your way of doing things is the best way. That’s what morons and farm animals do. Doltish lack of introspection leading to self-preservation is the default position of anything that has the capacity to breath.

If your opinions benefit someone other than yourself, you can call yourself patriotic, courageous and willing to buck the trend. If you’re willing to consider someone’s feelings other than those of yourself, you’re someone who will be remembered for having the nerve to stand up to those whose entire purpose in life is to maintain the status quo, regardless the cost to their fellow human beings.

By definition, Conservatives.

My Problem With Tough-Guy Cops. A Personal Story

For anyone who wonders why a middle-aged white guy with no criminal record would be so up-in-arms about police brutality, I’ve got a personal story for you.

The year was 2002 in a town in the Florida Keys named Key Colony Beach. It was a sunny Sunday morning when my wife, our two-year-old daughter and I were going to an outdoor Sunday brunch put on by a local charity.

I pulled into a spot in the parking lot where the event was taking place, exited the car and walked around to the other side to get my daughter out of her car seat. As I bent over into the back seat and pulled her out of the car, I felt a powerful hand reach into the back of my shirt collar and pull me, quite forcefully, out of the car, my baby daughter almost falling from my grasp. I whipped around, still holding her, expecting to have to punch whomever was grabbing at me to make him release me when I noticed that it was a cop, with one hand tightly holding my collar and the other on his gun in its holster. To properly set the scene here, remember…A Sunday morning with a 45 year old white man, his wife, their baby and a 4-door family sedan with hundreds of other people around. Not exactly a dark alley with a black teenager and a hoodie. But I digress…

When I saw the look on this guy’s face and the size of him (easily 4 inches taller and 50 lbs heavier than me) I handed my baby to my wife, still practically bent over backward from him pulling on my collar.

As he screamed at me to move back from the car I realized that there was something terribly wrong here and that he was in control for the moment. He dragged me about 20 feet, backward, to the middle of the parking lot, where everyone else came to a halt to see what the commotion was about. He spun me around and screamed at me like a Marine Seargent (more on that later), and accused me of having driven too fast when I came into the parking lot. When I protested that I had done nothing of the kind he put his nose against my nose and yelled “shut up until I tell you to talk”. My wife stood about 20 feet away in disbelief and fear of what was going to happen next. As I stood there, also in disbelief, as hundreds of other people stopped what they were doing to watch me get accosted by the cop, he proceeded to demand my license and registration. I took them both out of my wallet, silent as I realized that this guy was going to explode if I said another word. I gave him what he asked for as another police car came up and stopped behind us. Another cop, apparently a supervisor, stepped out and called him to the car. As I stood there, like a criminal, as my friends and neighbors looked on, he and the supervisor had a conversation that took about 2 minutes. After what seemed like forever, as I wondered if I was about to get arrested for the first time in my life, the supervisor came over to me, gave me my license and registration and told me that I was free to go. What?

I asked the supervisor what I had been stopped for and his response was that the cop felt that I’d pulled into the parking lot too quickly but that all was now Ok and I was free to go!

By this time we were no longer in the mood for brunch, so we got back in the car and left, incredulous at what had just happened. I spent the rest of the day reliving this embarrassing event over and over, trying to figure out what I had done wrong. I was humiliated in front of hundreds of people, many of whom I knew, and this guy was basically saying, “oh, never mind”!

The next day, Monday, I went to see my lawyer to tell him what had happened (yes, contrary to the situation facing many inner city youth, I could afford a lawyer) to ask him what my rights were regarding this bizarre sequence of events. He called me some days later with some interesting news.

It turns out that our Neanderthal friend was an ex-Marine (see reference above. No surprise there) and had a history of violence. He had been brought up on charges of use of excessive force before, apparently having slammed someone’s head on the roof on his patrol car when he wouldn’t answer the officer’s questions. He also had been caught laughing as he kicked a drunk who was laying on the ground outside a local bar for no other reason than he thought it might be fun. I assumed that with this guy’s history as well as the hundreds of witnesses who saw the entire thing that we would easily nail this guy. I told my lawyer to press charges, whatever the cost (note, again, I could afford to say things like that. How many inner-city black kids can do the same?)

About week later my lawyer called me and advised me to drop the entire thing! What!?!

It turns out that this guy had been forgiven his professional indiscretions repeatedly since his union defended every one of these accusations. He had never been suspended, paid any penalty or lost a single day of work as a result of his malfeasance. My lawyer told me quite bluntly that if I sued him, I could expect to be stopped and accosted EVERY TIME I DROVE INTO KEY COLONY BEACH and that his union, with millions in their war chest, would fight me until I ran out of money.

So, I gave in. On the advice of my attorney. And that piece of shit is still a cop. Who knows how many others have suffered from his delusions of superiority. I was humiliated, dragged by the back of my collar, in front of hundreds of acquaintances, my wife and my daughter, for what amounted to a traffic stop, all because this loser needed anger management classes. And I couldn’t do a damned thing about it.

I’m a middle-aged white guy with no criminal record. What do you think would have happened if the unfortunate guy who drove into that parking lot with his wife and baby that sunny Sunday morning just happened to be a young black guy, driving a beat-up car, who chose to wear a hoodie.

Go ahead. Explain it to me…

%d bloggers like this: