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I Want To Fight Ted Cruz

One of the great sacrifices that comes from living way up here in the USA, miles away from Texas and the heart of the confederacy, is that we don’t enjoy timely access to the broad range of news pertaining to Ted “Tough as Texas” Cruz. Indeed, we barely hear tales of fabled adventures at all, unless he’s smiling sheepishly, like a proper milksop, while a certain fat old man calls Mrs. Cruz a “dog.” Or scampering away to “Old Mexico” because his tootsies got chilly when the nation’s only proudly unregulated power grid collapsed, leaving millions of his constituents literally out in the cold, literally powerless, and (again, literally) thirsty and hungry for leadership–not to mention clean water and warm food. Most of his moon-eyed shenanigans pass unnoticed up here in abolitionist country–not unlike his past campaigns for President. From a purely entertainment perspective, this is a shame–but I aim to remedy that.

Following the Mexico fiasco, which Cruz nobly blamed on his young children, Cruz has taken time from blocking economic relief during the Covid-19 Pandemic to work himself up over the custodians of the estate of Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel to halt production and sales of a half dozen books they’ve found to be “problematic” in one way or another. I’ve only read one of them, and that was about 20 years ago, so I’m not qualified to judge. For the record I’ll admit to leaning towards not removing elements of culture retroactively. Scorn them, excoriate them, leverage what we don’t like about them into a learning experience that might prevent us–humans in general, not just you and me–from backsliding. On the other hand, my intellectual preference is very far removed from the moral culpability one might feel from generating profit from material that many find offensive.

Ted Cruz has no such compunctions. So strongly does the man–the Senator!–who believes that the existence of married gay couples is an act of tyranny–feel that he’s retail marketing copies of one of Seuss’s other, less controversial, works at a significant mark-up, because Mr. Cruz is autographing these books as a fundraiser for his next crusade, er, pogrom, um, campaign. In the words of “Amish Elmer,” my former pot dealer: fucking genius, man. And for the record, Amish Elmer was shunned long before we ever met him, but stuck with the chin beard and blue on black ensemble to move stealthily below the radar of law enforcement. That’s another story for another day, but suffice it to say Elmer knows a slick entrepreneurial hack when he sees one.

It is thinking like this–creatively soulless, blindly exploitative, and objectively tone-death–that raises Cruz to the level of “potential adversary.” He does everything but twirl the edges of his mustache and kick kittens, although he’s been known to freeze a dog or two. He’s unapologetically evil, distinguishing himself in this regard at a time when his political allies are literally (there’s that word again–I use it again and again to emphasis that this isn’t a joke I’m making up, its real!) crawling all over themselves in a particularly venal game of King of The Hill to not just rhetorically, but physically, tear down the guiding institutions of our representative democracy–not to mention the very essence of democracy itself. He, like his cuck-buddy Mitch McConnell, has no qualms with embracing villainy for personal gain. Hell, he cherishes the opportunity, and at some level we are compelled to acknowledge his commitment to the role. Yes, he’ll stomp on immigrants! Yes, he’ll assert his masculine entitlement to regulate the reproductive organs of every woman out there–even it it means rolling up his shirtsleeves and getting his hands dirty in the process! Will he lead the struggle to suppress and disenfranchise poor and minority voters, even if it means making voting more difficult for everyone? You KNOW he will! His children, his wife–whomever he has to hurt, whatever it takes, he’s up to the task.

And that’s why I want to fight him. I think it would be a pretty good match. I’m bigger than him, but older too, and he’s butting on a pretty good push of late to catch up in the size department. My hair and beard are better–a nice woman trims me up monthly, so I’m not rocking that indigent, truck-stop predator look that Cruz has made so popular.

The question, of course, is why would he take time out of his busy day, putting aside his quest of personal power at the expense of every non-white, non-straight, non-male, non-christian just to sock it to a fading old smart-ass centrist “living constitutionalist?” But do villains need a reason to lash out at their adversaries? Do the powerful blanch at the opportunity to crush those who dare to speak against them? It is his duty. His calling. His noblesse oblige to knock my ass up between my eye balls while humming “Old Folks at Home” through a mouthful deep friend King Ranch chicken washed down with a tankard of warm Dr. Pepper.

And why am I so animated? Besides wanting to know whether he’s really as “tough as texas?” Me? I’m just pissed that Cruz’s immigrant father killed JFK.

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Don’t Be Sheep

…Be this guy.

august-landmesser-almanya-1936

I didn’t come up with this. It’s from a meme, and it is one of the best. More timely now than ever.

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Commentary meme

There Can Be Only One–My First Meme

Choose your flag. Choose your cliche.  Choose your side.
There can be only one.
Either you’re in, or you’re out.You’re either for us, or against us.
Don’t like it?  Get out.

Screenshot_5

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Audra Burns Gubna Pence

Speaks for itself.

http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/audra_mcdonald_just_slammed_indiana_gov_mike_pence_with_the_most_amazing_tweets

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Commentary

Indiana State Codifies Hate

Indiana_no_gays_allowedIn a shocking (to civilized human beings) development, Indiana Governor Mike Pence flourished his burning cross ballpoint pen and signed Senate Bill 101, the ” Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” a so-called “religious freedom” law which forbids state or local governments from “substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion–unless the government can show it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it.”

Just what the hell does that mean?  In short, it means that as of July 1, any business in the state of Indiana can deny services, employment, or acknowledgement of anyone based on their religious beliefs.  Practically speaking, it is a license to practice bigotry.

Senate leaders say conerns just a "misunderstanding."
Senate leaders say conerns just a “misunderstanding.”

Governor Pence, denying that the law does any such thing, said “This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.”  Leaders of the Republican-controlled senate called concerns nothing more than a “misunderstanding.”

But Eric Miller, the Founder and Executive Director of Advance America stated, a leading supporter of the legislation, said  “It is vitally important to protect religious freedom in Indiana.  It’s the right thing to do.  It was therefore important to pass Senate Bill 101 in 2015 in order to help protect churches, Christian businesses and individuals from those who want to punish them because of their Biblical beliefs!”

Because the 85% of people in the state of Indiana who identify as Christian suffer daily at the hands of the overbearing, rights-denying, freed0m-hating, gods-damning unwashed 15 who haven’t been bathed in the blood of the lamb, so to speak.

A press release from the ironically titled Advance America continued “Churches, Christian businesses and individuals deserve protection from those who support homosexual marriages and those who support government recognition and approval of gender identity (men who dress as women).  SB 101 will help provide the protection…Christian bakers, florists and photographers should not be punished for refusing to participate in a homosexual marriage!”

The bill passed despite loud public outcry from citizen groups, celebrities (including Indianapolis Colts Punter Pat McAfee, who grew up about half an hour down the road from my home–good for you, Pat!), businesses, the NCAA and the sponsors of several major conventions that bring millions of dollars to the state have expressed serious concerns, not only for the economic impact of this bill but for the safety and welfare of conventioneers, business persons, employees, and others who might suffer the soon-to-be legal wrath of Christian extremists looking for payback after losing their struggle against equal marriage rights last year.

CBB7BK6UgAAFfXcIt is telling that Pence signed the bill during a private ceremony, which was barred to both public and press, in his Statehouse office just before 10 a.m. Thursday. He was joined by supportive lawmakers, Franciscan monks and nuns, orthodox Jews, and some of the state’s most powerful lobbyists on conservative social issues.

While this bill is aimed at punishing and denying civil rights to homosexuals, I’m curious what happens the first time, say, a Muslim store owner denies service to a Jewish patron, or perhaps a Hindi restaurant owner refuses to seat a Muslim–or, for that matter, a southern Baptist hotelier denies lodging to Catholic?  It is a slippery slope, once we step away from the ideal of equality–I mean, what are the Scientologists going to do with this law?  I shudder to think.

It’s going to suck to live in some corners of Indiana for a while, but supporters of equal rights should take comfort in the absolute surety that bigoted business owners in all but the most insular communities will quickly feel the financial effects of their discriminatory practices.  Indeed, the main reason that shameful laws like this pass is because it requires the average person to sit quietly by and let the professional hate-mongers who make careers of sewing discord do the dirty work.

I very much hope that a network is quickly formed to call out the hidden bullies who will pick and choose when to use religion as a cudgel to wield against their neighbors. In fact, I’d love to see someone call out businesses in the State of Indiana who intend to adopt discriminatory policies because–you know what?–most of them are going to be too cowardly to actually see it through, let alone admit it publicly.

And, once again, I offer this old rhetorical chestnut:  WWJD do, brothers and sisters?

And by the way, fellow Pennsylvanians–get off your high horses, we’ve got one of these laws too.

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In Retrospect: Some Thoughts on MLK

I had decided to sit out Martin Luther King Day on the blogging front, and I was not MLK Dreammissed. People with greater eloquence, in grander forums than this, did a much better job of eulogizing and celebrating this great man, than I could ever do. Several times during the day, my thoughts turned to Dr. King, his legacy, and his as-yet, largely unfulfilled dream. More precisely, I dwelt upon the refusal of a large portion of Americans to believe that “the dream” is indeed unrealized.

When I think of Dr. King, I think of two images: the one above, from behind his shoulder looking out over the massive crowd at reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial, when he made his famous speech.  The other, for obvious reasons, is this one, a representation of the reality that greeted, and continues to greet, so many Americans.
MLK cross

 

 

I’ve said it a hundred times: it’s good to be a white man in America.  I know how lucky I am.

The reason I decided to write about Dr. King after all was not a solemn one.  I scribble right now because it just dawned on me that by a quirk of the calendar this year the politically determined MLK Day, which is scheduled to always occur on a Monday, coincides with Robert E. Lee’s birthday. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last, but it’s the first time I’ve been cognizant of it and I have to say: the convergence of these two, very different, iconic historical figures pleases the heck out of me.

Specifically, I’m enjoying the hell out of ruminating on just how vexing this must be the the rebel-flag waving “you can’t possibly understand southern culture” crowd. I imagine them getting all confused with their crosses and Tennessee battle flags, forgetting which one they’re supposed to fly in front of their mobile homes, and which they’re supposed to set on fire and, as a result. a tangible uptick in the number of trailer fires today in Tickdick, Mississippi and Flatass, Alabama.

Is it wrong to be a wise ass? Probably, but I’m not much for decorum or solemnity.  I’ve never been very good at either.  There is a part of me that his hopeful–the part that wonders if the high profile deaths of so many black men and children, and the inevitable push back from law enforcement, politicians, and a lot of clueless civilians reflexively defending the status quo, isn’t a temblor that might indicate the possibility of a culture-altering earthquake of enlightenment.  Cops have been doing this stuff since forever, but now folks are actually paying attention. We won’t see increased convictions, but communities are demanding more accountability–and so what if those demands are inspired not by enlightenment but by the desire to avoid negative publicity and expensive litigation.  Change is like spaghetti on the ceiling: occasionally it sticks.

It’s going to be a long trip, however it works out. It has only been a few years since a cross was burned on the front yard of a family not 20 miles from where I live, in western Pennsylvania–the home of a family well known for taking in foster children, one of whom, when the crime was committed, just happened to be the one African-American student in their entire school district.  There’s a lot of hate–most of it rooted in the shallow soil of ignorance–in those narrow, twisty roads through the foothills and hollows. But shallow soils lead to shallow roots, so maybe there’s a chance.

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Commentary

God Bless America? Sometimes You Gotta Wonder

This disgusting tale needs no editorial comment from me.  WWJD indeed.

Pastor Ray Chavez: Poster Boy For Christian Hate & Hypocrisy
Pastor Ray Chavez: Poster Boy For Christian Hate & Hypocrisy

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_27312180/family-lakewood-church-refuses-funeral-service-because-woman?source=infinite

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/01/13/colorado-church-denies-funeral-for-lesbian-woman/21709363/

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Commentary

An American, Too

I found this interesting sign during a recent google adventure, and it led to some interesting research.

Frank Tanaka immigrated to the USA in 1903, when he was 16 years old.  Twenty-nine years of hard work later he opened a popular Japanese restaurant in Salem, Oregon and became a respected businessman.  His story, told on the sign he placed in the window of his restaurant after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, is not an uncommon one.

war_4

Not long after this sign went up, Mr Tanaka and his family were forcibly relocated to the Tule Lake concentration camp, along with most ethnic Japanese living in the western United States, regardless of citizenship status.  Like all internees, Mr. Tanaka and his family were allowed to take only what they could carry.  In some cases, non-Japanese friends were able to protect some of the internees valuables, but many more saw all of their property looted, or sold off illegally–or simply claimed by others.  After the war, many of them came home to find other people living in their homes, often still using their furniture, and they had no legal recourse for reclaiming their property.

Most Japanese-Americans lost everything they owned during World War 2, but despite this, despite losing their rights, special volunteer units drawn from the husbands and sons of the 10 concentration camps set up to punish the Japanese for their ancestry, fought tenaciously in some of the fiercest battles in the war.

Over 122,000 people of Japanese extraction were interred during the war–nearly 70,000 of whom were American citizens. Many others had been in this country between 20 and 40 years.  No person of Japanese heritage was convicted of  sabotage or espionage during the war.  None.

As the war progressed, small numbers of German and Italian prisoners of war were incarcerated at Tule Lake.  Though segregated from the Japanese Americans, these confirmed enemy combatants were often given much greater freedoms.

Mr. Tanaka’s restaurant did not reopen after the war.
Tule Lake Relocation Center

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Best Damn Quotes #7 Hannah Harrington

Hannah Harrington

“I hate organized religion. I hate that people use it to justify their crappy, bigoted beliefs.”
Hannah Harrington, Saving June
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Best Damn Quotes #6 Lord Byron

George Gordon Byron

“Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.”
― Lord George Gordon Byron