The Question to Ask Trumphole on Gun Control

I am not going to weigh-in again on the gun debate, as I have already shared my opinions several times over the course of the past five years. And, yes, that’s right boys and girls, this week we celebrated the 5th anniversary of Nipple Monkey!

However, I do wish that one of these grieving parents from Florida would ask Trump the one question that might get his fat ass off the bench in the gun control debate. And, no, it’s not asking him to think about how his campaign contributors, the lobbyists and special interests who helped put him in the White House, and all the far-right Republican hypocrites who have swallowed every ounce of self-respect in order to keep him there would feel if he introduced legislation that would not only reinstate the ban on assault weapons (which, let’s be honest, are made for mass murder, not hunting) but also establish measures that would prevent people with mental health issues from owning a gun as well as prevent people who are on our nation’s terrorist watch list from owning a gun (yes, Republicans actually shot down legislation to prevent confirmed terrorists from purchasing guns).

Instead, I am hoping that someone will ask Trump how he would feel if it was one of his own children who were gunned down in a mass shooting. OK, if Ivanka was gunned down, since she seems to be the only one of his kids that he genuinely cares about – even if it is just for her looks. I’d like him to think about how he would explain his inaction on gun reform to Melania, assuming she’s still talking to him at this point, or whichever of his three wives was the actual mother of his freshly slaughtered child.

Yes, it’s a gruesome thought, but no more gruesome than what those 17 families have had to face. And given that Trumpo is clearly incapable of thinking of anyone but himself, someone needs to get his pea brain thinking about what it would be like if his family was on the receiving end of an AR-15 or some other assault weapon in a mass shooting.

But as we debate this issue, keep in mind that there are two types of gun owners in this country. There are the responsible people who may or may not fear that enacting any sort of legislation will open the door for the repeal of the Second Amendment (personally I love guns, but I would support the sort of legislation I mentioned earlier, in the second paragraph, because I don’t live in a world of fear and therefore am confident that we are strong enough as a nation to always retain our right to bear arms responsibly). And then there are the people who burst into a crowded pizzeria with an AR-15 assault rifle – the same kind used in the Parkland shooting – and start firing off rounds because they genuinely believe that Hillary Clinton, who has a net worth of $45 million, had to resort to running a child sex trafficking operation out of a secret room in some random local pizzeria (no, I’m not making this up), presumably so she could afford her private email server.

And I don’t know what’s more disturbing, the number of people who actually believe that kind of nonsense or the fact that they are walking around with loaded assault rifles. Which reminds me, as bad as the Russian trolls may be, they hardly compare to some of these alt-right ones who were responsible for propagating moronic shit like this.

Trump Is The Mother Of All Angry, Hateful, Violent Rhetoric

A terrible tragedy occurred at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park last week. Apparently acting out of political rage, a deranged gunman shot and wounded a number of Republican politicians along with a few of their ever-present lobbyists. And it was shocking to learn that this gunman was not only a liberal, but a Bernie Sanders supporter (and quite possibly Walter Sobchak’s doppelganger).

Why shocking, given that an average of 650 Americans are killed every single week by guns? Because it’s rare to find a gun enthusiast who also embraces liberal politics, though I suppose I could count myself in that category as well. And even rarer to find someone engaging in mass murder in the name of liberal politics, as that’s typically been the realm of both religious and political conservatives throughout the 21st century.

I was also surprised by some of the reactions to the shooting, with a number of Republican politicians and conservative pundits seemingly perplexed by the political vitriol that’s foaming throughout our society – with a few shameless hypocrites actually trying to blame Democrats for all the anger, hatred, and violence. Especially when it has been the Republicans and their conservative attack dogs who have been the ones billowing an endless stream of bellicose rhetoric throughout the presidential campaign – and through all eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, for that matter.

For example, when faced with hecklers at his campaign rallies, Sanders quietly let them air their views, offering to listen to his opponents rather than attempt to brutally silence them. In contrast, when asked how he would handle such a situation, Donald Trump took great pride in pointing out that he would immediately and unequivocally resort to violence: “I don’t know if I will do the fighting myself or if other people will.”

And what’s even more shocking, and downright ridiculous, is Trump’s daughter’s claim that she was surprised by the anger and hatred towards her father in Washington. Add to that one of her brother’s claim that those who disparaged his father were “not even human.”

Did they not hear Trump when he encouraged fans of the Second Amendment (aka, gun enthusiasts) to take action against his political opponents? Did they not hear him when he encouraged his supporters to “knock the crap out” of anyone who disagreed with them? Did they not hear him when he told his supporters that he’d pay their legal fees if they committed violence against protesters? Did they not hear him when he said he could kill a man and not lose any votes? Have they ever even glanced at their father’s Twitter feed, for shit’s sake? Gimme a break!

Given Old Man Trump’s world-class mastery of lying and hypocrisy, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by the ridiculous, duplicitous rubbish being spewed forth by his children. His daughter is trying to position her father as some sort of innocent, angelic victim at the very same time as his son is echoing his brutish method of trying to demean and insult anyone who dares to question or criticize his father.

Let’s face it, Ivanka and Eric, when it comes to mean, Daddy Donald is the reigning queen. On the campaign trail, he mocked Marco Rubio’s physical stature – repeatedly calling him “Little Marco” – and then had the audacity to claim that Rubio was “a very nasty guy.” With Carly Fiorina, he also attacked her physical appearance, saying: “‘Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” Of Lindsey Graham, he said: “He’s one of the dumbest human beings I have ever seen.” He repeatedly called Ted Cruz a liar, which is pretty ironic considering Trump’s chronic disengagement from the truth. He said that Rand Paul “reminds me of a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain” (again, quite ironic coming from Trump). He compared Ben Carson, who he appointed as his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, to a child molester. And for John Kasich, who I thought was the strongest candidate of the bunch, the best he could come up with was: “I have never seen a human being eat in such a disgusting fashion.”

Classy, huh? Certainly not a mean guy, right? And all this after publicly heckling President Obama for nearly a decade.

So please drop the “daddy’s a victim” crap and your whining routine about the rough and tumble of political rhetoric in Washington, DC. Trump and his band of bullies have bulldozed the competition in that category. And that goes for the rest of you right-wing hypocrites as well. It’s as disingenuous as all these nonsensical claims from Republican politicians and conservative pundits who, after eight year of obstruction, insults, and threats during the Obama administration, suddenly want the other side to keep their mouths shuts and let them do whatever they want while they’re in the White House, with no questions – let alone opposition – allowed.

It’s right to condemn this senseless act of violence. But if you want to figure out where all the anger and hatred comes from, Trump, his children, and his political minions across the country need to look no further than the mirror.

Groundhog Deniers

ghogdIt’s Groundhog Day. Every February 2nd, hordes of my fellow Americans gather around the burrow of a Marmota monax, commonly known as a groundhog, though we called them woodchucks where I grew up. When the animal emerges in the morning, presumably from its winter hibernation, the theory is that if it sees its shadow, it will return to its burrow and winter will last for six more weeks – until around the vernal equinox, which is the official start of spring in the northern hemisphere. If it doesn’t see its shadow, presumably due to cloud cover or perhaps even a large pine tree overhead, then spring is supposed to arrive early – before the equinox.

This is, of course, absolute nonsense. And the fact that the media actually cover it, including professional meteorologists, is rather insulting. After all, there is no scientific evidence backing any of this up. In fact, a study of groundhog predictions in 13 cities over the past 30-plus years determined that the animal’s forecasts were accurate only 37 percent of the time. And America’s best-known groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, has only been accurate 39 percent of the time. In other words, flipping a coin is a far more effective way to predict the weather.

Why am I even whining about this? Why make a fuss about a relatively harmless folksy tradition? Because I live in a nation run by imbeciles who put far more stock in such stupidity than they do in proven, rationale thinking.

Last year, 60 percent of the Republicans in the House of Representatives and 70 percent of them in the Senate were climate change deniers. They insist on ignoring the overwhelming body of evidence and educated views of leading experts across the scientific community, which have proven that climate change is real and that humans are impacting it. And now we have a President who is just as stupid. OK, let’s be honest, he’s a lot more stupid…but you get the point.

And we use the term climate change deniers because it’s not like these people actually believe that our climate isn’t changing, or that we, as humans, aren’t contributing to that change. They not stupid (well, at least not all of them). It’s just that these politicians are funded by special interests – a whopping $117.5 million in donations from oil and gas companies last year – who stand to lose money if we enact legislation that curtails the use of fossil fuels, even though that legislation would be prudent to protect our planet – as well as ensure the safety and security of the United States – from the adverse effects of climate change around the world.

Because they accepted those checks, these politicians cannot openly acknowledge the truth about climate change, let alone enact any sort of policy to address it. Instead, they choose to blindly deny all the evidence, citing fringe reports published by lackeys who are also on the payroll of Big Oil, and simply pretend that there is no scientific consensus on climate change. They turn their back on the green energy boom and all the jobs and revenue it would create for Americans (not to mention the future health and welfare of our species and our planet) in favor of getting a fat check today. They serve themselves, instead of serving the people.

So, yeah, I’m a little pissed that we give the groundhog tradition more credence than we do science-based phenomena like climate change. The good news is that 70 percent of Americans believe that climate change is real and affected by humans. The bad news is that we appear to be too stupid to elect officials who are willing to embrace the truth.

Today may be Goundhog Day, but every other day seems to be Big Oil’s.

Thought of the Day: Being Presidential

RepHands

Do we want to hand over our nuclear launch codes to someone who is so immature and insecure that, when his policies where challenged and his record questioned, his first instinct was to make fun of someone else’s height and then claim that he has a big penis – on live, primetime television?

And for what it’s worth, “Little Marco” appears to have the bigger hands – at least compared to their relative head size. Not that there is anything to that myth, much like Trump’s blustery policy claims. And even if there were, everyone knows it’s not the size of the tool but how you use it that matters – and clearly Trump is a tool who is only interested in his own gratification.

The Imaginary War on Christmas

SatancupsJesus freaks are on the warpath – again. It’s that time of year, Christmas, when Christians celebrate the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ.

Of course, December 25th isn’t exactly when Christ was born (if, in fact, such an individual ever actually existed). When shaping the doctrine of modern Christianity, determining what Christians would believe and what would be abandoned (specifically, what stories would be adopted as the Bible, the alleged word of God, and what stories would be left out, no longer considered the word of God), Roman Emperor Constantine and his sanctimonious spin doctors decided to declare December 25th as the day Jesus was born.

They didn’t select this date at random. No, they stole it from pagans, the very people modern Christians claim have declared some sort of war on their Christmas holiday. Constantine and his word-of-God-declaring minions knew that their best bet for getting people to join and celebrate their new-found faith would be to co-opt an existing holiday they’re already celebrating, like the pagan one on December 25th, which celebrated the birth of their Sun God.

Yup, Son of God…Sun God…Constantine was a clever little charlatan. After all, not only did his co-opted holiday usurp and ultimately outlast the original pagan one, but his favorite stories are now considered the word of God.

Today’s activist Christians (those who disobey the teachings of Jesus to openly judge their fellow man instead of leaving that solemn responsibility to God, as their Bible teaches) claim that non-Christians have somehow declared war on their Christmas holiday. Apparently those of us who don’t follow their faith have been accused of not following their faith. In a nutshell, we are treating December 25th like any other day, and that simply will not do for them.

This, of course, happens every year – at least every year since the Republican party cut a deal with the devil and decided to defy the Constitution by mixing church and state in an effort to win more votes. Christian fundamentalists have become one of the most powerful special interest groups in Washington, forcing countless conservative politicians and their right wing propaganda outlets to declare that there is a phantom war on the holiday they stole from the pagans.

The latest target of their wraith is Starbucks, a company that dared to introduce maroon holiday cups for the holidays. The cups, according to the American Inquisition, lack the apparently essential Christian symbolism. Forgetting the fact that these cups are designed to celebrate the entire holiday season, including Judaism’s Chanukah and Islam’s Mawlid, it seems these Christians want Starbucks to reissue new cups that honor only their beliefs – perhaps by prominently displaying either a baby Jesus being born in a dung-filled manger or the cross that was used to slowly kill the adult Jesus. You know, to better celebrate the season.

It’s strange, though, because most of these activist Christians are also conservative voters, and as such they generally oppose government interference in the business sector. Yet they have their politicians out in front of the news media interfering with the way a company does business – specifically how they design their coffee cups. And, similarly, you never see these Christians or their lap-dog politicos going after retailers who have big sales on the holidays. They claim to oppose the commercialization of Christmas, but not if it’s going to diminish their investment portfolio.

What would Jesus do? Happy Holidays, even to the hypocrites!

Terrorism Knows No Religion

RLDMany Republican presidential hopefuls have branded Islam as the religion of terrorists. Some, such as Donald Trump, have gone as far as suggesting we should register all Muslims in America, like they did to Japanese-Americans during World War II. Ever the ugly idiot, Trump even called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, apparently unaware of the little thing we call the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

I was curious to see how these ill-informed and shamelessly intolerant politicians, and those who share such beliefs about Islam and Muslims, would react to the recent shooting in Colorado Springs. Of course, it was followed by an even more horrific shooting rampage by a California couple who claimed to be Muslims, acting on their own twisted interpretations of Islamic doctrine. But the shooter in Colorado Springs, Robert Lewis Dear, claimed to be a Christian and was apparently acting on his own twisted interpretations of Christian doctrine.

So we’ve had two mass shootings by people who profess a certain faith but follow their own twisted interpretations of that faith – interpretations not widely recognized by the true adherents of their faith. Both are cases of violence in the name of religious extremism and religious intolerance. Yet the acts committed by those claiming to be Muslims are widely recognized as terrorism while the similar actions of someone claiming to be a Christian are viewed more as an unfortunate incident by a mentally unstable individual.

Other Christian terrorists have used bombs, arson, fake anthrax, and assassination as tools in their jihad against law-abiding citizens choosing to exercise their rights and freedoms. Mainstream Christians rightfully denounce such acts, noting that they do not represent their faith. In such instances, including the recent shooting in Colorado, we all recognize that these are people who are using religion as an excuse for their own intolerance and hatred. Yet when someone commits such horrific acts in the name of Islam, based on their own warped interpretation of that religion, they are said to be evil, haters of freedom, and their entire religion is often condemned for the actions of a few. The difference in the reactions to these two tragedies, particularly by the Republican presidential candidates, illustrates this bias unmistakably.

But there seem to be far more acts of terror being committed in the false name of Islam, so there must be something about that religion, right? Well, maybe if you were born yesterday. Anyone who knows their history will recognize that this wasn’t always the case. For example, a litany of unspeakable horrors we’re committed in the false name of Christianity during the Inquisition. But I believe the recent rise in Islamic extremism is being driven by two factors.

First and foremost, many nations in which Islam is the dominant religion have been ruled by corrupt regimes, often either put in power or supported by Western nations like Britain, France, and the United States. That has resulted in generations who feel disenfranchised and cheated by their own leaders and they, in turn, blame the nations that have put or helped keep these beasts in power.

We’re talking about uneducated, impoverished individuals with an axe – real or imagined – to grind, much like Robert Lewis Dear. We’re also talking about the alienated outcasts and, quite often, those who consider themselves victims of some grievance – again, real or imagined. And, of course, there are those who simply want to be somebody, striving for global infamy in a brazen act of terrorism instead of the now somewhat lesser infamy (and often much harder to justify to oneself) of killing a celebrity or politician.

This is compounded by some very manipulative people who also feel they have an axe to grind, and know how to use things like religion to get these other unfortunate fools to do their bidding. And they have been able to greatly expand their reach thanks to the Internet and 24/7 news cycle. Think of Osama bin Laden, the maniacs in charge of ISIL, and even the evil bastards who doctored videos of Planned Parenthood staffers to make them look like monsters and then fed these brazen falsehoods to the conservative Christian propaganda machine.

As you see, it takes all kinds. And in this culture of victimization, there are no shortage of candidates who might decided to commit an act of terror to right what they perceive as wrongs. For them, religion – that ultimate authority that has the power to both justify and absolve – is an ideal form justification. And that goes for any religion, including both Islam and Christianity.

The Bible, like the Quran, is open to interpretation. Some people say you can eat shellfish. Others claim that doing so is an abomination. So when will we recognize that those who commit heinous acts based on their misguided interpretations of the Quran are no different from those who commit similar acts based on their misguided interpretations of the Bible? And when will we finally admit that terrorism is not the product of a religion but rather of people who use religion as an excuse for anger and evil?

Ben Carson: Liar-in-Chief?

But does Ben Carson?

But does Ben Carson?

Ben Carson has been campaigning as the cool, intelligent option for conservatives – two characteristics that seem to be in short supply among the rest of the Republican presidential hopefuls. But, like Donald Trump’s key selling point, Carson’s turns out to be nothing more than a carefully crafted deception.

In fact, a good chunck of Carson’s personal narrative appears to be a lie. He claims to have received a scholarship to West Point. Except that he completely made that up. He also claims to have saved some fearful white students from his riotous black schoolmates in Detroit, though he couldn’t name a single student in question and no one from the school remembers him doing anything even remotely like that. Similar fabrications have surfaced throughout his personal creation myth, from being threatened at gunpoint to trying to stab a childhood friend, all without anyone else recalling such events – not those who were allegedly involved or even those who knew him at the time, let alone any of the official records that such incidents would have surely generated.

It seems that the most important aspect of Carson’s character is his eagerness to make up stories that portray himself as a hero. And to put the discrepancies of his past into a cultural context, everyone remembers him as Urkel, but he claims that he was the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Like most Republican candidates, when questioned about these discrepancies and inaccuracies, such as his denials of being involved with a company that sells nutritional supplements when there’s abundant evidence that he was, Carson simply lies about it and attacks the media for asking questions that expose him as a fraud. Lying doesn’t seem to be a problem for the likes of Carson and Trump…the problem is those pesky reporters who expose their lies.

It remains to be seen if voters will buy the traditional smoke and mirrors of the media bias argument. Carson was supposed to have the integrity lacking in most of the other Republican hopefuls, but his litany of lies might be too much for even his lemmings to swallow.

The rampant vanity of Ben Carson becomes apparent in his home, which is filled with portraits of himself, much like the megalomaniacal cartoon character Montgomery Burns.

The rampant vanity of Ben Carson becomes apparent in his home, which is filled with portraits of himself, much like the megalomaniacal cartoon character Montgomery Burns.

Lying is one thing, but stupidity is another. And Carson is no slouch on that front either.

For example, Carson, who hopes to become the next leader of the free world, appears to think the pyramids are hollow. Rather than learning from experts who have studied the culture, beliefs, agriculture, and building practices of ancient Egypt (and the actual pyramids themselves), as any reasonable non-expert might do, Carson has opted to concoct a fairytale explanation for who built the pyramids and why. He claims that they were built by someone in the Bible to store grain – not by the people of Egypt as burial crypts for the Pharoahs.

But you don’t have to be an Egyptologist or even an archeologist to realize just how stupid Carson’s claim is. The pyramids are mostly stone, with surprisingly little open space inside them. They are not, as Carson seems to believe, giant hollow structures. If you wanted to build something to store grain, the pyramids would surely be the worst possible option to choose. In fact, the claim is so ridiculous one has to question the man’s hold on reality.

Fortunately, the media are starting to ask the hard questions, and actually fact-checking Carson’s answers. Will his supporters, like Trump’s, ignore the answers and hide behind claims of media bias? Or will the truth set them free?

How can a brain surgeon be stupid? Hubris makes it easy to overlook the details, as evident in this inscription Carson had chiseled into the marble in his home. Poor spacing is one thing, but you'd think someone fond of quoting proverbs would at least know how to spell the word.

How can a brain surgeon be stupid? Hubris makes it easy to overlook the details, as evident in this inscription Carson had chiseled into the marble in his home. Poor spacing is one thing, but you’d think someone fond of quoting proverbs would at least know how to spell the word.