Banned In Boston? No, Missouri!

Here’s some scary stuff. Really fucking scary, worthy of more attention than its getting. If this doesn’t scare you, it should.

This puts a tremendous threat and unfair burden against and on librarians, and threatens our very freedom at its most valuable: expression, speech, thought, learning, recreation.

Probably the work of Christian fundamentalists who usually don’t shrink from a fight for “God”, this bill has seen many like it in the Bible belt and beyond. It’s always been like that. When I was very young, kids’ books were so vanilla that they avoided reality in some pretty bizarre ways, with exceptions like the end of Mike Mulligan and his Steamshovel, but even that ended with kids not so sure if living the rest of his life in a basement with an obsolete Steamshovel was really all that happy. Then in the 70s things began to change. Hunter Thompson’s Hell’s Angels described the “statutory rape at Bass Lake” with enough detail that this title would be gone forevermore. Bills like these would throttle the progress we’ve made culturally. Because nobody knows what’s next once censorship begins. It hurtles like a snowball down a hill in a cartoon. It gathers more momentum and it sucks up anything in its path.

Here’s a bill which would cause a librarian jail time and the library to lose funding if anything mentions in its text the subjects of sexual assault and gay rights or even books by gay and lesbian authors. Because you know if the content gets banned, so too will be the authors.

By the late 1970s I could buy any paperback I could find. Buy it cheap, and if it was good, it stayed on the shelf to be reread many times. Books by diverse authors such as Joseph Wambaugh and nonfiction greats. If anything was banned by libraries, and I know there were, then I’ve forgotten the titles. An old saying went, “If it could be banned in Boston, it’ll be a blockbuster”. Some classic titles were and still are banned depending on location.

We were not the better for it. Except for Disco, there was a time when I was naive enough to believe we’d made progress. At 7-eleven you could buy Hustler Magazine, but Reader’s Digest was still there, too. One could be found in library mag sections, the other surely not. In one issue of Reader’s Digest, I read an article titled “The Terrible Trauma Of Rape”. Guess what? It was incredibly enlightening at the time, and that is what I believe is really what most censorship aims to stop.

Keep in mind that most shitty bills like this are penned by Republicans, who often feel threatened by knowledge. Because the more people know about the LGBTQ population and lifestyle, the more they know what constitutes rape and sexual assault and harassment, the more republican politicians will face their own danger of public disgrace and scandal, and perhaps prison time. The repressive are the ones who are most dangerous as a rule; they fight their own demons. They doth protest too loudly, you know?

Now protecting children is always our job. Yeah. For everyone. But I don’t give a damn for anyone sponsoring a bill for draconian Gestapo-style bullshit in the name of protecting kids when over 5,000 children of Latin American heritage have been kidnapped, put in cages and trafficked for sex and domestic slavery. Come on! Republicans did that ghastly shit! They’re still unable to answer questions truthfully about it. Folks, that’s over five thousand children! Don’t you fucking dare tell me republican assholes in Missouri care about children. If they did, they’d be screaming at Washington, they’d be against this shit, and they would tell their constituents the fucking truth.

I got pissed when libraries banned the Harry Potter books. Being a liberal Christian, I’d read the books and found that, yes, they grew more dark and more complicated in vocabulary and theme as they progressed. And yes, I knew that the Bible forbade witchcraft.

But this was a fantasy world. Rowling created a whole world, and it’s intricate and has quite the backstory. It’s also brilliant and magnificently done. Some libraries didn’t think so.

And then came the hacks like Pat Robertson and others. “Real witches claim that the Harry Potter books are their best recruiting tool” they said, and what’s funny is, it’s a lie. Firstly, because Rowling’s world is fantasy. If someone looks to become a witch after reading the books, they quickly learn that they won’t be fighting dark wizards. There’s no adventure. No stunning spells, although “avada kedavra” was supposed to once be a real spoken curse, but it certainly didn’t strike people dead by shooting green lightning from a stick.

No, Rowling’s work is a showcase for bravery, altruism, loyalty and the constant fight for what’s right. It safely exposes readers to issues like love, coming of age, having convictions that are good and defended for against all odds. And the books progressed as a child would grow and be able to actually feel the stories and what characters endured. From overcoming fear to losing loved ones to bigotry and learning that people are not always the way one perceives, it’s all there, packed with comedy and growing pains and deep regret.

Rowling herself is a Christian, and the books reflect this. There’s Christmas, trees, gifts, and of course sacrifice, all themes not associated with witchcraft by the religious right. She was telling a story, one that was long and complex, and with a delicate touch for honesty and goodness. It’s one big masterpiece.

One thing I liked which was not in the films, was Hermione’s activism over the rights of the house elves. This you don’t get much of in these times. Reading news articles, which kids to the older end of childhood can access on their phones and tablets, is a horror. These are terrifying times we’re in, and parents need to be there and paying attention to what their children are exposed to, not because they should stop all web browsing, but because the kids have questions and concerns. Together they can find answers and hope. That’s what being a parent is about. However, it is up to a parent, not a librarian or a political idiot to monitor their children’s activity on the web. Or in a library, or with cable TV. It’s a job so many utterly fail at; families rarely sit down together for evening meals, don’t turn off their cell phones, don’t ask what’s going on, don’t even talk. That’s the real problem, not books.

Hey, I gotta tell you before I go that hell yeah, I read some fucked up books growing up. Of course I did. But I learned from them. I had insights into what was going on in my own fucked-up life, and I wanted to be a better person than what I was headed to become. You take away the horrible, and kids can’t respect the good. As Horace Slughorn said, “There can be no light without the dark,” and that’s the God’s honest truth.

I’m gonna leave you with something done by Samuel L. Jackson which I happen to agree with. Don’t let freedom die. If it does, we die.

If You Thought He Was A Moron Before, Well, Now You Really Know.

Still think Trump is harmless, do you? Still going to vote for him, no matter what? It’s time to get a bit more serious. Because both India and China play such influential roles in world affairs, you may think it doesn’t matter much that there could be conflict between the two, but you would be really fucking wrong. And both are nuclear powers, making the politics between the two of them rather a delicate matter. Donald Trump doesn’t think so.

Not that I ever thought Trump was particularly brilliant or even remotely intelligent, mind you; but how can anyone be so lazy and stupid as to have a cell phone in his hand constantly and not even consult Google maps before saying anything like this bullshit?

This ain’t angry and incoherent tweets. This is exactly the man you voted for, the one whose bumper stickers you put on that rubber shit they call a bumper. This is the guy, the idiot, who told stupid lies, I mean really stupid things, and told tens of thousands of lies since riding his escalator like Lord Voldemort coming back from the near-dead.

Here’s why cell phones can give you answers about world geography.

And, really? Like, when it’s your job to deal with foreign leaders, what the fuck, people!

He does have plenty of people who are educated giving him advice; you’re absolutely right. But you didn’t notice all the good aides and advisors who have been fired, or fled the White House? He doesn’t listen. It’s his demented world view, diplomacy by the mind of a stricken and afflicted man, and this time, you’re best off voting for any democratic nominee.

At least they passed 7th grade geography…

Oh, Yes, We Are Well And Truly Doomed

Wakanda of Marvel Comics fame was added to the list of countries we do trade with. The USDA, which has recently been given orders by the Trump administration to back off considerably on meat and slaughterhouse safety and quality regulations and inspections, did this, as some moron put it, as a “test”, supposedly for new people on the job.

Question: why would the USDA, which is about to lay off a shitload of employees as a result of being declawed by Trump, be hiring people, and, more to the point, why trick said applicants with a fake country? Is it so Trump’s goons can make sure they’re hiring unprincipled idiots who live in Mama’s basement?

We’re doomed. We are in every way possible, fucking doomed.

Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Some report made a headline this week. It said “Confirmed: Low Voter Turnout Got Trump Elected”

And I knew that. Months before the general election I warned everyone I could that they had to show up in November. I said that the polls had Clinton way ahead, but that people couldn’t count on polls electing a president. I warned people that Trump could win. I was usually ignored. Anyone interacting would tell me, “No way, he’s an ass clown and a racist”.

What happened was, to use a hackneyed phrase, a perfect storm. First Trump appealed to racists and misogynists. He was busted on an old hot mic recording bragging that he was famous so he could walk up to women, skip the formalities and trash respect, and just “grab them by the pussy.” Then we saw that the world wasn’t as offended as some of the rest of us were. Then came Trump’s live plea to Russia to search for thousands of missing emails that belonged to Secretary Clinton. Oh, yes. Right in front of God and everybody. There was an uproar. It wasn’t enough.

There came rumours of videos taken by Russian operatives while Trump was in a Moscow hotel. I said to a friend, “you can’t make this stuff up.”

Despite the second part of the rumour, which had an MI-6 operative in possession of at least one video, it blew over. No video was produced. Donald Trump’s campaign against the media had already begun. But he used that to get air time on morning network and cable shows by calling in. He was manipulating and overtly playing them to smear his opponent and get free campaign stump time.

And Russia really did hack computers. And they had agents on the ground mess with voting machines. Vote cards vanished.

But most of all, more than any other factor, two things combined to seal Clinton’s loss. The first was that I saw hundreds of posts by type-A males who would rather die than see a woman elected to the presidency. But there’s more to it. Hillary Clinton had been targeted by Republicans for years, and yes, that goes considerably back, way before Benghazi. And then it happened: FBI Director James Comey announced a new investigation into her emails and then announced at the last minute that the case had been closed. By then it was too late. Men who might have voted for her stayed home or at work. And nowhere did I see more disdain for her expressed than by women. Women!

And of course Trump won. People refused to engage. They were tired of the campaign, tired of politics. There had never been a more televised, or covered by other media, election, from the first primary debates to the “potty debate” to the ugly debate where Trump looked exactly like a stalker, standing behind Clinton and scowling with hatred smoldering in his eyes.

Three years later, we are in one nasty mess.

Impeachment hearings have moved ahead. Republicans we first imagined would hold Trump in check have sold their souls to protect him. They’re really choosing party over country. I wonder how they can be so stupid as to not see the damage they’re doing.

Constitutional law and the checks and balances mean nothing to Trump. He views his office as ultimate power, unlimited and unbridled. Which most likely no other president in our history, no matter how incompetent, has ever thought about.

He’s withdrawn from the Paris Agreement. Reversed safety and quality rules from the Clean Water Act to the meat cutting industry. Ever heard of Upton Sinclair? Well, you should look him up.

He’s sucked up to dictators after first insulting them. He’s alienated long-standing allies. He’s engaged us in trade wars, mainly China, claiming that China would capitulate quickly. Yet the proof shows that it is the American consumer who is being hurt, not China. That, and the tax bill, has hit hard. Co-pays on drugs and general healthcare are jumping up so fast that it is an harbinger of very scary times dead ahead. Consumer prices at market have been increased by twenty cents in a single day. Add climate change to this, with a dreadful potato crop this year, and inflation we haven’t imagined can’t be far away.

The president says of wildfires, “the forests need to be raked.”

He made a surprise visit to Afghanistan. After the shit he pulled with the Kurds, he was lucky he didn’t get fragged. He thinks his soldiers love him. But they don’t. Releasing war criminals was a stupid and evil move. One man, a sniper, had fellow soldiers mess up his iron sights and scope because they had seen him shooting at civilians. You can’t make this stuff up. A similarly disposed soldier could easily have killed Trump. After all, fragging is hardly anything new.

Now, don’t misunderstand. I’d hate to see something like that happen. I’m saying he’s pissed off so many people that he’s got enemies everywhere. No president has been so careless.

He’s been laughed at several times in front of large groups of people. Once while speaking at the UN General Assembly. A few days ago it happened again with a group of world leaders, and Trump reportedly saw it either on video or from hot mics. He called Justin Trudeau “Two-faced” and cut the summit short like the castrated brat he’s been acting like since taking office.

The disastrous Macron meeting with the press was bizarre. Trump made bizarre claims about NATO and money, and Macron dressed him down. Afterward Trump made it all about himself as usual. He said the French weren’t his favorite people because they weren’t for him, forgetting that two years earlier, crowds chanted, “Give us Trump!” because he was anti-muslim.

He also offered to send Macron “some nice ISIS fighters”. This, coming from a traitor president who has an obsession about making peace with the Taliban and wanted to meet leaders at Camp David.

You can’t make this stuff up. You can’t and, no matter how loud the Republicans scream”witch hunt”, it’s all too real.

There’s talk that Senator Graham wants to censure Trump; he supposedly said an impeachment will “traumatize” the country. What, he doesn’t see trauma already? Stupidity and lies don’t go well together, Senator.

There’s also talk of Trump refusing to step down if he loses the election or is impeached and kicked out. That’s unlikely but he has made statements indicating he plans to stay as long as he wants.

Some Democrats theorize that a recent trip to the hospital may be a sign that Trump is setting the stage for a medical reason to resign. This is not consistent with any behaviour or language he has used. Now evangelicals and crackpot politicians are repeating what Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson said early on: Trump is ordained by God.

That’s funny because the Christian bible contains warnings from Christ that in the last days, people would claim and be proclaimed by many to be the Saviour.

This points out how extreme racism is being widely accepted by the Christian right. And if they’re doing that, then they’re doing something else warned about concerning the final days: widespread apostasy (false teaching) in the church.

Whether you’re religious is of course, up to you. But it’s scary that churches are embracing a man so opposite of the Jesus they claim to worship.

In fact, I’ve known more atheists who behave like a Christian should than I have Christians. I find that deeply concerning.

Because the church has undeniable political clout, and Trump has encouraged them.

But so often in history the threat of Hell and divine retribution have been used to scare people, and thereby control them – and of course, their money. And who pays the most?

The poor. The lesser educated. The rich do tithes for show. They never reveal their income to anyone, so of course paying a tithe by percentage is ludicrous to expect.

Politics, separation of church and state, checks and balances, oversight, all are being stepped on. What we have isn’t politics. It’s a national and international emergency.

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings dies at 68 – Baltimore Sun

This morning we lost a true hero, a patriot and a friend. A man who told us all, “We’re better than this!” when he saw the injustice in the Trump administration’s policies.

Today we are less than we were yesterday. One of my personal heroes and most esteemed political figures of all time, my heart is heavy with our loss of this good, honest, decent, caring gentleman.

Rest in peace, Rep. Elijah Cummings. The world is not as bright without you in it. May your family and your friends be comforted by memories of the many people you helped…and the many more you have inspired.

‘Impeachment barricade is crumbling’: Trump officials are ignoring his threats and cooperating with House Dems – Raw Story–With Forward

As we watch the inquiry unfold, Trump has forced Hunter Biden to an interview, which was not exactly something he had reservations about but the Biden campaign did as it would essentially be playing Trump’s game. The interview is an opportunity for Warren to attack Joe Biden. Tonight’s debate is that opportunity.

It was no longer in the best interest of anyone involved to remain silent, yet now the can of worms has been formally opened. I believe it was a bad move, and while Hunter Biden is being honest, the media has already shown carefully edited segments that make him appear to be whining. To get the sincerity of the man, you’d have to watch the interview here.

That aside, Trump is looking straight down the barrel of a cannon that is ready to fire. He has done it to himself and there is no quarter to be had. Now, after a uniquely unpopular move to betray the Kurds, footage of the carnage wrought by Turkey has turned sour on Trump. And to make it worse, he’s wavered on sanctions against Turkey. The US forces in the meantime took fire from Turkish bombs, because, of course, with any military deployment, there is equipment. Ammunition and arms. Medics and supplies, other supplies for food, communication, and of course heavy vehicles. You don’t order a withdrawal and have it happen in a day. Clearly, our President has no idea of how the military he commands works. And worse, Trump betrayed a personal promise to the Kurdish leader to protect his town. And Russian forces are ready to replace the position our troops held. Turkey, Iran, Russia, Syria and more are careful to calculate the instability of Trump, but now take the United States as a non-player. And Trump knows nothing of what he has caused.

That’s no surprise; he’s infamous for not being inquisitive, dismissing intelligence briefings or asking for photographs and maps instead of text. He’s a man so unqualified even after almost three years that he is increasingly strained by the pressure he’s under. That pressure showed up last week, as full-blown rage, in two speeches. Speeches in which he swore and cursed and shocked some people with his language.

What everyone seemed to be asking was who had ever heard a president speak that way on the record, in a public forum. It’s a tell, a sign that he’s losing his last shreds of control.

And in the Middle East, we have a cauldron of explosive chemicals being heated over a Halloween-like fire. It is a mixture which cannot be rendered unvolatile. The fire can be allowed to burn down a bit, but that fire has burned for milenia, and it hasn’t been put out yet. Nor can it be now. It’s not a good situation by anyone’s standards. Don’t blame Hunter Biden.

Blame Donald Trump, American Mussolini. A man whose path is beginning to look very bleak.

American Values: Good or Evil?

It doesn’t matter much to me what religion you are or whether you’re an atheist. But very troubling to me are the far-right Evangelical Christians who back Donald Trump, who have been on record telling people that “to be against Trump is to be against God”.

Their radicalization has been around for centuries. Racism, homophobia, anti-gay, anti-muslim, anti-human rights, elitist, superiority all mark the far-right Christian, and those things are all against the teachings, or doctrine, of Jesus Christ. To believe in him is not enough. To read the Bible every day and attend church services is not enough. To fight your neighbor is to fight Jesus. To call names, threaten, terrorize, physically harm people who believe or behave differently than you is to commit a grave sin. You’re not fighting for Jesus if you do these things. Then, you’re fighting for Satan, who wants your soul for the sea of fire.

There are a plethora of videos out there. They show “Christians” punching and terrorizing people protesting against Trump, his policies, Climate change, and more. Well, those who do these things are not true Christians. You can’t just talk the talk. That’s not enough. You have to walk the walk. And if you don’t, you’re not betraying only the values of Christ; you’re betraying American values. Yes, separation of church and state is necessary. It protects our government from radicalization by religious zealots. It’s a safeguard, just as our system of checks and balances prevents anyone from gaining too much power.

And even if we have never reached the lofty goals laid down by the founders, we never stopped the struggle to get there.

Yet right now our president capitalises on the hatred and division that have always been with us. His speech in Minnesota was a horror, and I’ve never seen anything like that before from a president. No one has. Expletives, deranged rants, calling things provided for by the Constitution “unconstitutional” …it was sickening. Where this country goes from here depends upon the voice of everyone, Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Muslim, Shinto, Buddhist, or whoever is willing to stand up for what’s right.