Moana Is The Movie The World Needs Right Now

Sometimes, when it all gets to be too much — When all of the Trumps and the Lies and the Liars and the Roy Moores and the Defenders of Pedophilia and the Jerry Falwells and the Fake Christians and the Alabama Voters and the Seemingly Endless Racism and the Persistent Attacks on Morality & Basic Decency & Human Rights & Journalism & Science & Goodness & Beauty & Truth become too overwhelming for me, and I start to doubt if anything we do makes any bit of actual difference in the world, and I wonder whether or not I should get out of bed — Here is what I do:

I watch the movie Moana.

Well… That’s ONE of the things I sometimes do. But seriously — God help me, I love the movie Moana. So damn much. I could watch it whenever. It’s a spiritual thing for me. You don’t have to watch the whole movie (although the whole movie is obviously amazing). It can just be one scene… The one where Moana starts singing to the Lava Monster the prophetic words, “This is not who you are. You know who you are.” If you need a reminder of what that scene looks and sounds like, here you go.

Oh God, it makes me cry every single time. She speaks to the water, and she says, “Let her come to me.” And in a twist on familiar Biblical imagery, the sea parts… But this time, the sea is not parting to allow an escape route from the monsters who mean to do us harm. This time — THIS story — the sea is parted to allow them come toward each other… And allow the bravery and compassion and strength of a young woman to heal the heart of the one who didn’t even realize she had become a monster. In this new story, the water does not come crashing in to kill our enemies… It creates a path TO them. And FOR them.

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If you can get through this scene without tearing up, I simply don’t understand you…

And I realize that there are many people in the world who are not ready to hear those words: “This is not who you are. You know who you are.”  I am not naive. Many of the monsters in the world will live their whole lives without ever having their hearts healed. I know there is a very good chance that Roy Moore will end up being elected to one of Alabama’s Senate seats. And there is a good chance that the republican-controlled Congress with push through a massive tax cut that will make the rich even richer and the poor even poorer. There is about a 100% chance that Trump will do something else unspeakably shameful and depressing tomorrow. And the next day. And the next… In the struggle between those who are interested in Power and those who are interested in Justice, there will be many battles won by the ones in search of more Power.

But little by little… One by one… Person by person, and story by story… Human consciousness expands… And progresses… And evolves… And the things we used to be okay with become horribly distasteful and offensive… And things we used to never even notice before become glaringly obvious… And things we were numb to become hurtful… And people we used to not even see — people we used to HATE — start looking like our neighbors.

Look at what happened with the man in this video, a peanut farmer from Alabama, who lost his 23 year old lesbian daughter to suicide. Please, oh PLEASE watch this video…

Things that used to be clear have a way of becoming less so… And people who used to look like monsters start to look like people who are worthy of being loved. I think about this man wasting years of his life throwing balls of fire… I think of his heart being restored… And then I think of him pressing his fingers into soil where there used to be only blight, but now life springs up all around the things he touches. He probably used to quote all six “clobber” verses about how gay people were “preverts” and “abominations,” just like all the people supporting Roy Moore at those rallies surely do. And they probably look at a movie like Moana, and call it dangerous indoctrination. But when people quoting Bible Verses start sounding like defenders of hatred and injustice and inequality, and a movie about a young woman trying to return a magic stone to a goddess reminds me of the goodness inside of us, I’ll take Moana every time.

So whether we end up with a new democratic Senator from a red state like Alabama, or whether we end up with a horribly broken person like Roy Moore, let us stay hopeful. Even if we end up trying to make sense of another disappointing blow to our faith in humanity (like the ones we deal with on a daily basis with this presidency), let us remember the brave Polynesian girl who proclaimed who she was enough times that she started to actually believe it. Let us see the life in others, as well as the life within ourselves. Oh God, may the Te Kās of our lives become our Te Fitis.

Let that be our prayer. And like any prayer worth anything, let that prayer lead us to hope and love and action. And getting out of bed… Even if our hearts get broken by the many of the people in Alabama (and in this country, and in the world) who don’t yet realize WHO THEY ARE. Even if the shell has not yet cracked off of them, revealing the Green and the Life and the Love that is inside of them. Amen.

I needed this so much. Thank you for reading it! And thank you for those of you who value and support my writing. It always feels a bit weird telling you about how to become a Parton, but I’m okay with it. If you feel like becoming a Patron, you can do that RIGHT HERE. It you want to just leave a tip on PayPal or boost a particular post on social media, I WON’T BE MAD AT YOU. But really, one of the coolest things you can do is this: If you like this post (or anything you read, really), SHARE IT with the people in your life. Also, you can follow me on FACEBOOK and on TWITTER. Love you…

 

 

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An Actual Apology For Sexual Predators 

There are a lot of men writing a lot of apologies right now. For the most part, these apologies are full of ambiguities…. full of equivocations… full of shit. These “apologies” are being written under the watchful eye of high-priced lawyers, paid to ensure they don’t leave their clients legally liable for their gross actions. I imagine conversations like this: “We need to make me look apologetic and contrite, but without actually taking any responsibility or admitting guilt… Also, try to work in some subtile language that casts doubt on the allegations (and the women making them), but not so much that it makes it look like I’m attacking them or calling them liars. Work your magic!”

Ke$ha Performs On NBC's "Today" Annual Thanksgiving Week Of Concerts

Do not waste one second feeling bad for this dude.

Almost every apology I have seen has seemed less interested in being an actual attempt to make things right, and more interested in saving face while preserving the power which made their abuse possible. And these shitty, power-preserving “apologies” have been grossing me right out lately. To me they feel like just another act of abuse… And that’s not right. If you are genuinely sorry, then BE sorry. To that end, I have written an actual apology for men to use as the people they have abused continue to bravely come forward. Here it is:

It is a strange and difficult thing coming to terms with my own shittiness. I have spent most of my life thinking of myself as one of the good guys. The reality is something different — I am one of the villains. When reality hits you in the face, you can either act like it didn’t happen, or you can try something new, and attempt to do the right thing by being TRUTHFUL. This is my attempt to do the right thing. Here is the truth: I am a disgusting perv who used his position and power to do very real harm to other human beings. The women who have accused me of these things are telling the truth. I have been treating women like they are objects for me to consume. I am so ashamed of the way I’ve treated these women. I told myself I deserved their affection. I convinced myself that these women “wanted it,” when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Even now, I want to try to explain why I have repeatedly acted so shamefully, but there is no excuse for my actions.

In short, deep down I have known that I am a piece of shit for a long time… The only real difference is that now YOU know that too. My hope is that with that knowledge will come a higher degree of accountability… But more than that, my hope is that the actions I take from this point on will do something to repair the pain and damage I have caused.

My position and power is made manifest partially in my great wealth… So as an act of intentional reduction in the power that has so corrupted my soul, and so perverted the decent man I used to envision myself being, I am giving up very sizable portions of my riches. I will be giving that money both to the women I have harmed, as well as to organizations that work to help women who are sexually abused by men like me… Men who have somehow forgotten both their own humanity, as well as the humanity of the women they have mistreated. I know that money could never make right the many damages I have caused, but I have gotten very rich being a total douchebag. In many ways, money is power… And I see now that I need to give up much of my power.

I am so very sorry. I have not only harmed the women I have abused, but I have harmed my friends and family. The harm I have done is my fault, and my fault alone. I will now work to undo some of that harm, as I attempt to rebuild relationships… and maybe, someday, even rebuild trust.

The next man to be outed as a sexual predator (because there will most definitely be more) can feel free to use that if he (notice I didn’t write “he or she”) wants…

Last night at work, I spoke to a friend about the craziness of the time we are living in. We commiserated about the steady stream of soul-crushing garbage that seems to be flowing from every direction — A steady stream that I think is best articulated in this amazing tweet by Maya Kosoff:

Even now, as I write this, yesterday’s newest wave of sexual harassment revelations are being forgotten as the world reacts (with celebration, and with spin) to the news of Gen. Michael Flynn’s cooperation with the Mueller investigation on Russian involvement in our election. And before I finish and publish this, people will have started to forget about Flynn, and they will be focused on the Republican tax plan passing. But we all feel the weight of the relentless attack on our hope. As if it’s not enough to have a daily barrage of hateful, dishonest tweets and comments from the elected leader of our nation… As if it’s not enough to have a president who retweets debunked anti-Muslim propaganda videos from a British hate group… As if it’s not enough to have a horribly dishonest Press Secretary doing her rhetorical gymnastics trying to justify his actions… As if it’s not enough to have a person like pedophile Roy Moore leading the polls in the Alabama Senate race… As if it’s not enough to have a bunch of people calling themselves “christians” who are so confused about what it means to follow Jesus that they are actually defending and supporting a child molester (who was so creepy he got banned from a mall) over an honorable man like Doug Jones, who convicted KKK members for killing little girls… As if it’s not enough to have to be constantly fighting against things like this awful tax plan, and attacks on healthcare and basic human decency (God help me, even writing this paragraph was exhausting)… But ADD TO THAT this growing sense that most of the powerful men in the world think they are entitled to “Trump” any woman they see (that’s slang for kissing a woman against her will, or “grabbing her by the pussy”), and one would not be faulted for just deciding to give up hope that the world is worth trying to save.

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Art like this might be able to save the world.

As I talked with my friend about our declining faith in humanity, I said to her, “The problem isn’t humanity. The problem is MEN.” But I’m not sure that’s quite right. The problem is obviously not a democrat or republican thing… The problem is not “left” or “right.” The problem is not Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, & Al Franken, and the problem is not Roy Moore, Bill O’Reilly, & Donald Trump. Yes, the problem is men and a warped and toxic understanding of what is meant by Masculinity… But it’s also about power. It’s about protecting privilege at all costs. And right now (as is true of all of recorded history) most of the ones with the power in the world happen to be men. But maybe — HOPEFULLY — that’s starting to change…

So here’s what I think — I think that when we find out that powerful people are using their positions to abuse others, we need to insist on separating those people from their power. And part of that has to include separating them from their wealth. Because here’s the thing: Matt Lauer was paid $25 MILLION a year! That’s over $2 MILLION a month… And if you figure he did about 20 Today Shows a month (5 per week, 4 weeks per month), that works out to $200,000 per DAY of work. If that ass hole feels bad about his actions, he needs to put his money where his mouth is. When poor men force themselves on women, they go to prison for a very long time. When rich men do it, they sit down with an attorney and a PR consultant, they write a “letter of apology,” and then they disappear for a while (vacation) with their millions and millions of dollars.

That, or they continue to deny it, even after getting caught on tape bragging about it on an Access Hollywood bus, and they go on to get elected president. Shit… Either way, stay hopeful, keep fighting for justice, and look for little things that remind you that the world is actually filled with really good people… It’s just that the awful ones seem to make a lot more noise.

If you are one of the people feeling overwhelmed by horribleness all around us, I hope that this site if a place that renews some of your hope for humanity. If you would like to become a Patron and help support this page and my writing, you can do that RIGHT HERE. It you really like this post, if you want to help “boost” a particular post so more people see it, or if you are simply feeling generous this holiday season, and you’d like to leave a tip on PayPal, you can do that RIGHT HERE. Otherwise, I would love it if you would LIKE THE BOESKOOL’S FACEBOOK PAGE, or FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER.

 

 

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It’s Not About The Word “Pocahontas”

It’s about the fact that this man lacks even the most basic understanding of human decency.  THAT’s what it’s about. After Donald did this today…

… Elizabeth Warren responded by saying, “It is deeply unfortunate that the President of the United States cannot even make it though a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur.” This was followed shortly by a Press Briefing where Sarah Sanders was asked the question, “[The president] referred to Senator Warren as ‘Pocahontas.’ Why does he feel the need to say something that is offensive to many people while honoring the Navajo Code Talker, these genuine American heroes?” She responded by saying, “I think what most people find offensive is Senator Warren lying about her heritage to advance her career.” And then Twitter exploded with debate over whether or not the word “Pocahontas” is a racial slur. As if that is the issue…

Which, first of all, it absolutely IS a racial slur. If someone identified as “black,” and the president didn’t think he was black enough, and gave him some flippant “Whatever, Kunta Kinte” or called her “Aunt Jemima,” it would TOTALLY be an offensive racial slur. And the reason we know this, is because there are enough black people around to make some noise when people are this colossally stupid… Unfortunately, white people have killed almost all of the Native Americans off, so there aren’t a whole lot around to make some noise. Now, when people refer to their Native American heritage, it’s usually in the 8ths or 16ths or 32nds. And sometimes those sorts of fractions are not as readily apparent.

Listen closely, white people — If you want to know if a term you are using is an offensive slur, here’s what you do: Ask members of the minority group you are offending. If you are using the R-word, and you don’t think it’s offensive… Ask people who are developmentally disabled, and those who work every day with people with special needs. If you refer to an Asian person as “Oriental” or just blanket-label every Asian person and “Chinese,” and you don’t feel like you need to change, ask a person of Asian descent in your life. And if you don’t have one of those, use the freaking internet. Chances are you don’t have a bunch of Indigenous Peoples in your life, so if you don’t think calling a Senator “Pocahontas” is offensive, LOOK IT UP. Here is a portion of what Amber Kanazbah Crotty, a member and delegate from The Navajo Nation, had to say about Donald’s garbage words and Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ shitty denial of its offensiveness:

“Today’s careless comment from President Trump is the latest example of systemic, deep-seated ignorance of Native Americans and our intrinsic right to exist and practice our ways of life. The intentional disregard of the historical trauma of Pocahontas as a sexual assault survivor directly resulting from colonization is disturbing.

The Navajo People are not strangers to the prejudice, discrimination, and marginalization perpetrated by western culture. Our woman and children are targets of violence. We must speak out against such ignorance in every instance, in hopes for a better future for our children and our land.

I must respond to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ flat-out denial of this racial slur, dismissing the tangible and egregious impact pejoratives have on Indigenous people. I must respond to President Trump’s remark today referencing Pocahontas. With due respect, it is problematic for the president to use this term in the manner we heard today. It diminishes the experience of Pocahontas and is totally inappropriate. The reckless appropriation of this term is deeply offensive and dangerous to the sovereignty and identity of our peoples. Such rhetoric is damaging, and it a serious infringement of our right to live as Native Americans.

The Navajo Code Talkers are not pawns to advance a personal grudge, or promote false narratives. Such pandering dishonors the sacrifice of our national heroes. Let me be clear, such antics do not change the fact of history. Indigenous peoples’ disparate socioeconomic issues are a direct result of this false narrative, and we cannot sit idly by as the citizens of the United States and our Indigenous children are gas-lighted from this terrible truth.

“We honor and respect the Navajo Code Talkers, and we are proud of their sacrifice. Let us not allow this display of immaturity and short-sightedness distract us from the important issues we advocate for collectively as sovereign nations on this continent, but continue to advance the cause and secure the future of Indigenous people in America.”

Later, Elizabeth Warren released THIS STATEMENT:

But again — Whether or not “Pocahontas” is a racial slur not the issue. If you are arguing over which words you get to say, you are missing the point. The battle is not over whether or not people are “allowed” to use certain words… All that will lead to is people wearing MAGA hats bringing up their “First Amendment rights” without really even knowing what the First Amendment is about (when really, the First Amendment is about preventing Congress from making a law abridging our freedom of speech). It protects against people being arrested for saying things the government doesn’t like… It does NOT protect a person from being asked tough questions about why he or she is such an asshole. And honestly, I hesitate to call the president an “asshole,” because I feel like it’s disrespectful… To assholes. I at least have *some* respect for actual anuses.

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This is how the rest of the world looks at us… The single greatest thing you can do, Donald,  if you desire to make America great again, is this: Resign.

I don’t know if Elizabeth Warren actually has Native American blood flowing through her veins. I haven’t seen her “23 And Me” results. But whether or not she is actually part Native American, or whether her family was misled, or misinformed, or misled her… Figuring this out is NOT the point. The point is this: Any person who would use a White House ceremony honoring some very old veterans to make a dig at a political rival is OBJECTIVELY a piece of trash. And not in an “I’m going to make myself feel better by calling him names” sort of way… I’m talking a scientific, PHD-level sociological study, PIECE OF ACTUAL HOT GARBAGE. It doesn’t have to be a White House ceremony (in front of a painting of ANDREW-EFFING-JACKSON, who is responsible for the Trail of Tears) — That kind of action is beneath ANYONE in a position of authority. It is beneath a break room ceremony for the Burger King employee of the month. It is something that even Steve Carell’s Michael Scott on “The Office” would look at in disgust. Anyone who doesn’t have the common sense — the simple human decency — to recognize this simple fact CANNOT be trusted to make any moral or ethical decisions. THAT’S the point.

But I don’t have to tell any of you that Donald Trump is an objective piece of trash… Those of us who are able to see it have been able to see that for a very long time. I’m not writing this to convince you of the president’s disgustingness… But still there are SO many people who don’t see it yet. I’m writing this to remind you that when you are dealing with these people — the ones who don’t see it yet — to focus on the point. Don’t get sucked into a “you don’t get to say that word,” political correctness debate, and don’t get into an argument over people’s “First Amendment rights.” Simply challenge them to consider WHAT KIND OF PERSON DOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS? And the answer, of course, is a horribly broken one. And one who is epically unfit to run a Burger King… Let alone a great nation like ours.

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53 “Pastors” Support For Child Molester Roy Moore for Senate… Here Are Their Church’s Phone Numbers

What is happening in Alabama politics right now is a microcosm of what is happening in our nation. We have Doug Jones, a competent and honorable man who prosecuted the men who bombed the Church and killed four little girls during the Alabama civil rights protests… And then we have Roy Moore, a man who was twice removed from the bench of the Alabama Supreme Court for unlawful acts, a man with close ties to white supremacists, a man who praises Vladimir Putin and thinks Obama was born in Kenya, a man who wants to make homosexuality and Islam illegal, and a man who has been accused by MULTIPLE women of inappropriate sexual conduct and child molestation that took place while he was district attorney. And in the midst of all that, we have people who call themselves “christians” putting their support behind Roy Moore… While bringing continued shame to any institution calling itself “the church.”

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‘Merica, y’all… ‘Merica.

So I have taken many, MANY HOURS to compile for you the church contacts for the “pastors” who put their support behind Roy Moore… Though, it should be noted that this list of pastors was from before the primary election, and also before the allegations of molestation and pedophilia have emerged. At least TWO have asked for their names to be removed… Most are not answering their phones.

Listen — Please don’t call up these people and call them a bunch of names. Ask them tough questions. Ask them why they believe the testimony of one man over the testimony of FIVE women (so far. With predators like these, there will almost certainly be more). Ask them if they would believe the woman if it was their wife who told them. Ask them if they know that at least TWO of the women are republicans. Ask them if they think it’s okay for a District Attorney in his 30s to be picking up high school girls. Ask them if they value the rule of law. Ask them if they know why Roy Moore was TWICE removed from his position as Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court (once for unlawfully refusing to get rid of a Ten Commandments statue, and once for unlawfully refusing to recognize same-sex marriages), and ask them if another religion were in the majority, how they would like it if that religion enforced their laws. Ask them if they think that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to be elected officials (a stance Roy Moore takes). Ask them if they think followers of Jesus should be supporting candidates with KNOWN TIES to neo-confederate and white supremacist groups. Sadly, you might get a lot of “Yeses,” but make them say it out loud.

And THEN, if you are a person who lives in Alabama, VOTE. And don’t just VOTE, but talk to your friends about voting. Register people to vote. Offer to bring people to the polling places. Talk to the people in your life who go to these little “churches,” and ask them the same hard questions about supporting a child molester. Get involved. Get loud. Stay hopeful… Here they are:

  • Dr. Tom Ford, III, Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Montgomery, AL
    There is no online or Facebook presence for “Grace Baptist Church” in Montgomery, AL (Which seems… odd). There are more than a few “churches” like this on the list of pastors who support Roy Moore…
  • Pastor Stan Cooke, Kimberly Church of God, Kimberly, AL
    The church’s telephone number is 205-647-5374. You can write them a message HERE, or their Facebook page is RIGHT HERE.
  • Pastor Jonathan Rodgers, Westgate Baptist Church, Dothan, AL
    The telephone number is not listed on the church’s website (for some reason), but the interwebs tell me it is 334-794-2337… Though there is no answer. You can write them a message HERE. They don’t have a public Facebook page.
  • Pastor Joseph Smith, Pine Air Baptist Church, Grand Bay, AL
    The number listed on Google and on a makeshift website for Pine Air Baptist Church has been disconnected or no longer in service (How strange), but the Yellow Pages number DOES work. That number is 251-776-4127. I called and spoke to Pastor Joseph Smith, and he said, “I didn’t sign anything,” and denied signing any recent “letter of support.” He went on to say he supported Roy Moore in the primaries (before the allegations on molestation came out), but that he wouldn’t support him “if it’s true.” When I asked him if he believed the allegations of five different women, he said, “I’m not a judge. Or an executioner.” Whatever that means… When I asked if he planned on voting for Roy Moore in the upcoming election, he said, “I don’t know. I’ll have to pray about it. I don’t do anything without prayer.” He seemed overwhelmed and frazzled by the “thousands of phone calls” he received today, and he less concerned about the allegations than with the fact that “most of the people calling are from out of state.” At least he’s brave enough to answer the phone… That’s something, I guess?
  • Dr. David E. Gonnella, Pastor, Theodore, AL
    Dr. Gonnella is the pastor of Magnolia Springs Baptist Church. All of the telephone numbers on the church’s Staff Directory and contact pages have been changed to the same number… It is the church’s fax machine’s number. All other numbers listed for the church are currently disconnected. If you want to write them a message, you can do that HERE.
  • Pastor Mike Allison, Madison, AL
    Madison Baptist Church identifies as “an independent, fundamental, old-fashioned, King James Bible-preaching, Bible-believing church” (And, in their defense, there is nothing in the Bible that directly says we shouldn’t vote child molesters into the Senate). The church’s number is 256-830-6224, but after it rings for a bit, you will probably get busy signal. Even if you manage to get through, I doubt it will do a hill-of-beans-worth of good. I have perused their website, and this place is a mess. Mr. Allison preaches against “liberals” from the pulpit. Check out the recent sermon on “Christian Manliness.” Jesus wept…
  • Dr. Terry Batton, Christian Renewal & Development Ministries, Eufaula, AL
    There are only 96 total hits when I search for “Christian Renewal and Development Ministries,” and 87 of those also contain the words “Terry Batton.” They don’t have a website, and I highly doubt there is an actual brick and mortar location one can call. I’d bet it’s probably a way for Dr. Terry Batton to avoid paying taxes. But for your viewing pleasure (misery), here is video of Terry Batton yelling about how the gays, feminists, illegal immigrants, and social justice advocates are trying to ruin Alabama with Common Core Standards:
  • Pastors Tim and Elizabeth Hanson, Smiths Station, AL
    There is no church listed, because Tim & Elizabeth Hanson don’t seem to be pastors of a church, but missionaries associated with the Assemblies Of God… Like THIS CHURCH. Almost every mention of them online is in reference to their support of a wannabe Senator pedophile.
  • Pastor Mark Liddle, Dominion Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL
    This church’s number is 205-587-0925. Don’t expect a secretary to answer, because from the looks of the Google Images picture, the building fits about 50 people. You can leave pastor a message RIGHT HERE.
  • Pastor Steve Sanders, Victory Baptist Church, Millbrook, ALa
    Steve Sanders is now the Pastor Emeritus of Victory Baptist Church, whose number is 334-285-5082. Write them a message HERE.
  • Dr. Richard Fox, retired Baptist pastor
    This guy is retired. There are a surprising amount of people named “Richard Fox.” I don’t care enough…
  • Dr. Randy Cooper, Pastor, Warrior, AL
    If I can’t find a person after Google-searching for him for 15 full minutes, you have no business bragging about his endorsement.
  • William Green, Minister, Fresh Anointing House of Worship, Montgomery, AL
    William Green’s BIO says that he is an ordained minister at Fresh Anointing House of Worship, but his job is being the republican City Councillor for Montgomery, Alabama’s District 5. His office number at the City Council is 334-450-2722. And I don’t think they can unplug those lines like the church phones… Give him a call.
  • Maurice McCaney, Victory Christian Fellowship Church, Florence, AL
    Maurice is the son of Victory Christian Fellowship’s James McCaney, Jr., and the “chancellor” of Victory Christian Academy… A very small school (50 kids, 3:1 student to teacher ratio) that is part of the very small, mostly online church. You might be able to reach him at the school at 256-767-1749. The website is a total shit show that has to be SEEN TO BE BELIEVED.
  • Pastor Jamie Holcomb, Young’s Chapel CMC, Piedmont, AL
    Jamie Holcomb is a pastor at Young’s Chapel Congregational Methodist Church. Their Facebook page is HERE. You can write them a message HERE. And you can contact the church office at 256-492-5553, or Pastor Holcomb’s office at 256-390-7298. Ask some good questions…
  • Pastor Paul Elliott, Young’s Chapel CMC, Piedmont, AL
    Paul Elliott works with Jamie Holcomb. He is listed as the Youth Pastor of Young’s Chapel CMC. You can ask him if he thinks it’s okay for men in their 30’s to be romantically approaching and sexually molesting the teenage girls in his youth group. His number is 256-239-7616.
  • Pastor Rodney Gilmore, Covenant Christian Church, Gadsden, AL
    You can call CCC at 256-492-7899. Or you can leave them a message on their Facebook page RIGHT HERE, where you can see candids of them teaching their kids how to shoot guns… Like Jesus
  • Pastor Mark Gidley, Faith Worship Center, Glencoe, AL
    Give them a call at 256-492-3000. Pastor Mark (along with the “First Lady”) is an ordained Bishop in the Church of God… You’d think he’d know better. Here is their FACEBOOK PAGE. Or you can listen to this absolute, FEAR-FILLED CRAZINESS. where he whips up fear of a “war on Christianity,” Joe Biden trying to attack the Church, and bracing ourselves for the storm of the “Homosexual Agenda.”
  • Pastor Bill Snow, Edgewood Church, Anniston, AL
    The Church’s number is 256-236-2577, and their Facebook page is RIGHT HERE. On their website, you can see a picture of a giant American Flag out in front of the building.
  • Pastor Michael Yates, Webster’s Chapel, Gadsden, AL
    You can call Webster’s Chapel Baptist Church at 256-492-9208. Or check out their Facebook page RIGHT HERE.
  • Pastor Mark Holden, Webster’s Chapel, Gadsden, AL
    I can’t imagine a church the size of “Webster’s Chapel Baptist Church” in Gadsden, Alabama having two full time Pastors, but the list says they are both from there. Once again, the number is 256-492-9208 and you can check out their Facebook page RIGHT HERE. But the only Mark Holden I can find is the one who works for the Koch Brother’s Americans For Prosperity. And since this church is too small for a freaking website, I guess we’ll never know…
  • Pastor Joshua Copeland, Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, Anniston, AL
    The number is 256-231-2740, and the Facebook page is HERE. It’s 3 A.M. Even so, you should know that Another “Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church” in Alabama has this awesome message:

    “If you are looking for the Pleasant Ridge in Anniston, you are in the wrong place. If you are looking for a church dedicated to loving people and impacting its community and the world for Christ, you are in the right place. Take a look around. Let us know if we can help. Our Pastor Josh has not signed any controversial statements lately, but he has been preaching through Philippians on Sunday mornings.”

  • Pastor Bruce Jenkins, Young’s Chapel CMC, Piedmont, AL
    More Young’s Chapel CMC pastors. Bruce’s number is 256-390-2449.
  • Pastor Keith Bond, Young’s Chapel, Piedmont, AL
    Keith Bond isn’t a “Pastor,” but a Deacon technically. But here he is on this awful list… You can give him a call at 281-513-7852.
  • Pastor Jim Lester, Fannin Road Baptist Church, Montgomery, AL
    I swear… Every one of these churches brags about only using the King James Version. It’s weird. Anyway, you can call Jim at 334-262-9001. Ask MR. Lester why he is supporting a MOlester. Or something less dumb… Someone explain how all these TINY LITTLE CHURCHES have FOUR CHURCH VANS.
  • Pastor Thad Endicott, Heritage Baptist Church, Opelika, AL
    Pastor Endicott has asked that his name be removed from the list of Roy Moore supporters. Like Joseph Smith, he said he wasn’t asked about any endorsement since the multiple allegations of child molestation, and said, “The list that has recently circulated was evidently copied and pasted from the August endorsements without checking to see if I still endorsed Moore.” Hey! Way to take a small step toward sanity, Thad Endicott. If you feel compelled to call him, maybe congratulate him on being less sucky than he was in August. You can find the number on your own…
  • Bishop Fred and Tijuanna Adetunji, Fresh Anointing House of Worship, Montgomery, AL
    ANOTHER PERSON WHO SAYS HER NAME WASN”T USED WITH HER PERMISSION! Tijuanna Adetunji of the FAHoW in Montgomery, said she was not contacted about the letter and did not give permission for her name to be used. Seriously… How people can throw their names in with this guy is just beyond me.
  • Pastor David Floyd, Marvyn Parkway Baptist Church, Opelika, AL
    Join the others wondering aloud (on their Facebook Page) why Pastor David Floyd would support a known child predator. Though the internet seems to be giving me signals that it is closed down. I don’t care. I can’t believe I’m only halfway through this stupid list. One of you dorks better leave a tip for this one. GAH!
  • Pastor Bruce Word, Freedom Church, Gadsden, AL
    This WEBSITE is an absolute mess… The number is 256-312-9553, and you can leave them a message HERE. What lovely, misguided people there are on their Facebook page.
  • Pastor Paul Hubbard, Lakeview Baptist Church, Montgomery, AL
    The church’s number is 334-213-3080, here’s their FACEBOOK PAGE, and you can write them a message RIGHT HERE. These churches tout their “independence,” but from my view they are startlingly similar.
  • Rev. Carl Head, Lakeview Baptist Church, Montgomery, AL
    “Brother Carl” is the Minister of Music at Rev. Hubbard’s Church, and the contacts are the same as above. Judging from his picture, he is as Alabama as a person gets.
  • Pastor Duwayne Bridges, Jr., Fairfax First Christian Church, Valley, AL
    The telephone number is 334-756-3941 (though the number listed multiple places is “no longer in service”), and their Facebook page is RIGHT HERE. It turns out Duwayne is a republican former member of the Alabama House of Representatives, where he represented the 38th District from 2000 to 2014. It looks like a lot of these guys retire from politics, and then find themselves a nice little “church” to pastor. I’m pretty sure I stumbled across his home phone, but I won’t be posting that… Even though he hung up on me.
  • Rev. Edwin Roberts, Adams Street Church of Christ, Enterprise, Alabama
    Here is their FACEBOOK PAGE, and their number is listed as 334-393-3714.
  • Pastor John McCrummen, Rev. Mickey Counts, and Rev. Alex Pagen, Open Door Baptist Church, Enterprise, AL
    There are three of them, but since they are all at the same church, I’m putting them on the same line. I can barely keep my eyes open. I dreamt of little Baptist churches last night, all of them arguing over who was MORE KJV than the other. ODBC’s number is 334-347-4983, but they have been letting it go to voicemail. HERE is their Facebook Page. I watched some video from a Wednesday night prayer service. These are misguided men who remind me a lot of my grandpa… And my grandpa was awesome. Ask them tough questions, but be kind.
  • Pastor Glenn Brock, Parkview Baptist Church, Eufaula, AL
    You can’t go anywhere on Parkview Baptist Church’s WEBSITE without things being draped in the American Flag. It is a gaudy display of nationalism, even for one of these sorts of churches. Their number is 334-687-2444. When I asked the woman who answered the phone if Pastor Brock is sticking with his support of Roy Moore amidst the continued allegations, she cut me off and told me I’d have to ask him… But Pastor Glenn is not taking calls right now… For some reason. Here’s their FACEBOOK.
  • Rev. Tim Head, Montgomery, AL
    Tim Head is currently the Associate Pastor for Worship and Administration at Capital Heights Baptist Church, but once again, we have a republican politician heading for work as a “pastor.” Before leading worship at CHBC, Tim was a former Montgomery City Councilman. Maybe give CHBC a call at 334-264-6461, and ask them if the Church officially endorses child molester Roy Moore, or if it’s just one of their pastors. When I asked them this question, I was told “We have no comment.” Speaking of “comments,” HERE is their Facebook Page.
  • Pastor/Elder Ted Phillips, Christ Church, Odenville, AL
    You should send Ted an email at Ted.Phillips@ChristChurchBranchCove.org. Their number is 205-677-8226, but it’s a weird Google Voice setup. You can also try 205-629-5486. You should check out the church’s CONSTITUTION… It’s pure craziness.
  • Tim Yarbrough (Elder), Pastor Myron Mooney, and Jerry Frank, (Elder) Trinity Free Presbyterian, Trinity, AL
    Again, three in one line… So sleepy. How can a double wide with a steeple have THREE PEOPLE on staff?!? Anyway, the Church’s number is 256-351-1542, but they haven’t set up any voicemail… because… yeah. I’m pretty certain their Facebook Page has gotten more traffic in the past couple days than ever in their history.
  • Pastor Jim Nelson, Church of the Living God, Moulton, AL
    I don’t see much evidence for an actual church other than an out of date WordPress page, and a FACEBOOK page. There isn’t a church telephone number. I managed to come across his personal number, but I will not be posting that number here. We talked for about 20 minutes, and I can tell you that –for many people in Alabama — the testimony of five different women does not have the same weight as the testimony of one man.
  • Pastor Earl Wise, Millbrook, AL
    I’m so sick of this crap. Trying to find these “pastors” online is like trying to find a person of color in these church’s photos. Brother Earl Wise is the pastor at Hunter Station Baptist Church. Their Facebook page is HERE. Their number is not in service.
  • Rick and Beverly Simpson, Summit Holiness Church, AL
    Their Facebook Page is HERE. Their number is 334-730-8744. You can write a message HERE, or send an email to summitholinesschurch@yahoo.com. I spoke with Rick Simpson on the phone, and I asked “How many women it would take before he believed the allegations? After letting me know that was an ignorant question, this is what he said: “I am NOT going to drop my support of Roy Moore no matter how many women come forward.” He followed that with, “So there’s your answer.” It felt like a kid’s “SO THERE!” These people…
  • Pastor Lane Simmons and Margie Dale Simmons, First Assembly of God, Greenville AL
    Their number is 334-382-2138, or you can email Brother Lane at brolane@camelliacom.com. Whatever. WHEN WILL THIS LIST END?!?!
  • Rev. Charles Morris, Pastor, Grace Way Fellowship, Evergreen, AL
    Their number is 251-578-1493 (though they need to clean out their mailbox), and their Facebook page is RIGHT HERE.
  • Dr. George Grant, Pastor, Parish Presbyterian Church, Franklin, TN
    I’m pretty sure this is who this is, though the Church hasn’t yet responded to my voicemail. This is the first NON-Alabama number on the list: 615-574-1029
  • Pastor David Whitney, Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church, Pasadena, MD
    This dude is a loon. You can read his nationalism disguised as Christianity HERE. Or call the “church” at 410-757-3799.
  • Dr. Peter and Roseann Waldron, St. Francis Anglican Church, Saint Cloud, FL
    These churches are fake, y’all. Here’s a number: 407-344-2525… A lot of good it’ll do you.
  • Pastor Franklin and Mrs. Pamela Raddish, Capitol Hill Independent Baptist Ministries, Washington D.C.
    The last few supporters of Roy Moore are just off the charts. Frank’s number is 864-915-0523. I spoke to him for a little over 15 minutes. He didn’t want to say anything one way or the other, and was afraid that “short answers would lead to conjecture.” Here is a picture of Pastor and Mrs. Raddish…
raddish

Part of CHIBM’s mission is to teach “creation science.” *blink*blink*blink*

  • Dr. Michael Peroutka, Institute on the Constitution
    Michael Peroutka is NOT a pastor. In 2012, Mr. Peroutka described himself as a “proud member of the League of the South,” whose ultimate goal is “a free and independent Southern republic.” The Southern Poverty Law Center branded them a neo-confederate, racist hate group, and they were one of the main organizers behind the Charlottesville “Unite The Right” rally that left a woman dead, and inspired the president’s “on many sides” comments. In 2014, he resigned from the group’s board of directors, but he still works very hard to take away rights from Muslims and people who are LGBTQ+… A cause that is very close to Roy Moore’s heart.
  • Reverend Bill Owens, Coalition of African American Pastors
    Sweet Lord, I made it to the end… Hallelujah. The “Coalition of African American Pastors” is an anti-gay, anti-abortion organization, and Bill Owens is the founder. He is a regular guest on Fox”News.” You can write them a message HERE, but I doubt you’re going to get anyone on the phone…

So there you go. That was my longest blog post ever. I’m going to take a nap…

This is a job for me. If you value the job I’m doing, you should consider BECOMING A PATRON. If you appreciate this particular post and you want to leave a tip, you can DO THAT RIGHT HERE. Otherwise, follow me on Facebook and Twitter. A BIG thank you to Joan M, who left a kick ass tip last week. THANK YOU!

 

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics, 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

What The Bible Says About “Thoughts & Prayers” and Gun Violence

“Suppose a brother or sister is sick and without healthcare, or living with an increasing sense that any day now, someone they love will be taken from them by some asshole with an AR-15 because of the steady drumbeat of mass shootings which break our hearts on a weekly basis, and no elected official seems willing to do anything about. If one of you says to her, ‘Our thoughts & prayers are with you,’ but does nothing about her physical needs while leaving her to raise money for medical expenses on GoFundMe to keep from losing her house, and does nothing to change the policies which make it so easy for anyone to acquire guns which are solely designed for killing as many people in a sort amount of time, WHAT GOOD IS IT? In the same way, ‘faith’ by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead… And, if hell were real, you and your gross, fake “christianity” would totally be going there.”

~ James 2:15-17, paraphrased

When I hear someone utter the phrase “Thoughts & Prayers,” it’s gotten to the point to where I get just completely grossed out. It has become as meaningless and offensive to me as hearing someone recommend essential oils to someone for their Stage 4 cancer would be. And most of the people who are saying “Thoughts & Prayers” are people who are representing something. Representing someONE… Namely Jesus. Jesus: The brown-skinned socialist refugee refugee purveyor of free healthcare who, when he was asked about how to “inherit eternal life,” told a story about two “christians” walking past a man in need of help, followed by a foreigner — a person who had all the wrong answers to doctrinal questions, but who offered more than “Thoughts & Prayers” to the man bleeding on the side of the road — and said, “That foreigner who prays to the wrong God, but actually does something to help people? Be like THAT guy” (again, paraphrased).

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Perfection, from Kristian Nygard.

If Christianity is to be worth ANYTHING (or any religion, for that matter), it has to be about way more than just “Thoughts & Prayers.” Christianity is not about praying for kids in Africa… It’s about getting nets to people to protect them from malaria. It’s about building infrastructure so people have access to clean drinking water. It’s about doing scientific research to develop vaccines to fight the diseases that ravage people in poverty. It’s about fighting poverty. It’s about establishing justice. It’s about taking care of the planet. Christianity is not about praying — It’s about DOING. I am far from anything close to “certainty” about how prayer works. I mean, Jesus prayed, so… There’s that. But I’m pretty sure about this: If prayer is to be worth a damn, it needs to lead people to ACTION.

So offering “Thoughts & Prayers” to people whose lives were just torn apart by YET ANOTHER man with an assault rifle who decides to go on a killing spree, without taking action to help prevent this sort of thing from happening again, is — and I mean this — Completely worthless. And I hate it when people say, “The Bible is clear on this,” because most of the time the sort of person who says that is getting ready to tell you why women can’t be pastors or why gay people are going to hell, but to me the Bible DOES actually seem pretty clear on this issue — It’s not about SAYING you love people… It’s about LOVING them. It’s not about PRAYING that people get help… It about HELPING them. Here’s another verse — this one not paraphrased at all: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” ~ 1 John 3:17-18

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Wrong button, dude.

And so the question is this: What does “Actions & Truth” look like in the face of monthly, Weekly, DAILY mass shootings that are leaving hundreds and thousands of people dead? There is a Florida school who thinks the answer is selling bulletproof inserts for kids’ backpacks… Which seems a lot like giving an ice cream sandwich to a person in a burning building, rather than trying to put the fire out. John Legend responds to the craziness of this situation with this tweet:

Some, like the Texas Attorney General, think the solution lies with MORE people bringing  MORE guns to Church. This common thought makes absolutely no sense to me for two reasons: 1) The people in these gun-toting churches profess to have faith that, because they believe the right things about Jesus, they are going to Heaven when they die (and that the would-be murderer is, assumedly, going to Hell)… Yet they are willing to ignore Jesus’ command to love our enemies and KILL an attacker in order to keep from being sent to paradise. This amounts to being willing to send someone to Hell in order to prevent them from sending you to Heaven… Which shouldn’t make sense to ANYONE. And 2) The solution to the problem of “Too much [X] violence” is never “More of [X].” Only alcoholics think the solution to an epidemic of alcohol abuse is “More whisky.” And it seems we are a nation of alcoholics when it comes to guns… as this tweet clearly and succinctly reveals:

This is obviously craziness… And many people calling themselves “christians” are leading the charge toward insanity. But once again, the Bible has something to say about this: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Followers of Jesus are not driven by fear and ignorance, but by love and rational thought. We are not a people of “Thoughts & Prayers,” but of “Actions & Truth.” And if we are not currently, we must BECOME this. So when people pass along the NRA narrative of “a good guy with a gun” stepping in to prevent more deaths, Rational Thought and Truth says, “26 more kids and adults dying is not a ‘win’ for your ‘good guy with a gun’ narrative.” And when Mike Pence shows up in Texas and tells the brother-in-law of one of the victims that “The whole country is praying over you,” we must recognize that those words have all the depth of a clanging cymbal.

“Actions & Truth” does not look like empty platitudes… “Actions & Truth” look like this:

  • Universal and rigorous background checks for ALL gun purchases (No more private sale loopholes).
  • Every gun needs to be registered (If you’re afraid this might make it easier for the government to “come for your guns,” to damn bad… My thoughts & prayers are with you. Listen — It’s common sense. Every car needs to be registered. We need to provide an I.D. to purchase cold meds. Guns are killing devices — It’s illegal to own a firearm whose serial numbers have been filed off. They are subject to regulations, and in order to do that, the people doing the regulating need to know who has what guns).
  • Mandatory waiting periods. Duh.
  • Banning high capacity magazines, armor piercing bullets, and modifications that transform semi-automatic guns into something close to fully automatic (These sorts of things are not intended for 20-year-old, acne-faced douchebags with Dorito crumbs on their T-shirts, living in his mom’s basement, pre-ordering every new iteration of “Call Of Duty,” and growing more and more pissed about how girls can’t see the “real” him. You want to have access to those things? Sign up for military service).
  • Banning military-style assault rifles, designed to kill many people in a short amount of time (And if you can’t get on board with this, at the very least, we can agree that it makes sense to have even MORE stringent and rigorous background checks and trainings for people who are allowed access to these sorts of guns. Sixteen year old kids who just got their drivers licenses are not automatically allowed to get behind the wheel of a big rig semi. A CDL requires more testing and training… The reason for this is that those semis can do a lot more damage if they are used by unqualified people).
  • Domestic Abusers don’t get to have guns (SO MANY mass shootings have their roots in domestic violence. This was true of the monster who murdered so many in that Texas church, and it’s true of the majority of mass shooting perpetrators. If someone is accused of domestic abuse, stalking, any kind of pattern of threatening behavior, or if a person has a restraining order against them, that person should have to turn over their guns. If they are found not guilty or if the charges are dropped, they can have their killing devices returned to them. This needs to be a federal law).

I’m sure there are more, but I’ve got to wrap it up. If you are a pro-gun person who has made it this far, I encourage you to read this thoughtful essay by BRENÉ BROWN. I don’t agree with her on every issue, but that is not a pre-requisite for coming together to talk about how to make things better. And if you are a pro-gun Christian who made it this far, please consider that the NRA is far more interested in giving you a Spirit of Fear than they are in giving you “Power, Love, and a Sound Mind.” We need to demand BETTER from our leaders and our lawmakers. There are ACTIONS we can take to reduce gun violence. The world does not need your “Thoughts & Prayers.” The world needs “Actions & Truth.”

Thank you SO MUCH to the people who support this blog. It will always be free, but the fact that there are people who choose to support me fills me with hope and encouragement. A HUGE thank you to Sue R., who left a tip last month that meant a whole lot. If you are a person who values this blog, please consider BECOMING A PATRON… It’s easy, and it really helps. If you want to leave a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL. Otherwise, please keep in touch on Facebook and on Twitter. Stay hopeful. Stay active. Stay woke.

 

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yes, It IS A Mental Health Problem, Mr. President… YOURS.

When a man drove a rented truck down an NYC bike bath, killing eight people, here is what happened: After the president found out that he was a Muslim, he responded quickly to 1) call for his death, and 2) “POLITICIZE A TRAGEDY” by using this act of terrorism to try to strengthen his case for keeping Muslims out of the country with immigration policy change. Though when a gunman walked into a small church in Texas and killed 26 men, women, and children while they worshipped, if the killer had been a brown Muslim instead of a white former Bible School teacher who was dishonorably discharged from the military for domestic violence, he would have probably used this tragedy to pat himself on the back… just like he did after the Orlando shooting.

Instead, since we have YET ANOTHER white man with an assault rifle who decided to go on a killing spree, we have a very different response. From Japan, Trump said this about the Texas Church shooting:

“Mental health is your problem here. This was a very, based on preliminary reports, a very deranged individual, a lot of problems over a long period of time. We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries. But this isn’t a guns situation. I mean, we could go into it, but it’s a little bit soon to go into it.

Okay. Fine. Maybe it’s “a little bit too soon” after this tragedy to talk about how policy changes might prevent this sort of thing from happening again (or at LEAST prevent it from happening with this sort of regularity). Maybe a month? Should we wait about a month to talk about how easy access to weapons designed to kill a lot of people in a very short time MIGHT have something to do with all of these massacres where people are using weapons designed to kill a lot of people in a very short time  in order to KILL A LOT OF PEOPLE IN A VERY SHORT TIME?!? Does 35 days seem about the right length of time? If so, I’ve got some good news for you, you narcissistic nitwit… Because that’s how long it’s been since you suggested it was “a little bit too soon” to talk about guns after the Las Vegas shooting that left 58 people dead.

Trump went on to say, “This is a mental health problem at the highest level.” Yes. That’s right, you horse’s ass. This IS a mental health problem at the highest level. YOUR mental health. And Congress’. And the lunacy of listening to the NRA. And the craziness of continuing to elect people who refuse to do anything about this public health crisis. But this constant stigmatizing of mental illness is doing nothing to help either. People experience many kinds of mental illness, and linking that to violent behavior is unfair and unfounded. Another thing that does nothing to help is when Trump OVERTURNS MENTAL HEALTH REGULATIONS ON GUN PURCHASES as one of his first actions as president.  But yes… When someone does something like walk into a church and start killing people, most people look at an action like that and say, “That person is obviously crazy.” But then again, that’s also what most people say when they hear you speak, you bloated orange pustule.

Right, right… I know, I know… We shouldn’t be calling people names. “Ad hominem,” and all that. But some things I have to do for MY OWN mental health… And right now, one of those things is calling Donald Trump names. Not because I think that — even if by some miracle, this post made it to the president’s eyes — that it would do any good in changing his warped nature… But because I imagine him wincing when I say it, like Prince Humperdinck winces when Wesley calls him a “warthog-faced buffoon.”

And yes, imagining being able to look into Trump’s eyes and call him a “miserable, vomitous mass” makes me feel a little bit better right now. Sometimes, I daydream about getting within earshot of the president, and telling him what I think of him while the Secret Service has me forcibly removed. I’ve given it some thought, and I think if I only had enough time for three words, I’d go with “deranged narcissistic moron,” but I’d do my best to also get in “cowardly bag of shit.” And I’m aware those daydreams do nothing positive… Other than make me feel momentarily better. I realize this is an indictment of my own character. I’m just being honest.

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I’m so very tired of writing about something this self-evident.

“Feeling better” seems to be a bit of a rarity for me lately.  I realize I haven’t written very much recently… I feel this responsibility to be hopeful, and sometimes there honestly doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to be hopeful about. And I know I’m not the only one. I read this article about how, even if Robert Mueller proves there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, it probably won’t even matter to his supporters. They can just write the narrative that Mueller was part of some grand conspiracy, and things will go on like they have been… With a dishonest moron as our leader. Why would any of it make a difference? None of the other countless disqualifying things he has said have made a difference. And that genuinely grieves me. It’s a daily thing, this grief… And daily grief can start to feel like depression. Ugh. I’m sorry… Again, I am just being honest.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with a glimmer of hope in these dark times. I just watched Wonder Woman. I know, I know… I’m one of the last people on the planet to see it. I’m one of those annoying people who doesn’t see most movies until a year later when they are out on video (and I don’t have to spend $85 taking my whole family to the theater). Sometimes waiting to watch a movie works out, though, and this was one of those times. The movie (in case there are any others out there who haven’t seen it yet) is about mankind’s brokenness, and whether it’s worth saving. Spoiler alert: It IS worth saving. It’s worth working for. Even when we are outnumbered by people trying to use lies and violence to gain wealth and power, there is still good in the world, and it IS worth fighting for.

One last thing. While I was watching Wonder Woman, I kept thinking about this tweet:

And this is why history is so important. When we look at things from the ground, it can look like everything is falling apart and going to shit… But when we look at things from 30,000 feet — from a historical view — it’s easier to see that things actually ARE getting better. Sometimes progress is “three steps forward, two steps back,” and sometimes those two steps can be 20, 30, 50 years long… But things ARE progressing. They are not progressing fast enough, but they are progressing. Sometimes life can feel like Atreyu pulling Artax through the swamp of sadness.

But there is more to the story than that. And even in the midst of all this sadness, there is still hope. Not hope that is based on daydreams and movies… But hope that is based on history — A history that reveals the sort of world where our princesses become generals. Then again, this tweet is also true, so who knows…

I am so thankful to all of my Patrons, who help keep me hopeful. Thanks to the ones who give, and thanks to the ones who used to give, and no longer can (or want to). As we process our grief and our frustration and our depression and our feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, let us continue to lean on each other. If you want to support this blog and my writing, you can BECOME A PATRON. If you want to leave a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL. Otherwise, if you want to stay in touch, you can LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE or you can FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER. But most importantly, if you ever get within earshot of Donald Trump, don’t waste that opportunity by not calling him “Tiny-handed simpleton with delusions of grandeur.” Or something thereabouts… Love you all.

Posted in 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Two Best Quotes About Trump You’ll See Today

The first quote comes as a response by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to when our Moron-In-Chief and national embarrassment was asked the question, “Why haven’t we heard anything from you about the soldiers who were killed in Niger, and what do you have to say about that?” Here is the video of Trump’s exchange with the reporter… Please watch as his uncontrollable narcissism takes hold, and he somehow manages to make the deaths of four American soldiers about 1) How hard it is for HIM, and 2) How much better he is than all the other presidents… Especially Obama.

Just in case you are the sort of person who doesn’t watch videos, here are a few highlights: “I’ve written them personal letters. They’ve been sent… Or they’re going out tonight {the check is in the mail}… I will, at some point during the period of time, call the parents… President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it.” He actually said “when I think I’m able to do it.” It happened 12 days ago… He has been golfing SEVEN TIMES since then. No mention of their names… No deepest sympathies… Just a narcissist pathological liar doing the only thing he is capable of doing: Making it about him, and telling lies.

And that leads to Gregg Popovich’s amazing quote. After seeing Trump’s unconscionable comments, Coach Popovich (who served in the Air Force) called Dave Zirin of The Nation, and said that he wants to get his statements on the record. Here they are:

“I’ve been amazed and disappointed by so much of what this President had said, and his approach to running this country, which seems to be one of just a never-ending divisiveness. But his comments today about those who have lost loved ones in times of war and his lies that previous presidents Obama and Bush never contacted their families, is so beyond the pale, I almost don’t have the words.

This man in the Oval Office is a SOULLESS COWARD who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner – and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers – is as low as it gets.  We have a PATHOLOGICAL LIAR in the White House: unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this President should be ashamed because they know it better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.”

USP NBA: PLAYOFFS-SAN ANTONIO SPURS AT MEMPHIS GRI S BKN USA TN

“Our country is an embarrassment to the world.” ~ Coach Gregg Popovich

And now that you’ve read this first amazing quote, take a moment to imagine what the response would have been if the person who said it would have been a Person Of Color…

The second quote about Trump that you need to see today is a quote that comes from 1792, from the brilliant mind of Alexander Hamilton. And though it is over 200 years old, it could not be any more about the asshole currently in charge of our nation if it had mentioned stupid hair and tiny hands. It is an excerpt from his letter “Objections and Answers Respecting the Administration.” Here it is:

“The truth unquestionably is, that the only path to a subversion of the republican system of the Country is, by flattering the prejudices of the people, and exciting their jealousies and apprehensions, to throw affairs into confusion, and bring on civil commotion. Tired at length of anarchy, or want of government, they may take shelter in the arms of monarchy for repose and security.

Those then, who resist a confirmation of public order, are the true Artificers of monarchy—not that this is the intention of the generality of them. Yet it would not be difficult to lay the finger upon some of their party who may justly be suspected. When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits—despotic in his ordinary demeanour—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.'”

It almost seems too on the nose to be real, doesn’t it? Well, again… IT’S REAL. So there you have it… TWO QUOTES. One with Gregg Popovich taking it easy on the President by only calling him a “soulless coward” and a “pathological liar,” and another with the star of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” going full Gregg Popovich on and prognosticating about a moron who would “ride the storm” of white supremacy into the White House 225 years after he made the quote. Feel free to file these quotes away in the place you go when you’re wondering whether or not it’s worth it to keep speaking up and acting out in response to the evil that this administration represents and embraces. It’s worth it.

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For Those Concerned About “Politicizing A Tragedy”

With each new mass shooting, people usually split into one of three groups with their talking points: 1) “Guns don’t kill people; People kill people” (very closely aligned with the “If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns” crowd). 2) “We need gun regulations that make sense and reduce the number of these mass murders.” And 3) The folks who very adamantly demand “We must not politicize this tragedy.”

Here’s why two of these arguments are complete garbage…

The first two arguments/talking points usually go together. Fifty-nine people just got murdered in Las Vegas. There were over 500 more who got sent to the hospital with bullet wounds and injuries. In Las Vegas, it is perfectly legal to walk around with a machine gun. A lot of people, after yet another white man “snaps” and decides to murder as many people as possible before killing himself, RIGHTLY start pointing out that we could and SHOULD change the laws to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. That idea is usually met with talk about guns being “tools,” and how “If peopled wanted to murder someone, they can do it with a hammer. Or a knife. Or a car.” “Don’t blame the gun,” they say. These are the folks who buy into the NRA’s “good guy with a gun” narrative… Where we supposedly “need” everyone to have a gun, so that we can stop the bad guys who have guns (a concept perfectly parodied in the following video).

These arguments are very easily dealt with and dispensed. A man standing on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel could not have killed 59 people and wounded more than 500 by throwing hammers and knives out of his window. A FEW might have died… But nowhere near as many. And “NOWHERE NEAR AS MANY” is a GOOD thing. And sure, people can use their cars to attack people in crowds… But you know what ELSE people are required to have with cars? Registration. And insurance. And again, this won’t prevent some people from driving without registration and insurance… But that doesn’t mean we don’t even try! Laws regulating how much Sudafed people can buy don’t entirely get rid of meth abuse, addiction, and overdoses, but you know what it does do? It lowers the RATE of meth abuse, addiction, and overdoses. Saying that children have to use seat belts doesn’t mean that no more kids will die in car accidents… But it will lower the RATE. Drunk driving laws don’t prevent some people from still driving drunk… But they have demonstrably lowered the RATE of Drunk Driving deaths. Having locks on our doors don’t stop ALL break-ins… But that doesn’t mean we get rid of locks. And again, “NOWHERE NEAR AS MANY” is a GOOD thing.

This is the ONLY issue where the inability to COMPLETELY solve a problem is used as a justification for doing nothing to lessen the impact of the problem. Imagine if experts said, “This medicine will lower your cholesterol and reduce your chance of having a heart attack.” And then people opposed the medicine because they were like, “Some people will STILL have heart attacks… And there will be people who will forget to take their medication… Anyway, we’re all going to die someday!”

The whole “Guns don’t kill people” argument is easy to tear apart… So what has popped up in its place is this pernicious sentiment of “Now is not the time to talk about it.” Well, when WOULD be a good time to talk about it?? Emotions are part of this issue — People’s families have been torn apart! “You are politicizing a tragedy!” they say. Damn right, I am! This SHOULD be a political issue. Sanity has become a “political stance.” It is insane for this NOT to be a political issue. If a dam breaks, that will probably be followed by a healthy discussion of building codes to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. That’s what politics is for: Fixing the problems we have. And this is the truth: AMERICA HAS A GUN PROBLEM.

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I know… I find this picture (from Getty Images’ David Becker) disturbing as well. But here’s the thing: WE *SHOULD* BE DISTURBED.

And addressing this problem should not wait until next week… It should not wait until next year… It should not wait until the blood has been washed off the ground, and the bullet holes repaired to make it look like nothing ever happened. It needs to happen RIGHT NOW. We’re already forgetting. Our nation has a combination of Trump-Induced PTSD and Attention Deficit Disorder. If I don’t write this blog post in the first day or two, people will either be too saturated with posts, or they will have moved on to some other new issue. Think about it… TWO SHORT DAYS AGO, the president of the United States did one of the most horrible, disgusting, UNpresidential, racist things that has ever been done. Do you remember what it was?? Can you think of it? As horrified as I was, I had to search my memory to remember. If you’re having trouble remembering, perhaps these tweets will jog your memory…

Plus, Tom Petty died too… and that makes me sad, because I love Tom Petty. How can we keep straight all the things there are to care about?!? And two days from now, the white supremacist, morally corrupt, bag of awfulness this nation has elected as its leader will tweet some horrifying thing which will make the previous horrible thing he tweeted seem quaint by comparison. And we’ll move on. Just like we moved on from Newtown… Just like we moved on from Charleston… Just like we moved on from Orlando… We’ll move on from this. The time to talk about sensible gun regulations is NOW. Not two weeks from now… NOW. There are practical things we can do to lower the RATE of these tragedies, and speaking about that is not somehow “disrespectful” to the people who died… It would be disrespectful to NOT talk about fixing this problem. America has a gun problem. And it doesn’t need your “thoughts and prayers.” America needs us to ACT. NOW. Not later. NOW! Not after we’ve been distracted by a new tragedy. NOW!!!

A few things: Firstly — Earlier, when I wrote the arguments are “complete garbage,” I wanted to write “aren’t worth a trump” (but I didn’t want all the Trump supporters to stop reading that early). Anyway, I’d really like to see us all try to make “not worth a trump” happen. That would be about the most Obama thing I can think of right now. Secondly — If you value this blog, please consider supporting it. You can do this by BECOMING A PATRON or by LEAVING A TIP ON PAYPAL. I’m getting closer to my first milestone on Patreon. If everyone who read and enjoyed this blog gave a dollar or two a month, I could call this a job… And that would be amazing. Thirdly — You can keep up with me and interact on Facebook and on Twitter. And lastly — Please don’t lose hope in the midst of all this horribleness. Today in Las Vegas, the lines to give blood were around the block. People who couldn’t give blood passed out snacks and drinks for the people who waited for hours in line. There were so many people wanting to give blood that they had to turn people away. There is good in the world… Sometimes you just have to look harder than others. Stay strong, stay loving, and stay hopeful. 

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If You REALLY Loved America, You’d F*ck The Flag

I am SO SICK of people acting like they “love” America when all they do “stand respectfully” while the national anthem plays. You really think that is enough? Standing? Taking your hat off? Maybe placing your hand over your heart? Maybe making sure to sing louder than the guy next to you? Maybe doing the harmony part that you learned in high school? Maybe having a flag-pin on your lapel at all times of the day? Maybe making sure to squeeze out a few tears every time the song is played? Pfft… That is nothing. REAL PATRIOTS go the extra mile. 

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“You smell real purdy…”

All of this “taking a knee” that people have been doing makes me just want to vomit with patriotism. Talk about being UNGRATEFUL! We LET them become millionaires and play a GAME for a living, and all they have to do is practice their whole lives, work hard every day, and sacrifice their bodies and their brains… And THIS is how they repay us?!? Taking a KNEE? I mean, I know they say that they’re protesting “systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality, and the criminal justice system,” and that’s all fine and good… But couldn’t they protest without making such a big deal about it? Like maybe take a knee at home? When there is no one around? I think that would be WAY more respectful to America. Which IS — by the way — easily the greatest country in the universe. And listen — I’M NOT RACIST, but if I’m going to have someone telling me America is not great, it’s sure-the-hell NOT going to be some ungrateful, black multi-millionaire… It’s going to be the ungrateful, white BILLIONAIRE who God decided should be our president.

With all these un-American NFL protestors out there trying to Make America WORSE Again, it’s important that we each do something EXTRA to let the folks around us know that we are TRUE Americans. Standing while the anthem is playing is no longer enough. It’s not enough to just sing, or take your hat off, or put your hand over your heart (even though that is really only supposed to be for the pledge of allegiance). It’s not even enough to know the words to the third stanza of the song, where slave-owner Francis Scott Key wrote about killing the slaves who who were trying to win their freedom by fighting for the British (Here’s the verse, by the way, if you want to learn the words).

“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Nope. In these dark times, we need the light of a REAL patriotism to shine through. I’m done with “the usual.” From now on, I am going ABOVE AND BEYOND… And if you really love America, you will too. Here’s the plan:

On NFL game days, I’m going to shave real close, and I’m going to take an extra long shower — to make sure that EVERY part of me is EXTRA clean — I’m going to put on a nice suit… And then I’m going to treat the flag to a beautiful evening. I’m going to take the flag out for a nice steak dinner… Maybe splurge on an expensive bottle of wine. Afterward, I’m going to take that flag home, light a couple of candles, put on some romantic music (probably some Lee Greenwood)… I’m going to fold it into one of those nice, tight, respectful triangles… And then that flag and I are going to make some sweet, patriotic, American LOVE. I am going to SALUTE that flag, if you know what I mean. NEITHER of us will be at half mast. It’s going to give new meaning to when people say, “America: Love it, or leave it.” And you know what? God willing, I’m going to get that flag pregnant. And we’re going to have some little star-spangled babies, and they are going to grow up and vote to take away civil rights from people who don’t look like them.

And maybe THEN I can finally prove to the world how much I love America…

It’s been a while since I’ve brought out the Bathroom Humor. If you’re like me, you maybe haven’t felt like there is very much to laugh about lately. I hope this post changed that in some small way. If you value my writing and this blog, and you like to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON. Or if you just feel like leaving a tip, you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL. Otherwise, you can follow me on Facebook and on Twitter. I am genuinely honored that there are people who read the things I write. Thanks again!

 

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This Is Who The President Is.

I woke up this morning way earlier than I normally do — I’m not sure why. It was one of those times when you are just inexplicably wide awake. There have been a couple of times in my life where this has happened to me, and then when I checked the news (which — for me — is looking at the journalists I follow on Twitter), I saw that something awful had happened… Like the echoes of some tragedy woke me up from a dead sleep. So I was nervous to see what fresh new hell the president of the United States of America has unleashed on the world this morning. But instead of some new national embarrassment or mass shooting or weather catastrophe, this tweet from Seth Abramson (a journalist, poet, attorney, and professor of English whom I follow online) was at the top of my feed:

What follows is a thread of tweets eviscerating the cyanide pill that currently serves as the president of our country. Every tweet — every sentence — is damning and true… And so important for people to read. ESPECIALLY those of us who think this country is worth saving rather than tearing down. So I’ve compiled the contents of his thread, and posted them here for you to read….

“We need to never again discuss this man with respect to policy—it’s become more than clear in 9 months that he holds no policy positions. So if you support Donald Trump because of any view you claim he holds, I don’t ever want to hear from you again. The man holds no views. There is no position Donald Trump has ever taken that he has not, at some point in the past or present, taken the opposite position to. We mustn’t ever discuss this man as someone “challenging the system” or any similar bromide.

His White House is the most corrupt ever. Not one story of honorable conduct has emerged from this White House. Instead, it’s been lies, deception, corruption, graft, propaganda. But the most important thing is this: this is the first U.S. president to systematically and willfully terrorize his own populace daily. His changeability is intended to keep us anxious and on guard. In fact, he’s admitted publicly, many times, that this is a tactic of his. His corruption is equally studied: his business model has always been “get away with what you can,” and that’s exactly how he’s governed. He saw that he had a GOP Congress—and knew that his worst-case scenario was not getting re-elected to a job that he never really wanted. That’s why he hasn’t eliminated his conflicts of interest, delivered on his promises, “drained the swamp,” acted as any kind of leader. His presidency is a criminal enterprise designed to enrich his family and give him the attention his father clearly denied him as a kid. He has no beliefs, no ambitions, no morals, no principles, no guidelines, no plans, no expectations. He simply needs to sow chaos daily. What Trump knows better than most is that America is a chaos machine—you feed it and it spits out attention, headlines, sometimes money.

I want to be very clear here: Donald Trump is a toxic human with a toxic public presence and—worst of all—he wants to poison his people. His reign will go down not just in U.S. history but human history as a reign of uncommon cruelty in the democracies of this millennium. It’s *more* than that he’ll go down in our history as the worst president we’ll ever have—he’ll go down as one of our greatest villains. Benedict Arnold tried to betray America for a prior sovereign—Trump is trying to *torture* a nation that was good to him his whole life. Have you noticed a change in your mood since January? I mean a change you can’t seem to escape? Anxiety, anger, fear, confusion, doubt? The most ubiquitous man in your nation is trying to poison you daily—because it gives him power—and no one’s stopping him from doing it. I’m not using hyperbole: you’re under attack. A deliberate, unprovoked, systematic, and—yes—evil attack. And it’s working. We’re losing. When humans are endangered, confused and hopeless, there are certain things we turn to—all of which Trump is deliberately stealing away. Our fight or flight instinct—which Trump activates—can be quelled if we’re given respite, which is why Trump ensures we have no respite. That’s why his tweets—which are intended to terrorize, and *do*—come in a daily barrage of needless conflict, warmongering, and cruelty. He must never stop tweeting, because his tweets now activate our culture in a way so *inescapable* that we’re almost like his prisoners. You think he’s attacking North Korea in his tweets? No—he’s trying to terrorize *you*. The NFL? You. Segments of America? No—all of us. 

When humans are confused, we seek the stability of truth, trusted institutions, neighbors. He’s destroying those anchors systematically. “Fake news” isn’t about getting re-elected—it’s about controlling your fight-or-flight instinct by giving you no safe harbor in “truth.” Every institution we like or trust, he’s undermined. The media. Government. Unions. Hell—even the NFL. Veterans (when he feels like it). He’s enabled by the GOP—but he’s no Republican. He wants to destroy any politics or politician whose world he’s not at the center of. He’s a malignant narcissist, and his *only* ambition is to spread his toxicity nationwide in whichever ways feed his perverse pathology.

If you’re a Trump voter, by all means laugh it up. You’ll be caught in wars, recessions, and international collapse like the rest of us. He has 35% support because Americans love to be right/see fools suffer—and Trump voters think they’re on the right side of the equation. Time will show that we were all the fools—and whatever temporary satisfaction the Right got from annoying the Left wasn’t worth America. Because the last thing—of the three I mentioned—humans look for in a crisis is hope, and he’s systematically taking *that* away as well. We don’t have hope future elections will be fair. We don’t have hope our government is working in our interests. We don’t have hope… …we can trust and love our neighbors and they’ll trust and love us back. And we don’t have hope things will start to make sense again. But only a fool fails to see that the pain and suffering that comes from having a madman as a leader is soon coming for every one of us. Things are going to get very bad. And many fools will say, “Well—that’s America.” And America *is* deeply flawed. But we weren’t *this*.

One in every few generations in the West, a leader arises *so vile* that he can draw out the evil from his population and weaponize it. Trump is *not* Hitler. There was only *one* Hitler. But Trump is the *sort* of Hitler that America in 2017—at its very worst—can breed. Everything evil a man can do to a country like this, at a time like this, in a span of four or eight years, Donald Trump will try to do. He’ll try to make the vulnerable live in fear. He’ll position himself as unreviewable by the media and government. He’ll sow confusion. And when his crimes are uncovered—and he’s been a villain and criminal his whole adult life—he’ll try to stoke violence to save himself. Trump is the most dangerous American of all our lifetimes—he’s so dangerous we can’t fully apprehend the danger or how to respond to it. He’s an actually evil presence that hangs over your life—and the life of a nation you love—every single day. And he may be unstoppable.

Is there any reason to trust future election results—now that we know Russia is hacking/interfering and Trump’s doing *zero* to stop it? And is there any reason to think the damage Trump has done to our political system can be solved in just a single American generation? And as he plunges us deeper into our Longest War and tries to start World War III in Asia, can we be certain lasting doom isn’t ahead? My point: there is only one fight in America today that matters, because all other fights are ultimately a direct corollary to this one. If we want to save ourselves—and our country—Trump must be legally, peacefully and transparently removed from a position of power. ASAP. 

P.S. It’s OK to finally indulge the idea that everything is as bad as you think it is if hitting rock-bottom gives you the courage to FIGHT.”

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I would rather look at literally anything in the world than look at this face. How do people meet him and NOT shout obscenities at him. I just don’t get it…

That is who Donald Trump is. He is not a good person. He’s not even a good businessman. He is a moral cancer on the character of our nation. I struggle to find the words to describe him. It’s hard for me… I end up with words that would give a movie an R rating. I’m not sure if it’s because those words are accurate, or because they feel so good to say. But whatever adjectives, whatever insults, whatever hyperbole, whatever spiritual of psychological diagnoses you bestow on him… One thing is for sure: He is dangerous, and he is unstable. And the most patriotic thing a citizen of this country can do right now is to stand in direct opposition to this corrupt administration, and continue to work to remove this president from a position of power as soon as possible.

 

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