Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Heather Heyer



Kenneth Frazier:


Because we have no president.

Epistle to Reverend Puckey

I suspect the Methodist Church will soon change its policy on excommunication. 

Dear Reverend Puckey:

My name is Kevin Robbins and I attend Hudson Falls UMC. I’m writing because you and I disagree. This is in regards to a Facebook post put up by Kathi Cech and liked by you, disliked by me. I’m overlooking the notification I received in the comments that I can’t possibly be a Christian because I’m a liberal. You may not have seen that, and may or may not agree with those sentiments. But, you did click like on the Dinesh D’Souza quote.  If you’d care to respond, my e-mail is maxbaer@yahoo.com. I corresponded with Reverend Mudge and he informed me that I’m “engaged in a debate that is dividing all of the UMC.” I attempted to engage in a debate on Facebook without much success. No one wanted to discuss it.
     
D’Souza said: “The paradox of liberal tolerance is that it extends to Marxists, transsexuals and Islamic radicals – but not to conservatives or Christians.”
     
I’m curious what you find agreeable about the quote. How many living Marxists can you name? And how many liberals that are supporting them? The Russians took up kleptocracy around the time of Boris Yeltsin. Nicolas Maduro might be a Marxist, but I doubt many liberals are supporting him. Maybe Harry Belafonte and Sean Penn?  I’d say President Trump is giving him support by threatening him and rallying people to his side.    
      
I agree that we are tolerant toward transgender folks. What should we be? Hateful towards them? We liberals have company anyway. The brass at the Pentagon and some Republicans in Congress recently smacked down President Trump’s attempt to bigly discriminate toward transgender service members. But wait, wait; that’s not all. Some members of the Methodist Church are tolerant, too. A transgender person named M has recently been ordained as a deacon.
     
D’Souza insinuates that liberals are in league with ISIS and al-Qaeda. I would require some evidence of that scurrilous charge. We do support Muslims being able to practice their religion without being subjected to attacks like the recent one in Minnesota (and so many others). And why are they being attacked? Possibly because of hate-mongers like D’Souza. Actually, we support transgender folks not being attacked, as well. Would it be offensive if I said conservative Christian tolerance extends to the right-wing extremists in Virginia? I can already see it doesn’t extend to liberals. Why is it acceptable to push hatred of them?
     
Presumably some of my best friends are conservative Christians. I don’t bring my politics into church so I don’t know for sure. I’m not intolerant of conservative views or people who hold them. I am intolerant of bigots like D’Souza who use fallacious, straw man, nonsense arguments to spread hatred.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire.

Be Well,

Kevin Robbins

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What's Good For Exxon is Good For Rex

I realize all administrations have engaged in realpolitik. Ask Matt Funiciello.

Every American president since World War II has believed that our nation benefits from the spread of economic and political freedom. Oppressive regimes are more likely to seek destabilizing weapons and to harbor terrorists. Democratic nations are more peaceful and more likely to engage in trade. Democratization (for the most part) cannot be imposed, but it can be encouraged — unless that great, defining national mission doesn’t fit in the PowerPoint presentation. 

Yes, off and on they've tried to encourage that sort of thing, too. And Trump and Tillerson?

Here is a story for Tillerson to consider, told to me by a United States senator who was in Africa confronting a leader about human rights abuses. At one point during their testy exchange, the (increasingly) oppressive ruler said, “Well, Trump is on my side.” The senator, to his credit, responded, “Trump doesn’t even know your name.” Which is probably true. But the impression that the United States no longer cares about human rights has filtered down to third-rate despots everywhere.

Eh, not so good

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte met Monday with America's top diplomat, where he voiced solidarity with the U.S. amid global concerns over North Korea's nuclear program and angrily dismissed media questions about human rights abuses by his government.

As long as he's against North Korea. 

Would You Rather Be Eaten By a Shark or a Crocodile?

Or have Mike Pence as president? Or keep Deferment Donald?

(Trump’s) efforts — as bad as they might be — have been so far confined to the margins. Trump has not passed any major legislation or, for that matter, built any walls.

On the other hand, his most significant and appalling contribution has been to normalize lying as an ordinary tool of the presidency. He has ghettoized truth, confining it to something characterized as the lying and disloyal mainstream media. He lies for purpose and he lies just for the hell of it. His lying is such that it ought to be a mental ailment. Call him politically insane.

And sure that looks bad along with too many other things to mention.

His views, especially regarding social and cultural issues, are to the right of the right. He is famously antiabortion, recommends abstinence as the entire key to sex education and has taken the unique view that condoms are useless in AIDS prevention. As for global warming, back in 2000 he said it “is a myth.”

In 2002, Pence took to the floor of the House to declaim on evolution. Like many of its opponents, he misused the term “theory,” making it seem like a guess or a speculation. In science, a theory is an explanation of how things work. This is quite different from what Pence cited as a comparison — “that God created man in his own image.” That’s religion and not a theory — and that’s a fact.

And Cohen goes on to point out what a vile hypocrite Pence is for overlooking all the things that make Trump the most nihilistic bastard ever to walk the Earth.

Exploding Heads at SGFUMC

Some of my fellow members of the Methodist Church may wailing and gnashing their teeth soon. God, I hope so.

Hillary Clinton wants to preach. That’s what she told Bill Shillady, her longtime pastor, at a recent photo shoot for his new book about the daily devotionals he sent her during the 2016 campaign. Scattered bits of reporting suggest that ministry has always been a secret dream of the two-time presidential candidate: Last fall, the former Newsweek editor Kenneth Woodward revealed that Clinton told him in 1994 that she thought “all the time” about becoming an ordained Methodist minister. 

The ordination of Pastor Hillary would be either the first or second most likely thing to raise the blood pressure of the lib haters in South Glens Falls. This story was one I'd seen awhile back and it had slipped my increasingly decrepit mind. 

Barclay, a transgender person who identifies as neither male nor female and thus uses the pronoun “they,” was commissioned on Sunday as the first non-binary member of the clergy in the United Methodist Church.

There are some open-minded people in the church. Praise Jesus!

What's a Russian Bot?

So, I've seen them mentioned lately and hadn't really got around to finding out. One of several reasons to link to this story. And may I say "link to this story" makes a great place to put the link. Oh yeah, Russian bots.

“The president doesn’t know whether it’s a Russian bot or not,” said Clint Watt, a former FBI agent and fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, using the term for a fake Twitter account pretending to represent a real person and created to influence public opinion or promote a particular agenda. 

Of course the president doesn't know. Sadly, he knows even less than I do. What else is in this story? Nicole Mincey. Well, sort of, since she doesn't exist. At least not in the persona Trump knows her. 

On Saturday, President Trump tweeted his gratitude to a social-media super-fan, ­Nicole Mincey, magnifying her praise of him to his 35 million followers. 

Here’s the problem: There is no evidence the Twitter feed belongs to someone named Nicole Mincey. And the account, according to experts, bears a lot of signs of a Russia-backed disinformation campaign.

(H)e may have become Exhibit A of the foreign government’s influence by elevating a suspected Russia-connected ­social-media user — part a sophisticated campaign to exacerbate disputes in U.S. politics and gain the attention of the most powerful tweeter in the world.

It's gonna be a miracle if we survive the next 3 and a half years.


“As a Republican, it raises questions for some on the right who obviously have a difference of opinion on someone like Gen. McMaster, but the reality is there is a foreign power here trying to push an agenda,” said Jamie Fly, a former adviser to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) who helped create the Hamilton 68 project, which tracks the influence of Russian-backed propaganda online.

Researchers say the fake accounts sometimes disseminate content from well-known Russian-backed sources, including Sputnik and RT. The content is then picked up by U.S. conservatives. Or the fake accounts might amplify content created by far-right media outlets known for misinformation, including Gateway Pundit and Infowars.


Fly said Trump’s liberal use of Twitter has only increased the return on investment for a foreign power such as Russia seeking to sow division within the U.S. political system. Accounts can use Trump’s low bar for retweets to their advantage by creating large volumes of content in the hope that he might be drawn to some of it.

Putin hit the jackpot!

Monday, August 7, 2017

My Kitty is Destroying the Planet

At least helping. I was interested to see this story. My kitty is 15 and a half. He's winding down. Actually I thought I'd be putting him to sleep in January, but he keeps on ticking. I've recently thought that I won't replace him and this article is one of the reasons I'd come to that conclusion. I maintain a mostly vegan diet, but that isn't possible with cats.

America’s 180 million or so Rovers and Fluffies gulp down about 25 percent of all the animal-derived calories consumed in the United States each year, according to Okin’s calculations. If these pets established a sovereign nation, it would rank fifth in global meat consumption.

Needless to say, producing that meat  — which requires more land, water and energy and pollutes more than plant-based food  — creates a lot of greenhouse gases: as many as 64 million tons annually, or about the equivalent of driving more than 12 million cars around for a year. That doesn’t mean pet-keeping must be eschewed for the sake of the planet, but “neither is it an unalloyed good,” Okin wrote in a study published this week in PLOS One.

Oh Look, The Pope is a Lib

Thanks Charles Pierce:

American Catholicism, he argued, echoing the article's thesis, "has become different than mainstream European Catholicism and mainstream Latin American Catholicism," and has fallen "into the hands of the religious right." The authors of the article argue that American evangelical and ultraconservative Catholics risk corrupting the Roman Catholic faith with an ideology intended to inject "religious influence in the political sphere." They suggest that so-called values voters are using the banners of religious liberty and opposition to abortion to try to supplant secularism with a "theocratic type of state."

And this too, which I alluded to in my letter to the reverend.

But his conversion doesn't erase his past. After all, Gingrich has a history of marital infidelity. He cheated on his first wife, and his relationship with Callista, his third wife, began six years before the end of his second marriage. She was a staffer 23 years his junior; he was a Republican congressman who had yet to become speaker of the House. "Without a doubt," says Rozell, "many people will find it rather strange, ironic, whatever, that his religious journey that led him to convert to Catholicism began with an affair he had with a young woman while he was still married to his second wife."


A Question of Belonging

That's the subject line I used when I sent the letter. Works good as a post title, too. I may have to add a label "Fights With People on Facebook" or some such.

Dear Reverend Mudge:
     By way of introduction, I’m Kevin Robbins and I attend Hudson Falls UMC. I have liberal political views and this has never been a problem in the church I attend. I occasionally have letters published in the Glens Falls Post Star. There are some fellow parishioners who see them and comment. Some agree with me on some letters. One lady told me, “I don’t agree with your letters, but they’re well-written. And I used to be an English teacher.” Hey, I’ll take that! I try to be polite in the letters. They’re mostly about gun control or healthcare or similar issues. I don’t discuss the current president because whose mind am I going to change? Beyond a cursory acknowledgement of the letters, I don’t bring my politics into church. In my church no one has made me feel unwelcome because of my views.
     I’m going to include a link to a Facebook post made by someone who was on my friendlist. This is someone I went to school with and who attends the South Glens Falls Methodist Church. The conversation I had, or tried to have, in the comments bothers me quite a bit. I’ll admit to maybe borderline trolling at some points, but I wasn’t getting much response. The fact that the reverend of that church and his wife both approved of the post possibly offends me more. Even allowing they maybe weren’t aware of the comments, they still lent their imprimatur to the strawman nonsense that is the subject of the post.
     Liberals are tolerant of Marxists? How many Marxists are there still around? Vlad Putin and his gang have taken up kleptocracy. I don’t know what Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela is, but if it helps I’ll denounce him here and now. Transexuals? Last week President Trump tried a bigly bit of discrimination against those in the military. He was slapped down by the military brass and even some Congressional Republicans. No liberals are tolerant of ISIS or al-Qaeda. I believe that’s safe to say. I’d hope most are supportive of Muslims being free to practice their religion without their mosques being fire-bombed like the one recently in Minnesota. This is one of many that have been attacked. I will plead guilty to being intolerant of Conservatives and Christians who are bigots.
     I used to go to the suppers at the SGF church. I’ve kept a mostly vegan diet for the last year or so. It would be a moot point now, though. I certainly want nothing to do with them and I have to question whether I want to continue in the Methodist Church at all. It’s nice to see the ability to be so selective about who’s admitted anyway.

The post:

“The paradox of liberal tolerance is that it extends to Marxists, transexuals and Islamic radicals – but not to conservatives or Christians.” Dinesh D’Souza.

They are not tolerant, they ‘a’ crazy.

Comment thread:

Kevin Robbins - How does that shake out when it comes to Christian liberals?
KC - The two can't go together.
KR - That sounds pretty intolerant to me.
        KC - Sorry but bible following Christians are not liberals. The bible is very clear about right and wrong, but I can have my beliefs and still be tolerant, I just won't bend my standards for myself.
        KC - The majority of my family are liberals - I still love them.
        KR - First, no the Bible is not that clear on "right and wrong." Secondly, if it is you do know that D'Souza is a convicted felon? I'm sure that's all good because he's Conservative and Christian.
        KR -  And you don't consider your family capable of being Christian without adopting whatever Conservative beliefs you have?
MV -  but she is right according to God;s word and you can't argue with that the two can't mix.
       KR -  And thus spake Michael Vaughn without basing your comment on anything. According to what   part of God's word does someone have to hold Conservative political views to be a Christian.

I'd consider Pope Francis to be liberal. Are you going to say he isn't liberal? Or isn't Christian?
KR - Yeah, Jesus was always going on about cutting taxes on the Romans.
KR - The people at Fox News I'm assuming are Conservative and Christian. Are Trump, Guiliani and Gingrich all on their third wives after cheating on the first two good Conservative Christians? https://www.yahoo.com/.../as-new-allegations-emerge%2C.html
KR - Because I am open-minded, I'll entertain the possibility that you're right, Kathi. Rather than take you and Michael's word for it I think I'll contact Rev. Mudge and ask his opinion. If he tells me that what you say is true then I'll leave the Methodist Church. Since, as a liberal, I'm not wanted. I'll certainly go out of way to make it known to anyone else who doesn't hold strict Conservative views that they're not wanted there. Fair enough?
MV - all i said is she is right, the two don't mix don't know what your on about??
        KR - You have every right to believe what you want. I hope you'll respect my being a little offended at being told I can't be a Christian because my political beliefs fail the litmus test.
KC - Fair enough. I stated how I feel and live MY life. After you live my life you then can tell me I'm wrong. No hard feelings.
KC -  Let me know what Bill says

KR -  I will let you know. I'd really like to get an answer myself.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tracking Elise

Not in a stalking way. Turns out she has a Trump score of 92.5%. Tea Party, Freedom Caucus wingnut Mark Sanford only clocked in a 85%. Congrats congresswoman!

Sweet Jesus, I Hate Jill Stein

Not really, but she's seriously annoying.

Both war profiteer parties are screaming that supporting diplomacy is treason. It was the same during the run-up to attacking Iraq & Libya.

How many ways is that bullshit? I don't like the GOP, but I don't go around saying stuff that mind-numbingly stupid about them. 

Paul Ryan Got a Pony


And he wants us to get a useless border wall. I'd rather have a pony. Lyin' Ryan wants it so much he put on shades and made an ad in favor of it. No mention of Mexico paying for it. What's that? We're paying for it? Bullshit!