St. Patrick’s Day parades used to be political riots…

Anti-irish sentiment was rampant in the U.S. during the 19th Century, with political cartoonist portraying them with ape-like features destroying “true american values.”

Anti-irish sentiment was rampant in the U.S. during the 19th Century, with political cartoonist portraying them with ape-like features destroying “true american values.” (Click to embiggen)

The current wave of White Nationalism and Islamophobia we’re embroiled in was hardly the first time that the U.S. succumbed to anti-immigrant fervor. When the 1845 potato famine sent thousands of Irish people to America, hoping to find work and feed their families, the long-brewing anti-Catholic feelings in the country boiled over. Take this paragraph that describes the cartoon above:

“[Thomas] Nast’s anti-Irish cartoons focus on the Irish as a destructive and lying group, who endangered American society. In the immediate aftermath of the Orange Riot of July 12, 1871 in New York City, in which Irish Catholics clashed with the National Guard protecting an Irish Protestant parade, Nast drew a number of anti-Irish cartoons for Harper’s Weekly. One cartoon illustrated the Draft Riots of July 1863, where Irish Catholics attacked African-Americans throughout New York City. At the top of the drawing Nast wrote that the Irish Catholic is bound to respect “no caste, no sect, no nation, any rights,” highlighting the believed lack of respect the Irish immigrants had for American society. Furthermore, the contrast between the Irish and the Anglo-Saxons in this cartoon clearly shows the Irish in negative light. While the Anglo-Saxons are drawn as regular looking people, the Irish are drawn with ape-like faces illustrating their inferiority as well as the lack of intelligence. Such depictions of Irish were not limited to Nast, with other papers such as Puck and Judge also using caricatures of Irish as primitive and violent.”
—“Thomas Nast Anti-Irish Cartoons”, Catholic Historical Research Center

As I said, anti-Catholic sentiment had been a thing in the U.S. before the famine. There were the Bible Riots in Philadelphia, where anti-Catholic mobs set homes and churches on fire, killing dozens and wounding far more. And I want to emphasize that popular perception was that Catholicism was the religion of invaders. Most of the English colonists had been protestant, and many of the people who participated in the riots and demonstrations were part of so-called “Nativist” organizations, out to protect “real American culture.”

To be perfectly clear, I say so-called because none of them were members of Native America tribes. These were white mutts just like me, whose ancestors had come over mostly from Holland and England just a few generations before and either participated in or profited from the systemic slaughter and displacement of America’s indigenous peoples.

Anyway, the Archbishop of New York had a wall built around St. Patrick’s Cathedral during this time, and the Ancient Order of Hibernians (a pro-Irish group) stationed men armed with muskets around many catholic churches in cities where tensions were high. This is the same organization that sponsored (and in some places still sponsors) many of the St. Patrick’s Day parades throughout the U.S. today.

St. Patrick’s Day parades, during the 19th Century and well into that the 20th, were acts of political protest. Police and National Guard units were sometimes sent in beat up and arrest as many of the parade participants as possible. When Harry S. Truman first participated in the New York City parade in 1948, it was a big deal.

St. Patrick’s Day Parades were Irish Pride Parades—people marched to protest inequality, anti-Irish prejudice, anti-Catholic prejudice, and to honor previous generations who endured those riots, police assaults, and so on.

And during those turning point years, after Irish-America cops fought for the right to march in their uniforms, there was a bit of controversy in some parts of the community—people who were old enough to remember when riot police were sent in to stop the parade.

Now, most people think they are just big parties. Green beer! Everyone’ Irish on St Paddy’s Day! Right? Right?

Several politicians boycott Staten Island St Patrick’s Day Parade after LGBT+ group told they can’t participate.

Over the last few years some of the big city St Patrick’s Day Parades have begun to allow gay Irish-American groups to participate in the parades. But not everywhere. And before you try to argue that since St Patrick is a religious figure (though he was never canonized by a Pope, so not officially a saint), remember all that green beer and cheap Irish whiskey shots at bars? All the raucous behavior and public drunkenness at the parades?

It is not a religious event.

The St Patrick’s Day Parades in America have always been political events. They were originally about fighting discrimination. They are supposed to be about pride in being Irish, right?

Guess what? A lot of Irish-Americans are queer. Hell, a lot of Irish people are queer. The current Prime Minister of Ireland is an openly gay man! He brought his husband with him when he met with the Vice President last week, and then our very homophobic Veep had to stand by and smile diplomatically while the Prime Minister gave an anti-discrimination speech. In 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote!

My own heritage is mixed, like a lot of pasty-pale-skinned Americans. A chunk of my dad’s ancestors came to the U.S. from Ireland, but they were descended from Anglo occupiers who invaded Ireland in the 15th Century. Many of my mom’s ancestors came from Ireland and were poor Irish Catholics. There are conflicting stories in the family about exactly how and when each branch converted to evangelical Protestant, but, my great-grandpa was proud of his Irish roots, and told stories of how his great-grandpa struggled to find work after coming to America during the potato famine.

So, I think I have at least a bit of a right to state an opinion on Irish Pride Parades. And this queer fairy descended from more than a few Irish immigrants, thinks that telling queer Irish-Americans they can’t march in a St Patrick’s Day Parade is bigoted, backward thinking best described as pure blarney.

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Weekend Update 3/16/2019: Liars, bigots, and fakes

“Christchurch Mosque: White supremacist. Tree Of Life Synagogue: White supremacist. Mother Emanuel AME Church: White supremacist. Oak Creek Sikh Temple: White supremacist. Overland Park Jewish Center: White supremacist. Islamic Center of Quebec City: White supremacist.” Gee, do you see a pattern?

“Christchurch Mosque:
White supremacist.
Tree Of Life Synagogue:
White supremacist.
Mother Emanuel AME Church:
White supremacist.
Oak Creek Sikh Temple:
White supremacist.
Overland Park Jewish Center:
White supremacist.
Islamic Center of Quebec City:
White supremacist.”
Gee, do you see a pattern?

Another in my occasional posts of either news that broke after I finished the Friday Five post for the week, or with more information about news stories which I’ve linked to in the past.

First, the mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. I’m trying to avoid linking to sites that name the gunman or his co-conspirators or show their pictures. I am angry at the news sites that have run stories about how he was a blond angel as a child, blah blah blah. Seriously, fuck those guys. Instead, Dead, injured or missing: Victims of Christchurch begin to be identified. It is heartbreaking, particularly when you see the pictures of the two youngest killed: a three-year-old and a four-year-old. I’m reminded of the time on some news show when Geraldo Rivera, of all people, got angry at another panelist for defending “some of the ideas” of the Oklahoma City Bomber. Geraldo mentioned the number of children who were killed in the daycare that was part of the building destroyed and said, “he was a baby-killer!”

Australia Re-Bans Homocon Milo Yiannopoulos Over NZ Comments. So, Milo the white supremacist who keeps trying to claim he can’t be a bigot because he only dates black guys, did a tour of speeches and rallies in Australia and racked up a huge debt by not paying for the police security at the rallies. At least one of the rallies turned violent. He announced another such tour in 2018, but then suddenly canceled (while various reporters had uncovered that his group had failed to pay deposits to venues on time, and news of his deepening debt spread). He was set to do another one this year, when the Department of Home Affairs recommended against granting him a visa, based on the violence, protests, and all those unpaid bills from the 2017 tour. But conservative members of parliament pressures the cabinet minister to grant a visa, anyway, and things were looking like another Milo crapstorm were going to happen… until Milo opened his mouth on social media last night, essentially agreeing with all the points of the Christchurch shooter’s published manifesto.

New Zealand shows willingness to curb guns after one, not 1,981 mass shootings. Imagine! A government taking action after a mass shooting! Why, oh why, has no one done that before?

FOX News Contributor Calls for Prosecution of Homocon MAGA Troll Jacob Wohl for Faking Death Threats Against Himself. Lock him up! This is hardly the first time that Wohl has made false reports and tried to profit from them while stirring up conspiracy theories. And while so far the police department that Wohl made the false report to hasn’t made a statement, the man whose photo was stolen by Wohl to create the fake account to send the death threat to himself, has retained Michael Avenatti, the former lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels, to sue Wohl. I’m not a fan of the grandstanding Avenatti, but if anyone can keep attention on the false death threat issue, it’s him.

Speaking of slimy lying people: Trump Issues First Veto Of Presidency After House And Senate Vote To Block “Emergency” Wall Declaration. At least he actually did it correctly. When he sent out the tweet the night before consisting of the single word VETO in all caps, many of us wondered if he thought that’s how it works.

Meanwhile, MAGABomber To Plead Guilty. The guy who sent pipe bombs to critics of the alleged president has agreed to plead guilty to some of the charges, attempting to avoid a mandatory life sentence. We’ll find out what the deal is later this week.

I could comment more on all these horrible people, but it’s just been a depressing news week. So I think we need to end on a funny note. Stephen Colbert shows why it is so unbelievable at the First Lady would use a body double for public appearances. It’s quite amusing:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Friday Five (another white supremacist edition)

Samantha Bee's takedown of Carlson is in the Videos section below.

Samantha Bee’s takedown of Carlson is in the Videos section below.

It’s Friday! We’re already up to the third Friday in March!?

My husband informs me that he saw rain mixed with snow one morning this week (he leaves for work three hours before my alarm goes off on weekdays), but we’ve had daytime temperatures that have almost reached typical for this time of year. Enough of them that the pollen count has shot up high enough to trigger my first really awful hay fever day of the year. So I had to use some sick time this week. Given how much I was whining about the colder than usual temperatures, I guess I can’t complain.

Anyway, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: a few stories that each need a category all to themself, the top five (IMHO) stories of the week, five stories about science, top five stories of interest to my queer kindred, five stories about resisting the fascist regime, five stories about deplorable people, and five videos (plus notable obituaries).

Sad Story of the Week:

Fantasy’s Widow: The Fight Over The Legacy Of Dungeons & Dragons.

Local Sports Story of the Week:

And Now It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Some Former Seahawks.

Evil F-ers Who Make Me Question Humanity:

Massacre at the mosques – gunmen kill multiple people, Christchurch under siege.

Stories of the Week:

On web’s 30th birthday, its inventor says we need to stop its ‘downward plunge’.

Metalheads with kazoos drown out Westboro Baptist Church at Capitol.

The findings speak to a bigger problem in the development of automated systems: algorithmic bias.

US Surgeon General visits Washington as measles outbreak spreads.

The College Admissions Scandal Should Remind Grads Of Color We Were Always Good Enough.

Queer stories of the Week:

(click to embiggen)

Nancy Pelosi and David Cicilline: The Equality Act Is Just the Beginning.

Why wasn’t anti-LGBTQ bias mentioned in the Congressional resolution denouncing bigotry?

Beefed-up hate crimes bill passes Utah House and appears headed for final approval after years of frustration and failure.

GERMANY: Compensation Payments Approved For Gay Men Persecuted Under Nazi Law After End Of WWII.

Massachusetts House Votes 147-8 to Ban Gay Conversion Therapy for Minors.

This Week in Setbacks for Fascists:

Senate Spectacularly Rebukes Trump’s ‘National Emergency’ as Republicans Join Democrats to Block Wall Funds.

The House Just Voted to Demand DOJ Publicly Release Mueller Report – No Democrat or Republican Voted Against It.

Court allows defamation suit against Trump to proceed.

CONNECTICUT: State Supreme Court Clears Way For Sandy Hook Parents To Sue Gun Maker And Sellers.

George Conway Calls Trump A “Pathological Liar” And Calls For “Serious Inquiry” Into His Mental Condition.

Awful, Deplorable People:

Jacob Wohl Faked Death Threats Against Himself – One came from a phony account the wingnut provocateur created and ran just before he was banned from Twitter.

Proud Boys Cite Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to Attack Antifa.

How the Far Right Perverts Ancient History—And Why It Matters.

Instead of New Press Chief, What If Trump Tries Fewer Crimes.

House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chair Elijah Cummings COMING For Election Brian Kemp Stole From Stacey Abrams.

In Memoriam:

Former Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh dies at 91.

Jan-Michael Vincent Dead: ‘Airwolf’ Star Dies at 73.

Stanley Donen Dead: ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Co-Director Was 94.

How Director Stanley Donen Made Stars Like Gene Kelly and Audrey Hepburn Shine Their Brightest.

RIP, Superstar Wrecking Crew Session Drummer Hal Blaine, Who Played on 150 Top 10 Songs.

Videos!

Is Tucker Carlson a White Supremacist? | Full Frontal on TBS:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Robocalls: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Fake Melania, Tim Apple & Trump’s Six Degrees of Corruption | The Daily Show:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Meet Stephanie Flowers, VOICE OF A RIGHTEOUS WRATHFUL GOD:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Gay Church Janitor Stuns ‘American Idol’ Judges with Original Song About Whether Heaven Has a Place for Him:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Resetting clocks and other foolish things

I could write yet again about the foolishness of Daylight Saving Time, but despite not needing to be anywhere at a specific time, all day Sunday I was feeling confused about the time and had to deal with two nap attacks.

Anyway, my state is not the only one that currently has a bill moving through the legislature to make us stop changing clocks twice a year. Find out if yours is one of the many considering it, and call your state legislators and encourage them to vote for it! There is at least one bill in the U.S. Senate (with, last I checked only two co-sponsors) that would make it easier for states to opt out of the Daylight Saving Madness. So, maybe consider calling your federal representative.

I know that, despite the fact that the time change contributes to an increase in traffic accidents and death, workplace accidents and injury, and exacerbates many health issues, it isn’t as dire as the things I’m usually going on about here, but maybe if we can make some progress on something like this, it will make some of the other issues a little more conquerable?

Maybe?

Anyway, I’m reposting what I posted last year on the topic of Daylight Saving Time, why we do it, and all the myths about it. Enjoy:

100 years of Daylight Saving Time, and most of what you know about it is wrong

“We just sucked one hour of your life away. Tell me... How do you feel?”

At least he was doing it for science… (Click to embiggen)

I was going to write a post about Daylight Saving Time, specifically the many myths that get thrown around by people trying to explain it. I think the fact that almost no one understands why we do it is one of the best arguments for why we shouldn’t do it at all. Let alone the problems the switch causes: Heart problems, road accidents and mood changes are associated with the DST time change. But while I was searching for a good image to attach to such a post, I found this Buzzfeed article and includes a section that hits all the notes I wanted to:

In 1905, a British architect named William Willett invented daylight saving time. Willett was out for his regular early-morning horse ride when it he noticed that 1) it was rather light outside, and 2) he was the only one up. Like Franklin, he thought this was a waste of perfectly good sunlight. And it ~dawned~ on him that instead of getting everyone up earlier by blasting cannons, they could simply shift their clocks forward to take better advantage of that sweet daylight. So, in 1907 Willett published a pamphlet outlining his formal proposal. He suggested that people turn their clocks forward 20 minutes every Sunday in April at 2 a.m. (And then they would set the clocks back by 20 minutes every Sunday in September.) He argued that this would get people outside and exercising, and that it would save on electricity, gas, candles, etc. (He also estimated it would save $200 million in today’s dollars. This was…again, a wild exaggeration.) A member of parliament, Richard Pearce, heard about Willett’s idea and was into it; he introduced Pearce’s Daylight Saving Bill to the House of Commons in February of 1908. The idea of changing the clocks four times in a month didn’t go over well, and the bill was eventually revised so that the clocks would be set forward one hour at 2 a.m. on the third Sunday in April (and then set back in September).

The bill was endorsed by merchants, banks, railroad companies, and the guy who created Sherlock Holmes, but was opposed by most astronomers and scientists. And one newspaper wrote “that if a man were going to a 7:00 dinner, under the new arrangement of daylight he would appear on the streets of London in evening dress at 5:40, which would shake the British Empire to its foundations.”

You know who else opposed the bill? FARMERS. They argued from the start that they couldn’t perform their operations at a different time — for example, they couldn’t harvest grass for hay while it was still wet with dew, and the dew wasn’t going to disappear earlier just because the clock had changed. And there were other activities that they couldn’t do until temperatures dropped after the sun went down. Basically, they hated DST from its inception.

Despite the association with farmers, daylight saving time actually came to the United States thanks to business owners (and war)
If you feel like garbage this week, you can direct your curses toward Marcus A. Marks, a clothing manufacturer; A. Lincoln Filene, a department store owner; and Robert Garland, a Pittsburgh industrialist. These three were very pro-DST, and were able to get labor organizations on board, along with the US Chamber of Commerce, the president of the National League of Baseball Clubs, and other prominent business owners. Even President Woodrow Wilson wrote a letter expressing his support for their efforts.

Less than two weeks after the US entered WWI, a daylight saving bill was introduced in Congress. It was heavily opposed by farmers, and also railroad companies, who were concerned about anything that could mess with the standard time zones (which had only recently become A Thing — a story for another day), and who said that 1,698,818 (!!) clocks and watches along their routes would have to be changed if DST were implemented. Because the fewest trains were running at 2 a.m., that became the proposed hour for the change-over. And because the most coal was consumed in March and October in the States, the bill was expanded to include those two months. On March 19, 1918, daylight saving time was signed into law in the United States, and took effect on March 31 of that year.

—“9 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Daylight Saving Time” by Rachel Wilkerson Miller, for Buzzfeed

The energy consumption savings argument was difficult to back up with numbers in 1918. The energy consumption argument at least had some slight possibility of being correct in 1918, when the vast majority of energy use was in factories, retail businesses, and the like. Residential energy use was limited to cooking, heating, and providing light usually with oil- or gas-burning lamps.

But in 2018 the argument doesn’t hold up. For instance, residential energy use thanks to all our computers, TVs, sound systems, game systems, refrigerators, microwaves, et cetera is a larger fraction of the total national energy consumption. And the amount of that home energy consumed for lighting is much smaller than all those other things. Also, a much larger proportion of businesses run 24 hours a day than did back then. Setting clocks forward or back has negligible impact on how much energy is used per day on a 24-hour business.

What I’m saying is, there isn’t much reason to justify the effort, the impacts on people’s health, and other costs of this twice annual fiddling with the clock.

Besides, I’ve always agreed with the one reaction, usually attributed to an elderly man on a Native American Reservation after first getting an explanation of Daylight Saving Time: “Only a fool would think you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, then sew it to the bottom to get a longer blanket.”

Friday Five (someone’s going to prison edition)

Picture of convicted conspirator, Paul Manafort captioned “Will not do well in prison”

(click to embiggen)

It’s Friday! The second Friday in March!

And it snowed again. Had a bit over an inch in our part of town. Snow turned to rain and washed it away by afternoon, but it snowed. Again. I’ve seen snow in March, yes. Much later than March, in fact. When I was a kid growing up in Colorado! I haven’t lived in Colorada in over 40 years. We’ve already had the snowiest winter ever. Can we please, please have a bit of normal?

Anyway, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five (IMHO) stories of the week, five stories about science, five stories about deplorable people, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and the thing I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

How Much Wealthier Are White School Districts Than Nonwhite Ones? $23 Billion, Report Says.

In wake of protests, JPMorgan Chase breaks up with private prison industry.

A Clinton-era centrist Democrat explains why it’s time to give democratic socialists a chance.

Sex outside of marriage could soon be legal in Utah.

North Korea Is Rebuilding Rocket Site It Dismantled After Nuclear Talks Last Year. Because of course they are…

This Week in Science:

Smithsonian | There is A Scientific Reason That Cold Weather Could Cause Colds. There are actually multiple reasons why cold and flu season happens during the cold part of the year.

Semi-Identical Twins Identified For Only The Second Time Ever .

Galaxy Simulations Offer a New Solution to the Fermi Paradox.

After 14-year search scientists think they have found a new type of killer whale off coast of Chile.

A 2,000-year-old tattoo tool is the oldest in western North Americ

Awful, Deplorable People:

Paul Manafort Sentenced To Only 47 Months.

The Truth in Trump’s Law-Enforcement Hypocrisy — As a public defender, I’m not mad at how well Manafort and Cohen have been treated. I just want that same treatment for my clients..

Mike Pence isn’t ‘decent.’ He’s insidious..

Two Dozen Republicans Refuse to Vote for Resolution Condemning Wide Range of Hate and Bigotry.

Indiana man had 2,000 ancient human bones in his house. Most illegally dug up out of various indigenous burial grounds.

In Memoriam:

Luke Perry Dead: ‘90210,’ ‘Riverdale’ Star Dies at 52.

Luke Perry, in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ Helped Redefine the Male Love Interest —the mediocre 1992 movie eventually led to some great TV — but it also created a first-rate example of a male feminist..

Things I wrote:

Disgraced former Congressman gets an out of jail free pass….

Haste to prepare the way, or an ex-evangelical explains christianist attitudes toward Israel and Israelie.

Videos!

Someone has created an animation of several Police Logs of Port Townsend:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Good Omens – Official Trailer | Prime Video:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Brian Justin Crum “CIRCLES”:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Better — A Horse With A Horn (NSFW):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

HE’S IN LOVE (and we’re all gonna die) – Randy Rainbow Song Parody:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Haste to prepare the way, or an ex-evangelical explains christianist attitudes toward Israel and Israelies

PSSSST DON'T TELL BENJAMIN NETANYAHU BUT GOP CHRISTIANS ONLY WANT TO MPROTECT ISRAEL SO IT IS STILL AROUND LONG ENOUGH FOR GOD TO DESTROY PER REVELATION OTHERWISE WE DON'T GET OUR SECOND COMING! THEY'RE WELCOME! MRS BETTY BOWERS MRS BETTY BOWERS AMERICA'S BEST CHRISTIAN MEME

(Click to embiggen)

As a child growing up in Southern Baptist churches, I was taught a lot of contradictory things about Jewish people, Jewish religion, and the Jewish state. On the one hand, they were god’s chosen people and we, as followers of god, are obligated to protect them. On the other hand, if they don’t convert to christianity, they will spend eternity in hell. On the first hand, certain verses in the bible predict dire consequences to any enemies of Israel, and therefore we must always, always, always support every action and policy of the nation of Israel and its government. On the other hand, they rejected Jesus when he was on earth and executed him, so they betrayed god and became tools of the devil. On the first hand, the book of Revelation says that a nation called Israel will exist when the Battle of Armageddon happens, ushering in the final destruction of the planet and bringing Jesus back from heaven to create a new kingdom of his faithful—therefore we must support the government of the modern nation of Israel and defend it from other nations, no matter what. On the other hand, modern Jewish theology supposedly descends from the Pharisees, who were the villains in a couple stories in the gospels, and therefore is more proof that they are tools of the devil, untrustworthy, et cetera.

I could keep going.

Before I continue, a couple of disclaimers: I have considered myself an ex-Baptist and an ex-Christian for a long time. I have often said I didn’t leave the church, the church drove me (a gay man) away. I was also the kind of nerd who read the Bible, on my own, cover-to-cover more than once (and had rather large swaths of it memorized). My passion for social justice was instilled at early age by some of the teachings of the church and its holy book, even as the contradictions I often observed in the teachings and practices of the church and their selective reading of that text fueled my doubts.

The negative attitude of many christians toward Jewish people has a long history, going back at least to the Third Century. And a lot of the rationalizations make no sense. As a for instance, take the “they reject him and executed him” argument. According to christian teachings, Jesus’ entire purpose for being sent to earth was to be sacrificed as a payment for human sin and make salvation possible. God’s plan required Jesus to be rejected and executed. Never mind that it was technically the Roman governor who ordered the execution, you can’t blame the crowds who supposedly demanded his death because they were just enacting god’s plan, right? Not the devil’s plan, god’s plan!

Similarly, taking various verses in the bible where the name Israel is used to metaphorically refer to all Jewish people collectively, and not a specific legal entity controlling a specific territory on the map to refer to the modern state of Israel is shaky reasoning, at best. And people today trying to claim that anyone who is critical of any specific policies of the current government of Israel is anti-semitic is equally absurd. And it’s pretty rich coming from Republicans, some of whom brought Holocaust deniers to the recent State of the Union Address, for instance.

All those contradictory things about Jewish people that evangelicals believe are baked deeply into the reasoning of the political rightwing in America. And it manifests in interesting ways. For instance, if anyone expresses any sympathy for the Palestinean people, the first thing that any journalist or pundit from Fox News and the like will ask is, “Does Israel have a right to exist?”

And it’s a bullshit question.

During the Obama administration, when Republicans would criticize things the government was doing, none of these talking heads ever asked them, “Does the United States have a right to exist?” When someone criticizes a policy of the government of Germany, or Mexico, or Japan or France, no one asks the person, “Does Germany/Mexico/Japan/France have a right to exist?”

And the truth is, no nation has a right to exist. A nation is a political and economic organization that has asserted control over a particular territory. A nation contains people, but the nation is not, itself, a person. People have a right to exist, but legal fictions that we create, like corporations, governments, social clubs, and so forth don’t.

And if anyone turned that question back on any of those talking heads—if a person who criticized the Israeli government would reply, “You’ve been critical of the U.S. government in the past, do think that the United States has a right to exist?” They would be offended and claim that it’s off-topic or not the same thing at all.

One of the reasons they think the “Does it have a right to exist” is a reasonable question is because they don’t perceive Israel as being just a government and its territory. They perceive it as the mythic entity cherry-picked from the bible. It is the chosen people of god, and it is a thing that must exist in order to bring about the second coming of Jesus. More than that, their reading of scripture demands that this mythic entity be embroiled in conflict, bloodshed, and the occasional war. Because again, the promised second coming and a new kingdom where they walk on streets paved with gold and all that can’t happen without horrible things happening in a place called Israel.

All of the other anti-semitic things they believe—the Jewish people are greedy, that they are untrustworthy, that they work in secret in various evil conspiracies and so forth—some from that betrayal of god thing. Evangelical thinking in particular is very ethno-deterministic. For a long time they opening taught that black people were descendants of either the biblical character of Cain or Noah’s son Ham. In either case, as descendants of those characters who were cursed by god, doctrine held that they were inherently less moral, less intelligent, and so on. Similarly, they believe (even if they are often less open about it these days), that because of the things their ancestors did, that now all of them are inherently aligned with evil.

So they don’t support Israel because they think the Israeli people deserve to be protected or that Israel is a great country. They support Israel because they think doing so will hasten the end of the world and fulfill god’s plan. Jewish people aren’t real people to them—Jewish people are sacrificial lambs whose blood is just one of the many prices they are willing to force other people to pay to get that mansion in heaven they think they’ve been promised.

And that’s how you get the same political party that inspires people to shoot up synagogs, that accuses rich Jewish people of financing every organization they disagree with, that claims that corrupt Jewish people control Hollywood, that refers to both neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers as “very fine people” pretending to be angry because one freshman Congresswoman criticized some specific policies of the Israeli government and claim that she’s anti-semetic.


Edited to Add: I got a comment from someone who seemed to think the intent of this post was to explain every single aspect of the attitudes of all christian sects toward the Jewish people. So let me first point anyone thinking that to the title of the blog post where I used the word “christianist” and not the word christian. What is a christianist, you may ask? A christianist is one who claims to be a follower of Christ and His teachings but who actively engages in acts and deeds that are contrary to Christ’s teachings.

Second, my usual goal is to keep my blog posts to roughly 1000 words (for various reasons). It is not possible to explore every nuance of any question in 1000 words. Some things need to be left as exercises for the reader. Or expanded further in a later post.

Note: The title comes from the hymn “What if it were Today” by Mrs. C.H. Moore, #124 in the 1956 Baptist Hymnal

Disgraced former Congressman gets an out of jail free pass…

Aaron Schock’s crimes were well documented, yet…

I had another post I was hoping to work on today, but when I logged in I saw a zillion hits on an old post about the corruption investigation into former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock. The post always gets a lot of hits when a new story about his criminal trial makes it into the news, so I went looking and wow: Prosecutors in Chicago to drop charges against former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock if he pays back IRS, campaign. I wasn’t sure I believed the headline, because the sheer volume and size of the many financial crimes committed by Schock were first, much larger than the dollar amount being mentioned in the stories, and amounted to a whole lot more than just tax evasion. So why the sudden change of heart from the prosecutors?

I’m hardly the only one who is asking that question: Editorial: The downfall of Aaron Schock: Greed and ego.

The downgrading of the criminal case is a head-scratcher. Repaying the IRS and his campaign fund seem to be admissions Schock misspent money and violated tax laws. Federal law forbids taxpayer money and campaign money from being spent for personal use. That’s also what tripped up former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Remember the elk heads and the Michael Jackson memorabilia bought with campaign money? For that, Jackson and his wife, former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, each spent time in federal prison.

So another Illinois Congressman who committed similar infractions had to pay back every dime (not just a fraction), and still had to spend time in prison? The Congressman who had to spend time in prison was African-American and was a Democrat, and by some strange coincidence, the Congressman who isn’t have to spend prison time for the same kind of crime (and gets to pay back only a fraction of the stolen funds?)—is a white Republican.

But that couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it. Can it?

Is it cynical of me to expect that now that this deal has been struck, that Schock will be getting some appointment from the White House. I mean, the scale of his corruption is extremely small potatoes compared to the alleged president, but he would fit right in. And his extreme anti-gay rhetoric (despite almost certainly being a self-loathing closet case) would certainly appeal to the alleged vice president.

I mean, the Get Out of Jail (almost) Free had to come from somewhere, right?

A head-scratcher, indeed…

F/r/i/d/a/y/ Saturday Five (checkmate edition)

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It was Friday. I knew it was the first Friday in March. Yet, there was no Friday Five post on this blog yesterday.

We had two simultaneous product releases at work, and being the sole technical writer for the division, that turns into an extremely busy week. I put in more than eleven hours on Thursday alone, and it wasn’t the only day that I worked long hours. So, Thursday night, once I was done, I started working on this post. But I was literally dozing at the keyboard, so it didn’t happen.

Anyway, welcome to the Saturday Five. This week I bring you: the top five (IMHO) stories of the week, five stories about deplorable people, five stories about our very impeachable alleged president, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and the thing I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

Everyone loved me as Cosmo the Cougar, but would they love who I was behind the mask?.

Opinion | I Didn’t Kill My Baby.

World’s Largest Bee Is Spotted For First Time In Decades.

The Brain That Remade Itself.

Apple, Google, Tumblr and more businesses lobby US court for trans student.

This Week in High Crimes:

Republican Questioning of Michael Cohen at Hearing Is Bad – Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows Don’t Ask About Trump.

What We Learned From Michael Cohen’s Historic Testimony.

Former Trump Aid: Mueller Report Will be a Conspiracy Roadmap for Impeachment .

Kompromat: Or, Revelations from the Unpublished Portions of Andrea Manafort’s Hacked Texts .

A prominent conservative just shredded Trump’s ‘deafening silence’ on an alleged white supremacist terror plot.

Awful, Deplorable People:

NORTH CAROLINA: Republican Operative Arrested On Seven Felony Charges Over 2018 House Election Fraud and Central figure in 9th District election probe indicted and Board Orders New Election in Fraud-Tainted NC-9 Race .

And one bit of good news out of the North Carolina mess: Anti-LGBTQ pastor Mark Harris won’t run again after election board called for new House election in ballot fraud case – The Republican cited health concerns to explain his decision to skip the upcoming North Carolina Ninth District election.

George Pell: cardinal found guilty of child sexual assault – Vatican treasurer, the third most senior Catholic in the world, convicted on five charges in Australian court case.

Right-wing media and think tanks are aligning with fake feminists who dehumanize trans people.

And here in my home state: Tim Eyman (serial initiative sponsor under investigation for election finance fraud) charged with misdemeanor theft; attorneys call chair’s removal from store an accident

In Memoriam:

Disability Rights Advocate Carrie Ann Lucas Dies After Insurance Company Denied Her Necessary Medication.

Katherine Helmond, the Man-Crazy Mother on ‘Who’s the Boss?’ Dies at 89.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update: Words and images worth checking out.

Videos!

Trevor Noah: Michael Cohen told Congress that Trump Is a Racist, a Con Man and a Cheat but Lynne Patton Says He’s Not, So…:

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Lanny Davis: Michael Cohen Gave ‘Game Changing’ Information To House Intel | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC:

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Ex-Trump campaign official calls him ‘un-American’ and says his supporters were ‘taken for fools’:

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Boys In Trouble – Sean Dorsey Dance:

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Ben Platt – Grow As We Go [Official Video]:

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Weekend Update: Words and images worth checking out

I am constantly saving various images to possibly use to illustrate a post, then wind up using only a fraction of them. Between the recent slushmageddon and my being sick, I’m behind on lots of things and have way more errands to run than usual. So, rather than rant about some news developments that have happened since I compiled yesterday’s Friday Five (sold them the rope edition) here are some of my recently collected images/memes/what-have-you:

“Why is it 'if you can't pay rent, buy less lattes' and not 'if you can't pay your employees a living wage, buy less yachts'?”

“Why is it ‘if you can’t pay rent, buy less lattes’ and not ‘if you can’t pay your employees a living wage, buy less yachts’?”

“No immigrant has taken a job from a 'real american.' You were laid off by a capitolist who took advantage of that immigrant to increase his profits, and nothing makes him happier than to hear that you're a fucking idiot who's actually mad at the immigrant and not at him.”

“No immigrant has taken a job from a ‘real american.’ You were laid off by a capitolist who took advantage of that immigrant to increase his profits, and nothing makes him happier than to hear that you’re a fucking idiot who’s actually mad at the immigrant and not at him.”

“Me as a seven year old: I CAN:T BELIEVE THE PEOPLE OF KRYPTON DENY THE PLANET IS EXPLODING. THAT'S STUPID.  Me now, reading the comments section of a climate change article: oh”

“Me as a seven year old: I CAN:T BELIEVE THE PEOPLE OF KRYPTON DENY THE PLANET IS EXPLODING. THAT’S STUPID.
Me now, reading the comments section of a climate change article: oh”

Click to embiggen and read. I can’t transcribe that just now.”

Finally, some of you may know that my latest musical obsession is Panic! At the Disco—specifically lead singer Brendon Urie, so when I saw this tweet I laughed outloud and said, “Welcome to the club!”:

Which seems like a good reason to link to one of his music videos that hasn’t been included in any of my previous posts:

Panic! At The Disco: Girls/Girls/Boys [OFFICIAL VIDEO]:

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Friday Five (sold them the rope edition)

“If you voted for Trump - I am tired of trying to see things your way while you sit in your holier-than-thou churches/white power meetups, refusing to see things mine. Did I just lump you in with white supremacists? No, you did that to yourselves. You voted for the same candidate as the KKK. You voted for a candidate endorsed by the KKK. For the rest of your life, you have to know that you voted the same way as the KKK. Does that feel good to you? Here’s a hint – it really shouldn’t, especially if you call yourself a Christian.  I’m tired of pussy footing around what offends your morals while couching what offends mine, because racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia offend mine.  Let me say it right here – if you voted for Trump, I do think you are a racist. I do think you’re homophobic. I do think you’re a misogynist. Racism, and homophobia, and misogyny are all a spectrum, and you’re on it. You might not be a ‘cheering while a black man gets lynched’ racist, but boy, did you just sell them the rope and look the other way.” — Tess Rafferty

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It’s finally Friday. It’s the final Friday of February!

I caught a cold or something last weekend. My work week has consisted of working and sleeping. I either take a couple of naps each day or go to sleep several hours earlier than usual then sleep like a log until the alarm goes of. Several co-workers have also either taken a few sick days or worked from home to keep from bringing their germs into the office. Fun.

Anyway, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: a disturbing story the crosses categories, the top five (IMHO) stories of the week, five stories about deplorable people, and five videos (plus a notable obituary and the one thing I’ve written).

Some stories sum up so much of what is going on:

ADL Report: Right-Wingers Committed Every 2018 Extremist Murder In US.

Stories of the Week:

Is the Insect Apocalypse Really Upon Us? — Claims that insects will disappear within a century are absurd, but the reality isn’t reassuring either.

Brain-Eating Zombie Deer Disease Will Likely Spread To Humans.

Feminism 101: What is Emotional Labor?

Mother Upset After Son Kicked Out of Class Over Pledge.

500 people attend drag queen story hour at California library, wildly outnumber protesters.

Awful, Deplorable People:

Portland cop under fire for texts with right-wing leader and Oregon official: texts show police-extremist collusion. This is crazy, the cop allowed the neo-nazis to put their own snipers atop a building, he frequently refers to armed members of the neo-Nazi group as fellow cops (they weren’t), took the neo-Nazi’s advice about when to go after the counter-protesters… If you ever doubted the truth of the old saying, “Cops and Klan, Hand-in-hand” reading the series of articles the Oregonian has put out about this will change your mind.

Trump Never Directed Disaster Officials To Cut Off Aid To California Wildfire Victims. If ever a headline needed a “yet” given that he’s said several times that he did…

Chris Hasson, U.S. Coast Guard officer arrested on gun charges, had hit list of prominent Democrats, feds say .

Roger Stone Sics His Winger Brigade On Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

Four Sentences: What the Legal System Has Said about the Suspect Loyalty of Trump’s Aides.

In Memoriam:

Peter Tork, beloved and offbeat member of the Monkees, dies at 77.

The Monkees’ Peter Tork Has Died.

Things I wrote:

One guy cried wolf—it doesn’t mean that wolves don’t exist.

Videos!

Rocketman (2019) – Official Trailer – Paramount Pictures:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Kelly Clarkson Belts Cover of Lady Gaga’s ‘Shallow’ :

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The Sound of Silence – Pentatonix:

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Robyn – Send To Robin Immediately:

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Pinky And The Brain Theme – Postmodern Jukebox (ft. Emily Goglia, Rob Paulsen, Maurice LaMarche) – you won’t recognize the faces of the bartenders, but their voices may be familiar:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

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