Hey Mickey (Toni Basil)

This song from 1982 has been stuck in my head for two days.   Major nostalgia!  I just learned Toni Basil was 39 years old when she made this video.    This is one of the greatest one hit wonders ever made.

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A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis

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I rarely share religious articles, since I know many or even most of my readers aren’t religious, but I think this one is so important I couldn’t let it pass by.  I also think the truths described in it are things we all need to remember in these confusing and dark days of our nation, regardless of your belief system.  If nothing else, they will help keep you sane.

I’ve been growing increasingly disturbed and even upset by what I see happening not just in our government, but in many of our churches, especially evangelical churches.  The Founding Fathers were wise to demand the separation of church and state, not because they were all atheists (they weren’t), but because when religion and state merge, they tend to corrupt each other.  It’s not just government being protected from religion, but also religion being protected from government.   As long as churches stayed out of politics, they tended to stay true to the teachings of Christ.   But something dark and unsettling is happening within Christian evangelism and it’s way too serious for us to ignore, because, Christian or not, it affects all of us.

Dominionism is a growing movement within evangelism that claims to be Christianity, but is more like what would happen if Christianity was turned inside out and stood on its head.  It’s an authoritarian, intolerant, unloving, unforgiving, punitive, and sociopathic belief system which seems to be equal parts Old Testament biblical law and Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness.  It’s the Prosperity Gospel with an angry, narcissistic, and unloving God.  Christian dominionism is not actually a religion at all — it’s a fascist political movement which is to real Christianity what the Taliban or ISIS is to Islam, and like the Taliban, it hides its anti-woman, anti-gay, white supremacist, violent, and oppressive ideology behind a facade of “Christian” religion.

We are close to a rewriting of the Constitution (Constitutional Convention) by these sick control freaks.   The Republican Party and Trump’s cabinet in particular are infested with these zealots.   They cannot be reasoned with.  They will not compromise.  They will not back down.   There is nothing they won’t do to achieve complete domination over all of us and of the planet.   Their doctrine dictates that doing evil things is okay as long as the end result (Christ’s return and the rapture) is achieved.    These people believe they are prophets and apostles who have been anointed to be earthly rulers and have been given permission by God to oppress and abuse the rest of us who are not part of God’s ruling class.   There’s nothing biblical or remotely Christian about any of this.

The dominionist movement is aided and abetted by the Koch Brothers and other oligarchs (both American and Russian) who aren’t religious themselves but whose insatiable lust for even more wealth and power dovetails perfectly with what dominionists want (complete control).    If they ever do gain full control over our government or are able to rewrite our Constitution, we’ll be living a real life Handmaid’s Tale.   The Kochs, Mercers, and other oligarchs working in cahoots with the dominionists will be either be exempt from the oppressive and draconian laws the rest of us will be subject to, or they can just skip off to another country.

As I said in the first paragraph, I’ve been getting upset about this abusive belief system and the threat it poses to my freedom and my life, and the lives, rights, and freedoms of the people I love.    Some days I feel like they really are going to win and I start to get anxious and depressed.   So I’ve been praying a lot about it.

The following article feels like an answer to my prayer  — a reminder of what it really means to be Christian in these times and what is expected of us (because it’s easy to get confused these days with all the misinformation), and at the same time a manifesto against the heretical perversion of Christianity called dominionism.    I feel strongly that if Jesus were here sitting next to me, these words would be exactly what he’d say to me.

A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis

 

 

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Happy Earth Day 2018!

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Book review: “A Higher Loyalty” by James Comey

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The “handshake” shown here is described in the book.

I received my copy of the bestselling memoir A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by former FBI director James Comey on Thursday and  finished it this morning.   It’s a fast read, but it may change you.

Comey describes the chain of events that led to his firing from the FBI in May 2017.   But more than that, this is an autobiography.  He also describes his childhood, high school years, his early years working in law enforcement (including exciting cases involving high profile mobsters and the Gambino Crime Family).  There’s also the very personal story of the loss of his infant son, Collin, an event he believes infused him with more empathy for the heartbreaks and losses of others — and made him a better FBI agent.

The book moves fast partly because the pages are packed with dialogue, some of which is humorous.  Here’s an excerpt of one of the conversations Comey had with Trump, at a private dinner meeting Trump had arranged for the two of them at the White House. I think this excerpt shows both Trump’s own ignorance and disdain for intellectualism.

“On my plate, I had found a large cream colored card describing the entire four course menu in cursive script. Salad, shrimp scampi, chicken parmesan with pasta, and vanilla ice cream. The president began by admiring his own menu card, which he held up.

“They write these things out one at a time, by hand,” [Trump] marveled, referring to the White House staff.  “A calligrapher,” I replied, nodding.

He looked quizzical. “They write them by hand,” he repeated.

Comey is being vilified and projected onto by his enemies right now, accused of everything Trump himself does every day.   I believe Comey, and not just because he’s on “my side” politically.   I believe him because he’s believable.   He’s an observant writer who notices the nuances of body and facial language, and appears to be a shrewd judge of character.  He also appears to have a high level of empathy, judging from the way he writes about others and his own reactions to them.   I cannot imagine a Donald Trump being capable of writing or thinking the way Comey does, or even noticing a fraction of the things Comey does.  Comey’s observation skills and empathy, combined with a lifelong passion for the truth, is what made him a great FBI agent and allowed him to rise to the top of the organization.   Yet he always remained humble, even shy and self-doubting at times (yes, he really did try to hide inside the blue curtains at the White House!)   His success never went to his head, and his priorities always remained on seeking the truth, never on bolstering his own ego.

Comey is being attacked by some people for telling the truth, something that narcissists like Trump hate because it exposes them for who they are.   In fact, Comey seems to have been selected specifically by Trump as a target for emotional and mental abuse.   People like Trump can sniff out potential scapegoats (usually very empathetic or observant people who can smell out the truth) from a mile away, and Comey, for his part, was uneasy around Trump from Day One — but like most of us who have been in abusive relationships, he initially wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.    As a shrewd FBI agent though, he never actually did — he only promised Trump “honest loyalty,” not the sort of mobster-loyalty Trump wanted from him.

Comey spends some time early in the book talking about what character traits he believes a good leader needs to have: toughmindedness is great, but it needs to be balanced with qualities of empathy, honesty, and integrity — values that are lacking in Donald Trump, who cares only about loyalty to himself and projecting a fearsome image of strength.

For all its darkness, A Higher Loyalty ends on a positive note.  Comey compares the Trump presidency to a forest fire.   Forest fires are destructive and deadly, but they are also necessary and happen naturally on a cyclical basis.   Forest fires make it possible for new life to grow — seedlings and new plants that had been crowded out by the old trees before finally have room to emerge and flourish.    While Trump might be a destructive force of nature, he may be a necessary one:  in his wake, people are waking up and demanding real change.    The rot that had been present but hidden for decades is finally being exposed, young people are making themselves heard, and I have no doubt that in time, Trump (and Trumpism) will go down in flames and our democracy will emerge better than it was before, with new values or old values that had been forgotten.

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How to Spot an Abuser Who Claims to be the Victim

A useful and much needed short article about how to tell the difference between victims and abusers who claim to be victims. This information can be used in personal relationships, or in decoding the character of politicians and other people in powerful positions.

Comments here are disabled.  Please comment on the original post.

A Cry For Justice

(My thanks to Barbara Roberts for her help with this article)

I am sure that you have watched police SWAT teams in action at a hostage situation.  As the hostages emerge, a strange thing happens.  The police treat them as if they were the bad guys.  They have them kneel down, hands in the air, frisk them and handcuff them.  Why?  Because if the police have never actually seen the suspects, they want to be sure that the bad guys aren’t trying to escape in the disguise of one of the hostages.  And that is how we need to handle abuse situations, because it is very, very common for the abuser to claim to be the victim – and his disguise can be pretty ingenious.  Many hostages are thrown in “jail” while the bad guys go free when it comes to how our churches are dealing with abuse…

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We must stop snubbing never-Trump conservatives.

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Sign at the Rally for ACA (Obamacare), February 26, 2017, Asheville, NC

Most of us in the Resistance — though we largely lean to the left — have come to accept never-Trump conservatives as part of our movement.  A few of them — Steve Schmidt, Nicolle Wallace, and Robert Mueller (a Republican appointed by George W. Bush after 9/11 and whose decisions often have leaned conservative) — have become like heroes to many of us “lefties.”   That’s because we recognize that, while we may not always agree with their Republican politics, these are men and women of integrity and morals, people who believe in the rule of law and the Constitution as it was written by the Founding Fathers (and not as the Kochs and Mercers would like to rewrite it to benefit only themselves and their oligarch cronies).   These people, because they possess morals and ethics, never hopped aboard the Trump Train. They never caved to the pressure to vote for Trump in the 2016 election just because he had an R after his name, because they recognized that Trump was neither a conservative or a liberal, but something else altogether — something alien and threatening: a radical disrupter of the American way.  So, most of these conservatives wound up either not voting, or voting for Hillary Clinton — as both Bushes and many other Republicans did.

While we liberals (actually, I’m not that far left — I’m just left of center) may not agree with conservatives on specific partisan issues (how to best handle the economy, government spending, the social safety net, and cultural issues), what we have in common with the Never-Trump conservatives is a strong belief that democracy is the system that has always worked best, that checks and balances are necessary to keep a democracy in healthy working order, and that a free press and freedom of speech is absolutely necessary to avoid falling prey to despotic or authoritarian leadership.  We also all agree that Trump is a clear and present danger both to our democracy, and to our national security.    All of us understand that he is attempting to destroy the institutions and the checks and balances that have kept us (until recently) the leader of the free world.  We also recognize his potential danger to the world.    We have always known he was unfit to serve in any capacity where he is responsible for life and death issues affecting millions of innocent people.

There are, unfortunately, still some holdouts in the resistance who are distrustful or antagonistic of anyone with an R after their name, even when it’s evident they have never supported the Trump regime and may even be extremely opposed to it.    Now is not the time for people on the left to be purists.   It’s bad enough when I see infighting among different factions on the left (or really, anything to the left of center-right):  Hillary and Bernie supporters are STILL fighting with each other.  WHY?  Neither is sitting in the White House today.   But some of the hardcore Bernie supporters still seem to feel like Hillary would have been worse than Donald Trump  — that’s how much they hated Hillary.    I see a similar refusal of some people on the left to accept Never-Trump conservatives as part of the Resistance, but again, we can’t afford to be political purists, and we need all the support we can get, even if we disagree on specific issues.

I do understand the reluctance, because it’s kind of strange and surreal for someone who has always voted for liberal or Democratic candidates to look at someone who always voted straight Republican until the 2016 election as an ally.   But in times like these, when a strong resistance is necessary to help bring down the cabal of sociopaths currently running our government, we all must change our ways of thinking and be more inclusive, even of those whose politics may normally be vastly different from ours.   We must set aside the temptation to be political purists because purism is for more peaceful, stable times, not for times like these.

If we reject Trump and believe in our system of checks and balances,  then it makes no difference whether we are Democrat, Independent, Green, Libertarian, or Republican — at the end of the day, we are all on the same side and we need to stick together and fight to save our country from the claws of fascism and tyranny.  It’s the Trumpists who will never be able to join us, and together, we far outnumber them.

If you’re a conservative reading this who hates Trump, don’t be shy!  Don’t be afraid to attend our rallies, meetings, marches, and comment on our social media posts.   We’re not all the  scary dreadlocked and tattooed radical lefties you might think we are.   That we’re all anything-goes anarchists, closet Commies, or Antifa members is a myth the right wing media wants you to believe.

The reality is most of us are just regular folks with regular jobs, kids, grandkids, and we may even go to church.  Many of us are older or even retired.    We just don’t want America to turn into something we don’t recognize.  In fact, it could be said we’re the real conservatives, because we want to conserve the values America has always stood for, instead of the sordid and un-American values Trumpism represents.

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List of Republicans who opposed the Trump Presidential Campaign, 2016

 

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Earth Day 2017 — March for Science

Today is almost a year since the first March for Science. Here’s an article from USA Today about this year’s March:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/04/14/march-science-2018/517294002/

It doesn’t seem like a lot has changed in a year, as Trump and his minions continue to dismantle the EPA from within, destroy laws that protect us against pollution, push fossil fuels over sustainable clean energy, and double down on their climate change denial even as our polar ice caps melt and our weather becomes more extreme and dangerous.

I’m reblogging the post I wrote last year when I attended the March for Science in my city.

Lucky Otters Haven

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In these days of dangerous lies called alternative facts and facts touted by our leaders as fake news,  the celebration of Earth Day has never seemed more important.  All over the nation today, people in cities big and small gathered to defend science and scientific research.  Scientific knowledge and education is important to keep our water and air clean, our food healthy and safe, and keep our young people educated instead of indoctrinated in ignorance.

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The organizations that sponsored our event.

In one important sense, the Trump presidency is the best thing that could happen to our country, because it’s forcing people to wake up and finally take a stand for the things that really matter.   I doubt there would be this level of activity had Hillary won the election.   People would remain stuck in their apathy and cynicism.

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It’s encouraging that so many cities had such a big…

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A fun day.

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Side view of the Hundred Year Old Cabin, Arden, NC.

Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday, but this year has gone by so fast (and because of the continued cold weather, I was having trouble believing spring had really arrived), so I almost forgot about her birthday. It just sort of snuck up on me.   So I realized yesterday I hadn’t made any plans or gotten her anything.

I stopped by a cupcake shop on the way home and got six different types of cupcakes, then had her pick her favorite one (red velvet cake).  Then I placed a candle on top of it and brought it out to her while we sang happy birthday (I did not get a picture of that but I should have — the cupcakes were adorable and so colorful).

Then I told her I wanted to go for a drive and wanted company.   What I had in mind was a 3 mile trip to some river cabins I’d always been curious to see.     She and her boyfriend joined me, thinking the trip would be boring, but it wasn’t at all!

There are seven adorable rental cabins tucked away in the woods by the river.   Six of them are new, and all perfectly charming (we could actually go inside two of them), but the one that fascinated me the most was the Hundred Year Old Cabin.   We didn’t get to see the inside of it, but it’s very photogenic, as you can see below.

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Back view of the Hundred Year Old Cabin

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Front view of the Hundred Year Old Cabin

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Two photos of one of the newer river cabins.

We got to try out the hammock on one of the cabins closest to the river.   It was a beautiful day, and so relaxing just swinging in it and hearing all the nature sounds.  It was hard to believe I wasn’t on vacation and only a few miles from my home .

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We walked around the campgrounds for a while and took some pictures of the river, then we headed to Panera Bread for her birthday dinner.

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Educated Evangelicals, Academic Achievement, and Trumpism: On the Tensions in Valuing Education in an Anti-Intellectual Subculture

This is an excellent essay told from a personal perspective about why so many evangelicals reject science and the truth itself — and why they can embrace someone like Donald Trump.

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Not Your Mission Field

Authority First: The Enclave Strikes Back

“I sat in the waiting room wasting my time, and waiting for Judgment Day. I praise liberty, the freedom to obey.” – Green Day, “21st Century Breakdown,” 21st Century Breakdown (2009)

Fundamentalists force an inhumane choice on reflective, empathetic individuals who grow up in their enclave communities: assent that 2 + 2 = 5, or, if you can’t, shut up about it or leave. Conservative Evangelicalism is a variety of Christian fundamentalism, and, make no mistake, the data tells us with overwhelming clarity that (apart from the “special demographic” of Vladimir Putin, Mitch McConnell, and James Comey), white Evangelicals are the one demographic most responsible for electing the most patently unqualified and dangerously demagogic president in modern American history. I am often asked how they could vote for someone so impious, which is a question I’ve addressed multiple times, generally referring to white Evangelical subculture’s

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Here We Go Again

Here’s a sort of rebuttal/response post to my earlier post from today about the sociopathic Trump administration. This is an interesting post from an interesting blogger who writes a lot about the Cluster B disorders (she’s a self-identified psychopath but I never believed it) and the current political situation.

Please leave comments under the original post.

CLUSTER B

abeeI have talked about this before, perhaps too many times. But we Cluster Bees are still being demonized so here I go again as well.

My good friend, Lucky Otter just published a new blog post: Sociopaths rule America. We are both against Trump and his ultra-right regime. Why can’t we stick to critiquing his administration on political grounds? There’s plenty to criticize. Republicans have consistently sided with the rich and disregarded the poor. Furthermore, our society is white supremacist. Until Trump took over, most people had the decency to whiteagaintry to hide it. The party line was that everyone has a fair chance in our “democratic” society. All it takes is hard work and talent. If Blacks wind up at the bottom of the economic pecking order, that’s just their fault. We need to teach them how to discipline themselves, stay in school, yada yada. Since Trump…

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