Sunday, April 1, 2018

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Donald Trump with Stormy Daniels, 2006

By now, we all know the name of the porn actress, Stormy Daniels, and that she had an affair in 2006 with reality-star-turned-President, Donald Trump.  

What no one has known--until now--is that former President Bill Clinton, husband of former Secretary of State and failed presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, had a hand in their meeting in 2006.  

The following is from an exclusive interview with President Clinton, where he gave the details of the plot to blemish the character of the Donald Trump in case he ran for President. 

GT: Our understanding is that Donald Trump expressed his desire to run for President someday during his wedding reception with Melania.  Is that true?

Clinton: That's true.  He expressed his interest in running for President, and Hillary was there.  She took me aside and said, "We need to put some black marks on his moral character.  It should be easy.  Why don't you fix him up with one of those women you have on the side?"

I knew the perfect one: Stormy Daniels, the porn star.  I knew Donald Trump had a thing for his daughter, Ivanka.  He never said it, not even in private, but it was obvious.  There has always been more chemistry between Donnie and his daughter than between him and Melania, and everyone who knows Donald is sure he'd sleep with her if he had the chance.  So, I had my people look into Donny's schedule, then I called up Stormy and arranged for her to be at a charity gold event he was attending.

"I knew Donald Trump had a thing for his daughter, Ivanka.  He never said it, not even in private, but it was obvious."

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Stormy Daniels and Ivanka Trump.  Resemblance?
GT: Didn't Donald Trump already have enough self-inflicted damage to his moral character?

Clinton: You'd think so, but Hillary insisted.  Her reasoning was that if an affair occurred right after the birth of his son, it would be especially damaging.  I guess the public reaction to my impeachment proceedings didn't teach her the lesson that nobody cares about people's affairs when it comes to being President.  

GT: What do you know about this affair after their initial meeting in 2006?
Clinton: I know Stormy was a little creeped out by Trump calling her "Ivanka" and "my little princess" during sex, but I also know the money was good, and ol' Donnie couldn't get enough.  It was going on right up to a couple months before it came out in the news, as far as I've heard.  

This complete interview has been sold to a major pornography publisher.  The brand and the issue where it will be published will be announced soon.  

Asked about the revelations from this interview, the President said, "Everyone says there hasn't been enough investigation of the Clintons.  I said it, everyone has said it.  They need investigated, big league."  

Monday, March 13, 2017

Christian media bears false witness against lesbian couple after they were awarded damages for harassment by business owners who refused service to them

Aaron and Melissa Klein, bigoted owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, were found responsible for the harassment of a lesbian couple with whom they refused to do business.  The court awarded $135,000 to the couple who suffered the harassment.

Faithwire, a Christian dog whistle online publication, in true hypocritical, bear-false-witness fashion, published a dishonest article with an attention-grabbing headline that made it seem as if a couple of poor, maligned Christians were having their right to free exercise of religion violated.

Let's be clear and truthful here: if you have a business that serves the public in the state of Oregon, you cannot discriminate against customers based on sexual orientation.   The lesbian couple filed a complaint with the state, and the state found the business owners in violation--but the story does not end there.

After the Kleins violated Oregon law, they went on to harass the couple and their foster kids.

The Kleins published the names and the address of the couple who filed the complaint on their Facebook page.  Followers of the page harassed the family and sent them death threats.  They sent hateful messages.

Then, the media picked up the story, downplaying the harassment the family faced because of the doxxing the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa did on their Facebook page.  The harassment became far worse.  Messages came in by mail, phone, and email, because all of their contact information was available for anyone to see and use.

What's more, the state of Oregon's adoption agency said that if the Bowman-Cryers (the couple who faced this harassment) couldn't protect their kids, they could lose them.  They were trying to adopt their foster kids, and they could have lost them because of what the Kleins did to them.

So...the business owners who refused service to a same-sex couple nearly cost that couple the custody of their kids, and they caused a flood of harassment and death threats that came from all over the country.

You can read the court's ruling here.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Trump's Cabinet nominees: Jeff Sessions, Attorney General

Donald Trump has nominated Jeff Sessions, Republican United States Senator, for the office of Attorney General.  

To find out what sort of role he will play and find out what influence he will have, I went to the Organization, Functions, and Missions Manual for the office.

The responsibilities of the Attorney General are as follows:


I'm pretty sure not many people realize just how many offices are under the Department of Justice, and how much influence over the application of the law the Attorney General has.  If you want the whole picture, please take a look at the agencies under this department.

This article is not meant to be comprehensive.  I want to give people an overview of Jeff Sessions' views, and how these views might affect the office he will run.

Civil Rights
As the head of the DOJ, Jeff Sessions would be in charge of the Civil Rights Division, the Criminal Division, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the DEA, the Office of Tribal Justice, and the Office on Violence Against Women, among other offices that will have effects on civil rights and inequality in the justice system.

Jeff Sessions received the following scores from civil rights groups:

  • NAACP: 7% rating, indicating an anti-affirmative action stance
  • ACLU: 20% rating on civil rights issues
  • Human Rights Commission: 0% on LGBT issues

Senator Sessions has called groups like the NAACP and the ACLU un-American.

He voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act.

He voted against renewing special funding for businesses for minorities and women.

He has supported a constitutional ban on flag burning.

He has supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

A head of the Department of Justice who has such a poor record on civil rights will likely neglect these offices under his supervision, at best.  At worst, he will use their budgets and power to harm civil rights.

Drug Law Enforcement
As head of the DEA, Sessions will have the power to take the DEA in whatever direction fits his views.  He has used anti-legalization rhetoric  in Senate hearings, and he would be able to use his power--unless Trump stops him--to put a stop to state systems, at least temporarily.

Since he is also the head of the Bureau of Prisons, expect more enforcement of drug laws, since he is for the private prison industry.  The easiest way to fill prisons with nonviolent offenders--the offenders private prisons want to handle--is to enforce drug possessions laws.

The Republican Senator has been said to have a history of stringent opposition to immigration.  His opposition of Syrian refugees includes allegations of an increase of terrorism on the part of refugees. He has suggested using a religious test to ban Muslims from entering the US.

Domestic surveillance
Senator Sessions has supported lifting restrictions on warrantless wiretapping.  As head of the FBI, the BATF, the DEA, and the US Marshals, deregulation would give him power to use warrantless wiretapping to a much greater degree on the domestic front.

Jeff Sessions is 100% anti-choice, receiving a 0% rating from NARAL.  As the person who represents the United States in the Supreme Court (although it could be someone from his office), he is most likely itching to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Environmental regulation
As the head of the DOJ, Sessions also heads up the office of the Environment and Natural Resources.  Sessions has said that the views of climate scientists offend him.  Sessions is a vocal climate change denier, reflecting the views of Senator James Inhofe--and these men were on the Environment and Public Works committee.

As someone who has been strongly against environmental regulation, Sessions is unlikely to enforce them.

This is a short list of the issues Jeff Sessions could affect as the US Attorney General.  I invite you to look at the list of agencies that would be under his supervision, then compare them with his views to understand just how much impact he can have.

I will leave you with this: when Ronald Reagan nominated Jeff Sessions for a position as a federal judge, it came out during the hearing that the nominee had, as Alabama's attorney general, joked that he thought the KKK was all right until he found out they smoked marijuana.  That was one of the many troubling accusations of racism that killed his appointment--but not his career, unfortunately.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Hillary's Excuses: Why You Should Not Believe Them

When someone calls Hillary Clinton out on a past mistake, she makes excuses that sound reasonable on the surface.  She is counting on voters refraining from doing in-depth analysis.

I have said many times--mostly on Facebook--that the main reason I didn't support Clinton in 2008 was her vote to give Bush the ability to use force in Iraq.  There were other reasons, but I saw the 2008 primary as a race between a centrist and someone who was a little right of center.  The deal-breaker for me with Clinton was her support of Bush's war.

The current excuse she's giving for that vote involves her plea to George W. Bush to help her get money to clean up and rebuild in New York after 9/11.  She says that because he kept his word to her on his promise to help her get the money, so she thought he'd keep his promise to refrain from attacking until the UN weapons inspectors did their jobs.

Well, either Hillary Clinton is the most naive politician on the planet, or she's skewing the truth to make herself look like she was wronged by Bush, like he wronged the rest of us.

Do not believe it.

Many of the members of the Bush administration were also members of the Project for the New American Century, a neo-conservative think tank, whose goals involved invading Iraq, turning it into a democracy, then using it as a base to turn the rest of the Middle East into a conglomeration of US-friendly democracies.  The idea was to control the oil flow from that region to Russia and China.  This was all on their now-defunct website, which they took down in 2006.  Fortunately, the Library of Congress has archived it.

Members of PNAC lobbied President Bill Clinton to invade Iraq.  There is no way that Hillary Clinton was unaware of PNAC and its members; many were Washington insiders since the Reagan administration, including Donald Rumsfeld and Dan Quayle.

Hillary Clinton had to be aware of PNAC, had to be aware of their intentions, had to know that members of PNAC were all over the Bush administration.  She knew these things, and she trusted Bush not to follow through with the policy positions of people who tried to lobby her husband to invade in 1998.  Does anyone believe that she was so naive that she didn't know these things?

I assert that Hillary Clinton is not naive and never has been.  She voted to approve Bush's use of force in Iraq with the full knowledge that members of PNAC were in the Bush administration, and that they fully intended on following through on their strategy, outlined on their website.  Her knowledge of who was in the Bush administration and their clear intentions makes her vote--and the vote of every person who supported the use of force in Iraq--all the more egregious.

I don't believe her excuses regarding her use of the term, "super predators," either, because it was well-known in political circles that racial inequality existed in the justice system in the 1990s as much as now, and that escalation of the war on drugs and calling for stricter sentencing would disproportionately affect black people.

I don't buy her excuse for not releasing her speeches to Wall Street banks: there is no double standard here.  Bernie Sanders has not been paid to speak to Wall Street investors.  Hillary Clinton has.  If there's nothing in those speeches she has to hide from voters, then she should release the transcripts.  She is not releasing them because she knows what she said will hurt her politically.

The list goes on, as Hillary Clinton has a long history of being wrong before coming over to the right side.  She is now, suddenly, for the $15/hour minimum wage; she wasn't supporting it at the beginning of the campaign.  She is now for LGBT rights, something she began supporting in 2013; she said in 2008 that marriage should be between one man and one woman.  Not long ago ,she was open to the idea of a private component to Social Security; now, she's for expanding it and taxing the wealthy to fund it.  She's vehemently anti-gun now; she was so pro-gun in 2008, Obama called her "Annie Oakley" on the debate stage.

There are no right-wing smears here.  These are all valid critiques of her policy positions and how she's changed them.  You won't hear me talking about Benghazi, which I think was a witch hunt.  You won't hear me talking about Whitewater, because I don't really know a lot about.  You won't hear me talking about the Clinton murders, which are pure right-wing fiction.  You won't hear me talking about Bill Clinton's affairs or sexual harassment, because I don't think these are relevant to Clinton's campaign.

No, I'm sticking to the real issues, her real positions.  I don't care about the right-wing fiction.  What I do care about is that when we cut out the fairy tales, we're still left with someone who is untrustworthy, hawkish, and beholden to large donors.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Christians, the Republican Party is playing you for suckers

Thirty-six years ago, David Barton wrote a book entitled, The Myth of Separation.  It was full of errors, half-truths, and revisionist history about our nation's founders, various court cases, and the history of separation of state and church in general.  Barton attempted to show us a nation in decline by providing incomplete data without historical context.

Here's n example: he provided a graph, showing the decline in college entrance exam scores (for the SAT, specifically) over a period that began when the Murry v. Curtlett and Abington v Schemp cases were decided, up through 1980 (I think--I am going off the top of my head here; I have the accurate data in my book, The King of Weasels, which I will be publishing in the next year).  This graph doesn't show us the complete data, which goes back another decade or so, and begins with a handful of schools--Ivy League schools were the only colleges to use SAT scores in the beginning.  A higher caliber of student took the SAT.  Later, the testing expanded to around 300 schools, and the test scores dropped--a wider variety of students were taking the test, and the average went down.  Then, we get to the era of the war in Vietnam, when many people went to college to avoid the draft.  The College Board offered the SAT to a much broader range of students.  Eventually, over 3000 colleges and universities offered the test, and every high school student planning on entering college began taking it.

One would expect these scores to decline accordingly, because the pool of test takers went from the top students in the country to every student planning on going to college.  But no, no, it was all the fault of the Supreme Court's decision to ban school-sponsored prayer and Bible recitation, according to Barton.

That's one example of the kind of deception Barton expects his audience to believe, but there's one that should seem more familiar, and it comes in the last chapter of The Myth of Separation.  Barton gives his readers a ten-point plan to bring the nation to theocracy (though he would never say it out loud, the name of his organization, Wallbuilders, comes from the Book of Nehemiah in the Bible, and is about a man who rebuilds Jerusalem with the help of a variety of people, then kicks out everyone but the religious zealots).  Part of the plan is to use abortion as a wedge issue.

And that brings us to the point of the article: the reason we are talking about Planned Parenthood's funding today is because the idea that abortion is murder serves as a banner behind which fundamentalist evangelical Christians and white male Catholics--a huge part of the Republican base--will rally behind.  It's no surprise that this fight is taking place as the 2016 Presidential primary campaign begins.

I assure you, Christians, the Republican Party is using you.

Abortion is a wedge issue.  It really should be a decision between a woman and her doctor, as decided in Roe v. Wade.  However, since the idea that abortion is murder is such a power motivator for Christians, the Republicans will continue to use it to energize the base.  It also solves another problem for them: poor people getting free stuff.  They don't like Planned Parenthood, because they don't like poor women getting free health care services.

Abortion comprises three percent of what Planned Parenthood does, and not one tax dollar goes to this particular service, but that's what Republicans will bring up, because it's easier to get their base to buy into de-funding abortion (which they are not paying for now) than cutting funds for free cancer screenings for poor people.

Once again, they are using you.  They don't care about the pro-life cause.  The same people who are most vocal and proud about cutting funding from Planned Parenthood also want to expand the military and want to go to war with Iran.  If you don't think they will, you have a short memory.  George W. Bush led us into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers died in those wars, and many thousands more were injured.  Many more were displaced.  People were falsely imprisoned and tortured.  How is this moral?  These are people with names, personalities, and families; one would think that a person who is pro-life would be more passionately against war than abortion, where a life that never saw light of day, never knew its name (if one was ever picked out), never developed a personality, never developed family ties.

And aren't Christians supposed to care about the poor?  I read the Bible many times. I remember that the Jesus character specifically commanded people to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.  I specifically remember that he told a rich man to give everything he had to the poor, then follow him.  I remember that he said that it was more difficult for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (and that may have been the name for a small gate in the city wall that a camel would have difficulty getting through, but the point still stands).  Republican policies benefit the wealthy and dismiss the poor as a burden to society.  They want to cut funding from the VA, funding from welfare, funding from Social Security.  They want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which helps poor people obtain health care.

I assure you, lack of access to health care is murder.

My Aunt Pam got cancer.  She was diagnosed with it, but she didn't have health care, and she didn't have the money to get treatment on her own.  It spread.  It got painful.  By the time it became so bad, she had to go to the hospital again, it was too late.  There was no treating her.  She died a few days after going to the hospital, of a cancer that was treatable when she was first diagnosed.

We didn't have the Affordable Care Act when the doctor diagnosed my aunt.  We do now, and many lives can and will be saved as a result--many people in situations like my aunt's may now be treated for terminal illness.  If Republicans take that away, they will be responsible for the murder of people like my Aunt Pam.

So, Christians who profess to be pro-life, you have a choice: you can keep rallying behind the party of war, the party of expanding poverty, and the party of taking health care away from poor people with treatable illnesses, or you can keep pretending that you're pro-life by trying to protect fetuses.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

An Open Letter to Phil Robertson, and Every Other Person Who Thinks Atheists Don't Have Morals

Dear Mr. Robertson and other religious people who believe atheists cannot have morality,

      When I was nineteen years old, I freed myself of my faith after a long intellectual journey that began with me attempting to prove that the Christian god exists.  That journey caused me to read the Bible twenty-seven times, as well as sacred texts from other religious traditions.  I did not know any out-of-the-closet atheists personally, so I had to figure out for myself what was moral and what wasn't--but I found out that it was pretty easy, because I possessed a tool that almost everyone on the planet also possesses: empathy.

     The ability to put oneself into others' situations makes it easy to understand what will do harm and what will do good, and we may act accordingly.  In most cases, we will not even have to think about the other person's situation, because we instinctively act in a way that does not harm other people, if left to our own devices.  It's power, it's politics, it's ideology that causes us to do harm to others.

    Your Bible is full of things I would consider immoral.

  • The genocide in the land of Canaan
  • The advocacy of slavery in the laws of Leviticus and the stories in Genesis (rules about circumcising slaves exist in Genesis, as well as stories about Abraham using slave soldiers)
  • The offer of Lot's daughters to the people of Sodom to rape
  • The fact that every law involving the treatment of men and women in Leviticus and Deuteronomy has women worth half of what men are
  • The practice of forcing women to marry their rapists, written to look like it's a punishment to the rapists to force them to marry their victims
  • Corporal punishment for children 
  • The practice of enslaving virgin girls from conquered cities
  • The idea that one must shun one's family if they don't believe
  • Death sentences for addiction, homosexuality, non-belief, adultery, and the completely fabricated accusation of witchcraft
  • The flooding of the entire planet (which, of course, didn't happen, but it's in your myth)
The list goes on. 

My morality does not come from the book you hold sacred.  My morality comes from empathy, life experiences, and the examples of others in real-life situations.  I do not have to be commanded to be moral.  Do you know why?  It's because we evolved to be moral beings. 

It's hard to imagine in a world where we are at war so much, where there's so much murder, rape, theft, greed, and everything else we consider a harm, but we did evolve to band together in tribal units and defend the tribe.  In hunter-gatherer cultures, the tribe cooperates to find food and water, to build shelter, and to raise children.  

In a secular, industrialized society--like the United States is set up to be--we have set up laws and a justice system to enforce them.  Those laws come from the collective morality of the people, which I would rather see come from empathy than from religious edict.  Rule of law provides consequences for actions like the one you described in your horrific rape and murder story involving an atheist family.  

As the father and husband in an atheist family, I found your story to be a disgusting misrepresentation of how atheists view morality and how we live our lives.  We love our spouses and our children every bit as much as you love yours, and we would do everything we could to protect them from harm, because we can empathize with their feelings and pain when bad things happen to them.  Evolution has hard-wired us to do it. 

Greg Reich, an atheist with a family


This letter is in response to this article on Raw Story:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What's so insidious about 50 Shades of Grey?

I complain about 50 Shades of Grey a lot, as anyone who knows me from Facebook groups can attest.  I explain over and over, ad nauseum, what I find wrong with this series, but I keep having to explain, so I figured I would write an article about it that I could link to whenever the subject comes up.

I have a more appropriate blog for this subject matter, but I want this article to be accessible to everyone, and the other blog is not.  The other blog is for adult audiences only, and it's for a certain segment of the adult population.  It is not for everyone.

In any case...what do I have against this work of fiction?  You didn't hear me complaining about Twilight.  You also haven't heard me complain about other works of fiction that have as their subject matter abusive relationships or irresponsible representations of the BDSM lifestyle.

The truth is this: I would not care what the story was about if it hadn't been turned into a brand used to sell adult novelties and products in a way that deceptively marries this story to the BDSM lifestyle.
It doesn't matter to me that it's poorly written and edited, even though reading it was an assault on my sensibilities as an English major with a writing minor.

It doesn't matter to me that it's about abuse--plenty of stories have abuse in them.  Plenty have rape, murder, torture, and other horrible subjects--and the person or people doing those things is/are not necessarily looked down upon by the author.  That does not matter.

What matters is that 50 Shades is a brand now.  It's not the book series anymore; it's not the movie that's out or the movies to come.  It's magazine article after magazine article, telling people how they can have sex like they do in this series, how they can learn from Christian Grey, how they can bring the play they see in the books into their bedrooms. Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and even Men's Health have published this type of article, as well as a myriad of websites promoting this atrocious series.

Don't get me started on daytime talk shows.

E. L. James did no research for this book, and yet, she shamelessly allows her brand to be associated with a lifestyle whose participants live the opposite way of the abusive character she wrote into her books.

  • A responsible dominant does not set hard and soft limits on kinks with a virgin.  Yes, Anastasia is a virgin in the first book.  I am not sure if she's portrayed this way in the movie, because I have not seen it yet, but she is definitely a virgin when Christian meets her.  A virgin could not sign a contract that sets rules on kinks with hard and soft limits and call it informed consent.  
  • Christian Grey is portrayed as someone whose drug addict mother shaped him into who he is.  That's not generally true of lifestyle dominants.  Abuse is rampant in society, and yes, some people into BDSM have been abused or had hard lives--but no more than those who aren't into kink.  
  • Christian isolates Ana from her friends and family--huge red flag!  This is one of the classic signs of an abusive relationship.  
  • The stalking of Ana is also a huge red flag for abuse, but it's also another misrepresentation of the BDSM lifestyle.  BDSM relationships are built on trust--out of necessity.  The submissive must trust the dominant in order to give consent and relinquish control; the dominant must trust the submissive not to claim domestic violence for marks they both agreed to in the beginning.  Slave contracts are no protection; the submissive could easily say she/he was coerced.  If Christian has so little trust of Ana that he had to stalk her, he had no business trying to be a Dom.  Furthermore, it reeks of insecurity--and the last thing anyone wants in a dominant is insecurity.
There are plenty of articles out there listing the instances of abuse, but the main point remains that if the author hadn't consented to merging her series about abuse with a lifestyle that has a thriving community whose members warn against it, where healthy relationships depend on trust and consent, where partners care about the physical and emotional safety and well-being of each other, I would not be writing this article to warn against it.