Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – and one more instance of Christians telling just a little lie, Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham,  the son of Billy Graham, famous American Christian evangelist, was in Harrisburg today.   It was part of his tour insisting that one needs to pray for America.  He didn’t endorse a candidate, but it’s not hard to know who he wants to win, mostly because he has said it himself despites the claims to the contrary “Asked whether Mr Trump might be his preferred candidate, Rev Graham told ABC’s “This Week” program: “Sure, yes.”

“When I first saw that he was getting in, I thought, well, this has got to be a joke,” Rev Graham said. “But the more you listen to him, the more you say to yourself, you know, maybe this guy’s right.”

The same kind of person like himself, who makes false claims about how horrible things are in the US,  about the president of the US, and who is sure that making the US a Christian theocracy is just a peachy idea.

Graham, true to form, was ginning up more fear.

“If we’re not careful, we’re going to lose our religious freedom anyway, so we might as well go ahead and get people out there and vote and get them to vote by the busloads,” he said. “Make sure people are registered in their churches, and I’m talking about registered. Get your grandparents, your children, grandchildren; just don’t go to the graveyard and start digging up your ancestors. Don’t do that. People have done that. That’s not right. Anybody of legal age, get them out there to vote.”

Because, you know,  being persecuted for being Christian and losing your religious freedom looks exactly like this. Hundreds, if not thousands of Christians standing in a state owned park created to honor military personnel,  right across from the state capitol building, in an area that has ten pages of churches in its yellow pages, in a country that has hundreds of media outlets devoted to Christianity.

photo from ABC27

photo from ABC27

 

 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – be nice

a rather awesome video (not safe for work for language) that has been around but we just encountered it and thought it needed to be spread a little further.  Always good to have a metal message about freedom and human rights especially when the US is flirting with such stupidity as we are now.

 

Being nice doesn’t preclude standing up for what’s right.

 

right panel a still from the movie Thor when Loki was making his pitch to be ruler of the world

right panel a still from the movie Thor when Loki was making his pitch to be ruler of the world

What the Boss Likes – Reason Rally 2016

We are back from the Reason Rally 2016 which was June 4th.    The weather wasn’t looking to promising as we drove down from Harrisburg, low clouds and drizzle, and I was dreading another repeat of 2012.  But once we got there the sky lifted with high clouds, and later in the day, the sun peaked out.

rr2016fSince it’s hard to go to DC and not want to look at other things, after we got settled in our hotel (Rouge Hotel, part of the wonderful Kimpton Group; they don’t put holy books in the rooms, and they welcome pets), we headed for the National Mall.  I had wanted to see the National Air and Space Museum and the American Indian Museum, but hadn’t realized that things had changed I bit since I was last there.  Now there are lines for security review and *then* you can enter.  So, we did the American Indian Museum, had lunch at the Mitisam café (fry bread with chili) and headed down to the Rally.

Holy crap, I had forgotten just how busy the Mall is, and the zillions of busses.   They were also having a run/walk for Parkinson’s Disease which was utterly screwing up traffic.  I was so glad to know I had a hotel room to go back to, rather than having to drive home that evening.

So we set out walking the approximately 1 and a half mile to the Lincoln Memorial.  I didn’t bother taking many photos of the usual things, the various SI museums, the Washington Monument, etc.  Frankly I’m not much of a photographer, and as you may be able to tell, there evidently was a slight smudge in the center of my lens because things tend to get the fuzzy filter effect right there.  Sigh…..

As we made it past the Washington Monument, we saw our first Christians, who were haranguing anyone who was near by.  What utter jackasses who were there only to bother people and get attention for themselves.  Funny how JC himself said that screaming one’s beliefs on a street corner wasn’t the way to go.  And then we had the complete idiots who were screaming about how bad technology was and all using that technology that projects their voices.  Ah, nothing like hypocrisy.   They were very careful to not collect together.  We did see good ol’ Ray “Banana Man” Comfort’s minions with their handouts for Ray’s new movie, a little number called “The Atheist Delusion”.   No books or gift cards to be seen.  I’m almost sure that I saw Comfort, but I’m not sure if he was supposed to be there or not.  I do wonder how sadly he’ll lie about atheist in his movie and how he’ll try to twist whatever footage he supposedly took.   But we can always expect a good lie from Ray.  There were plenty of veterans around of various ages since this area has the WWII memorial, Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial.  Plenty of wheelchairs and crutches, not to mention the unseen wounds. Still no reports of healings by Christians as promised by the bible.  I guess it was more important to make noise than help people.  Walter Reed Army Medical Center was only 6 mile away right up 16th street, but still nothing.

I did watch the trailer for movie (oh the things I do for my readers 🙂  ) .   As usual, we have Christians using the only things that they have:  fear (of death) and ignorance.    Now, we have lots of quotes from atheists, and the last is “I’m lying to myself.”  Funny how the quote ends abruptly and doesn’t say what the speaker is lying to himself about or what the question was that the speaker was asked to respond that way.   Now, if he was lying to himself about science, evolution, or atheism, they would have left the quote go on, but they don’t.

It’s also telling that the only people that he can get to give a good review is Matt Barber, a writer for the news site for conspiracy theorists WND(World Net Daily),  Kevin Sorbo, the fellow who stars in movies like “God is not Dead” which are nothing but attempts to bear false witness against anyone who doesn’t agree with them, Chad  Williams   a former US Navy SEAL (funny how SEALS and JC’s pacifism don’t exactly go together) and last, but not least. Barbara Cameron. Yep, he had to get Kirk‘s mom to put in a good word for his book.     For claiming that this is Ken’s masterpiece,  one would wonder why the thing he did before aren’t masterpieces because he appears to be doing nothing new now.  We still get the lies about intelligent design.  I wonder if the banana will make an appearance again.  One can get an overview of what Comfort claims to get a preview of what will likely be seen in this new movie at the rational wiki site.  I think I may create a bingo card to use when watching the movie.

Here’s a poor fellow who has no one caring he’s ignoring the words of his supposed savior:rr2016b

 

We finally got to the Lincoln memorial, and got there right around when Penn Jillett was on.   His special guest was a young woman from a South American country who was on some type of talent tv show.  The story was that she sang, did very well, and then the judges asked her if she believed in God.  She said she did not, and then they harangued her.   She dealt with their words elegantly and honorably.   I think I’d have been less noble.   She sang “No Martyrs, No Saints” with Penn in Spanish and in English.   There was a good speech from James Randi about how harmful woo is in medicine,  Maryam Namazie did her usual good job, Rep. Bobby Scott gave a elegant speech about freedom from religion and the Fab Four was a good musical interlude (of course they played “Imagine”).   We spent about 3 hours there and then my husband’s legs and knees were just about done with sitting and walking.  So we headed back to the hotel.    Later that evening we ate at Rasika, an Indian restaurant with some curious reinterpretations of the food.  The lamb xacuti was good, though had a large amount of cinnamon in it, I had a lobster dish with cashew milk and I think saffron.  The naan bread was fantastic, and we had two cocktails.  Mine had quite a mix of beet juice, crème de violette, Sailor Jerry’s rum, and lime. Weird as that sounds, it was great and a lovely color.  My husband’s was passion fruit ginger liqueur and sparkling wine. The only bad thing is that the restaurant was noisy.  I wish places would think about sound control when they decide to make every surface hard.   If I can’t hear my husband across the table, there’s something you need to fix.

In some of the photos it’s hard to tell how many people are there since most people are under the trees in the shade.(I have yet to hear a count.)  They had several big screens so everyone could see well, and two big tents, one full of organizations and the other the family area and the donation area.  The crowd was a lot more diverse that I would have thought.  It certainly wasn’t all Caucasian.  There were families (one group thought my husband’s three sloth moon tshirt was awesome), young people of all skin colors (I liked the “don’t be afraid, I’m an educated black woman tshirt), etc.  The whiners that the rally was going to be unacceptable to them weren’t there. Oh well.  I’ll take a group of 10,000 rather than have a group of 20,000 and that extra 10,000 sure that I’m less of a human than they are because I’m a woman and that I might be concerned about things other than they are.

The following photos are of the rally and then just some cool things I took photos of.

Me!

Me!

 

And one addition.    I saw these crazy golden spires above the trees coming home on 495.

The second biggest waste of money and resources by the Church of Latter Day Saints.

and we're not to put treasures on the earth....got it - Wikipedia source

and we’re not to put treasures on the earth….got it – Wikipedia source

Site 52 acres (21 hectares)
Floor area 160,000 sq ft (15,000 m2)
Height 288 ft (88 m)

Always good to know that it’s far more important to do this than help people.  Looks like some of the stuff in Kazazhstan.

That’s it!

 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Here we go again in PA, TrueChristians hiding behind nationalism

In their ritual of showing off how virtuous they are, some PA representatives are trying to again force their version of their religion on others in HB 1640, aka “National Motto Display Act”.  The sponsoring representative is Chris Dush (such a name, miserable to grow up with and certainly appropriate now).   The rest of the sponsors are: DUSH, BAKER, V. BROWN, FARINA, GROVE, KAUFFMAN, MAJOR, McGINNIS, MILLARD, MILNE, REESE, SACCONE, STAATS AND ZIMMERMAN.  Pretty much the usual suspects, who need to show their constituents that they are indeed trying to make a theocracy. Of course, they can’t be honest about it. No, they hide under the skirts of nationalism.  They intentionally lie to try to force their religion on others.  I guess they must not have read the bit in their bible that says lying is bad and lying “for” their god isn’t good either (Romans 3)

HB 1640, titled the “National Motto Display Act”, is nothing more than an attempt to force religion into schools, using a phrase put on money (in a desperate attempt to curry divine favor during the US Civil War)and on the US motto in hysterical fear over Communism.  Political leaders decided that we should curry favor with one god, out of fear of the “goddless Commies”, as if putting the word God on money and the motto would make them, what, burst into flames?  Again, we have some Christians trying to force their version of their religion on others, now through the backdoor of patriotism when they now present HB 1640 for a vote.  It seems that intentional dishonesty is what some Christians try to get their way

There is no place for sectarian nonsense in schools as a display to be respected as the authors and supporters of the bill want.  Let the history of such silly attempts be told in history books.  This attempt tries to force a single religion’s claim onto all Pennsylvanians, onto our children and ignoring any parent’s right to teach their own children about their own religion, or lack of one.  The Pew Research Center has that here is around 70% Christians in the US (and we know that is far smaller since most of those Christians are sure that those Christians who don’t agree with them aren’t Christians at all).  That means around 30% of us have no trust in the Christian god.   This attempt at theocracy and petty nationalism has no place in our schools.  These Christians can have whatever they want in their homes and churches, they have no right to force the rest of us to participate in their religion.

This idiocy is why voting matters.

PS – had some formatting issues.

PPS: with much thanks to Ron, here is the amendment offered for this stinker: Sponsor: REPRESENTATIVE McCARTER Printer’s No. 2388 1Amend Bill, page 4, by inserting between lines 1 and 2 2(d) Referendum.–Prior to a school district posting the3motto under subsection (a), it must conduct a nonbinding voter4referendum on the question of displaying the motto and which 5explains any possible cost or the potential cost of any6potential exposure to litigation as a result of displaying the 7motto.2016/90LKK/HB1640A06585 -1-“

Nah, they don’t know that they are wrong and completely anti-Constitutional, do they?   Ooh fuck, don’t blame *us* if you get sued.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – breaking an oath

mcconnell-imaginationIt seems that the Republicans in the Senate only want to pay attention to the US Constitution when convenient for them.  To refuse to accept a nominee from the US President just because they don’t like it is very unconstitutional.  They are refusing do to the job they swore to do.  It’s pretty damn amusing when they do this upon the death of Scalia, who was all about the Constitution in its original form.  One wonders if Scalia would counter this nonsense or decide to ignore his own principles as long as it got him what he wanted.

He[The President] shall have the Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Councils, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.” Article 2, section 2, clause 2

Pretty clear, isn’t it?  It seems Scalia would agree.

“The theory of originalism treats a constitution like a statute, and gives it the meaning that its words were understood to bear at the time they were promulgated. You will sometimes hear it described as the theory of original intent. You will never hear me refer to original intent, because as I say I am first of all a textualist, and secondly an originalist. If you are a textualist, you don’t care about the intent, and I don’t care if the framers of the Constitution had some secret meaning in mind when they adopted its words. I take the words as they were promulgated to the people of the United States, and what is the fairly understood meaning of those words.” – A. Scalia, A Theory of Constitution Interpretation, speech at Catholic University of America, 10/18/96.

This is the oath that these men and women took to become senators.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

For all of the claims of how the Republicans are so for the military and so religious that they wouldn’t consider ignoring their oaths, their actions show that they have no problem in ignoring anything as long as they can show how much they are afraid of President Obama.  My husband is a veteran, as are my father and my brother.  They served to uphold the Constitution.  It is a shame that Republicans wish to disregard it whenever they feel like it, ignoring the basis of law in the US.

Hypocrites?  Shucks, why would you think that?  (and yes, both parties do this.  it doesn’t make it right).

Addendum:   wonder what the excuses are being offered by those Republicans who claimed that their god picked them personally to be president?

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – keeping the door open

It’s a shame what a lot of Americans are advocating now, that we ignore the desperate and do exactly what the Muslim fundamentalists want us to do, be fearful, selfish twits. It is no surprise that it is the Republicans and Tea Party (haven’t heard that term in a while, eh?) who are cowards and who want to use the actions of Muslim extremists to feed their xenophobia of anyone who isn’t like them.  They want to shut the door, not just be as cautious as we have always been with refugees.

It’s even worse when they insist that perhaps they would allow just the Christians to come in. Of course these idiots likely have no idea that most Christians in Syria are Orthodox and not the right kind of Christian for your average TrueChristian Jesus loves Guns ‘Merican.   I will admit, they have done a great job of showing the impotence of their god by pointing out it has done nothing.  My dear spouse has pointed out that this god could have split the Mediterranean and allow the refugees to walk across or they could have built an ark, rather than depend on sinking boats where they die.

I am very proud that my governor has told ISIL to “fuck off” as this excellent graphic shows:

do not know the source. wish I did.

do not know the source. wish I did.

We are a country built on many of those who were driven from their homelands. Those coming here unfortunately harmed those who homeland this was dreadfully and we need to help our native peoples as much as we help others. We’re also a country that has resisted in becoming a theocracy run by Christian extremists, who want the exact same thing as ISIL does, to rule over others while they hope for the end of the world. Death cults one and all.

Once upon a time, many Americans also wanted to keep out Jews when they were running for their lives. So much for the “greatest generation”. It’s time to not make that mistake again. This time of year is often used to celebrate what we have benefited from.   We should do what we can to help those who have lost everything.

Addendum: Here’s a bit of curious Christian history I stumbled upon when looking up Syrian Christians which show how the religion and its sects differ: Liturgy of Addai and Mari.

Addendum 2:

I received a very good letter from Governor Wolf’s office in regards to this issue:

Office of the Governor

Thomas W. Wolf

Dear Constituent:

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding the Syrian refugee resettlement. I understand the fears of many in the wake of the attacks in Paris and Beirut, and this letter is meant to address many of those concerns, as well as explain the extensive vetting process utilized by the federal government before a refugee even enters the country and the limitations on any state’s ability to stop federal resettlement of refugees. We must not forget that those fleeing Syria – and other places in crisis – are families, elderly, and orphaned children seeking to escape a daily life that includes the same horrific violence that occurred in Paris.

As governor of Pennsylvania, my first priority is protecting the commonwealth. I believe we can keep Pennsylvania safe while also ensuring that Pennsylvania stays true to its values and builds on its rich history of accepting immigrants and refugees from around the world. These two goals are not mutually exclusive. Our commonwealth can be a safe haven for refugees fleeing the humanitarian crises across the world, and, as we have for centuries, we must work with the federal government to make sure all proper safeguards are in place.

Despite the implication of some, states do not have the authority to refuse to accept refugees that are admitted by the federal government.  The Refugee Act of 1980 authorizes the president to admit refugees who face persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.  This Act also creates the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program to provide for the effective resettlement of refugees and to assist them to achieve economic self-sufficiency as quickly as possible after arrival in the United States.   The resettlement process is federally-driven and federally-funded.

To ensure the safety of the commonwealth, Pennsylvania will continue working with the federal government to make certain that all individuals have gone through the proper screening process, and we will encourage the federal government to continually improve and strengthen its process. I have further directed Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services and Office of Homeland Security to review the federal government’s process and make any additional recommendations to strengthen these already extensive safeguards.

To this end, the federal government has an extensive refugee screening and vetting process in place. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees receives applications from refugees and evaluates them for resettlement, based on vulnerability and other criteria. A Department of State Resettlement Support Center conducts pre-screening and then refers the case to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for adjudication. The United States process of screening and vetting refugee applicants takes an average of 12 – 16 months.

Refugees seeking to resettle in America are subject to the highest level of security checks, which includes an in-person interview, a full health and biometric screening, and the involvement from the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense.  A refugee applicant cannot be approved for travel to the United States until all of the required security checks have been completed and cleared. Once this process is complete, the refugee may travel to the United States for resettlement, and the federal government coordinates with state agencies and charitable organizations to assist with resettlement. The refugee must apply for Legal Permanent Resident status within one year of arriving in the United States.

This is “the most stringent security process for anyone entering the United States,” according to the State Department. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who served under President George W. Bush, said this week that “what the United States has done is to be open to people who are fleeing tyranny, who are fleeing danger, but we have done it in a very careful way that has worked for us.” According to the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, “the process for refugees is the most extensive security screening we have for visitors. It’s easier to come in as a tourist, a student, a businessman.”

Pennsylvania has a rich history of opening its doors to those facing persecution and danger. William Penn founded our commonwealth on the principle of religious freedom, seeking to allow those in Europe to escape persecution. Since October 1, 2015, 275 refugees have settled in Pennsylvania from around the globe. From October 2014 to September 2015, Pennsylvania had 3,056 total refugees resettle from throughout the world. In the two years prior to that, more than 5,000 global refugees resettled in Pennsylvania. These were families from across the globe, and only a small percentage came from Syria.

During past conflicts, the United States has accepted hundreds of thousands of refugees who were fleeing violence and persecution. Jewish refugees came to Pennsylvania from Germany and other European countries to escape the Nazi occupation and religious persecution.  Following the Vietnam War, President Gerald Ford resettled 130,000 Vietnamese refugees. As millions in Syria face violence, persecution, and death, we should continue to help those who we can while taking care to protect our commonwealth and our country, just as we have done for hundreds of years. To reject only Syrian refugees could embolden the message of those who seek to inspire violence by saying that we, as Americans, do not have compassion or care for specific groups of people in the world facing religious persecution.

My top priority is the protection of the commonwealth and the safety of our citizens. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Office of Homeland Security, the Pennsylvania National Guard, and Pennsylvania State Police continue to take extensive steps to prepare for emergencies and crises. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency continually facilitates exercises to prepare for emergencies and stands ready to assist local emergency management agencies in times of need. The Office of Homeland Security routinely trains those in the public and private sector to prevent and prepare for emergency situations. The Pennsylvania State Police are constantly working with local law enforcement and federal authorities to ensure the availability of intelligence, personnel, and equipment to protect critical infrastructure and aid in the security of public events held throughout the commonwealth. At my direction, commonwealth agencies will continue to focus their efforts on preventing and preparing for terrorist and other large-scale crises.

Pennsylvania will not seek to disrupt efforts to resettle refugees from humanitarian crises throughout the world, including Syria.  To this end, I will work with state and national partners to ensure that the federal government takes every precaution to make sure refugees from Syria and elsewhere are properly screened prior to admittance to the United States. At the same time, I want to remain true to Pennsylvania’s long and noble tradition of being a welcoming place.

Sincerely,

TOM WOLF
Governor