This week, from Senator Bernie Sanders:
“If Donald Trump and others who refer to Latinos, people from Mexico, as criminals and rapists, if they want to open that door, our job is to shut that door and shut it tight… Too many have people suffered, and too many people have died for us to continue hearing racist words coming from major political leaders… I am disturbed by some of what I am hearing from my Republican colleagues, and I will just say this: During these difficult times, as Americans we will not succumb to racism. We will not allow ourselves to be divided and succumb to Islamophobia. We will not turn our backs on the refugees.”
“What terrorism is about is trying to instill terror and fear into the hearts of people. And we will not let that happen. We will not be terrorized or live in fear. During these difficult times, we will not succumb to Islamophobia. We will not turn our backs on the refugees who are fleeing Syria and Afghanistan. We will do what we do best and that is be Americans – fighting racism, fighting xenophobia, fighting fear.”
“A few months ago, Donald Trump said about people from Mexico that they are criminals and they’re rapists. Trump and others are talking about, well, maybe we will close down mosques. Last I heard, we had a Constitution in this country which gave all of our people the right of religious freedom. And then I’m hearing other people saying, well, we may have to undermine the Constitution in terms of civil liberties. When we do all of those things, then, in fact, the terrorists win without having to explode a bomb in America. We’re undermining what we stand for as a country. I understand that people are frightened. What we saw in Paris was disgusting, was horrible, was barbaric. But we are a strong enough nation to say we’re not going to lose who we are as a people, that we’re going to protect our Constitution, we’re going to protect religious freedom, and we’re not going to turn our backs on women and children who have been thrown out of their own countries.”
Vote freedom over fear – Elect Bernie Sanders
Republicans are fond of referring to anyone who opposes their agenda as a “Communist”. Donald Trump calls Bernie Sanders a “Socialist/Communist”. America’s Watch Tower writes that “Hillary Clinton is a Communist, plain and simple.”
Republicans seem not to understand the details of what Communism really is, though. For years, they’ve claimed that Barack Obama is a Communist with secret plans to install a radical Muslim government to rule over America. (Hint to grumpy GOPers: Communists are opponents of religious power.)
There’s no reason for Republicans to go chasing after these non-Communists, though, when there are real fake Communist politicians to be found.
Prime among them is Cthulhu, the tentacle-faced underworld divinity invented by H.P. Lovecraft.
On September 15, Our Lord And Savior Cthulhu registered as a candidate for the Communist Party presidential nomination in 2016, using the mailing address of Antelope Valley College to do so. Why Cthulhu, the gigantic beast trapped underground, erupt to the surface through Antelope Valley College of all places is not clear.
Cthulu seems to have at least two different presidential campaign web sites. One declares that, “Cthulhu will have no problem dealing with Congress, as they will be the first to be eaten. The budget deficit will shrink drastically once Cthulhu cuts unnecessary spendings like Defense, Welfare and Social Security. Mass support of Cthulhu will raise the its awareness of the need to take control of our suffering country, and should lead to its return. The Great Cthulhu will awaken in time to take its presidential oath.”
Cthulhu for America demands religious liberty for Cthulhu cults, asserting that, “While the U.S. Government provides a few benefits for organizations of faith, it still onerously forces religious groups to adhere to the mundane legal system. This must change. One of the Cthulhu Cults’ most sacred rites includes human sacrifice, yet all states forbid this practice. This bureaucratic regulation of belief is not the religious freedom enshrined in the Constitution. As president, Cthulhu will eliminate these barriers to worship and grant true freedom to the faithful.”
Runt writes that, “The Great Cthulhu was oddly silent on the subjects of marriage equality and race relations, however it can be assumed that Cthulhu’s plans to annihilate all life in the universe is on an equal opportunity basis.”
This isn’t the first time that Cthulhu has run for President in a national election. In 2010, Cthulhu was depicted as a presidential candidate in Poland, along with the slogan, “Vote for the greater evil.”
U.S. senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has never been one to shy away from mixing church and state. Decrying what he calls “the atheist Taliban,” Cruz has called for Christian priests to lead campaigns to elect only Christian candidates, saying that, “far too many Christians have ceded the public arena to people who aren’t believers.” Cruz has urged the use of federal government funds to promote Christian religious beliefs, saying that Christian religious laws overrule the Constition, that “our rights, they don’t come from man. They come from God Almighty.”
This week, however, Ted Cruz is reaching deeper into the shadows of theocracy than even he has dared to go before. Cruz promised that, if he is elected President, he will institute a policy to force refugees to prove that they are Christian before they are allowed to enter the United States. Under the Ted Cruz plan, if refugees are Jewish, or Yazidi, or Muslim, or atheists, they will be turned away by the USA, told to go look for compassion elsewhere.
Upon hearing of Cruz’s plan, President Obama commented, “When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who is fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful, that’s not American.”
The justification that Ted Cruz gives for religious discrimination by the federal government, in violation of the first and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, is fear of terrorism. Cruz claims that there are terrorists among Syrian refugees, people who will try to kill as many Americans as they can once they arrive here.
Actually, there is no evidence whatsoever of any plan by Syrian refugees to engage in acts of terrorism here in the United States.
There have been zero Syrian refugees who have participated in terrorist attacks in the United States.
Cruz doesn’t worry about these facts. He knows that large portions of the American population have become accustomed to the belief that there are Muslim terrorists all around them, always on the verge of terrible violent attacks that can only be stopped through massive violations of the Bill of Rights. Cruz knows that many Americans are hungry for extreme authoritarian measures in the name of Homeland Security, and he is happy to exploit this zealous terror for his personal political benefit.
Even though Ted Cruz is far from being elected President of the United States, his agenda of fear is spreading quickly throughout the country. Using the same crude and cruel ideology as Ted Cruz, David Bowers, mayor of the city of Roanoke, Virginia, has instructed officials to stop helping Syrian refugees. He wrote, “I’m reminded that Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from ISIS now is just as real and serious a threat as that from our enemies then.” Bowers thinks that the mass imprisonment of American citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II was a brilliant idea, and is striking the first blow against due process by denying help to people in need. Bowers believes that, somehow, leaving victims of the war in Syria bereft of food and shelter will prevent terrorist attacks.
What politicians like Bowers and Ted Cruz don’t understand is that their own cruelty is used in turn by violent terrorists to justify their brutality. Hate in response to hate never defeats hate. It just builds the mountain of hate higher.
The Fourteenth Amendment to our Constitution gives us a better standard: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Last month, Donald Trump was complaining about how cold it was, making jokes about how a big frost that would come to New York City at any minute would disprove global warming. Well, that frost still hasn’t arrived in New York City. Current forecasts go all the way to one month past the average date for a first frost, and still not even a prediction of a light frost is coming forward.
If he really was feeling cold, maybe Trump should go to see a doctor. His circulation may be slowing down.
Globally, last month was the hottest October for ever recorded on Earth, say the scientists at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Unlike Republican presidential candidates, these scientists actually look at evidence before making statements about climate change.
It is now virtually impossible for 2015 not to be the hottest year on record.
Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Jill Stein each have a plan for how to confront the growing crisis of climate change.
The Republican frontrunners, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, have no plan.
With more than a generation of warning about the problem, Trump and Carson never bothered to prepare.
Their strategy is to simply pretend that nothing is going on.
They’re betting that they can win by catering to a constituency that doesn’t care about global warming. Most prominently, that includes corporations bankrolling their campaigns that profit from the continued burning of dirty fossil fuels.
Those of us who are aware of what’s going on, who aren’t willing to bluff and bluster our way into the future, have one advantage: We can vote.
Unless we stand up and get out to the polls, we will see another 8 years of more warming and little action.
The stakes are rising along with the temperature. It’s time to get active.
Over the last couple of days, I have been reviewing what information is available about the Green Party’s presidential candidates. These have included some filers who failed to follow up, a couple of jokesters registering under concocted identities, and two serious, though struggling, candidates: Jill Stein and Bill Kreml.
Today, I finish this review.
I’ll start with Samuel Vaynblat, from New York City. Vaynblat registered with a committee name that is rather unusual for the Green Party: The Committee To Restore America To Power. The FEC requested a revised filing because the committee did not contain Vaynblat’s name, as the law requires. The deadline for Vaynblat to respond passed 15 days ago, so Vaynblat can no longer be considered a contender for the Green Party presidential nomination.
Back in April, Dan White of Marietta, Georgia registered as a candidate for the Green Party nomination. Nothing has been heard from Dan White since. There is a Dan White from Marietta who has fought against the construction of a new stadium for the Atlanta Braves, but it’s not clear whether this is the same Dan White who thought he might run for President this spring.
A more interesting perspective comes from another Green candidate who is actually green, or claims to be. Jennifer Walters, a resident of New York City, filed a petition late last month to run for President. So, where does the green come in? The campaign committee that Walters registered was called She-Hulk for President. Jennifer Walters, it turns out, is the alter-ego to She-Hulk. The FEC has responded to “Jennifer Walters” and requested a new application with a different campaign committee. The Avengers have until December 14 to respond. The filing for the She-Hulk for President campaign came from the same building that houses Marvel Entertainment.
The CEO of Marvel Entertainment, we know, is a big supporter of Marco Rubio.
Ben Carson likes to talk about strong borders. Although the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, which Ben Carson supported, began a cascade of effects that led a devastating civil war in Syria, Carson wants to turn back refugees from that war who are seeking help. Carson wants to change American law so that Syrian refugees can be turned back at the border.
Syrian refugees have been displaced by the Islamic State, but Carson says that they’re likely to engage in terrorist attacks on behalf of the Islamic State once they’re inside the United States. Actually, the number of Syrian refugees who have participated in terrorist attacks within the United States is ZERO.
Simple facts like that don’t matter for Ben Carson. He says, “the key thing is we have to secure all our borders—north, south, east and west.”
For the sake of argument, let’s accept Ben Carson’s suggestion that the borders of the United States are insecure, and that they all need to be strengthened. If that were the case, then we would be in desperate need of a President of the United States who understands U.S. borders.
Ben Carson is not qualified to be that leader. The Boston Globe points out that last night, in a post on Instagram and Twitter, Ben Carson showed a map of the United States with a couple of strange features:
1. In Ben Carson’s map, there is no Alaska or Hawaii. Apparently, Carson doesn’t particularly care about terrorists coming into those states and launching attacks there.
2. More significantly, Ben Carson draws a completely new map of the borders of the northeast United States. In Ben Carson’s map, the border between New York State and Connecticut is directly to the east of the Adirondack mountains. Carson’s map of the United States is completely missing one of our country’s border states, Vermont. Rhode Island has disappeared as well, being absorbed into Greater Connecticut, a new state that lies to the north of a vastly expanded Long Island Sound, which is now at least 300 miles wide from north to south. The borders of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine are even further to the north in Carson’s map, claiming territory that had belonged to the maritime provinces of Canada, and blocking the flow of the St. Lawrence River into the ocean. Apparently, the St. Lawrence now flows into Hudson Bay.
This drawing of America’s borders reveals, as expert geographers would put it, that Ben Carson has no stinking idea of where the borders of the United States of America are. If Ben Carson can’t even locate America’s borders, how can he make them more secure? Would Carson send Homeland Security agents up to Quebec City to prevent refugees from entering our country?
Nobody with a high school education should draw a map of the United States like the one that Ben Carson scribbled together. Of course, this mistaken map is not just an isolated error. Ben Carson’s ignorance of basic geography is just one more manifestation of a more pervasive inability to master fundamental information about America’s borders. Carson seems completely unaware, for example, that net migration across the border between Mexico and the United States is zero. U.S. borders are not insecure.
This isn’t the first time that Ben Carson failed to understand the simple facts of American border security. Last year, Ben Carson was warning that unless flights from countries in west Africa were denied entry to the United States, our country would soon be dealing with an Ebola epidemic. He ranted on and on about a border security crisis that simply wasn’t real. There never was a significant threat of Ebola spreading across the United States as a result of lax border policy. The standard safeguards worked very well.
What Ben Carson has consistently demonstrated is that he is willing to exaggerate threats from foreigners in order to gain attention for himself. Carson exploits irrational voter fears to benefit his self-promotion. Such ignorant grandstanding won’t protect the United States. In fact, it will make our country more vulnerable to the dangers that our country actually needs to deal with.
Yesterday, I began a review of the state of the race for the Green Party’s presidential nomination. Jill Stein continues her slow but smooth pace as the frontrunner, while the other contenders, including a venomous virtual viper and a prophetess, announce and then do no actual campaigning.
Today, that review begins. Is anyone but Jill Stein actually campaigning to become the Green Party nominee?
We start today’s search with Bill Kreml, who, like Stein, has some experience in running for a grassroots political campaign. He first ran for national office in 1984, and did so again in 1992 and 2000.
“Please be good enough to enter our presidential campaign into your files, Kreml said to the FEC 14 days ago, in a handwritten note on a piece of paper that had Kreml’s old address in Maryland scratched out, with the new address in South Carolina written above it in ink.
Kreml’s campaign web site is skimpy, consisting only of a little bit of text, bragging of the Kreml’s academic experience, and a video in which Kreml criticizes the Green Party’s distruat of strong government, which he casts as a legacy of the activism of the 1960s. “I am all in favor of the kind of grassroots democracy that Greens are in favor of,” he says, “but that alone doesn’t do it, because you need to have something strong enough in the public sector that is strong enough to stand up to the banks and Wall Street and the oil companies and the arms dealers and the insurance companies and you know the long list as well as I do, and the fact of the matter is that there’s something kind of residual in the Green Party, something in the gene pool there that says, ‘Well, we really don’t want a strong government.’ Really? So you want a weak government? Well, you have a weak government. Just read today’s paper.”
Will Kreml be able to draft an alternative vision for the Green Party, and make some national policy proposals? We’ll check back soon and see.
Justin Murphy of Indianapolis filed paperwork as a candidate for the Green Party presidential nomination seven months ago, but appears not to have been active as a candidate since. In May, Murphy received a notice from the FEC informing him that he would have to file paperwork to become a candidate again, as the name of campaign committee, “Broad ripple village” did not contain his individual name. Murphy appears not to have responded to the FEC.
Yesterday, I ended the review of Green Party presidential candidates with a description of Lesale Venomancer Deathbringer, a candidate whose very name reveals a not-so-serious run for office. I end today’s review with DJ Ultrapervert, who is running his campaign for the Green Party presidential nomination from Colorado Springs.
DJ Ultrapervert announces proudly that he is “One of nine most important cultural and political figures in human history”, and uses his Twitter account to share such important thoughts as: “Watch out for: boner on the dancefloor” and “I know that if i buy snacks at the market, then I will have a snacks breakfast the next day”. DJ Ultrapervert registered as a presidential candidate 6 days ago, but there have been no announcements about this campaign on the DJ’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or central web site. All we can see at these web sites are some images, not very artistically crafted, and not very provocative, even when they contain sexual content.
Unlike Justin Murphy, DJ Ultrapervert has not been contacted by the FEC with a request for a refiling of a statement of candidacy, because DJ Ultrapervert includes his name in the title of his official campaign committee: DJ ULTRAPERVERT for President 2016
Things are getting spiritual in the Republican presidential primary. Over the weekend, Donald Trump suggested that the U.S. federal government needs to get into the business of choosing which religions citizens can practice, and which ones will be outlawed. Trump said that many mosques should be forced to close in the United States, and that those that remain open should be subjected to intense government surveillance. Trump came to this decision in spite of the fact that no significant terrorist event has ever been organized in an American mosque.
On Monday, Trump took the spiritual pitch of his presidential campaign to another level last night, however, when he declared that he has a special psychic ability to know when a terrorist attack is going to take place. “I predicted terrorism because I can feel it… I can feel it like I feel a good location … I really believe I have an instinct for this kind of thing.” Donald Trump did not predict the terrorist attack in Paris last week, but as is the case with many practitioners of divination, Trump’s followers were not dissuaded by the gap between reality and their leader’s boasts.
In an Irregular Times exclusive, we have learned that the fervent faith of Donald Trump’s ability to transcend the truth is not just a manifestation of political enthusiasm. It’s part of a full-fledged religious movement.
45 feet below the corner of Broad and Beaver streets, acolytes enter the Temple of Trump, an underground chamber devoted to Trump worship. The room is a modified sewer junction, refinished in white marble, though the faithful insist that it once was a secret bank vault.
Before entering the Temple, worshippers must pass underneath a fan that blows their hair all to one side. Wearing crimson robes and putting on baseball caps that read, “Make America Great Again”, they form a ring, and begin their chant: “Yuge! Yuge! Yuge!”
After a few minutes, the dark ceremony begins. A Temple Elder emerges from the shadows to walk around the ring, raising his hands above his head in random, jerking motions, until, in one brief movement, he plucks the cap from one of the acolytes, and shouts “You’re fired!”
The unlucky person who now is missing a cap becomes the ritual scapegoat for the night. The ring of Trumpists turns on this person, who is pronounced “Mexican”, and is placed in an iron cage known as the “Detention Facility”. The remaining acolytes divide the possessions of the outcast amongst themselves, and then chase the “Mexican” through the tunnels under Manhattan until he or she is completely lost. They call this “Securing The Borders”. With the sacrifice, the group makes a donation to a Super PAC supporting Trump’s presidential campaign, then retires to a phone bank to make angry calls to cable TV news networks while eating bon bons.
Rumor has it that Trumpist temples are spreading rapidly across America, meeting in oak groves, American Legion halls, and dollar stores after business hours.
As you’re probably aware, Republican Party governors across the United States are declaring that they don’t want any Syrian refugees coming into their states because there might be a secret terrorist sneaking in among them, posing as a refugee.
It’s tempting to try to find empirical evidence to the contrary, to consult profiles of refugees to demonstrate their worthiness, or to point out that it seems most of the attackers came from within Europe.
But I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’ll agree with the Republican governors on one point: it’s possible that terrorists might sneak into the country posing as refugees. They might also sneak across the border. They might also immigrate as students. Terrorists might slip into the United States by filing for a green card as a family member of a citizen of resident. Sneaky bombers certainly could get into the USA by getting a work visa.
Most Americans, unlike these closed-minded Republican governors, welcome refugees despite some risks because we care about helping vulnerable, threatened people. We offer to help even though we could in a remotely likely sense be hurt. We are willing to take in victims of war not because it will benefit us without cost, but because we believe the benefit of a world in which people help one another is worth the cost.
That is what makes the decision to welcome refugees a moral one, and not strictly a strategic one. You’d think that a Republican Party that claims the territory of “moral values” and tries to push manger scenes onto government land would better understand. But to the contrary, the GOP seems more intent on turning away the likes of Mary and Joseph, erecting signs that declare “the least among us are not welcome here.”