Friday, October 22, 2021

A Senate speech for the ages: Independent Senator Maine: Angus King on saving American democracy

No one has been able to address the Constitutional crisis we are now facing with such clarity and passion than  Angus King (I-ME) did on October 19, 2021.  He makes the case that the voting rights legislation to prevent the trust in elections in the future is essential for all of us, not just one demographic, to preserve our  American democracy.  He encapsulated so many of my thoughts and put them in a context so clearly stated,  that I urge all to listen to this. or read his words:

Senator King Delivers Impassioned Speech On the Senate Floor Urging Action to Defend Voting Rights - YouTube

Scroll down for the text: “We Are At A Hinge of History” – Senator King Delivers Impassioned Speech On the Senate Floor Urging Action to Defend Voting Rights

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A better slogan for Democrats? The GOP is rigging the election system to turn losers into winners.

 Messaging by sloganeering is a skill the Democrats rarely master.   With the likely defeat of the voting rights bills or a filibuster ban carved out in the Senate,  Democrats need to sharpen their message to carry the fight to the state. and local elections. However, when it comes to slogans, they are mealy-mouthed and too verbose in reaching out to those not yet in their camp. 

One of my pet peeves is using "voter suppression" as the slogan word. Those claiming suppression was bad were mostly Africa Americans, and coupling it with the racial angle of it. As for the targeted ones, that is understandable. It is not just a civil rights issue.  It does not tell how this suppression affects everyone else  and how democracy is subverted.." Democracy on the ballot' is another nice slogan but to be effective, it a) depends that those who may not be aware of a)what democracy is and b) how the GOP is hurting it and c) how the alternative of "autocracy" is bad for them.  

.  Here is my stab: " The GOP is rigging the election system".  Couple that with they do it"  to turn losers into winners" in future elections. The subset to that can be brief::"by making it harder and more inconvenient for everyone to vote, putting their flunkies in charge of counting votes, and permitting local legislatures to overturn the result they do not like.". ..  The  "rigging" charge can also serve as a sharp counter-attack  to the big lie, that the election was stolen was never proved and has become just their made-up excuse for their power grab legislation. . :  

On October 24, Obama charged the GOP was rigging elections and challenged them to come up with ideas voters want instead. Obama lambasts GOP election lies and voting laws aiming to ‘rig elections’ | The Independent

November 5, 2021 ..Some  GOP candidates for governor and secretary of states are already openly supporting use of the decertification of elections to overturn election results they do not like without independently finding any evidence that fraud occurred. The integrity of elections is indeed important, but the GOP is out to destroy the integrity of elections. The "integrity" issue needs to be thrown back in the GOP's face. Hit this issue head-on now; waiting until midterm elections are in full swing is too late.

Messaging needs to be sharp and specific.  If this is to be counterattack, call it  out as  to what it pertains.  So often in public discourse, Democrats do not draw sharp contrasts with their opponents and avoid using the same words of their opponents in fear it amplifies the GOP message. The goal here is to battle for the soul of the swing voters, not to placate the already Trump base which is already solidified and ready to turn out. Thye do not care about facts or evidence; they just want their guy who channels their own thoughts to win... However, with this sDemocratic pussyfooting mumble  so far afraid to take on the most recent GOP talking points by name,  voters miss the point... while the GOP message is amplified already, repeated enough it becomes facts,  and is nearly impo.ssible to challenge. in any effective way. These GOP messaging strategies needed to be nipped in the bud now before they become an accepted truth.   Democrats do not have to use name calling to do this. They do not have to call those concerned with CRT or  willful folowwers of racial dog whistles racists, so if you agree, you are being shamed as a racist. That does not work. . . . Stop being subtle and relying on  hope voters can deduce the contrast on their own. Instead,. Put the GOP on the defensive. Make decertification a dirty word. Make GOP's "election integrity" become "election manipulation".  Make their 'stop the steal" become "how they plan to steal elections".     . .By now, if in 9 months of repeated counts and "forensic autdits",  call it a "farce" and ask  where's the beef? The lie was just that was a trick to get voters to "question integrity" to justify their strategy to overturn elections that did not go their way.  Call it a strategy to steal elections. . We all want integrity; not partisan manipulation.     Not only does a strategy to replace the control of the count with their own partisans or a GOP-controlled state legislature. if that failed, they want to overturn the popular vote that survives. they do not like. That is how they steal elections..  

Sunday, October 17, 2021

The answer to those who are sabotaging democracy? Pass the voting rights bills

 The answer to those who are sabotaging democracy? Pass the danged voting rights bills. Here is why we need to pass voting reform legislation and to crack down on extreme domestic terrorists. The most vocal champions of voting rights have been African Americans, but all who care about democracy as a system of governance need to be equally passionate because there is so much at stake. What threats to kidnap and terrorize elected officials in Michigan, at the US Capitol on January 6, local school boards, and elected vote counting officials across America has illustrated is that if an extreme group can not win at the ballot box, then it resorts to terrorism. Over half of the GOP approves the use of force to protect their way of life and nearly half think going beyond the law is fine, too, per a June Monmouth poll. Most Republicans Say Force May Be Required to Save 'Traditional' America: Poll (" FYI: peaceful assemblies to redress grievances are protected by the Constitution. Violent actions are not. John Eastman, the Trumpist attorney who provided a blueprint to Trump for a strategy to overthrow the 2020 elecction is now proposing to arm sheriffs as militias. Claremont Institute’s descent into Trumpian extremism embodied in law-enforcement strategy ( If the last election did not turn out the way a group wanted, then they rig the system so that even if the group loses the popular vote this time, then the next time they will be able to control whose votes are counted and how and to restrict the opposition's access to the ballot box. They support and pass legislation so that they can control who certifies the election in order to ignore the popular vote. When election districts are defined by boundaries they, gerrymander them so fewer of the districts will exist that reflect the will of opponents. It may be clever politics, but it is dirty politics. rigging the system to install and keep a losing party in power. This country has spent years attempting to insure the will of all of the people can be expressed through fair elections. That has been our soul, but now for the GOP, their soul is to do whatever it takes and to manipulate and abuse once upon a time democratic and fair processes.

For a comprehensive analysis of how states have attempted to twist vote outcomes to keep the=r party in power, go to Voting Laws Roundup: October 2021 | Brennan Center for Justice

For the most recent report by the FBI on incidents of domestic terrorism, see U.S. Domestic Terrorism Investigations Have More Than Doubled -FBI Director | Top News | US News

Claremont Institute’s descent into Trumpian extremism embodied in law-enforcement strategy (

Friday, October 15, 2021

Is "democracy is on the ballot " a good slogan for Democrats in 2022 and 2024?

 I heard a Democratic candidate for governor in another state roll out his announcement using the slogan: "Democracy is on the ballot".  Not a bad slogan at all, but it is not one that has any meaning without an explanation.  It also has no relevance to how it would affect public policy either without connecting it to the results that affect people's lives.  The Democrats have some really messaging problems. If that is to be used as the slogan for state races, there needs to be a more direct connection to how it hurts  "you the voter". as the end result because as a slogan it needs some further explanation and fleshing out..

  Examples of explanations: " The GOP wants to rig future elections so that even if they do not represent what the majority wants, they can rule as the minority party anyway.  They want to make sure every vote does not count  They want to put their party hacks in charge of deciding which votes will be counted and how; and if they still lose, they want the legislatures they control to ignore how what the majority in their state want and overturn or throw into chaos the election results by failing to certify the election results.    That is not how democracy is supposed to work/ The will of the majority determines what policies will be/ Ir is not rigging the system so that the minority. rules.".What this means for public policy that affects people's lives is not hard to explain,.     For example, the majority, per polls, want preK ed and childcare and the GOP is against it. Should the majority's voice be heard and determine the direction of their state on these popular issues? There are. other issues in the reconciliation bill that also have large public support to which the GOP opposes as well.  

  Democrats need to focus on plain language and avoid relying solely on what has become jargon:  "voter suppression" or even "autocracy".  and" the big lie".  and put it in terms of how it would hurt voters themselves.  Those are terms that describe GOP strategy to get you to agree to let them sabotage democracy .but using them does not tell the ordinary voter how this affects them and their ability to cope with everyday matters.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The soul of America is at stake. Biden was right

Joe Biden was elected because he was not  Donald Trump. In fact, as a person, he was Trump's polar opposite.  Biden was, fair, earnest, positive,  logical, moral, experienced, and a known quantity.  He was not elected because of his build-back better slogan. It never caught on because he never explained it in a way that was memorable. It is not working now because neither he nor the progressives have explained it well enough. There is a scramble now to give some time to explain it. When its elements are taken separately, they are popular but are not tied to the legislation in voters' minds... It is not an inspiring theme to just list a shorthand of what is in it. Obama had a hard time even selling the ACA because no one grasped the details or even how it was affordable..  Just waiting a couple of years until the benefits are experienced and slowly it dawns on people is too late for the next election cycle.   Hillary Clinton had the same problem.  She would bullet point her public policy proposals like a laundry list..and note how it would benefit segments of her targeted demographics again and again until the eyes of the audience would glaze over. The pressure is on both Biden and progressives to do the same thing.:" List its title and be done" is not inspiring or enough. It must be put in a context that means something to ones' gut. 

Biden should return to his original campaign theme, The Battle for the Soul of America.  and show how his BBB fits in. Above all, he now has enough evidence and experience in the past year, he should contrast it with the lack of soul and the damage to our soul committed by both the GOP leaders and the former president lusting for a second term and still in control of the GOP.  We cannot separate Trump from his party because they are one in the same now. The answer is not to see the trees instead of the forest. We need to see how what the forest is and why the trees contribute to it. The forest that we could have lost in the weeds is what is the soul of America. The Trump movement has become the beetle that is eating away at what has been our soul. The soul is, the ideal we have set for selves in the past and have not always met, but we have not abandoned it yet.  The soul is severely under attack. and Biden needs to show how it is happening..

 We know what has been the soul of America that made us so great.  It is hard work and being rewarded for that work.  We have made it hard for so many in America to even make enough to make a living. We can raise the minimum wage and it is rising, but we can do more to help them afford child care, give them an education for jobs we need today without going into debt, so we can have an extra two years of free education in community college. We can; help them plan their family and pregnancies and give them the tools to; keep them healthy so they can work and afford their health care. We know what helps women stay in the workforce: choice and vaccines for themselves and for those they love. and help to care for. those who are their responsibility. 

What the soul of America is not: a government that puts the power in the hands of those who are the minority. voting block.. regardless of which party. is in power and denies the ability of those they lord over to express themselves in the ballot box.   The soul is a government to reflect the will of its people, the majority, but it also protects the rights of those with other views and with complaints to demonstrate peacefully and to make their case in the media.  That is the soul we once were and should be in the future.

The soul of America we know looks at facts and data and asks questions of science and demands evidence before developing public policy.  To do otherwise on a whim or a theory is to court failure:.the" old garbage in, garbage out"  formula.. 

The soul of America is to promote fairness, not to excuse corruption or to condemn whistleblowers the moment they present their evidence whether it is in business or government,. 

The soul of America is fair play. We make the effort to provide umpires and referees in sports. It is that same sense of fairness that should be the soul of America in public policy and in our lives and our businesses.  It is not the soul of America to support cheaters and below-the-belt attackers and to look the other way when we see it..  However, fairness calls for instant replays and some checks and balances and consequences to constrain corruption of those in power with proof and evidence are for all to see.  Simply calling someone a cheater and a liar and whine they were a victim of foul play without evidence and proof is why we have had hearings and investigative reporters.  They are to be heard, not stonewalled.  That is the essence of a fair judicial and media system.  That is the soul of America and the way we learn who does not play fair or seeks to feather their own nests of power and wealth. Glorifying cheaters and law evaders who make it big is not part of our ideal.. Approval of robber barons and fraudsters is not the soul of America.


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Imagine what it is like to live in a country without a democracy

Imagine what it is like to live in a country without a democracy Most in this country do not have the time, patience, or desire to read books written by professors, about history or political theories. Even then we do not have to consult experts and pundits to see what is happening before our very eyes and what we are experiencing.. though it takes some perspective, stepping back into history, and listening carefully to what is happening elsewhere.    Most of those in this country have never known anything but our democracy as we have practiced it for 250 years and may live under the assumption that it will just continue in spite of those who want to change it.  Most of us are too busy trying to make a dime just to go about our day-to-day lives. Its eternity is not a slam dunk.; It takes work to continue. Even Ben Franklin questioned our republic would last because we the people had to keep it.

  Most of us have no concept of what living in an autocracy or a dictatorship is like, or even a banana republic, yet to most of us these are just abstract, political science terms. and even these alternatives can be attractive..   We see problems and changes that affect our lives, and want some strong leader to fix it,  and blame democracy for making it difficult for some savior to ride in on a white horse and rule by edict.  With a touch of a pen, the law is changed, the problem is removed, and the "trains run on time".and peace and prosperity come to the land. Be careful what you wish. The rest of us may not realize an alternative to democracy is gaining steam.

Imagine what it is like to live in a country without a democracy We have just had an election that unseated a president who tried to stay in power even though he lost the 2020 election by the same margin he won his election in 2016. Many of the strategies Donald Trump used failed this time. He used lies and touted theories that were never backed up with evidence, replacing agency leadership with yes people, fomenting a violent mob attack on the Capitol,, an attempt to force the military, and his own vice president to act contrary to the Constitution. He did not achieve his ultimate goal to overturn an election and stay in power for four more years..Nearly eight months later sixty-seven percent of his own party polled did not see these actions as a threat to democracy and continue to approve his actions, and 44% want Donald Trump to run again.. Per the same poll, 24%  even long for an "autocrat" to run the country.  They have turned a blind eye to the lessons of history and current events in other countries.. . 67% of GOP want Trump to stay in politics, 44% want him to run for president | Pew Research Center    They will succeed unless the rest of us are alarmed enough to realize how these forces are attempting to turn the democracy we have known into the rule of a person. instead of rule by the people. as expressed freely. in fair elections. Sixty federal judges of all political stripes could find o evidence that the election was stolen by fraud.  The GOP is trying hard to end fair and free elections in the future. They have a multi-state concerted strategy to make law changes designed to control and overturn popular vote outcomes they do not like by controlling who counts the vote and giving legislatures they control the right to pick electors they favor regardless of their state's popular vote.  The GOP is flirting with an end of democracy as we have known it for 250 years,  replacing it with a nation led by a wannabe autocrat who failed at his first attempt to be one. 

 Imagine what it would be like to live in an autocracy, a dictatorship.  It is not hard for me to imagine. I am into my 80's and I have seen dictatorships and autocracies rise, fall, and survive and I have seen some of them first hand, on the ground, and in-country. I have personally experienced those run by a communist dictator opposed to capitalism and I have seen the remnants of one headed by a fascist dictator in cahoots with big capitalism. It should not be hard for those with their eyes wide open to imagine because it has happened in Russia, Hungary, Turkey in the western hemisphere since the end of the Cold War, and it is happening now  Like the fascists of th 1930s. most current dictators and autocrats rose to power with the consent of a majority or near majority, and once there gained great control by abusing, ignoring,  and manipulating existing laws to consolidate power. They can be there until some revolt,, velvet or bloody, brings them down. Absolute power does corrupt, and even once fellow travelers have no way to end the inevitable corruption as their country's leaders feather their privileged nests. 

For those who hope for the autocracy of someone like Donald Trump, try to imagine what it would be like to live in a dictatorship in our modern era.  We have three models to consider, all began with the consent of the governed and now have morphed into dictatorships, oppressing its challengers in various ways. They are not as extreme in control of your personal life as in  North Korea, or even  Fascist Germany or Stalinist communism. None the less they share some similarities. So imagine yourself living in Russia where Putin has almost asserted total governmental control, or in Erdogan's Turkey that is not far behind. Hungary under Viktor Orban is the newbie, an autocracy in process, where the opposition press has been destroyed and favors are handed out to loyalists, ensuring self-interested loyalty of backers of Orban. The majority of citizens in all three countries handed over their democratic freedoms out of fear of civil chaos, fear of violent extremists, or fear of the end of ethnic purity as middle east refugees knocked on their doors. Thanks to the internet, not all opposition has been left in the total darkness of what is happening in reality.   Imagine a government in which whistleblowers have no public platform in media or branch of government to call out corruption,. The opposition press had been bought out or closed down. They may like their leaders' policies but are incensed with the corruption with no outlet for their anger. Whistleblowers and reporters get imprisoned or poisoned or "accidentally" fall out of a high rise, or are assassinated in broad daylight in a public square if their objections pose a threat to the leader.  Imagine, the minority of those pledging allegiance to their leader is able to control the majority because, the majority takes away the ability of the minority to complain or to rally, even peacefully.  Whoever holds all the levers of governmental power can benefit themselves since no body of government, legislature, or judiciary will block him. They are controlled by loyal appointees who swear allegiance to him instead of their sworn oaths to obey the Constitution.  Imagine, the majority takes away the ability of a minority to complain or to rally,.   That is how Putin, Orban, and Erdogan rose to power and still rule...It takes more than one term to reach this control level, but Donald Trump made a start of it especially in the few frantic months left in his term as he tried to overturn the election... . We, the non Trumpers,  are ignorant fools if we let this happen here.

Oct. 22, 2021: Per the New York Times, Russia has installed "black boxes" to interfere with social media and sites they do not like.  This is an attempt to shut down and control what their citizens have been able to access.  It reminds me of the old iron curtain days when radio broadcasts from the west were jammed.     This is the equivalent in current technology.  


Some personal memories of what was like to experience the most extreme forms of dictatorships, Stalinist type of rule. or know those who survived fascism...I have experienced those run by a communist dictator opposed to capitalism and I have seen the remnants of one headed by a fascist dictator in cahoots with big capitalism  Their public policies and ideology may have differed, but the methods of gaining power and keeping power were similar. Some of their techniques have been adopted by current autocrats and dictators that are in power now.  In most cases, both the Nazis and fascists in the 1930s and the dictators and autocrats emerging in the post-Cold War era came to power by abusing and using democracy, subverted it, and kept power to govern with iron fists.

. I attended a university in Berlin twelve years after the end of World War II.   I was married to a refugee from a communist country for 53 years.  As his native land moved from the practices of Stalin to a more relaxed communist rule, we were able to visit and spend time in Yugoslavia still while it was under the thumb of a dictator,  Tito. They first permitted those who left without approval to return to visit, provided they had served in their military draft and posed no threat to the regime. When Dr. Mike Muftic became stateless in 1959, he had thought he would never see his mother again. In 1972, with three you children in tow, we spent the first of many visits over the years vacationing there and being with relatives.Those who may have objected to the regime were kept in tow by fear, fear of imprisonment, fear of loss of a better job, fear of not being able to get the perks that others got.   We experienced how people lived in a country that tolerated no dissent and whose allegiance was to their president. Even 25 years into his rule, it was instructive of how he maintained his control. . Laws and constitution were window dressing or used as tools to keep in power the president and his compatriots. Radio broadcasts from the West were jammed and only approved newspapers were on the stands to be bought. Dissidents were already in jail or had fled the country.  Yes, everyone had an equal opportunity to get a job, and all were equally poor.   Critics of the regime who had not achieved a large following were not given privileges of the others, the ability to get promotions or even to pursue their professional dreams, even whispers of dissent were dangerous.  There was every incentive to keep one's mouth shut, to speak nary a bad word about the leader.  Instead, jokes we would call racist focused on the stupidity of certain ethnics that became code for disguising criticism of the regime.  There were some really funny ones, but to put it into a similar context in the US, imagine the non PC vogue of ethnic jokes...such as how many of the hapless ethnic members did it take to screw in a lightbulb? One to hold a lightbulb and the other to turn the ladder around. Those were cloaked criticism of a stupid and inefficient government and everyone understood the allegories. . Substitute the leader's name for the hapless ethnic butt of the jokes, and forget the better job, the better apartment, or the free beach vacation of the privileged.  There were spies loyal to the leader everywhere, on every block, and in every school.  Foreign travel was only allowed on educational or government or professional business, and only if family members were kept at home, to make it less likely the brain drain would happen.  Imagine, too, there was only one newspaper, one TV channel you could get what passed as "news",  which was all good news about how well the regime was doing.  News to the rules meant touting production of wheat figures, or what great recognition their glorious leader got from others in the world.  There were no small businesses permitted until later years; farms were either owned by the government or enough land was left in the hands of small truck farmers who sold their extra produce in farmers' markets. Yugoslavia's permission of small farmers differed from Russia and the people ate well. There was no starvation. Yes, there was free education, but the curriculum and content were approved by the leader and had to be in conformity of the ideology, whether or not there was a scientific basis Try having to explain to professors in oral exams how dialectical materialism had anything to do with medical truths, as my medical student husband to be once had to explain in order to pass.  

After a bloody civil war in the 1990s, Yugoslavia broke apart. The part Dr . Mke Muftic claimed as his original homeland became Croatia, now a modern, western state, a member of the EU and NATO.  After the setbacks of the civil war, and years of weeding out the worst of corruption, Croatia is finding its way to prosperity and democracy that resembles ours.  Its spectacular, unspoiled Adriatic coastline is now one of the hottest tourist venues in the world.  

How the minority party can rule the majority:  3 stats show the deck is stacked against Democrats - The Washington Post

The new Texas voting law includes these 7 major changes - CNNPolitics


Friday, October 8, 2021

How the US almost became a banana republic

  In Central America there is a role model of bad governance we have tagged as banana republics, led by dictators and their cronies, enriching themselves while ignoring the needs of their citizens.   Those countries continue in power with inept, corrupt autocratic governance. . Military coups and violent revolutions are how regime change usually happens in such dictatorships, We ourselves came closer to becoming a banana republic within the past year in retrospect as more and more evidence of what happened emerges. Attempts by Donald Trump to execute a coup, overturn 2020 election results and stay in power a second term, may have failed, but they are characteristic of a wannabe dictator and there is no reason to believe that given the chance to be president again, he could become closer to achieving the power of the rule of a person instead of the rule of law. He would have the time and opportunity to replace the federal courts and the Justice Department with those willing to make judgment calls he favors.  If he controls both houses of Congress as well, the end of democracy as we know it, rule by the majority with rights protecting the minority, and any checks and balances on executive power, is dead.  Unfortunately for democracy, a sizeable amount of Republicans are happy to give him that chance.

A House Bi-partisan hearings on the January 6 riot have revealed much, as well as startling revelations in recent books by those in the know presenting strong evidence (Woodward-Costa amount them)'Peril' Review: Bob Woodward's New Book Uncovers The Trump Era's Final Moments : NPR. For now, subpoenas of those in the room where it happened will likely go to court. Trump tells 4 former aides to defy Jan. 6 committee's subpoena - POLITICO  While we wait for this to play out, we already know quite a bit to be alarmed. The red flags are flying that democracy is in peril.

Here is what we have learned so far:

. A president attempted to overturn an election with a coup using whatever means he could, from abuse of his power to outright lies to fomenting violence and terror. It was not a one event coup, it was a rolling attack with a variety of weapons.  ..The battle cry he used to reverse the results of the 2020 election,  "stop the steal,", was based on what he had been told was a lie.. The thief was him who tried to overturn the election results. He was told by his own attorney general their own investigations found no proof of widespread fraud that would have changed the election outcome, Trump persisted knowing this.  First, he tried with   lawsuits.  All such suits were thrown out of courts by 60 judges of all political stripes for lack of evidence. Update  10/8/21 Next, he tried to put in a loyalist to head the Justice Department to make it look like the allegations of voter fraud by investigating them look credible, but the entire brass of the DOJ threatened to resign.  Failing that, an attorney, John Eastman, then laid out a blueprint for how Trump could get his second term in spite of the election results, including conspiring with Vice President Pence to decertify the electoral vote count and throw the election into the House that gave one state one vote,and upholding Trump's second term.READ Trump lawyer's memo on a six-step plan for Pence to overturn the election - CNNPolitics. Pence, after considering that, told the president on January 5 he could not do it, even when Trump called him "no longer his friend".Pence Said to Have Told Trump He Lacks Power to Change Election Result - The New York Times ( The riot was supposed to give Pence the guts to make the decertifying call.  .  ,  Trump in a "stop the steal rally" in advance of the riot at the Capitol,   inspired a mob to terrify legislators into not certifying the election of his opponent. The attempt, too, failed. The election of Joe Biden was certified the night of January 6. Other efforts to upend the democratic process were tried and failed, including threatening state election officials "to go out and find" more votes for him..That conversation was recorded on tape.. We are hearing allegations by witnesses  Trump tried to enlist the active military to put down opposition demonstrators, a plan thwarted by the Joint Chiefs.

Trump's denials and lies have gained traction with a sizeable number of Republicans.  The violent overthrow of democratically elected governments is against the laws of all democracies because the right to protest and to change leaders with the ballot box is the peaceful alternative that is provided to dissidents as their civil rights are protected.   The violent takeover of governments,, however, is being openly supported by a sizeable number of the GOP..  Now, fully one-half of those who identify themselves as Republicans approve or do not care if tools are used to defy constitutional law and use violence to achieve their political goals.  Most Republicans Say Force May Be Required to Save 'Traditional' America: Poll ( Fortunately for American democracy, these banana Republicans,  approving of autocracy also, are currently about 26% of the total electorate per a recent Morning Consult poll.26% of Americans Are Highly 'Right-Wing Authoritarian,' New Poll Finds (

  Trump pressure campaign: Durbin report details DOJ, White House meeting - The Washington Post    MUFTIC FORUM BLOG: Why General Milley is emerging as a hero who saved democracy

Interviews with former Justice Department officials provide new details on Trump efforts to undermine election results - CNNPolitics

MUFTIC FORUM BLOG: Trump's attempted coup by court has gone down in flames, as did the reputation of the GOP

How Democracies Die is a 2018 comparative politics book by Harvard University political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt about how elected leaders can gradually subvert the democratic process to increase their power.

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
Book by Timothy D. Snyder

What if Pence and the DOK had done what the Eastman memo wanted to happen?


Thursday, October 7, 2021

Why I am not an Evangelical

I wrote this because, on a political Facebook site, Christianity is being painted as being monolithic and uniform and subject to blanket criticism. It is not.  I am a practicing and church-going Christian...I am not part of the Evangelical movement currently more in vogue today. Here is why.  Their views are theirs and sincerely held, but they are not my priorities. Sometimes I interpret the scriptures differently. I also see the role of government differently. 

There is a schism in current Christianity. Ir is between traditional beliefs that bless those as Jesus listed in the beatitudes and the Golden Rule. and the Evangelical movement has become singularly focused on the unborn to the neglect of the life and needs of the born. There is little emphasis in the Evangelical movement treating their neighbors,, including the "least of these,." and others,  in the way they would like to be treated. When asked which of the Jewish laws were the most important, Jesus answered: Love God with all your heart and treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated. He set the priorities. Evangelicals have parked their theology train in a sidetrack.  

 The Evangelical view of Christ's view, render unto Caesar in tax and government laws and render the rest to God,  is instead to pressure Caesar to enforce their own particular views on abortion for them by passing laws to accomplish their evangelical goals. and to spread their brand in public schools funded by taxpayers. The "choice" issue is not specifically addressed in the scriptures, but the Evangelical interpretation when life begins has become their top focus, anyway, that life begins at conception, and not when God breathed life into their souls as stated in Genesis.. Evangelical theological approaches have become part of the 'cultural wars" mixing their specific theology with their political beliefs. Among those views is that vaccinations are somehow evil. For me, Science is a gift of God by giving us intelligence and the ability to discover how to live longer. It is not a curse or a sacrilege. . To not be concerned with how many others the non vaccinated infect is not practicing the Golden Rule.  That employers can mandate vaccinations or testing are a workforce, and marketing and business advantage. Sick and dead employees are not helpful for needed staffing levels.  So long as testing is offered as an alternative to those against vaccinations for health and religious belief, such employer mandates are appropriate. Most consumers and potential customers are not anti-vaxxers and fear becoming infected given the known ability of the virus to infect others. They prefer taking their business where they have confidence they will be safe.

Evangelical theology is mostly embraced by White conservatives. Christ is often depicted as a blond, blue-eyed caucasian when He was a Semite It is a very unfortunate view toward superiority of the White race that is not so coincidental Where Evangelical Christianity is universally dominant is in former slave states... A large portion of the new testament promotes the post-crucifixion spread of Christianity to those who also were not Jews or of the same tribal or racial origins or spoke different languages.  Being a good Samaritan, good to those who are "others", is part of New Testament theology.

Those like
Franklin Graham are ikons of the use of Government to force those who have different beliefs to bow to their brand and priorities of their interpretation of a religion. It is both a sign of their failure of preachers to convert others to their particular take on Christianity by their words alone and to make up that failure by using secular laws to make others conform to them regardless of their own belief systems. History is full of examples of religion as a handy and effective tool used by demagogues and those who lust for political power to gain support and to give them the moral authority to oppress non-believers who were their political opponents.. Many kings and potentates had claimed they were gods or simultaneously headed a church or claimed they had a divine right to govern. It was an understanding of this that caused our founders to separate the church from the state by writing a constitution that would prevent a government from establishing a state religion.