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Archive for the ‘Church & State’ Category

Day 71.

Today Donald John Trump will place his hand on a bible and take the oath of office to become our next president.  And, for the first time, I am beginning to lose my optimism for the future of our country.

To be totally honest, if I were a Christian, I would wonder if he is going to burst into flames once his hand touches the bible.  He has shown that he is anything but a Christian in his actions before, during and after the election.

He will be taking that oath knowing that he is the least favorable president-elect to be sworn in in our history.  Usually, after an election, the favorability numbers of the president-elect go up.  This time, they have gone down.  Maybe that is because of his caustic behavior, or his overflowing the swamp with his cabinet picks, or maybe just because even his supporters are realizing what a virtual pig he really is.

The other thing that has gone virtually unnoticed during the transition is his absolute horrible leadership.  When a new president takes office, they are required to fill about 4,000 positions in various departments of the government.  The most important positions include the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security.

When he takes office, almost all of those positions will have empty desks this afternoon and the unforeseeable future.  So far, not counting his cabinet nominees, they have hired about 30 of the 4000 people needed to fill those positions.

He had announced at first that every political position would end today when he takes office.  Then, when he realized that he isn’t even close to fill any of those critical positions, he started asking people to hang around for a “few months”.  Some have agreed and some have not.

Now remember, this is supposed to be a “great businessman who organizes tremendously”.  Well, this situation shows that statement is true in his own imagination.  As someone who worked in business for over 20 years and in the Coast Guard for 20 years, I find this a total disaster caused by someone who loves himself but has no clue about leadership.  In simple words, he has totally botched the transition.  If he can’t handle that, how can we expect him to handle the country?

We can only be thankful that there are thousands of professional public servants who will take up the responsibility of these critical positions until Mr. Incompetent finally gets around to filling them.

Then we have his conflicts of interest hanging over us and him.  At the moment he becomes president, he will be in violation of his lease for the hotel in the Old Post Office building.  Only, nothing will probably be done because the lease if owned by the General Services Administration and he will be in charge of it.

And, since he and his team always rave about the hotel and suggest that everyone including foreign governments use it, he is in possible violation of the emoluments clause.  That is just the beginning of his possible conflicts of interest.  This is something that will need to be watched very closely.  Only, it will be difficult because Mr. Secret won’t divulge his holdings or where he is actually getting his money.

If you love the Constitution, and all Republicans claim to do so, then the first piece of legislation needed to be passed is one that requires all public officials in the federal government, including the president, must release their tax returns.  That is the only way to ensure the emoluments clause will be honored and openly enforceable.

We are looking a very uncertain next four years.  Trump made so many promises to so many people he doesn’t even remember which ones he made or to which group of people he made them to.

He keeps talking about bringing jobs back, but he still refuses to ensure his own family brings their manufacturing to the U.S. and leaves those 12 countries they currently use.  If he doesn’t add his family’s products to the 35 percent “border tax” he keeps threatening, we will know he doesn’t mean a damn thing he says.

There is talk about cutting the budget, again.  But, the only items on the cut list are things that support the rights of every citizen.  Things talked about being cut are grants to help prevent violence against women.  Closing down several agency departments that protect civil rights of minorities of all kinds.  And of course closing down PBS or at least privatizing it.

Then we need to watch out for cuts in several social safety nets.  Republicans want to privatize Social Security.  They want to voucherize Medicare.  They want to “block grant” Medicaid.  And, of course they want to throw about 18 million people off of their health care by eliminating the Affordable Care Act without even telling us what their replacement plan is.

These are just some of the issues and potential problems that America will face under a Trump presidency.  We will have a cabinet with more ethical questions than we have seen in over 100 years.  I will be quite surprised if any of the nominees are stopped.  The current Republican Party is not interested in ethics or integrity.

The anti-regulation crowd known as the Republican Party is itching to eliminate all of the same regulations they eliminated under George W. Bush which caused the Great Recession of 2008.  That is a very scary thing indeed.  Are they actually trying to cause another Great Recession?

Then again, all of this could be mute.  We will have a president who loves to attack people on twitter.  What is going to happen when his target is some unstable foreign leader?  How certain are we that he won’t start a war just because of his bitter, and immature use of twitter?  And, if he does start a war using twitter, will he launch nuclear weapons. After all, as he said “why do we have them if we aren’t going to use them?”

We are moving into a very uncertain future.  We are most likely going to see attacks on African-American rights.  Gay Rights.  Women Rights.  Religious Rights.  Our Health Care.  Our Environment.  Our Economy.  Our Farms.  Our Small Businesses.  Our Public Education.  And, Our Decency.  It is probably the most uncertain future in my lifetime and I lived through the “great red scare”.  I also lived through the so-called “hippie” movement and civil rights and anti-Vietnam war protests.

The future was far more certain during those times than it is today.  The only reason those times were more certain was because we had leaders who were reasonable and rational people leading our country.  Today we will get what I consider the least rational person in history in charge.

It is that instability that causes concern for everyone in the world, not just in our country.  As a result, I am very cautious about the future of our country.  I served my country and I hate the idea of someone so irrational being in charge of the nuclear codes.

I can only keep voicing my opposition to this madman.  I can only try to point out his conflicts as they arise.  I can only try to educate anyone who wishes to be educated about any damage he causes our liberties and freedoms.

We have heard for the last eight years that President Obama restricted our freedoms.  But, when asked to name just one, there is silence.  I am afraid that will not be the case under a Trump presidency.  I am afraid that we will see our Constitution be shredded by him and his Republican lackeys in Congress in the name of Power.

I find it extremely ironic and very frightening that a man is going to take the oath of office that swears to “protect the Constitution of the United States” when he doesn’t even know what is in it.

Furthermore, his actions during his entire life has shown a complete disregard for the law and decency.  He ran for president to line his pockets with more money.  That is all he is interested in and that is all he will work towards.

Hopefully, the near future will also be a time of activism.  It will be a time when people take to the streets again to hold our elected officials somewhat accountable.  It is all up to us now.  We can no longer pretend that the people in charge have our best interests at heart.  They don’t.

And the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 57

Yesterday four people, one adult and three teenagers were arrested and charged with hate crimes for that sickening video showing them torture another teenage boy.  Racial slurs were heard being shouted.  The whole affair was sickening.

There are a lot of people trying to bring up the meme of Black on White hate crimes being rampant, which it is not.  The boy tortured was white and the attackers were black.  Furthermore, the boy went to school with one of his attackers.

This is incident is totally about hate.  It really has not a lot to do with anything else but hate.  I don’t care what color the victim is and I don’t care what color the attackers are.  The fact that something like this can actually happen is out of pure hate.

The absurdity of hate was on full display this past election.  The fact of the matter is that just about everyone could be the victim of hate.  The only problem is that it usually takes race or sexual orientation to make officials charge someone with hate crimes.

When charges are made in hate crimes, both sides all get in an uproar.  Rather than look at the incident it was, we need to “categorize” what type of hate is really is.  We have seen the “justification” of hate crimes by both sides of the issue rather than talking about the hate that caused the crime in the first place.

Don’t you think it is time we faced our hate problem?  Don’t you think it is time put an end to all of this nonsense?  Yes, I know we can never eliminate it completely, but our actions after such incidents tell me that we have no intention of ending the hate.

You have probably seen other posts that tell you that our problem is because we have “turned away from god”.  You have also seen posts that say “this is what happens when you don’t believe in god.”

Sorry, but that is a form of hate all by itself.  The very idea that only “god-fearing” people are good people is total bullshit.  Morality is based more on how humanity treats other members of the human race.  It has nothing to do with religion.

In fact, religion is one of the primary forces behind our hate.  We hate minorities because “god mad us superior”.  We hate women because “god made them subordinate to men”.  We hate gays because they are “sinners in the eyes of god”.

Then we have people who hate just because they love to hate others.  Hating someone else makes them feel good about themselves.  It makes them feel superior.  It categorizes people into bins that allow us to separate ourselves from them.

The world we live in is complex and can be very divisive.  You cannot have black without white.  You cannot have light without dark.  You cannot have love without hate.  And, you cannot have good without evil.

The thing that makes us get along is our basic humanity.  Love is not based on religion it is based on our common humanity.  Hate on the other hand is based on ego.  The idea that I am better than you so therefore I can hate you.

We also live in a country that is supposed to be based on the claim “that all men are created equal”.  Yet, too many of our politicians have led the charge against inclusiveness.  They “categorize” people into those handy bins to make them lesser people than the “chosen” category of people.

Legalized discrimination bills based on so-called religious beliefs makes hate much easier.  The so-called bathroom bills make hate much easier.  Voter restriction laws make hate much easier.  Any law that restricts or bars access to basic rights make hate easier.

You can make the argument that problems like these are taught in the homes.  You can make the argument that parents need to teach their children better.  You can make a lot of arguments about cases like this.  But, making arguments is fixing blame and not addressing the real problem of hate itself.

When someone says “I’m not a racist” but refuses to acknowledge the civil rights of minorities, you are lying to yourself.  If you say you “love gays, but hate the sin” you are lying to yourself.  Whenever you argue against your own beliefs you are lying to yourself.

You cannot say that you love our neighbor and then send disparaging emails against people or groups.  You cannot say you are compassionate and then call someone with a disability a “gimp” or someone with a mental disability “nuts” or “stupid”.  That is simply lying to yourself.

Lying to ourselves makes our hate covert, but it is still there.  Lying to ourselves allow us to make excuses when something like this happens.  Lying to ourselves does not help stem hate, it actually feeds it.

When you really look at it, hate is nothing more than an act of terrorism.  Letting people know your hate towards them should be classified as terrorism because we you are trying to make them fear you.

I hope with all my heart that these people who tortured this boy get exactly what they deserve according to the law.  Just like I do whenever any of the thousands of hate crimes that occur everyday in this country find justice.

But, if you want to see an end to these types of crimes, you cannot keep lying to yourself.  You need to look yourself in the mirror and confront your hate.  Then, you need to work to overcome and end your own hate.  Otherwise, hate will continue.  Hate crimes will continue.

I don’t care if you are religious or not.  I don’t care what color you are or nationality, or sex, or sexual orientation.  The fact is we are all part of the human race.  We are all brothers and sisters with a single common factor.  We deserve better from our neighbors.  We deserve better from ourselves.

The fact of the matter is only we can stop hate.  Then maybe we will see an end to these sickening crimes.  One can only hope.

 

 

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In two days Christians will celebrate Christmas.  Tomorrow Jews will begin Chanukah.  The holiday of Kwanza is not far off.  There have been other holidays, mostly pagan that have been celebrated.  The holiday season is in full swing.  Just about everyone I know celebrates some holiday this tie of year.  Whether that holiday is religious or secular.

The odd part is the evolution of Christmas in our country.  It was not always celebrated as it is today.  When the Puritans first landed on this continent, they did not celebrate Christmas.  They actually passed laws that made it illegal to celebrate Christmas.  That “tradition” lasted well into the 1700s in New England.

As the country grew, and different “Christian religions” began to grow the celebration began to become more traditional.  We didn’t even see the Christmas Tree, especially in homes until the 1800s.  That began with Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband.

He was a German and brought the tradition of a decorated tree in the home to the castle.  The news papers in England ate it up.  It started to become a fad.  If the Queen could decorate a tree for Christmas, everyone else should as well.

It didn’t take long before the “tradition” started on this continent as well.  The Christmas “tradition” has evolved over the years.  The Christmas Tree, Santa Claus, Kissing under the mistletoe, Decorations and many others were all adopted from different cultures.

Christmas became a holiday of “good cheer”.  The religious values of “good will to men” became the calling card of the holiday.  When I was a kid back in the 50s and early 60s, I kept hearing the complaint that Christmas was being too commercialized.

As I have written before, I grew up in a Catholic family.  We always said Merry Christmas to each other.  But, we never took offense to anyone who simply said “happy holidays”.  People actually seemed happier at this time of year.

But, as everything else, Christmas became a political tool.  The so-called fictitious “war on Christmas” became the battle cry.  There were declarations that Santa Claus was a white man instead of the imaginary figure of happiness towards all children.  The terrible political divisiveness began to creep into the holiday season.

That is extremely sad.  This time of year is supposed to be a time of happiness.  It is supposed to be a time when we are friendly to each other.  We should be that way all of the time, but at least we pretended in the past during this holiday season.

The commercialization is still there.  The day after Halloween the Christmas decorations begin to go up in the stores.  The entire health of our economy seems to depend on the sales numbers during the Christmas season.

To me, it doesn’t really matter how you celebrate Christmas or what religion you belong to.  The idea is that when you celebrate a holiday in which you share gifts with each other, and actually go out of your way to drop some spare change in the red kettles, how can there be any room for anything but love?

If there was ever a reason, or rather an excuse, to put aside our bitterness and hate, this is the season for it.  This is the season we watch our kids open their presents and enjoy the smiles and laughter.

This is the season when we share with friends and family good cheer.  This is the season we actually do smile more.  This is the season when Christians celebrate the beginning of hope.

The Christmas holiday season means different things to different people.  But whether or not you celebrate the religious holiday or the secular holiday, it really doesn’t matter.  In essence they are both really kind of the same.

As you celebrate the holiday season, I hope you all have a wonderful time with family and friends.  I hope the season finds that you are all warm, comfortable, and most of all happy.

But, please also remember, there will be millions of people who will not be home for Christmas.  They include our military, police, fire, paramedics, nurses and other hospital workers, and many more “first responders” who will be working or deployed overseas.  And, if not for their work and dedication, you might not be celebrating this holiday in peace.

So, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza, Happy what every you celebrate during this holiday season.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the Christmas Cheer lasted throughout the year?  Here is to hoping.

 

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Day 43

Two lap dogs, Ted Cruz’ lap dog Mike Lee, and Donald Trump’s lap dog Ted Cruz are preparing the first anti-civil rights bill they believe Trump will be happy to sign.  As usual, the two lying sacks of shit are camouflaging the anti-civil rights bill under a name they believe will fool their followers.

The Bill is being called the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA).  They chose this name because Defense of Religious Freedom has already been used.  But, don’t be fooled by the name.  This bill, FADA, is nothing but an attempt to discriminate against one specific group of people.

The bill would prohibit the federal government from “discriminatory action” against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people.  The bill would allow discrimination based on two sets of beliefs: “(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

It is basically saying that it is a First Amendment right to discriminate against one group of people.  It says that civil rights don’t exist for that group of people, therefore you cannot be punished for discriminating against them.  It is also defying the Supreme Court with their first principle about marriage.  The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal and protected as such.

The bill bans the government from taking any form of action to curb such discrimination—including withholding federal funds from institutions that discriminate. FADA allows individuals and businesses to sue the federal government for interfering in their right to discriminate against LGBTQ people and would mandate the Attorney General defend the businesses.

The discrimination can take various forms.  It could be denying service to LGBTQ people.  It could be refusing spousal health care insurance for same-sex legally married couples.

This un-American bill was first introduced in 2015.  It got only one hearing in the House and died away.  However, with Trump being elected as our next president, Cruz and Lee seem to believe that the bill will “sail through Congress” and get signed into law by Trump.

These two morons don’t realize that this bill also makes it possible to discriminate against heterosexual couples who live together but are not married and single mothers.  That comes under part two of their terms.  “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

In other words, sexual relations cannot be proper unless they are under the “sanctity” of heterosexual marriage.  Therefore, if you are living with a partner and have sex with that partner, you are subject to being discriminated against by the company you work for and there will be nothing you can do about it.

If you are a single mother and was never married, you are also subject to discrimination by your company and there will be nothing you will able to do about it.  Since there are no exceptions, I suspect that will include single women who became pregnant from a rape or unwanted incest.

Mississippi passed a bill HB 1523 that is almost identical to FADA.  It is tied up in court right now and is waiting for a hearing with the 5th circuit court of appeals.  That law has three sets of religious beliefs:

Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman; sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.

What you may not know about the law suits to kill this bill is that one was brought by Mississippi religious leaders who allege the state law actually violates religious freedom by determining that religious belief necessitates anti-LGBTQ discrimination. The group of ordained ministers suing the state said in the lawsuit, Barber v. Bryant, that Mississippi violates its right to freedom of religion “because persons who hold contrary religious beliefs are unprotected—the State has put its thumb on the scale to favor some religious beliefs over others.”

What is really going on here is that the Conservative Christian Cult wants the right to deny civil rights to LGBTQ.  They want every LGBTQ to be declared as second class citizens.  They also want very much to enforce their narrow-minded, some may say delusional, religious beliefs on everyone else.

That is exactly what the group of ordained ministers in Mississippi challenging their law is saying.  The FADA is nothing but a defacto attempt to name Christian Evangelicalism as the official religion of the United States.  Which is clearly in violation of the very amendment they claim to be trying to defend.

They are telling you that if your religious beliefs do not match theirs, you don’t really have religious beliefs.  You are wrong, they are right, and that is all that matters.

This is the first shot at our constitutional rights.  There will be more.  That is what these evil people have been pushing with their anti-abortion laws, their anti-LGBTQ laws, their voting suppression laws, and their anti-women laws.

Their sick, pathetic religious beliefs are to be swallowed by the rest of us whether we like them or not.  When you actually look at the entire world, what can you name as an example of this policy?

Many are going to be offended by this comment, but these laws and these people are mirroring exactly what ISIS is trying to do in the middle east.  ISIS has killed far more Muslims than Christians to date.  They kill these Muslims because they don’t adhere to ISIS narrow interpretation of their religion.

The Conservative Christian Cult is attempting to do the same thing here, except they haven’t gotten around to murdering people yet.  They are doing something that is just as bad.  They are trying to intimidate and legally discriminate against anyone who doesn’t believe what they do.  They are trying to set up different classes of citizens.

They are attempting to force their beliefs on you.  They are trying to codify their beliefs into civil law.  That is clearly unconstitutional.  The real terrorism being conducted against Americans is being done by the Conservative Christian Cult.

This attempted law is a direct attack on our way of life.  It is a direct attack against our very liberties.  It is step one towards an authoritarian government.  The lap dogs are barking and Trump is handing out the dog treats.

 

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Day 25

Donald Trump named Betsy DeVos to head up the Department of Education.  About the only thing that would have been worse is if he had named one of the Koch brothers.  It is quite possible that DeVos could totally ruin or make public education disappear completely.

DeVos and her husband have been arguing for voucher systems all across the country.  They are using phrases like “we just want every child to get a good education regardless of socioeconomic status”.  But, that isn’t what this is all about.

What they are really trying to do is make tax payers pay for religious education by sending children to “Christian” schools.  They are interested in placing “religious teachings” in our classrooms.  They have pushed for “intelligent design” to be taught in public schools instead of evolution.

DeVos managed to get privatized public education in Michigan.  It has been terrible, especially in Detroit where children need better education not worse.  In addition, they are the types of people that believe “competition” is necessary for education to improve.  Since when does “market-type competition” belong in education?

I know a lot of people are in favor of these voucher programs.  But what they don’t understand is that is blurring the line between separation of church and state.  They also don’t understand that private schools are not required as much as public schools to take in children with physical or learning disabilities.

Because they are “private” they are not required to adhere to integration rules either.  There a several “private religious” schools that have not children of color in attendance.

What this means is that if too many children are allowed to attend private schools using vouchers, there will be far less money left for the Public Schools.  That means that every child who cannot get into one of these private religious schools will get an even worse education than they are already getting.

The answer to our public schools is not vouchers and allowing millions to attend private schools on the taxpayer dime.  It is to use the money allocated to public education wisely.  It is to improve all sorts of areas like modernizing old crumbling buildings.  It is to provide a curriculum that will both challenge and help our children become successful in the future.

Look, I don’t have anything against private schools.  I am a product of private schools.  However, my parents paid for my tuition not the government.  If someone wants their children to attend private religious schools, that is fine.  But, the tax payers should not have to foot the bill.

You also need to look at the very fact that “Christian” schools are the largest benefactor of these voucher programs.  And, that is the purpose of the voucher programs.  Instead of building new Christian schools and setting up scholarship awards for poor children, the DeVos’ want to use taxpayer money to educate everyone in Christian doctrine.

They have decided that “to impact our culture in ways that are not the traditional funding-the-Christian-organization route, but that really may have greater Kingdom gain in the long run by changing the way we approach things, in this case the system of education in the country.”

Meaning, they want to do away with public education altogether and replace it with their version of “Christian schools” that every child will have to attend.  Can you spell indoctrination?

Public education has been the backbone of our education system.  It is necessary to ensure that all children get a good education.  Replacing it with “for-profit” schools or vouchers is not the answer to improving it.  We need to have a very serious discussion about education, how to improve it, and work together for the sake of all children.

Betsy DeVos is not the person who will lead that discussion.  She is not the person to improve our public education.  She is intent on destroying it and making it go away.  Neither she nor her husband are interested in educating our children.  They are merely interested in indoctrinating them into their narrow view of Christianity.

How much do you want to bet she isn’t in favor of using vouchers to send your child to a Muslim School.  If she is approved and her plans are put n place, you can chalk up “religious freedom” as another right lost to the Trump authoritarian government.

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There is another fight brewing in Texas.  This one is against LGBT students.  State Senator Konni Burton is leading the fight that, if she wins, will do untold harm to hundreds of school children.

A little explanation.  The Fort Worth School District adopted a measure that prohibits teachers from telling student’s parents about the child’s sexual orientation without the student’s permission.  This has come about because, especially in high school, many students are requesting accommodations based on their gender identity, but haven’t told their parents about their LGBT status.

Naturally sound and reasonable people like Burton and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had a fit.  So, Burton put forth legislation that requires teachers to tell the parents without the child’s permission.  The legislation includes suspension and even termination of any teacher who keeps this confidential.

In her own words, she justifies this bullshit this way:

Because of this, our office reviewed the provisions in state law which guarantee parents access to information in a public school. We found these provisions in desperate need of clarity and expansion. That is why I am planning to file a bill that rewrites these provisions to make it unequivocally clear that a parent has a right to full and total information on their child’s academic performance, physical, mental and emotional health, and more. Further, my legislation will make it expressly against state law for a district to adopt policies designed to undermine a parent’s right to know. No parent in Texas should ever have to fight for the basic right to matter in their child’s life again.

In case you are wondering what is wrong with this measure, just look at her reason.  She says that parents have a right to full and total information including “physical, mental and emotional health”.  What does that mean exactly?  She is saying that if a child is struggling with their sexual status, they obviously have a mental health issue.

I know a lot of people who are LGBT.  One thing they told me that when they were growing up, the hardest part was telling their own parents.  They feared backlash, and in some cases, like in a state like Texas, they feared they would be forced to go into “reparative therapy”.  The Texas Republican Party has “reparative therapy” as part of their party platform.

Often times a student will tell a teacher first.  In most cases, it is a chance to “test float” the idea of coming out.  Students have a basic understanding of how a parent will react.  They hear their parents discuss homosexual issues from time-to-time, usually in some sick form of a joke.

They look for someone they can trust to first tell to see how an adult would react.  That helps them form a plan to actually tell their parents.  But, that is not often easy even after they tell a teacher.  Parents often react in very different and strange ways.

I know people who have openly said if their child told them they were gay, they would throw them out of the house.  There are hundreds of thousands of homeless youths in this country.  About 40 percent of them identify as LGBT.  That despite the fact that only about 7 percent of the nations youths identify as LGBT.

Kathryn Gonzales, operations and programs director of OutYouth, an Austin-based organization that aims to provide an open and accepting environment for LGBT youth, told The Daily Beast the bill could endanger children:

I think Senator Burton needs to rethink this because she’s going to have a lot of blood on her hands.

That statement is not just hyperbole either.  There is a suicide epidemic of teens in our country.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study on suicide risks for LGBT youth, the suicide rate is four times higher for this demographic and twice as high for children who are questioning their sexual orientation and gender identity.

How many more will hit this awful list once they are forced to confront unaccepting parents with their gender identity because of this law?  How many of these teens will be thrown out of the house without any support?

Being a teenager is stressful enough for kids growing up.  Coming to the conclusion that you are also LGBT adds to that stress.  Especially when that teen is in a household that does not accept LGBT as “normal” but rather some disease that can be cured through things like reparative therapy.

I really do not understand this legislation.  I really don’t understand why Burton believes it is her responsibility to force teachers to break confidence with their students just because she thinks so.

There is only one explanation for this useless law.  It is just another attempt to force religious beliefs on other people.  I can find no reason for such a law except to “shame” the teens for being who they are.  She doesn’t think teens have the right to plan their coming out to their parents and be ready for any backlash that may be coming from them.

No, Burton wants to rule over the lives of people.  She wants the state to interfere with peoples lives.  She doesn’t care about the consequences.  She doesn’t care about the real mental health of these teens.  She only cares about imposing her rule on everyone else.

Here we have another Republican laying bare the lie about “getting the government out of our lives” and showing that they really want the government to run our lives.  This bill will not come before the State Legislature until next year.  There is time to fight it and defeat it.  But, being it is in Texas, I am not holding my breath.

Looks to me like Texas is trying to become the next Soviet Socialist State.  They apparently want to joint North Carolina and Kansas in totally ruling their people.  To me, this is nothing short of state sponsored terrorism.

It has already been proven in many places that “reparative therapy” is nothing short of torture.

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Since Trump pulled off his election victory, there have been at least a hundred reasons being given by the so-called pundits.  They are all hanging on the theory that the white working class elected Donald Trump because they feel left behind.  That is partially true.  However, that is not the real reason Trump actually won.

It is my stand that Trump won because he took advantage of the ugly triumvirate that the Republican Party has been putting together for decades.  He was able to tap into the hate, discontent, and pure bigotry of this triumvirate.

This triumvirate took years to put together and it has finally reached its full potential.  That was proven when Trump actually won the election.  His picks for his cabinet so far have shown this triumvirate will actually govern, which is really disturbing.

The first spoke in this triumvirate is what is called “conservative Christians”.  The second spoke is authoritarians who believe that the constitution is nothing but a “suggestion” when it comes to civil rights.  The third is what is now called the “alt-right” which is really nothing more than the KKK without all of the Halloween costumes.

The pure bitter hate the reeks out of every pore of these three groups is the reason that Trump campaigned on hate issues.  He understood, unlike his Republican opponents, that if you put together a coalition you need to use it properly.  He did by hitting all of the hot buttons they hold dear.

The so-called alt-right is a white supremacist group of bigots who believe that the U.S. should be a white only country.  They want all immigration stopped immediately, though they are willing to have “special” cases for Europeans.  They hate African-Americans, Jews, Mexicans and other Latinos, Muslims, Chinese, Japanese, and any other group that is not “white”.

The white supremacists are overjoyed with the election of Trump.  He is the “savior” that they have been waiting for to come out of the sewers and spew forth their venom in the light of day.  They believe that the days of a white only U.S. is just around the corner.  And, with Steve Bannon sitting right next to Trump whispering in his ear, they may be close to correct.

The authoritarians are led by Trump himself.  Trump does not really care for democracy or a free press.  He hates anyone who might even think of saying something negative about him.  He has called on changing the laws so he can sue the press if anyone dares to write an article he doesn’t like.

During his campaign he ridiculed the press at every rally.  He treated the press that was there to follow his campaign and report on it as the enemy who was only there to make him look bad.  If the press dared to quote the candidate, they were liars because Trump never said what he said on tape.

His audience lapped up the insults and even turned on the press.  There were several times when members of the press, especially his favorite target Katie Tur, had to be escorted out of the rally when it ended by the Secret Service for their safety.  He blacklisted several media outlets from his campaign.

Now he is acting like he isn’t going to be any more available to the press after his win.  As a matter of fact, he has been even less available and is still railing against them.  You cannot establish an authoritarian government if you allow freedom of the press.

Additionally, Trump has made promises that are quite frankly unconstitutional.  When the election was over, he only doubled down on those promises.  Like stopping Muslims from Immigrating.  Or like having a registry for all Muslims.

His picks for his cabinet so far all mirror these beliefs as well.  He has to have backers behind him if he is going to ignore the constitution.  The very idea that he is willing to place an open racist in the position of Attorney General is appalling.  Sessions has fought against voting rights, hate crimes, crimes against women, and other civil rights all of his life.  Now, we are expected to believe he will actually enforce these laws he hates?

Like Trump, his CIA pick is in love with the idea of torture.  Even though it is against the laws of the U.S., against the laws of the U.S. Military, and against the Geneva Convention, they believe we can ignore all of those laws just because we are us.  Blatant disregard for the law is also blatant disregard for our form of government which is supposed to be based on law.

Then we have the so-called “conservative Christians” as the final piece of the jigsaw.  As I have written before, the term conservative Christian is an oxymoron.  As a matter of fact, I find the term as the worst example of contradictions we can have.

Conservative Christians all claim to be “Christian” first.  However, their policies and beliefs are anything but Christian.  They fall much better under the authoritarian definition than the Christian definition.

Conservative Christians are all about running everyone else’s lives.  They want to be the ones who determine what civil rights people can have.  They want to determine what “morality” is that you must follow.  They want to determine every minute aspect of your life from your education to your work environment to your bedroom.

Since Trump was elected, there have been over 400 bills being prepared to be introduced in state legislatures in January.  All of them have something to do with voter suppression, anti-abortion, or anti-LGBT issues.

They feel justified in these laws because of Trump.  He is the one who nominated Mike Pence as his Vice President.  Pence is the most vocal and most anti-civil rights politician around.  He firmly believes that LGBT are that way by choice and should be forced to undergo “therapy” to make them “normal” again.

He was the one who got his state to pass the most anti-LGBT law in the country.  Then because of the backlash, he modified it to make it more acceptable.  However, it is still horrible and has far-reaching consequences.  There is a case right now in Indiana where a mother is using this “law” as her defense for brutally abusing her children.  She claims her “religious beliefs” make it defensible because she was saving her children from “Satan” by beating the hell out of them.

As I said before, I grew up in a very Catholic family.  I went to Catholic schools and learned all about Christianity.  I never once heard or read anything in the “New Testament” where Jesus said we have the right to hate anyone because they are different.  Rather he said we must “love” our enemies and those that are different.

Sorry, but don’t tell me you are a Christian when you hate LGBT people and are willing to legally discriminate against them simply because they are LGBT.  Don’t tell me you are Christian when you despise every other religion on the planet.  Don’t tell me you are Christian when you are willing to turn your back on women and children seeking refuge just because they come from an area of the country that is Muslim and not Christian.

In its beginning, Christianity was a revolutionary religion.  It was a religion that fought against the status quo of the Jewish hierarchy.  It was a religion that rebelled against all of the rules and hatreds of the past.  It was a religion that was based on love, harmony, and peace on earth.

Hating your neighbor just because they are different is not Christian.  It is authoritarian.  Forcing your beliefs on others is not Christian, it is authoritarian.  And, that is exactly what today’s “conservative Christians” are.  Authoritarian.

This is the ugly triumvirate that swept Donald Trump to victory.  These groups have power in just enough states to have put him over the top, even though he has lost the popular vote by over 1.5 million votes, so far.

Hate crimes have spiked since the election.  Yes, there have been hate crimes on both sides, but the vast majority have been from Trump supporters.  Some of these are such heroes they leave a restaurant and then quickly return to punch a woman in the face then run away again.  This happened in Texas and is just one example of these hate crimes.

The swastika has replaced the stars and stripes in graffiti by Trump supporters.  Churches are being burned again.  Mosques are being defaced and burned.  Synagogues are being defaced again.

This is the result of the triumvirate being empowered by Trump’s election.  They feel free to spread their hate with impunity.  President Obama has said we should “wait and see” what a Trump Presidency will bring.  I believe we have already seen what a Trump Presidency will bring.  And, it won’t be pretty.

The 2016 election has unleashed an unholy triumvirate upon our country.  We need to be ready to fight it from the beginning or we will lose all of our freedoms.  And, that is exactly what the unholy triumvirate wants.  Total control over our lives.

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