Almost all Republican Evangelicals Who Back Trump are Hypocrites!

According to fivethirtyeight.com, 94 percent of Republicans who consider themselves to be evangelical Christians intend to vote for Donald Trump (few non-white evangelicals are Republicans for understandable reasons). It is astounding that people who claim to have Christian values would vote for a candidate who seems to have no morals or values at all beyond taking advantage of others in order to enrich himself and inflate his ego.

 Most of the support this group gives Trump appears to be based in blatant racism. After all, Donald Trump is everything that Christians claim not to be. He is an admitted adulterer, a fraudster, a shameless liar, and a tax cheat. He is superficial, self-absorbed, and profane. However, he is of white, European extraction, and he hints that he will get rid of those who are not including Hispanics and Muslims of any race. This overt racism is a strong appeal to those who have fooled themselves into believing that they have Christian values.

The support for Donald Trump among white evangelicals is  grounded in nostalgia for a mythical better past when whites of European descent ruled the roost and other races and ethnic groups kept in the places assigned to them by the racist white majority. While 51 percent of all Americans (39 percent of those age 18 to 29) believe that the United States has changed for the worse since the 1950s, that figure jumps to 74 percent among white evangelical Protestants according to a study from the Public Religion Research Institute.  Many white evangelical Protestants may believe that the days of rigid racism, intolerance, female subjugation, and widespread ignorance were a golden age, but the rest of us know that they were not.

Evangelical political hypocrisy is enhanced by prevarications by certain self-appointed Christian leaders. In an online video entitled “Why Evangelicals Should Vote for Donald Trump,” Reverend Mark Creech claims that “the American people’s confidence in [Hillary Clinton’s] is … the lowest of any candidate in U.S. history.” Really? Lower than the confidence in the integrity of George W. Bush and Richard Nixon, not the mention the obvious lack of integrity of Donald J. Trump, who has multiple fraud cases pending against him in court? Donald Trump is the guy who took ostensibly charitable contributions to his foundation and illegally used them to pay business expenses. The Clinton Foundation, on the other hand, is renowned to its worldwide charitable work.

This statement that Hillary Clinton is just as immoral as Donald Trump is simply untrue, but it has been repeated so often that many people believe it. Repeat a big enough lie often enough, and many of those with cognition problems will believe it.

Many evangelicals believe that Donald Trump will appoint Supreme Court justices who will support their views. There is no reason to believe this. Donald Trump has a history of making promises in order to obtain his ends and then breaking those promises once he no longer has use for his supporters. The business world is littered with people who made the mistake of trusting Donald Trump’s word.

Another lie that self-proclaimed Christian and conservative leaders push is that Hillary Clinton wants to do away with the Second Amendment. No matter how much she says that the only gun control she is interested in is making it more difficult for criminals and nut jobs to get guns, these “Christian” prevaricators repeat the lie so often that Hillary Clinton will repeal the Second Amendment that people of little political sophistication believe it. Anyone who understands our Constitution (and apparently few people do) knows that even if she wanted to repeal the Second Amendment, she would not have the power to do so.

I say to those Christian fundamentalist evangelicals who support Donald Trump, you can invent all sorts of phony reasons for supporting this lying maniac, and you can even convince yourself that your phony reasons are logical, but anyone who does not share your fanaticism will see you for what you are—unprincipled hypocrites.

Now, please do not think I am a big Hillary Clinton fan. I find her far too close to big Wall Street interests and far too insecure when it comes to owning up to her personal failings and weaknesses to the point of occasionally lying in an attempt to cover them up. I would prefer a more open and candid president. However, Donald Trump is so far beyond the pale, that he makes Hillary Clinton look good by comparison.

What about the third parties? Gary Johnson means well, but sometimes I doubt if he has the brains to find his way home at night. Jill Stein may be a decent person, but so little is known about her that electing her would be buying a pig in a poke.

Trump to Sue Accusers of Sexual Harassment

Donald Trump vowed to sue all of the women who have accused him of inappropriate sexual conduct. Suing people with little power is a common Trump tactic. He has loads of money to pay lawyers, and his defendants generally do not. The prospect of being sued and possibly running up tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees seem intended to send a warning to those of Donald Trump’s victims who have not yet come forward to stay silent or face enormous financial consequences.

The reason these women did not come forward earlier, and the reason many more women whom Trump has sexually assaulted have probably still not come forward, is that Donald Trump is a rich, powerful man who has demonstrated that he will do everything in his power to make the lives of his accusers miserable.

Some of the women who have come forward already have legal representation, and I hope that other attorneys will step forward to assist those women who otherwise would not be able to defend themselves in court. Their declarations are very brave, and they deserve our support.

In other developments, Donald Trump announced yesterday in Gettysburg, PA that he will clean up corruption in Congress by pushing for term limits and by increasing restrictions on lobbyists. Donald Trump may not understand that placing term limits on representatives and senators would require an amendment to the United States Constitution. Or, perhaps he does understand that but is so cynical that he is pushing the idea anyway, knowing that most of his supporters have no idea what is in the Constitution other than the belief that it gives them unlimited rights to walk around carrying loaded guns.

Donald Trump continued his accusations that the upcoming presidential election will be rigged. If he loses in many states, as seems probably, such an argument will be difficult to maintain. There is no central authority that governs elections in the United States, so there is no central place to rig elections. Electrons are run by local officials in thousands of counties, states, and municipalities across the nation. Coordinating election fraud across so many individual voting districts is all but impossible. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, polls show that approximately 70 percent of Republicans and some Democrats believe that the presidential election will be rigged.

Donald Trump has also charged that illegal immigrants will be bused to voting precincts to cast fraudulent ballots. Illegal immigrants are not registered to vote and would not be permitted to do so if they did show up. However, any illegal immigrant who tried to vote would have to be someone with mental problems. Most illegal immigrants lie low and try not to draw attention to themselves. Attempted vote fraud would result in a jail sentence followed by almost certain deportation. No sane person would risk that.

Of course, I am wasting virtual ink by writing this. If you are a Trump supporter, you are someone with no appreciation for facts and logic, and you are not going to pay attention to any evidence that the madman who heads the Republican ticket might be wrong.

Spanish Court Overturns Bullfight Ban

When I first visited Spain and even worked there one summer in the late 1960s during the Franco dictatorship, animal cruelty was de rigueur. Since the death of Franco, the introduction of democracy, and Spain’s joining the European Union, the Spanish attitude toward animals has changed drastically and is now as enlightened as that of any other modern country with one exception: Bullfighting is still tolerated. Across Spain, about 2,000 bullfights are performed a year in which bulls are slowly tortured to death to the delight of demented spectators.

Bullfighting is subsidized by the Spanish national government as well as by many regions and municipalities. This does not meet with the approval of most Spaniards. According to a national poll, 73 percent of Spaniards oppose the use of public funds to subsidize the “sport.” Without the subsidies, bullfighting in Spain would likely collapse, as attendance at bullfights is at an all-time low.

While the national government continues to subsidize this shameful form of animal torture, many local authorities have taken steps to eradicate it, sometimes only to be have those steps reversed by national authorities. The mayor of Madrid cancelled an annual municipal subsidy of the equivalent of $67,000 for the city’s bullfighting school, and the provinces of Catalonia and the Canary Islands as well as the Balearic Islands and several municipalities have banned bullfighting, only to have their bans challenged in court.

Spain’s constitutional court has overruled Catalonia’s bullfighting ban stating that such a decision can only be taken by the central government. This has angered many in Catalonia, a region that already chafes under central government control and is engaged in a political fight for independence from Spain. This ban can only strengthen Catalonia’s determination to free itself from the restrictions placed on the region by the national government in Madrid.

Most Spaniards believe that bullfighting should remain legal, even though the percentage of Spaniards who still attend them is far less than 10 percent. The attitude towards bullfighting differs according to age and educational attainment with most younger and better-educated Spaniards opposing it. Those who see this blood sport as an important part of Spanish tradition tend to be older and less educated.

I believe the European Union should step in. The European Union has standards for the ethical slaughter of animals used for food. Why, then, does it tolerate torturing animals to death as a spectator sport?

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John McCain Figuratively Gives the Finger to Democracy

In a radio interview yesterday (October 17), John McCain stated, “I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up. I promise you.” In other words, if the American people chose Hillary Clinton as president, McCain wants Republicans to make it as difficult as possible for her to govern. He has no respect for the will of the people.

I remember the days when John McCain was known as “the maverick.” He was willing to buck his party to do the right thing for American democracy. That changed at about the time McCain decided to run for president against Barack Obama.

I used to vote for McCain. I thought he was a level-headed senator. As the years passed, my opinion changed. I began to think that McCain was losing his grip and was no longer able to comprehend the complexities of American democracy. For example, it was painfully obvious during his presidential campaign that he was unable to understand how the economy functions.

What happened? Did John McCain lose his cognitive ability with age, or do I not understand that he was a dullard all along? I think it is the former. I firmly believe that McCain once showed respect for the democratic process, respect that he no longer possesses. He has become a highly partisan, self-serving warmonger.

John McCain is 80 years old. Many people are mentally sharp well into their 90s. John McCain is not one of them. It is past time for him to retire. I live in Arizona, and I will certainly vote against him.

John McCain is running for re-election to his Senate seat this year against Ann Kirkpatrick. McCain has a commanding lead in the polls and is expected to win. That is bad news for the United States, but then the Republican control of the House and Senate have been a disaster with or without McCain. I do not know if Ann Kirkpatrick would be a good senator or not, but I am certain that she would do a better job than our current, cognitively-impaired senior senator.

I hope that this election cycle we voters will send all self-serving politicians into retirement. John McCain is not the only problem. The Republicans in both the House and Senate have turned Congress into a cesspool. The only way the Republican Party might regain some respect for American democracy will be if they lose badly this election cycle. Then possibly the party will reorganize itself and dump politicians who are dead set on torpedoing American democracy. People like John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan need to be sent packing.

Sorry, Donald, Coal Ain’t Comin’ Back

One of Donald Trump’s promises to coal-producing states such as Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio, is that he will implement “clean coal” technology that will meet the energy need of the United States for the next 1,000 years. Sorry, Donald, that ain’t gonna’ happen.

First, there is no practical clean coal technology. It exists only on paper. Not only does practical clean coal technology not exist, it appears that it never will. If it were developed, it would be far more expensive than other, cleaner energy technologies.

I understand that there are many people in the coal-producing regions of the Appalachian Mountains who once had good-paying jobs that only required a high school education if that. Most of those jobs are gone, and there is nothing to replace them. When Donald Trump promises to bring those jobs back, I can understand why former coal miners want to believe him. They want to believe him, but they should not.

I grew up in coal country, and there were coal miners on both sides of my family. I am from South Fork, Pennsylvania, a small coal town tucked into a western valley of the Appalachian mountains. I grew up just outside South Fork in a hamlet informally named Flenner’s Grove and spent my teen years in the nearby industrial city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. My father, John Quinn, was a coal miner and railroad worker who died at the relatively young age of 62 as a result of silicosis and black lung disease contracted by breathing the air in the mines. His Camel cigarette habit added to his health problems.

I never met my paternal grandfather, Patrick Quinn, who left South Fork, his wife, and his children to run off to Washington State with another woman. He died in a Seattle hospital from injuries he suffered in a mine cave in before I was born. After he left his family, my father and my uncle Patrick were forced to quit school and become child laborers in a coal mine to support the family. My father had just finished sixth grade when he became a miner.

On my mother’s side of the family, my grandfather, John Wesley Roberts, was a coal miner in England. He and his oldest son, Ewart Roberts, come to the United States and worked in the coal mines near Johnstown to earn enough money to bring over the rest of the family including my mother. They were smart enough to get out of the mines and go to work for Bethlehem Steel, so they did not meet the same fate as my father.

When I was a kid, I believed that snow consisted of black and white layers, because the snow in Southwestern Pennsylvania was black and white. I realize now that after a snowstorm, a layer of black soot from the mining and burning of coal would settle on the snow. Subsequent snowfalls were in turn covered by the black soot so that cutting into a snowbank produced a cross-section that looked a bit like tree rings with alternating black and white layers. Freshly fallen snow was white. Snow that had been on the ground a few days was black.

I’m glad that coal mining is disappearing. Coal mining, along with Camel cigarettes, killed my father. Many male neighbors died young from mine accidents or lung disease from breathing the poisonous air in the mines. Even people who did not work in the mines inhaled soot with every breath, because the air was full of it. No one knows how many of them died prematurely from breathing the byproducts of the coal industry.

My maternal grandfather and uncles were not the only people to escape the mines. A famous escapee was Charles Dennis Buchinsky, who lived just blocks from my father when they were young and who worked in the mines with my father when they were men. At the outbreak of World War II, my father was too old to be drafted, but Charles Buchinsky went off to war and saw the world. When he returned to South Fork, he was no longer content to work the mines. He moved to New York and attended acting school. Later he starred in many Hollywood movies. Maybe you have seen him on the screen. His acting name was Charles Bronson. He was a lucky one who lived into his 80s, probably 20 years longer than he would have lived had he stayed in the mines. Many of his family members rest eternally next to my family members in Saint James Cemetery just outside of South Fork.

No one knows how many millions of people suffered an early death mining, transporting, and burning coal or by breathing coal’s airborne waste products, but coal has undoubtedly killed an enormous number of people. No, Donald, coal is not coming back, and that is a good thing. Even if there were a clean way to burn it, it would continue to kill the men and some women who mine it.

Coal is on its way out, and good riddance!

Donald Trump and the Modern Know Nothing Party

Political commentator Mark Shields likened the Republican Party to the Know Nothings on yesterday’s PBS News Hour. I had completely forgotten about the Know Nothings, but now that I am reminded, I do find a striking resemblance between the Know Nothing Party of the 1850 and today’s Trump supporters.

The Know Nothing movement was popular name for the Native American Party, renamed the American Party in 1855. The so-called Native Americans were not real Native Americans, of course. They were descendants of Protestant European immigrants who felt they had the exclusive right to live in the United States.

The Know Nothings were a response to immigration by German and Irish Catholics, whom they viewed as a corrupting influence, hostile to “Republican values.” They claimed that many Irish and German who were not American citizens were illegally voting and influencing who got elected to office. There was no proof that their accusations were true. Does that sound familiar?

Replace “German” and “Irish” with “Mexican” and “Catholic” with “Moslem,” and the Know-Nothing movement sounds an awful lot like the movement that backs Donald Trump for president today.

The Know Nothing movement formally died out after its members split over slavery. The anti-slavery Know Nothings joined the Republican Party, where their descendents maintain a strong influence today. The pro-slavery faction remained strong, especially in the South and morphed into the American Protective Association in the 1890s and the Klu Klux Klan, which is still active today and supports the Donald Trump candidacy.

Modern Trump supporters share the Know Nothings’ desire to go back to what they perceive as a better time when white males ran the country, and immigrants knew their place. Such a time never existed, of course, but Trump’s Know Nothings are not influenced by facts. The Know Nothings of the 1850s were unable to elect their candidate to the presidency. I hope that the Know Nothings of 2016 are unable to elect theirs, as well.

Changing the subject, if you have time, check out two of the books I have written, Running for President and A Senior Citizen Walks the Camino of Santiago by clicking on the books’ cover images in this blog’s left sidebar.

Can Putin Choose Who is Our Next President?

Can Russia’s Vladimir Putin determine who wins the presidential election in the United States? The truth is, no one in the US government can answer that question. We know that Russian hackers, almost certainly working for the Kremlin, have not only hacked into computer systems belonging to the Democratic Party, they have also hacked into the election system in several states. How many states’ election systems have been breached, and does the Russian government have the ability to change the election results in those states? No one in the United States can give a definite answer to that question.

 Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that if he loses the election, it will due to widespread fraud. The opposite may be true. If Donald Trump wins the election, it may be because his buddy Vladimir Putin has ordered his hackers to make sure that the election results appear to favor Donald Trump.

You may have noticed that emails that are harmful to Hillary Clinton continue to be released by sites like WikiLeaks. The United States government says that the emails were obtained by hackers under Russian government control. There are no claims of hackers having made similar break-ins to Republican Party computers.

The Russians have also attempted to hack into voter records in several states including the State of Arizona where I live. Apparently the Russians were able to obtain voter registration information from several of those states My voter information and perhaps yours probably reside on a hard drive in Moscow. That is frightening enough, but the real danger lies in a Russian hack into our election systems during and after voting to change the result. Putin and the Russian media have made no secret of their desire to see Donald Trump elected president. In some states, changing a few percent of the votes from Clinton to Trump would be enough to make Donald Trump appear to have won the election.

The worries about the security of our elections extends well beyond the present Russian attempt to undermine it. If the Russian government can hack into and perhaps influence the United States elections this year, during the next presidential election in four years, many countries may have that ability. Having Vladimir Putin decide who will be the next president of the United States is alarming enough. It is even more frightening to contemplate North Korea and China with that ability.

Why do One-Third of Voters Still Back Trump?

According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted over the weekend, about one-third of voters still intend to cast their ballots for Donald Trump. Asked who they would vote for if minor party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were not in the race, Donald Trump’s approval notches up from 35 percent to 38 percent. How is it possible after all of the revelations about Donald Trump, that started at the beginning of his primary campaign and have continued through today, that so many people still want Donald Trump as their president?

It should have been obvious right from the day that Donald Trump announced that he would run for president that he is mentally and emotionally unable to perform the tasks required of the president of the United States. The man’s sanity is in question, although even if he were sane, there would still be strong reasons why he should not be president.

 Unlike in Donald Trump’s businesses where he is the sole boss, in a democratic system, the executive cannot simply give orders and expect to have them obeyed. The president of the United States must work with Congress to get laws passed. Donald Trump claims that he will order things to be done, and they will happen (the wall on the Mexican border). They won’t.

Another reason that he is incapable of being president is that Donald Trump does not listen to other people. He has shown that over and over by not listening to his campaign advisers. A president must be able to negotiate with Congress, foreign leaders, and international bodies such as the United Nations. Donald Trump has shown repeatedly that he cannot negotiate in a calm manner. When someone does not share his views, he belittles the person, piling on insult after insult.

Donald Trump has no political experience. Would you allow someone with no medical experience to take your appendix out? Why would you allow someone who has no idea how politics work be president of the United States? I believe anyone running for president should prove himself or herself by first serving in some other high political office as senator, governor of a state, or a member of cabinet. Donald Trump has never served on a school board. He has close to zero knowledge of foreign policy (although apparently more than Gary Johnson), and with his grating personality, he would be incapable of negotiating with foreign governments. Hillary Clinton said, “A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his hands anywhere near the nuclear codes.” Such an insecure man should also not have his hands anywhere near United States foreign policy.

All of this should have been obvious before the revelations of the past week about Donald Trump’s frat-boy attitude toward women. It was apparent to anyone who was paying attention that Donald Trump has no morals, no analytical skills, and no respect for other human beings, male or female. However, until this week, it apparently was not obvious to about 40 percent of voters, and even after the revelations, it is apparently not obvious to more than 30 percent of them.

Donald Trump has a habit of suing anyone who disagrees with him. If he becomes aware of this blog posting, I suppose that I shall be sued. The same would happen if he would read my novel, Running for President, whose protagonist is a Trump-like character. However, Donald Trump does not have the patience to read books. Maybe his attention span is even too short to read a blog post. If he does decide to sue, all I can say is, “Bring it on, Donald!”

Seniors Should be Frightened of Paul Ryan and Trump

Senior citizens and any American who plans to live long enough to retire should be very frightened at the prospect of a Trump presidency. The problem is not Trump itself; it is House speaker Paul Ryan. It the Republicans win the presidency and retain control of both the House and Senate, there will be no one to stop Ryan’s plan to eliminate Medicare and replacing it with vouchers and private health insurance exchanges much like the exchanges that are presently part of the Affordable Care Act, popularly know as Obamacare.

The health insurance exchanges are not working very well with Obamacare, and House speaker Paul Ryan has rightly criticized them. If fact, he wants to scupper Obamacare altogether including the dysfunctional health insurance exchanges. Yet, knowing that the exchanges do not work, he wants to implement them as a replacement for Medicare. In order to do that, he will need a Republican president who will not veto his plan and a Republican majority in both the House and Senate to get his bill passed. The plan would reduce the federal budget by supplying lousy health care to senior citizens.

What would Speaker Ryan do with the money saved by gutting Medicare. His plan is to give big tax breaks to the very rich, a plan that Donald Trump also supports. We are already living with government policies that transfer wealth from ordinary Americans to the super rich. If Speaker Ryan and Donald Trump get their way, the wealth transfer will accelerate.

Medicare obviously needs reform. As it is presently constituted, it is underfunded. However, there is a big difference between reforming Medicare and scrapping it altogether.

What can Americans do to prevent this travesty? Vote! Anyone who has any affection for the United States cannot possibly vote for Donald Trump for a long list of reasons including the preservation of Medicare. However, the presidency is not the only important office to be decided to protect Medicare. Americans who want to have adequate medical care in their retirement years should also consider for whom they vote for the House of Representatives and the Senate. Have the candidates that you plan to vote for promised not to scrap Medicare? If not, perhaps you should rethink your vote. Most Republican candidates can be expected to go along with Ryan’s plan. Most Democrats can be expected to oppose it.

Before I go, if you think my writing is worth reading, you may be interested in one of the books I have written. Two of them are featured in the left sidebar of this blog. Click on a cover image for more information on the Amazon website.

European Parliamentarian Hospitalized after Brawl with Colleague

Sixty-two-year-old British European Parliament member Steven Woolfe was hospitalized following a fistfight with his party colleague Mike Hookem. Both represent the United Kingdom Independence Party in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. According to press reports, Mike Hookem accuses Steven Woolfe of wanting to betray his party by joining the conservatives. Woolfe is reported to have responded by pulling off his jacket and challenging Hookem to a fight. During the fight, Woolfe is said to have suffered a head injury. Hours after the fight, he collapsed and was taken to a hospital.

According to hospital reports, there is no blood clot in Mr. Woolfe’s brain, but he reports feeling minor numbness on the left side of his face. He is being kept in the hospital overnight for observation.

Steven Woolfe is campaigning for the leadership of the UK Independence Party, the party that was instrumental in persuading the majority of British voters to favor leaving the European Union. Nigel Farage announced that he would step in as the interim party leader until a replacement for Diane Jame can be chosen. Ms. James replaced Mr. Farage as party leader, but she stepped down after only 18 days in office for “personal reasons.”

So far, to the best of my knowledge, we have had no fistfights in the US House of Representatives, but with the hard feelings in that chamber, it may just be a matter of time.