If you are a conservative Christian who hates both the LBGT community and Islam, whose side do you take in Orlando?

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Conservative Christians find themselves in a cognitive quandary following the massacre at The Pulse nightclub in Orlando.  “How do I feel about someone who follows a religion I hate carrying out actions my God deems acceptable?”  And yes, both literal interpretations of Christianity and Islam would condone and encourage such murders.

Conservative Christians hate Islam and have no qualms in saying so.  Donald Trump, the orange siren of their current political movement, has garnered epic levels of praise for his stance on the subject.  Islam holds up an unflattering mirror to conservative Christian faces by its shared texts, codes of conduct and antique bronze age laws.  Islam is seen as a false and perverse religion because, “My God said so.” and visa versa.

It infuriates me when either cites their own religion’s texts or a personal faith as providing validity to their, “one true way”.  Where’s the endgame when there is zero evidence to bolster competing philosophies?  Answer: There isn’t one.  Truly frightening is the level of access these ignorants have to technological means of weaponry they did not earn, but rather paid others to develop, namely nuclear. The two true endgame options are, the deletion of our species by our own hand or advancement through logic, leading us into a future as a space faring species who spreads their sentient nature across the galaxy.  There is no in-between.

If your religion or philosophy encourages you to harm others who are not like you through implementing laws to restrict rights or outright violence, it is obviously weak and flawed as it cannot repel the simplest of challenges, which is to exist in a reality where the mere disagreeance of others is an imposition that must be squelched.  Do us a a favor, please drop off your ignorance where it belongs, history.

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Dear little rapist.

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Dear Little Rapist,

Don’t worry Brock, you’re safe now, hidden behind the high gates of your father’s money, a member of an insular community that praises your transgressions with a wink and a pat on the back.  In private, Daddy and the guys call your victim a, “slut” and a”whore” or whatever unclever epithets they can hobble together.  Certainly, they blame her for your recent distress.

That same father, Dan Turner, whose livelihood revolves around creating weapons of mass destruction (military contractor) and palling around with Senators, writes to the judge, that you Brock, are “totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity.”

To me, it seems like cheap, off-the-mark pandering.  It’s not the judge he’s appealing to but the public, for whom the letter automatically becomes a civil record.  Daddy Dan doesn’t need to kiss Judge Aaron Persky’s ass, as he’s one of you, a former lacrosse player for, and alumni of, Stanford.  Your father would like that we see alcohol as the catalyst causing your behavior and that you were somehow under the voodoo powers of, “promiscuity”.  The purpose of the selected vocabulary is to implant the subliminal idea that this devil word could act as an autonomous force, thrusting itself upon the unsuspecting, making good boys like you mad with unquenchable lust.  Promiscuity is a mean-spirited and inherently judgmental word that serves the secondary purpose of calling into question your rape victim’s character.

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I don’t write this as an outsider, wanting to punish you for the luck of your birth and the opportunities it has afforded you.  I too, am the product of a private secondary school and a four year stint at a prestigious university.  During my time there, I to went to parties where goers found themselves similarly, crawling-on-all-fours drunk.  However, never once did I decide, “This evening would be an appropriate time for rape.”  I’m certainly not patting myself on the back by stating that I’ve never raped someone.  Not doing so should be a part of your default programming, the same kind that tells a person to breath or eat and should still function when you’re hammered.

You, little rapist, are just as capable of blacking-out drunk. What if on January 17th, 2015, Brock were the one who lost consciousness, only to wake up pinned face down behind a dumpster, with a man inside of you and there was nothing you could do to stop it, except pray for him to be a two-pump-chump and not a marathoner?  Later, a nurse would administer a rape kit. They’ll collect the cum that’s bloodily oozing from your anus and say that they’ll have it analyzed but never do because of, “budget cuts”.  Would six months in county lock up seem sufficient for your rapist, especially if you knew he would spend three years of probation coddled by a doting mother and permissive father, surrounded by comfortable opulence and affluence?  No, you’d want to see his ass rot in prison for the maximum, life if you could.  Perhaps you’d find some schadenfreude in the idea that while there, he too, would experience rape.  Why then shouldn’t your victim feel these same emotions or expect a different outcome?  What’s that?, “”It’s worse because that’s, “gay stuff”.””  But you see, rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power gained through violence and getting what you want no matter the pleas to stop.  Dear ole’ Dad made it clear in his letter that, “He (Brock) has no prior criminal history and has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of January 17th, 2015.”  Despite the weakness of your father’s prose and exposition, he certainly knows violence, as it’s what he creates for a living.  I doubt this is wobbly-minded cognitive dissonance.  Instead, to him the metrics of what constitutes violence are clearly skewed by the victim’s finances, social affiliations and gender, rather than universal objectivity.

The thing is Brock, if the time ever comes where you’re the victim, you don’t get to select a rapist, he chooses you.

In Sincere disgust,

Robert Creekmore

 

 

The, “War” on police

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A hate crime, as originally intended, is understood to be a purposeful, detrimental act toward an individual based on immutable states of being, like race or disability.  However, last week the state of Louisiana felt it necessary to codify into law, that being a police officer is among such static traits, even though officers may retire, get fired or quit, thus becoming non-police.  No other category of hate crime protection has this fluidity.  Lack of fluidity, and the bias toward it, was the point of hate crime legislation in the first place. The murder of a police officer in Louisiana is often accompanied by capital punishment. What worse consequence could there be?  So, what gives with this illogical and literal judicial overkill?

I was a special education teacher (Autism Specialist/Severe Profound) for twelve years and have had plenty of contact with wonderful SRO’s.  On the flip-side, I have also had the occasion once, to stand between an officer and a teenager who had autism for the protection of the student.  That probably wasn’t a smart thing to do, but being a school teacher provides one with a bit more deference.  I was able to calm the situation without physical violence, which is what this particularly arrogant officer was raring to impart upon my student.  I know this because it wouldn’t have been his first joyful slamming of a student (not mine), face-first, into the ground.  Regardless of this experience, I’ll go on the record and state I believe that most police officers are simply doing their best when acting as individuals.

The key word in that last sentence is, “individuals.”  Anyone familiar with the Stanford Prison Experiment understands the effects unfettered authoritarianism can have on small, tight-nit units when faced with, what they perceive to be the enemy.  Unfortunately, those “enemies” in question aren’t the soldiers of a fascist dictator on a far away battlefield, they are the very citizens whose lives they’re constitutionally obligated to protect.  But instead, a half-century of drug war has hardened the resolve of the most affected communities, who now see law enforcement as an invading force.  Sadly, in these same enclaves reside those who need addiction assistance the most but instead, on average, receive harsher punishments for the crime of harming their own bodies.  To me, addiction in itself, is certainly penalty enough.

Drug cartels and drug companies have become almost indistinguishable, as they sell the same products, all the while, seeking a greater profit margin.  Therein lies the absurdity of mixing capitalism with medical care.  Investors put in the capital and want a return, who cares how.  I have no doubt, if pharmaceutical CEO’s were allowed, some would act in the same manner as their cartel cousins.  Why not off your competitors?  There’s no competing based on product quality, just access to customers. That’s why drug lords call it, “territory” and drug reps call it a, “sales territory”.

To paraphrase the, cops-are-always-right crowd, “They, could never understand the risks officers face, or the worry that they won’t come home at the end of their shift.  Any day now, some, “thug”(see also; “nigger”, in modern, latent racist speak) is going to kill my husband/father, etc.”  Only, that’s statistically so far fetched it borders on a macabre’ fantasy.  In 2015, 128 officers died in the line of duty in the United States.  However, less than half of those deaths were murder.  Many were accidental.  Out of those deaths, 3 officers were killed by assault, 6 by a bomb, 39 by gunfire and 8 by vehicular homicide, for a total of 56 cop murders.  In 2016, thus far, there have been 39 US police officers killed in the line of duty.  However, only 23 of those deaths were murder.  Those include, 19 deaths by gunfire and 4 vehicular homicides.  The previous years were not much different and the trend of police murders has dropped precipitously throughout the end of the twentieth, into the beginning of the twenty-first century.  I don’t deny that there are some hellbent on murdering and assaulting officers, and they should be rightfully punished.  However, by definition, there is absolutely no concerted, “war on police”.  If there were a full scale war, in a country with enough firearms for every citizen to have one, there would be multitudes more casualties.  Distressingly, it is nearly impossible to ascertain a discrete total number of citizens killed by the police, as many, but not all, individual departments are not so forthcoming with the data. From what I can gather, it was around 1,100 in 2015.

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The graph above represents the total number of officer deaths in the United States from the 1870’s to today.  Of course, our ridiculous attempts at curbing substance use has cost many a life, both officer and civilian, but that’s inherently axiomatic and not what I find telling.  Our country’s line of duty deaths have begun to approach those of the 1880’s. That in itself is wonderful, but it’s even more amazing if you consider that there were only 50 million citizens in the United States during the 1880’s, compared to the 320 million of today.  That means there are less murders per capita of police now than in 1880. Currently, there are between 700,000 to 1.2 million police in the US, depending on what you consider an officer of the law.  Let’s take the more conservative estimate of 700,000, that includes only local and state police.  Out of those 700,000, only 56 were murdered in 2015, meaning that any beat cop last year had a mere .00008% chance of being purposefully killed. Where then is the war?

The war on cops is simply a cover for the frustration with the ubiquity of cameras.  For generations, police became accustomed to acting with almost complete impunity, their statements seemingly always commensurated by other officers.  Those who don’t back up their brothers in blue, oft find themselves the target of ridicule, harassment, assault, demotion and termination, even if they’re doing the right thing in exposing dirty cops. Cameras in the hands of the public means the thin blue line doesn’t have to be crossed as evidence is blatant for all to view millions of times a day.  As politically middle-of-the-road, suburban whites become more aware of the biases police present toward those of color or poverty, the outrage grows.  The same thing happened during the Vietnam War and civil rights movement of the 1960’s as news cameras became mobile.  When citizens want answers and those in charge simply want compliance something is bound to give.  I hope what gives is a path to a more egalitarian means of policing, with the drug war and racial profiling a distant memory.  I honestly doubt it.

* My stats, as well as those used to generate the graph, come from the very pro-police, Officer Down Memorial Page.  

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“Keep our state straight.”-Buck Newton, recycling Jesse Helm’s fear

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I have the dubious pleasure of hailing from the same community as Republican candidate for North Carolina Attorney General, Buck Newton.  In a now notorious speech, Mr. Newton suggested that we, “keep our state straight”.  Prior to those closing words he states,

“We all have sympathy for those who are having a difficult time because we all know folks who’ve had a difficult time.  Whether folks are struggling with drugs, struggling with their marriages, figuring what they’re supposed to be doing in life.  We can all have sympathy for that but that does not mean we should expose our wives, our sisters and our children to the sexual predators in the bathrooms.”

 

I find the comparison between drug addiction and being born transgender supremely misinformed. Mirroring the removal of homosexuality from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders) in 1973, transgenderism was removed as a disorder in the recent fifth edition.  Instead, today it is referred to as Gender Identity Dysphoria, which essentially states that one’s gender does not align with their biological sex.

What many, who insist on thinking in a polar manner about gender and sex do not realize is, in addition to Gender Identity Dysphoria, 1.7% of humans are born intersexed, i.e., born with a variation of both male and female anatomy.  Even today, due to our generalized discomfort with ambiguity of all types, intersexed infants quickly have their sex arbitrarily chosen by physicians and parents prior to irreversible surgical alteration of their genitalia. While 1.7% is a small number, persons with Aspergers, like myself, make up a scant 0.71% of the population.  At a full percentage point lower, those born with Aspergers are still looked upon with less shame than those born intersexed, even though, unlike Aspergers, there is immediate physical evidence.

Combine the bias against those with overt physical symptoms with widespread rejection of overwhelming data suggesting being born transgender is simply an inevitable variance in the expression of human genetics and you get the mess we find ourselves in today. Drug abuse is an illness as well and should be treated as such.  However, a person can make an effort to curb and treat their symptoms, as drug abuse is unnecessary for continued life.  In contrast, gender is an essential part of the human experience.

At the end of his speech, Buck made his now infamous statement, “keep our state straight.”  What surprises me is that no one has made the connection between this statement and Buck’s first foray into politics, as an aide to NC Senator Jesse Helms in the early 1980’s.  Mr. Helms was an unabashed segregationist and all around awful human being.  I mention this because the play Buck Newton is mounting is a repackaged oldie.  In 1950, Mr. Helms stated during a speech,

“White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races.”

Buck has done nothing more than change the sexual boogeyman man from, “Negroes” to the transgender community.  While you weren’t looking, the true intent of HB2 has gone unnoticed. It removes the ability of individual communities from extending employment protections to the LGBT community.  Even though gay people now have the right to marry, simply publishing marriage announcements or sharing photos of a honeymoon could result in economic destitution.  Essentially, it’s a move to keep those still in the closet, firmly in place.  In addition, the law prevents local governments from raising their minimum wage.  With this, the economic elite get the continued benefit of generalized ignorance because if you’re working eighty hours a week to afford a studio apartment in Charlotte or Raleigh you won’t have the time to invest in educating yourself about, or opposing, the very laws that keep you in your economic station.

Truthfully, transgendered individuals have been using the bathroom next to our female family members for decades, you just didn’t realize it as many pass, combined with the fact that females use individual stalls. With all the hemming and hawing about the presumed weakness of females, the truth of restroom sexual assault has been ignored. Boys are the ones who are most often violated in public restrooms by men. Those men are already in there with your sons but not a peep has been made about keeping them apart. HB2, which is practically unenforceable, does not reduce the risk of sexual assault or physical violence, in fact, it increases it.  How?; by the diversion of attention from the risk posed to boys and the encouragement of vigilantism against individuals presenting as female who are now forced to relieve themselves in an incongruent facility.

Buck, I would have assumed that politicians in the south would have learned a lesson or two about bathroom policing during the civil right era, but alas, I was overly generous when it comes to you and your bases’ capacity for historical awareness.  Move over George Wallace, you’re getting company.

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The Original Motto Project

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A few days ago I had the opportunity to interview someone I have a lot of respect for, concerning an initiative I wholeheartedly support, Robert Ray of The Original Motto Project. The Original Motto Project is a movement to restore the motto our founding fathers penned in 1782, “E Pluribus Unum” (Out of Many One), from the divisive, 1956 McCarthy era version, “In God We Trust”. Let’s face it, “Out of Many One”, better describes our republic and does not exclude citizens of differing faiths or those with none whatsoever. Please take a moment to listen to the podcast and help us get back to our enlightenment roots.

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Webpage www.Originalmotto.us

 

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Nazis in Wolves Clothing, Part 1

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As a student of psychology, it has become a hobby of mine to read up on obscure hate groups and serial killers.  Both offer a glimpse into very polar, yet, equally abnormal personality types.  The serial killer, almost exclusively seeks his prey alone, while organized hate groups take advantage of marginalized youth.  A serial killer’s directive, will power and restraint come from within.  A hate group’s power relies on compliance and an illusion of power in the hands of the otherwise powerless.  The stereotype of most white supremacists is that they are none-to-bright.  Not many in possession of an I.Q. containing three digits would purposefully seek out an organization with such flawed logic.  However, creating and maintaining a hierarchy over long periods of time, planning and recruiting require intellect and insight, that if paired with the right predilections, can be the spark that ignites a movement.  Contemporary groups tend to have one or two clever demagogues, who initially rely on a soft form of bigotry, sweetened with the lure of ancient avant-garde religious practices, misogynistic men’s rights ideologies and a brotherhood most could not find in the wider world.  The Wolves of Vinland are one such group.

On the face of it, The Wolves, seem like a silly group of men who have watched Fight Club one too many times.  There’s a lot of disappointing irony in that assumption.  We’ll get to that in part 2.  Their collective, which The Southern Poverty Law Center, considers a hate group has tentacles in Virginia, Wyoming, Indiana and Colorado of all places.  From what I can gather, their Lynchburg, VA chapter seems to be the spearhead.  The Wolves of Vinland appear to be unincorporated, woven loosely together by similar ideas and rituals. However, nothing could be further from the truth. This image is a ruse, much like the the Neo-Odinism the group uses as a thin veil to hide their true nature.  They were, “founded”, so to speak, by two brothers, Paul and Matthias Waggener, sometime in the early 2000’s.  From what I can ascertain their activities began benignly enough as an occasional boy’s retreat in the surrounding National Forrests of Virginia.

The open boil that fully exposed the nature of The Wolves goes by the nickname Hjalti but his real name is Maurice Thompson Michaely of Haymarket, VA.  According to this (pg. 2) January 23, 2013 ATF news release Michaely was charged with the arson of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.  Mount Pleasant is a predominantly African American church whose building was erected in 1877.  The ATF, left the “p” out of Michaely’s middle name.  It’s the federal government, are you surprised?  Here’s a corroborating news article where the name is correctly spelled.  Below is the court information directly from Prince William County. That too, contains misspellings, though his name is spelled correctly four out of six times in this instance.

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Mugshot anyone?

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Obviously, Paul Waggener, The Wolves co-founder, was none to pleased with his fellow Nazi’s incarceration.

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Here’s Paul giving a through the glass, man pound to “Hjalti” .

After 2 1/2 years on the inside, thanks to a plea deal, Maurice Thompson Michaely was freed and is seen here in a September 27th, 2015  Ulfheim Facebook  post, assisting in the erection of The Wolves’s new hall.

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Paradoxically, their Facebook page lists the group as a Religious Organization.  Ironically, their current cover image is of a structure burning to the ground.

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(Ulfheim means, “wolf home” in Norse.)

 

In Michaely, we have an individual who burned down one communities’ church only to go on to build his own upon release.  It is apparent that Michaely acted as a proxy for The Wolves of Vinland and it’s remarkable the entire organization has not been prosecuted under the RICO act.  Tellingly, the Wolves’ new hall was almost entirely funded by Counter Currents, a white supremacist publishing outfit.  Their two newest titles, as of the writing of this piece, are Truth, Justice & a Nice White Country and The Color of Crime.  The cost of the new hall?  $3,000.  In my opinion, that money should go right into the pockets of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.  In fact, if Mt. Pleasant wanted, they might, through civil action, have a chance of stripping the group of the entirety of its holdings, like Beulah Mae Donald did to the United Klans in 1987 following the 1981 lynching of her nineteen year old son.

 

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North Carolina’s Governor touts surplus to deflect criticism over anti-LGBT bill

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Five days after signing the right to discriminate against the LGBT community into law via HB2, North Carolina Governor, Pat McCrory, deflected outcry from the business community by promising a one percent reduction in corporate income tax, to be established retroactively from January first, 2016 onward.  According to the governor’s website, the 2013 tax reform plan allows for this due to a $445 million dollar surplus for the 2016 fiscal year.  The resulting tax rate would sit at four percent, making it the lowest in the U.S.

Sadly, most of this surplus was bolstered on the backs of the state’s public school teachers.  While his cabinet has made a very public attempt to recruit new teachers by raising a first year teacher’s salary to thirty-five thousand dollars, up from a scant thirty thousand,  McCrory has done little to retain veteran teachers.   What his administration won’t publicly announce is that a new teacher will receive that same rate of pay, according to the state’s salary schedule, for the next four years.  Subsequent raises come at an average of every four years, some at five.  While you’re waiting half a decade for a pay raise, perhaps pursuing a M.A. Ed. to make yourself more valuable to the school system would help offset the rising cost of consumer goods?  Nope.  The only reward a M.A Ed. will garner you, as a teacher in North Carolina, is student loan debt, which you’ll have to pay with an already stagnant salary.  That’s right, in 2013 McCrory’s administration made the insulting play to remove the pay bump teachers receive for advanced degrees.

According to WalletHub.com, North Carolina is ranked next to last, as the worst state in which to teach, right above West Virginia.  The disconnect between the state’s K-12 system and the rigors of the UNC system are unfathomable.  How can a state with such poorly funded public schools expect to fill its colleges?  Even when qualified students make it into the UNC system, what incentive would there be to nudge a freshman toward a career in education, especially if the student is LGBT?  Not only can a newly minted teacher expect little pay, she can expect to be subjected to draconian laws that could have her dismissed simply for marrying someone of the same sex.

Corporations tempted by a four percent tax burden need to consider the consequences of doing business with the likes of McCrory.  That rate won’t matter if the income of a company plummets, as a result of an ongoing nationwide backlash against the bigoted agenda of North Carolina’s Republican party.

Featured image courtesy of YouTube.com

What if Bernie loses?

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The 2000 election was my first foray into the national political process.  I was a junior at NCSU and an adamant supporter of Ralph Nader.  The election, at the time, seemed frivolous to me, as the nineties were a far more comfortable era economically and militarily.  Bill Clinton ended his term in office with a federal surplus in the billions mostly garnered, and rightfully so, by shifting the tax burden to the wealthy.

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http://www.factcheck.org/2008/02/the-budget-and-deficit-under-clinton

So, what did smartypants do?  Instead of voting for Gore I opted to write in a, “protest vote” for Nader. Even though North Carolina overwhelmingly went to Bush, I can’t help but feel as though my mistake makes me a nano-bit responsible for the ensuing horrors of the G.W. Bush’s administration.  In my defense, at this time there was no global war on terror.  The only people in the west who even knew of Osama Bin Laden or Al Qaeda were political wonks and most of today’s ISIS fighters were in diapers. Many of the conservatives who cast votes for Bush in 2000 are now buried as a result of old age and good riddance to them.  Many of that generation were the same who sent young men to die in Vietnam, beat civil rights protesters, took part in lynchings and supported the Klan’s less than covert actions in my, and surrounding states.

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It’s 2016 and I have a new Ralph Nader in Bernie Sanders.  Unbelievably, to my younger self, Bernie has a honest chance of taking the election, thereby justly anointing an ardent peace and civil rights activist to our highest office.  By now, most of us have seen the images of him marching behind MLK and being arrested during a civil rights protest, to the chagrin of a suit wearing, cigar smoking supporter of Jim Crow.

What happens and how do we respond if our dreams are yet again dashed and the best person for the office is denied a chance to challenge the GOP candidate in the national election?  Shall we not vote or make the same idealistic and foolish mistake I did in 2000? Hell no.  Clinton, like Bush, is responsible for the errant war in Iraq as well as anti-gay laws passed in the 1990’s.  It wasn’t until the dissidents against such ignorance became the majority did she switch.  Clinton is a consummate politician, changing as the tide turns, whereas Sanders has been dependable in his support of a pluralistic society from his first day in the Mayor’s office of Burlington, Vermont in 1980.

In this hypothetical future we find ourselves with Hillary Clinton vs. Trump or Cruz.  You have to remember who these men are.  Trump is basically running as Oligarch in Chief while Cruz is running for Rapturville ring leader.  Clinton, being the politician she is, will do what she’s always done, support the majority will, which today means expanding civil rights for LGBT citizens and treading cautiously into war.  Trump nor Cruz have any reason to do the same.  When you sit at home instead of casting a vote for Clinton you arm either one of these men with the, “political capital” W. used to flush our economy and the lives of thousands of soldiers down the toilet.

Billy Bragg, released a song called Help Save the Youth of America, which was covered, in 1998, by one of my all time favorite bands, Discount. One of the lines reminds me of Trump’s lack of motivation for peace.  It goes, “War, what is it good for?  It’s good for business.”

Cruz, of course, is a true believer who has no concern for the environment or peace because, like many Evangelicals, he is anti-science and believes that we live in end times. This line of thinking leads one to be less than caring for our environment, since Jesus is coming down to sweep them all up any minute now.  To hasten their glorious ride into the sky, Cruz, like ISIS, would love nothing more than a face to face war.  ISIS, ironically, holds many of the same Armageddon lusting ideals as American Conservative Christians.  They just worship different wings of the big three Abrahamic religions.

If it comes down to it, on November, 8 2016, I’m going with plan B.  Sadly, Trump nor Cruz’s mothers had access to the contraception that goes by the same moniker and it’s possible that neither will any of us if we go down their path.

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Read Afiri for free by clicking here, or if you’re foolhardy enough to waste money on an unknown novelist, there are paperback and kindle versions available for $8.90 and $0.99 respectively.  Click here to visit Afiri’s Amazon page.  The paperback has a neat-o satin feel to it.  I don’t know why, but I feel like that’s a selling point.