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So Sanders got kicked out of a restaurant? Good

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If I were gay and working in that Virginia restaurant, the Red Hen, when Sarah Huckabee Sanders came in to eat, I would have insisted to the owner that he throw her out.

In fact, if I were straight, I would have so insisted.

And that’s precisely what the owner did on Friday night: ask Sanders to remove her sorry ass from the premises–which prompted a whiney tweet from POTUS’s press secretary:

Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so

Three words for Sanders: Too frigging bad. You weren’t welcome in the Red Hen because you’re a vile person, and the only way to deal with haters like you is the old-fashioned way of shunning. We have to make people like you so uncomfortable, you’ll think twice about espousing your hatred in public.

What hatred, you ask? This hatred: When the conservative, Vatican-aligned Catholic Justices on the Supreme Court made the horrible decision to allow that homophobic baker in Colorado to refuse service to gays, Sanders said she thought it was a great idea. Here’s the reporting from The Advocate of the press briefing where Sanders was asked about the SCOTUS decision: “The president certainly supports religious liberty and that’s something he talked about during the campaign and has upheld since taking office,” Sanders replied.

When pressed on whether that included support for signs that deny service to gay people, Sanders responded, “I believe that would include that.”

And when Dick Cheney’s Lesbian daughter, Liz, was running for the U.S. Senate, Sanders “beat up on” her “for being insufficiently anti-gay,” the Arkansas Times reported.

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree in the Huckabee household. Her father is the fundamentalist charlatan, Mike Huckabee, one of the most vicious homophobes in American public life. His record of anti-gay rhetoric is unmatched: He supported that awful Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, who refused to fulfill her responsibilities as a public official to grant a marriage license to a gay couple. He vowed to push for a Constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2015 allowance of gay marriage.

Mike Huckabee, in other words, is exactly what America doesn’t need, and so is his daughter, who has lied repeatedly, blatantly and with evident pleasure in defending another homophobe, who happens to be her boss, Donald Trump.

She and her fellow evangelicals trot around the country bashing gay people, telling “Christians” there’s nothing wrong withhating and fearing gay people, that queers are going to burn in hell because God hates them, and that taking away the rights of gay Americans is a Christian patriotic duty. And then Sarah walks into a restaurant apparently staffed with gay people and expects them to give her a standing “O” and a free dessert?

I don’t think so.

It’s about time these self-righteous bigots got a taste of their own medicine. They’re the ones who instituted homophobia as a civic virtue, who utter their hatred of gays with pride and not a shred of guilt, who insist on passing law after law after law criminalizing the private behavior of up to ten percent of the American public and try to enact anti-gay behavior into the law. They’re the ones who run on gay-bashing platforms that appeal to small-minded, under-educated “Christians” who would vote for anything they’re told Jesus would approve (and who tells them these tales? Pedophile priests, closeted pastors and ministers who frequent prostitutes). These people are a deplorable basket of psychological horrors. They don’t believe in our fundamental values of inclusivity and compassion. And Sarah Huckabee Sanders by virtue of her position has become one of their de facto leaders.

So they don’t want her in the Red Hen? Good. I hope that every restaurant Sanders tries to eat at kicks her out, so that the only place she has left is Chick-fil-A, the homophobic fast food chain whose greasy chicken nuggets—so unhealthy—will make her weight problem even worse.

Look, Sanders, when you say “I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully,” that’s like Hitler saying he treated Jews “respectfully” even as he sent them to the gas chambers. We don’t want your damned “respect.” We don’t need your permission to do anything. We insist you stop your vicious, anti-gay insults as long as you’re in public life and getting paid with our—the taxpayers’—money. You can be as homophobic as you want to be in your private life. You can hang out in your evangelical churches and smear gay people with your fellow haters all you want. Just go away—and get out of the way—because gay people are here, we’re not going away, and if anything we’re stronger and stronger with each passing day. Because, you see, decent Americans understand that our struggle is their struggle—for freedom, for dignity, for equal rights, for the frigging Constitution. And with each passing day, Sanders, you and your cult become more irrelevant.


Why are Trump voters so fat?

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What are the fattest states in the U.S.?

It’s a close tie between South Carolina, West Virginia, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana. They showed significantly higher percentages of fat adults, on average, than other states, as measured by a U.S. Centers for Disease Control study, published in the June 15 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

And the slimmest states? By far they are Colorado, California and Hawaii. On average, measured by body mass index, they are 67.8% slimmer than the fat states. And when you break the demographic groupings down into “Metropolitan” and “Nonmetropolitan,” the latter—rural folks—are consistently much fatter than their city counterparts. Moreover, “men and women with college degrees had lower obesity prevalence compared with those with less education,” which is just about what you’d expect in a comparison of rural folks (who are less educated) and city folks.

See a pattern? I bet you do. Expressed in more political terms, Trump’s rural, red state, Bible Belt Republicans are fat, while Democratic voters in blue states are nice and fit.

Now, before I get accused of being fat-phobic, let me assure you that my vision of America is inclusive; our great country is equally home to fat people as to healthy people. I have plenty of fat friends and relatives, and I love them no less than I do thin people.

But obesity comes at a cost, and I’m not just talking about the increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, stroke and so on, which the CDC defines as “obesity-associated chronic diseases.” That’s bad enough, but obesity also is associated with “poorer mental health outcomes,” says the CDC. These “poorer mental health outcomes” include clinical depression, anxiety and mood disorders,” the CDC finds. In fact, the 25% of all U.S. adults with mental illness also tend to suffer from obesity and its related “chronic diseases.”

The CDC finds that levels of mental illness are highest in precisely the red states that voted for Trump. In fact, the familiar map of red states-blue states almost exactly matches up with the map of more mentally ill states.

Mentally ill states are darker blue

Republican states are red

My point is that Trump voters tend, by medical definition, to suffer more frequently and more acutely from clinical depression, anxiety and mood disorders.” This could easily account for their voting patterns. We want voters who are educated, informed, healthy and discerning—not frightened, pessimistic and irrational. We want voters who can understand the consequences of the way they vote. We want voters who are smart enough to analyze issues, who know the difference between truth and lies, who can perceive when they’re being deceived with fake information fed them by con-man politicians. If you’re depressed, anxious and moody, you’re less likely to be smart enough to make choices that require critical thinking skills.

In fact, Trump and his Republican cohorts pander to the anxieties of rural fat people, with descriptions of immigrants as “infesting” America, of Mexicans being “criminals and rapists,” of Central American immigrants being MS-13, of Hillary Clinton working with terrorists and Obama being a secret Muslim. None of those things is true, obviously, but a poor, fat, struggling rural person, burdened by low income, poor health, and obsessed with the suspicion that he or she is frowned upon by wealthier, better educated and healthier urban “elites,” is more susceptible to believing these lies.

What can we do to induce Trump voters to become healthier? In the short run, nothing. The CDC and other healthcare organizations are constantly putting out information on how to lose weight and eat better, but this information does not appear to be penetrating the brains of red staters. Or they’re choosing to disbelieve it—perhaps the very reason that Trump encourages them not to trust science. Every time a Trump voter scarfs down a plate of Bic Macs and fries, washed down with Big Gulps of sugary soda, he or she gets less healthy, more mentally deranged, and more Republican. In fact, given the data we now have, it’s possible to speak of two political alignments in America: not red vs. blue states, but obese, morbidly unhealthy Republicans vs. healthy, fit Democrats.

I know which group I’m in and prefer to be in. And to be honest, I can’t imagine anyone voluntarily willing to be in the obese, sick group. Would you, if you had a choice? And maybe that gets to the bottom of the mystery of why these Trump voters support a man who is so inimical to their own self-interest. With their fat guts, diabetes and mental illnesses, they’re giving a big “middle finger” to the “experts” and “elites” who tell them there’s something wrong with them, even thought the “experts” are trying to save their lives. It’s sad, pathetic and bizarre, but there you have it: fat Trump Republicans, killing themselves with their unhealthy lifestyles, and blaming healthy people for their problems.

Have a happy, fit, healthy weekend! Burn those calories! Back Monday.


Trump sent many of the stolen central American children to evangelical centers for christianizing

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In the last several weeks since Trump began seizing babies and children at the border, many of the stolen kids have been sent to Christian indoctrination centers, where they are having rightwing religious propaganda drummed into their young, developing brains.

One example is Bethany Christian Services, a Grand Rapids, Michigan non-profit that describes its mission as provid[ing] counseling to families, assist refugees and immigrants resettling in the U.S…to help keep families together…as Christ intended.”

The New Republic reports that Bethany “has helped place 58 separated migrant children [into foster care] since May 1.” And this is only the beginning. “You could be creating thousands of immigrant orphans in the U.S.” warned the former director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Sandweg, on Tuesday.

There’s no evidence that Christian hubs like Bethany are mistreating the children. The Detroit Free Press reports that Bethany is giving them “Spanish children’s books, toys, diapers,” while the Detroit Metro Times reports that Bethany “has applied for permission” to receive scores more refugee children. At the current seizure rate along the border—about 300 kids per day picked up by ICE and jailed–the number of imprisoned children could approach 20,000 by the end of August. More than 11,000 kids already are imprisoned in camps in at least 17 states.

Even as Pope Francis directly criticizes the abductions, many American Christians, especially white evangelicals, are celebrating them. For example, a Christian minister named Brent Gentzel, who heads the evangelical First Baptist Church, in Texas, (which strongly opposes same-sex marriage and preaches fire-and-brimstone-style visions of “eternal Hell”), defends the forced seizures this way: “When someone raises a hand to say: ‘We need to fix the legal side,’ there’s a side that screams: ‘You’re racist.’ And you’re sitting up there in Connecticut, and, no offence [sic], but you don’t have a clue.”

 Actually, decent, moral Americans in Connecticut and all other American states do have a clue; they know exactly what’s up: Nazi-style forced resettlement of innocent children. Only this time, the governing rationale is, not Nazism, but something closely allied to it: rightwing Christianity. Given Biblical citations to justify the kidnappings by the likes of Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Jeff Sessions (whose own Methodist church just disavowed him), it’s not surprising that the administration should quietly be farming out the children to Christian indoctrination sites. That this is being done in secrecy also comes as no surprise, given the Trump regime’s penchant for doing its dirty work under cover of darkness.

Is Bethany the only Christian-front organization accepting children from the Trump administration? No. In California, “kids who crossed the border…have been placed in California foster homes by International Christian Adoptions,” reports the Sacramento Bee.

ICA is based in the conservative California city of Temecula, where the congressman is the extremist rightwinger, Duncan Hunter, who wants to build, not just a border wall, but a double border wall, and wishes to “punish nations denying repatriation” of seized immigrants.  ICA claims to put children it receives into adoptive environments “in the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.” The agency, like the Trump administration, is super-secretive about details of where it sends the kids. Again, there’s no evidence that kids sent to ICA are being mistreated. But the evidence strongly suggests that they are being indoctrinated with evangelical Christian beliefs that are conservative and pro-Trump.

We should be grateful, I suppose, that these Christian organizations are at least willing to take the children and feed and clothe them. But there shouldn’t be any need for this in the first place; Trump has created that need by introducing his new policy of forced seizures. Democrats in the Congress should immediately begin asking the tough questions:

How many of the stolen kids are being warehoused in Christian front groups and families?

Are they being indoctrinated with Christian propaganda?

Are Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, atheist and other families and groups also being given these children?

How do these Christian adoption agencies intend to eventually reunite the kidnapped children with their legitimate families? Or do they?

We, the American people, need these answers, in order to be reassured that the Federal government is not conspiring to brainwash stolen children and turn them into goosestepping Christian Soldier Republicans. True, late yesterday Trump apparently ended the forced seizure program (we’re still not clear about the details, since he insists “zero tolerance” remains in effect). But these questions—especially reuniting the children with their parents—glaringly remain. Moreover, the horror of the Trump kidnappings will endure as long as the story of this sad presidency is told—and voters surely will be reminded of it heading into the midterm elections.

 


Trump steps into Tender Age, tries to wipe it off, can’t. Eeeeewwww

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I love it when the Wall Street Journal, which has heavily promoted Trump’s radical agenda and defended him despite his many crimes and misdemeanors, finally decides their man has gone too far.

Such evidently is the case with the jailing of immigrant children, the latest scandal to engulf Trump’s 16-month presidency—and the most potent yet. Even the Wall Street Journal is aghast.

The Murdoch family, through their managing lackeys at the newspaper, have up to now given reporters carte blanche to report on the administration’s scandals in the news section—for which I give them credit. Journal reporters have done as much breaking news on Trump-RussiaGate as the New York Times or Washington Post. Of course, there’s self-interest in MurdochLand–if they tried to crack down on legitimate reporting, they’d lose half their journalistic staff, and all of their credibility.

The paper’s editorial page, on the other hand, has been a train wreck—a discredit to anything even remotely resembling journalism, with such fawning ass-kissers as Kimberley Strassel, Holman Jenkins, Daniel Henninger and William McGurn churning out mindless paeons of praise for their president and amplifying the most grotesque falsehoods manufactured in the Conway-Huckabee Sanders lie factory and passed via factotums to them. The Murdochs seldom if ever permit even the mildest rebuke of Trump to appear in the op-ed pages, so yesterday’s blistering lead editorial–the paper’s, and therefore the Murdochs’, official position–may well signal the beginning of the end of their unwavering support for Trump.

“The GOP’s Immigration Meltdown,” is the headline, with the subhead warning, “Restrictionists may cost Republicans their majorities in Congress.” I love that word “Restrictionists.” We have to call these Republican child-jailers something: “racists” or “xenophobes” clearly is off limits for a Republican newspaper, so “restrictionists” it is. It sounds almost respectable, like a legitimate political philosophy. But we all know that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then…

So the Journal’s editorial board comes out with a suggestion that’s downright Democratic: end ‘zero-tolerance’ until it can be implemented without dividing families.” Until that’s done, the editorial board concludes, “the larger GOP dysfunction” will go on, as “a minority of House Republicans continue to block a compromise that would solve the…problem.”

This isn’t the message Trump is giving or that he wants the nation to hear. His “alternative fact” (thank you Kellyanne Conway) is to blame the Democrats, or a “loophole” in the law, for the jailing of children. Everybody, even the most rightwing Republican, knows that’s a lie. When you have GOP Senators from Lindsay Graham to Ted Cruz repudiating the Trump policy, you know the White House has bitten off more than it can chew.

The Journal’s editorial concludes with more advice that could have come from Nancy Pelosi: “Congress [should] pass the leadership’s compromise that legalizes Dreamers [and] ends the family separation fiasco.” I’m grateful that the Murdochs have finally come to the conclusion that their president is dead wrong on something, but I’m still waiting for the paper to state what is patently, horrifyingly true: morally, religiously, ethically and intellectually, Donald J. Trump lacks the fitness to be president, and ought to resign or be impeached. I guarantee you, that day is coming. A draft of that editorial has already been written. The Murdochs are simply waiting for the right moment to publish it, and with every disastrous word and deed by this president, that moment comes closer.

What’s particularly fascinating about this developing internecine warfare in the Republican Party is how the Wall Street Journal’s newfound courage in criticizing Trump will (or won’t) dovetail with the shriller, more vicious talking heads on Fox “News”: Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Neil Cavuto. Will we see this GOP civil war include sniping from one side of the Fox empire to the other? Will Hannity begin talking about “the fake Wall Street Journal”? Wlll Trump? I think that’s just around the corner—by late Fall–and we all should welcome it, just in time for the midterms, which by the way are looking very good for Democrats. The latest RealClearPolitics report shows Democrats leading Republicans in six polls in the generic Congressional ballot (Republicans lead in none)—and the spread is getting bigger and more impressive, with even the Republican-leaning Rasmussen poll giving Dems a four-point edge, while Reuters has it up to ten points. Trump himself is clearly on the defensive; he’s panicking—falling apart on his twitter feed, hysterical, lying double-time, and his enablers on Fox are melting down into caricatures of themselves, with their “child actors” crap. This is killing Trump, and in the dark, cobwebbed recesses of his mind, he knows that the Blue Wave is building!

By the way, remember Trump’s “historic” summit with Kim Jong-Un? Neither do I. Nothing came of it, except a photo op. Nobody cares, not even Fox. It’s like it never happened.


The long-awaited crack in the regime has finally appeared

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Trump really stepped in it with his “jail kids” policy. Reaction from everywhere has been swift and outraged. I first blogged on this last week, when I was so upset I issued a CAUTION warning my readers of strong language. Now, the anger I felt is shared among nearly all Americans, except the racists at places like Breitbart (which is hemorrhaging readers) and Fox “News” and, of course, some 60% of Republicans.

The White House is on deep defense. The loathsome Kellyanne Conway, attesting to her Catholic beliefs and her motherhood, confesses that “Nobody likes this policy,” but then she defends it anyway. Crocodile tears.

The media knows this is a good story and so they’re running with it. The Trump regime hates that. They would love for the media to ignore the scandals and instead headline their stories, their propaganda, the way Fox does. But that’s not going to happen. Seizing children from their parents and then locking them up in cages in the desert is simply irresistible if you’re CNN, MSNBC or the New York Times. The visuals–the video of sobbing, frightened babies and a befuddled staff who doesn’t know what to do…religious leaders denouncing it…Melania Trump and Laura Bush outraged…the animal fear in the eyes of Republican politicians forced to comment…Trump’s massive lie that “It’s the Democrats’ fault”–it’s a made-for-T.V. crisis.

The regime is insisting there will be no change to the policy; Trump’s Homeland Security secretary said she wouldn’t apologize to anyone, and she reiterated the lie that the child imprisonment scandal is the fault of Democrats. But I have a pretty good nose for news, and I sense that the outrage and indignation about this policy is such that, sooner rather than later, Trump is going to be seeking some face-saving solution that ends the forced imprisonments, and may well even include a conclusion to the DACA problem. Moreover, the solution will not repeat not include funds for a Wall, for the simple reason that Democrats have no reason to support that. They have more leverage over Trump right now than they’ve had in the year-and-a-half since he’s been in office, and they know how to use that to their advantage. There is no clamoring for a Wall (except from Breitbart-Fox rightwing propagandists) but there is a massive clamoring to end this cage-the-kids program. This particular White House is not adept at reading tea leaves, but this is no mere tea-leaf problem; it’s a hurricane that will devour the Trump regime and imperil the midterms for every Republican who does not speak out forcibly against it.

So this is it: the crack in the regime we’ve been waiting for. I’ve known it was coming. Trump’s personal moral ugliness and reprehensible character are what has caused this. Many of us have known it all along: now, everyone else in America knows what a monster he is. If Democrats are looking for a Major Issue to run on in the midterms (besides Trump’s character), they’ve found it: jailing innocent children seized from their mothers’ breasts at the border. We’re winning in the polls bigtime: Trump is losing; even tea party Republicans like Ted Cruz are flipping. We can bring Trump down, save the kids, save the Dreamers, and flip Congress in November. Keep up the pressure!


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