A Juxtaposition of Justice

by Charles S. Garabedian

Most people have heard about this outrageous, unkind, and unfortunate incident that occurred yesterday in Washington, D.C. However, if you have not, you may learn about it by clicking on the following safe link:

Trump MAGA Catholic Kids Mock American Indian Nathan Phillips

Tomorrow is the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in the United States.  Once upon a time, Dr. King, borrowing from an earlier quote in the 19th century, uttered the following words:

 

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

 

Mark my word Nathan Phillips and dear readers. Justice is coming. It may take a little more time, but it is coming:

 

trump faces justice

 

Cartoon Credit: Pat Bagley for The Salt Lake Tribune

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You Heard It Here First in Our Main Post on January 4, 2019 (Cat’s Out of the Bag Now)

by Charles S. Garabedian

Please Click Here

Today we discovered that the Trump administration, by its own admission, forgot to factor U.S. Government contractor and subcontractor employees into their economic damage predictions for the federal government shutdown. These employees are private sector corporate workers who do most of their work for U.S. Government agencies. This failure to factor in means the shutdown is going to be even more damaging than original thought. If Trump’s economic advisers can forget about something so simple and obvious as this, I have to wonder if they remembered to also factor in the value added dollar discussion in my main post on January 4, 2019.  You may read that post by clicking on the following safe link:

Trump and His National Emergency

Folks!!!  That is just crazy, and it is the very height of ignorance and incompetence—or covering them up.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) hires a comparatively small number of federal employees to perform high-level oversight of its operations all over the United States. These are the famous, high-level federal bureaucrats who get paid with a federal pay-grade check. However, many Americans are not aware of the fact that nearly all of the actual work DOE does every day of the year across our country is carried out by private sector contractor and subcontractor employees.

One good example is Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington. Battelle Memorial Institute (home-based in Columbus, Ohio) is the federal prime contractor for PNNL. Under the oversight of the aforementioned DOE bureaucrats, Battelle is in charge of managing, staffing, and conducting the various operations at PNNL. Battelle has nearly 5,000 employees at PNNL, and most of those employees are classified as federal contractor employees. In turn, Battelle may sometimes have additional subcontractor employees who ultimately get their paychecks from Battelle.

The PNNL is not an isolated situation. The DOE oversees numerous other similarly large facilities across our country, and guess what? Each one of those facilities is staffed and operated by many thousands of contractor and subcontractor employees—just like those at PNNL.

Ordinary Americans seem to think the terms federal contractor and federal subcontractor involve temporary, small-scale operations—kind of like Two Guys and a Truck. That is nowhere near reality.

The federal government has, quite literally, millions of contractor and subcontractor employees throughout our nation. Think of Boeing (a federal prime contractor) and all of the Boeing workers who are doing work on military aviation and space projects. Those Boeing workers are just like the Battelle workers at PNNL. Sure. They work for Boeing, a private sector company, but Boeing does an enormous amount of its work under contract to the U.S. Department of Defense—and the paychecks of the Boeing workers on those contract projects come from the federal tax dollars appropriated by the U.S. Congress for those projects.

Here is another good example within DOE. This federal agency has huge operations in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which has a population of about 30,000 people. The DOE facilities in that American town have many, many thousands of highly skilled workers, and almost all of them are contractor and subcontractor employees. Nearly every dime that is spent in local stores and businesses in Oak Ridge is tied in one way or another back to these federal facilities and their contractor and subcontractor employees (and their paychecks). You can read about DOE and Oak Ridge by clicking on the following safe link:

DOE Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Yeah. The federal contractor and subcontractor employees—and somehow—the Trump administration just failed to include them in their economic damage predictions before Trump flipped the switch to the “Off” position with the federal government. That does not sound like an “I forgot” to me. The DOE is one of Trump’s own cabinet departments, and its head (U.S. Secretary of Energy) is one of Trump’s lofty cabinet members. Considering the extraordinarily large numbers of federal contractor and subcontractor employees at numerous DOE facilities, that sounds more like an “I conveniently forgot”————–that is until the heat in the kitchen got so high the Trumpites could no longer hide the total amount of economic damage they were covering up to save their own hind ends.

And guess what? Because of stipulations in their contracts, subcontracts, and governing statutes/regulations, many of these contractor and subcontractors employees may not get accumulated back pay—like the federal bureaucrats who dispense the money and oversee their work. Instead, many of them may be required to just go home with no paycheck at all—and ride out the shutdown as unpaid time off—however long it lasts. That actually happened to me when I was working for a DOE subcontractor back in the short-lived 2013 federal government shutdown. How are these numerous private sector contractor and subcontractor folks going to pay their bills when no paycheck is coming?

Note: I am not sure how the current government shutdown is actually affecting PNNL, Boeing, and the DOE facilities in Oak Ridge. I was merely pointing out the huge numbers of contractor and subcontractor employees at those facilities. The American news media keep saying that federal contractor and subcontractor workers are not being paid—forced into time off from work without pay. However, it is possible that these employees are working without pay—or they may be classified as “essential employees” for whom provisions have been made to pay them in spite of the government shutdown. There is quite a lot of highly detailed information about this government shutdown that I, you, and many other Americans do not know about right now.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Government Shutdown: Getting to Know the Hearts of Christian Fundamentalism and Conservative Evangelicalism

by Charles S. Garabedian

bible used as a weapon

The year 2018 was, so sad to say, too much about The Donald Trump Show—way, way, way, way too much. Most of us did not volunteer for it. It was simply imposed upon us from outside of ourselves.

I had hoped that 2019 might be just a little bit different, but it is fast becoming clear that The Donald Trump Show will rest at the center of American misery for yet another year. The current federal government shutdown, and all the pain associated with it, make that abundantly clear. As Christians (and nonChristians) who still love people, as Jesus commanded us to do, we can do these three positive things in 2019:

(1)  Supply material aid to those around us who are suffering under Trump.

(2)  Provide Spiritual love and comfort in the name of Jesus for those who are suffering.

(3) Help people to better understand the root cause of their suffering.

Today we are going to do some of No. 3.

White Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals (together as a group) elected Donald J. Trump President of the United States. Without them, he clearly would not have won the 2016 election. The fundies openly admit it. The Republican Party openly admits it. The Democratic Party openly admits it. The American news media openly admit it. We Americans may not agree on many things, but this is one thing most of us do agree on.

The fundies supported Trump to the hilt in 2016, and they still do so with an unmovable passion to this very day. They are the iron-hard core of Trump’s so-called “political base,” and Trump has closed down our federal government in a cold, cruel, and heartless way to please that base—by getting the fundies The Wall that was promised to them in 2016—the wall designed to protect their whiteness from those who live south of the Rio Grande.

How can Trump turn such a blind, cruel, and heartless eye to all of the human suffering created by the government shutdown? How can his Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical political base continue to support him in full knowledge of all the suffering that is occurring now—suffering that will only become worse as time marches on?

Basically, the thing you have to understand is this. Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism in this country—and the way they are practiced every day—are at their very roots just as cold, cruel, and heartless as Trump is. They were made for each other—and the hearts of both of these “isms” are anathema to the heart, mind, and Spirit of Jesus Christ that pervades the New Testament.

Please read the following 2014 article by Teresa MacBain, and you will see the dark heart of these two “isms” in operation, and you will see that those hearts are just as cold as Trump’s heart. You LGBTQ readers will be especially interested in reading this article. However, you may not derive any sense of love or comfort from it. You will at least understand what these two “isms” do to people.  Please click on the following safe link:

A Christian Fundamentalist Survivor’s Story

Just try to remember that Jesus loves you and many nonfundie Christians love you far more than the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals love you—or anyone else for that matter. By the end of the above article, you saw why the fundies support Trump—because in their little Twilight Zone world—like poles attract each other rather than repel each other. Before you go, please take another look at the above cartoon, which well illustrates what I have written here, as well as the contents of the article you just read.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

So….Where Is Everyone?

If you guys have any comments or complaints, let’s here them. Blog visitation is down to nearly zero. Something unusual must be happening or on your minds.  Are you all trying to escape from something that happens here or does not happen here?  I am not going to sit here and write for an audience of zero.  I would rather close down the blog than do that.

Anyone at home out there?

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Christian Fundamentalism and Conservative Evangelicalism: Two Farts Living in Just One Behind

by Charles S. Garabedian

sarah duckaby sanders

Everything Wrong in Fundieland Made This Odd-Looking Creature Possible

Sometimes poor old me misses things—big things. Way back in 2004, one of my fellow social scientists wrote a book entitled Spirit and Flesh: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church. The author is Dr. James M. Ault, Jr., who is a professional sociologist. You may buy his book at the following safe link:

Purchase Dr. Ault’s Book

I have not read this book, but I would like to do so sometime soon. However, I have read some snippets about this book on-line.

Traditionally, sociologists have conducted their fieldwork with various social groups by using interview and survey forms. That is what I was taught in college back in the 1970s. This may have changed in the past 50 years in American sociology.

Best I can tell from the assorted snippets I have read, Dr. Ault apparently conducted the study that underpins his 2004 book by embedding himself in the congregation of a Christian fundamentalist church in Worcester, Massachusetts for two years. This sounds like something a cultural anthropologist would normally do. The specialized cultural anthropologists who work like this are called ethnographers. The basic idea is this. To really and truly understand the heart, soul, and guts of a human culture or subculture, an ethnographer has to embed himself inside it like one of its members, stay there for a long while, and essentially become a functioning member of a tribe as its people live out their culture or subculture every day.

That way the ethnographer gets to see the tribe and its cultural adaptations as the members of the tribe see them, while maintaining enough mental objectivity to apply anthropological principles to what is being observed—so the ethnographer can really understand what the people of the tribe are actually doing.  This is often quite different from what the members of the tribe and their cultural traditions say they are doing. In other words, the members of the tribe think they are doing one thing, but they are actually doing another thing of which they are not consciously aware.

I found an on-line blog article by Ms. Jeri Massi that summarizes the conclusions in Dr. Ault’s book. If you would like to understand Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism far better than the common Joe or the common fundie, you may want to click on her article at the following safe link and give it a read:

A Sociologist Lives Among Christian Fundamentalists: His Conclusions

The foregoing blog article is excellent. However, I disagree with one small point made in its first paragraph. I do not think or believe it is necessary to view something, like Christian fundamentalism or conservative evangelicalism, with respect in order to understand it. People understand all sorts of things they do not respect—and understand them quite well. In my honest opinion, modern Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism richly deserve most of the criticism they receive from people inside the universal church and those who abide outside of it. Both “isms” are spiritually corrupt and abusive belief systems that invite righteous contempt. Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are still little more than two farts living in just one behind (with kind apologies to singer Phil Collins.)  That behind belongs to Satan, the Devil, Lord of Darkness, Cadwallader, Universal Entropy, or whatever other name you would like to apply.

Ms. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary to President Trump, is an excellent example of what rabid Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism can do to a person. Her Republican political father, Mike Huckabee, was once a conservative Southern Baptist preacher in Arkansas. Consequently, Sarah was raised in that fundie environment—and look what it did to her. She became a master political liar, despite all of the bad press and warnings the Holy Bible gives to people about lies and telling lies. The graphic item that heads this main blog article well illustrates what life in the fundie belief system can do to a person.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trump Was “A Spicking” to You in His National Address on Latino Migrants and “The Wall” Last Night

by Charles S. Garabedian

How many of you caught the racial and ethnic slur in President Donald J. Trump’s address to the nation on immigration, southern border security, and The Wall? Was it intentional to signal the many white racists in his political base (only about 27 percent of the American people) or was it simply an inadvertent Freudian slip that reflects Trump’s true internal mindset toward migrants from Mexico and Central America?

Trump’s short speech started out by saying the following:

My fellow Americans. Tonight I am a spicking to you…

For those of you who might not be aware of it, the word spick is an old and quite often heard racial and ethnic slur used to describe all Latino men, women, and children who have immigrated or migrated to the United States from Latin American nations such as Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, or Cuba. Take a close listen to the first 10 words of Trump’s speech, and tell me what you hear.  Do you hear “a spicking”?  I sure do. Just click on the white triangle to play Trump’s speech:

 

Please be sure to watch CNN and all of the other major news networks (except for lying and highly biased FOX News) today and the formal analyses of Trump’s speech. It was loaded to the hilt with lies, and you will learn all about those lies.

Do you like a President of the United States who (intentionally or inadvertently) uses racial and ethnic epithets against people? Do you really want a President who regularly lies to you and the rest of the American people—like Trump did last night in his speech?

If you are tired of all this Trumpian chaos and nonsense, please write a quick e-mail message to your two U.S. Senators and the Congressman or Congresswoman who represents you in the U.S. House of Representatives. Nicely tell all of  them that you are fed up with Trump and all of his chaotic nonsense. Tell them you will not be voting for any Senatorial or Congressional candidate that has supported or continues to support Trump—when the November 2020 national election comes. A large number of the  Republicans in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives personally despise Trump and his ways. They will tell a trusted person that in private, but they are afraid to speak out against Trump publicly because they fear  him and his political base. You need to give them the courage and confidence they need to speak out against Trump in public and withdraw their fear-based support from him.

You, as an American citizen, can stop this mess. Our founding fathers, such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison, greatly feared that a man like Trump might—by some odd fluke—one day get elected President of the United States. They built into the U.S. Constitution a set of checks and balances designed to prevent the election of such a person, constrain that person if he or  she did get elected by fluke, and provide the constitutional means necessary to legally remove  that person from office.

It is up to you American citizens as a whole. No one else but you can take this vain, racist, pompous, lying idiot out of office. The only way to begin doing that is to write to your elected representatives in Washington, D.C. and tell them how you feel about Trump’s racism and lies. Give them some incentive and courage to oppose Trump, speak out against him in public, and vote against his crazy legislative proposals when they get to Capitol Hill.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Joy of Just Being Alive

by Charles S. Garabedian

Christian fundamentalists, conservative evangelicals, right wing extremists, and the Religious Right have put new Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) right at the bullseye center of their hate target. She cares very deeply for those Jesus called “the least of these” in the New Testament, and she would like to use her votes in the U.S. House of Representatives to help poor people, sick people, hungry people, and imprisoned people. The words of the Holy Bible call on all Christians to do exactly that. Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is Roman Catholic, and she takes her Christian faith seriously as set forth in the article she wrote for the Jesuit periodical entitled America. You may read it by clicking on the following safe link:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Article

The Roman Catholic Church is famous for turning its Christian faith into social action to help “the least of these,” who Jesus loved so much when He walked the Earth. However, the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals of today, who like to selectively ignore the words of Jesus they do not like, gladly brand a person with a heart to help people as a communist or socialist these days—and tag them as Public Enemy No. 1. Alexandria no doubt knew this was coming. She proudly wears the Democratic Socialist label.

That said, I think something else deeper and more profound is going on with this hate agenda toward Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. The stark reality is this. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is everything wonderful in life that most of her old, rigid, white, fundie detractors are not—and never will be again. She is highly intelligent, a good dancer, young, physically fit, good looking, happy, joyful, fun loving, and full of life. Worst of all, she is a member of the dreaded Millennial Generation. The Christian fundamentalists, conservative evangelicals, and right wing extremists fear that up-and-coming American generation as much as the demons fear Jesus.

A number of nonfundie religious and political pundits believe the 80-years-long Millennial Generation will (slowly over time) figuratively fire hollow point .44 magnum bullets straight into the brain cases of Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism—at point-blank range—and finish off those two belief systems in our country. Because of that and other things, the Blue Wave that swept Ms. Ocasio-Cortez (and many other nonfundie women) into office has the fundies and other right wing extremists frightened out of their wits.

After all, according to fundie beliefs, all women are required to be submissive and averse to ruling roosts. Moreover, the Blue Wave was not supposed to happen. God and Trump had supposedly surrounded the fundies with an impenetrable force field for protection, and Trump was leading them to ultimate and final victory over the American culture, all nonfundie churches, and all nonChristian belief systems. The November 2018 election snapped that old rug of smug self-righteousness right out from under the fundies, and now they are in a perilous free fall—wondering if God has now abandoned them—and even worse————–perhaps wondering if Trump’s election was just a freakish fluke—and God was never in their corner to begin with in the November 2016 election.

You are no doubt familiar with the recent video clip used to attack Ms. Ocasio-Cortez a few days ago. It shows her dancing on the rooftop of a large building when she was a young student at Boston University. Most Christian fundamentalists and a number of conservative evangelicals are famous for their numbskull belief that dancing is a sin—and it is especially sinful for young people to dance with each other. (Salome danced, and John the Baptist got his head cut off because of it.) Apparently, the nitwit who first floated this old video clip thought it would damage Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and rally all the fundies and right wing extremists.  It did not.  It backfired on all of them badly and blew up right in their faces.

This attack on Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez was an instructive lesson for those of us who live outside of Fundieland and the right wing extremist bubble. It showed us what the Christian fundamentalists, conservative evangelicals, and right wing extremists fear most about Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and her Millennial Generation. They fear their youth, energy, enthusiasm, personal drive, zest for life, and dedication to turning God’s truth and factual truth into loving reality and compassion that truly helps the American people. The new Lisztomania dance video below illustrates all of that well, and the now famous old dancing clips of Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez were spliced into this video so the whole Millennial Generation energy comes across loud and clear. Take a close look at Christian Fundamentalist Rules No. 6 and No. 83 below, and then play the video, which is a real treat I am sure you will enjoy:

Christian Fundamentalist Rule No. 6

The less fun it is, the Godlier it must be.

 

Christian Fundamentalist Rule No. 83

If anyone in your presence or immediate vicinity appears to be smiling, laughing, having fun, enjoying life, or otherwise existing in a clear state of happiness, move as quickly as possible to snuff it out.

 

Videotape Credit: Howard Thurman Center at Boston University

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment