Trump Invites…Oh Who Cares!

imagesI realize I’m only 36 years old, which means, since I was born in 1980, I have only seen 9 presidential elections. I especially remember the one where Reagan won the first time. I was suckling at my Mama’s breast when it was announced on Fox News and I bit down hard, then shoved her aside to watch the festivities.

But I don’t think I remember this stupid crap of “OMG!!!! Who is the candidate going to invite to the debate!!!!???”

And Trump ups the ante (was there even an ante?) by inviting Malik Obama, Obama’s brother, born in Kenya. Yeah. There’s a reason I bolded that last part. Seriously. What the fuck is that about?

In 2011, Trump demanded Obama’s birth certificate (and yeah…that is most definitely relevant to this subject). He offered $5 million to a charity of Obama’s choice if he would show it. Then, he rode that wave into the primaries for 2016. When it finally caught up to him, he pussy-footed around his stupid bullshit and walked away from the demand, seemingly accepting the obvious – that Obama was actually a citizen of the United States.

And then he does this. Let me be clear:

Other than impressing his birther followers, there is NO OTHER REASON to invite this guy. None.

I am so ready for this election to be over. I wouldn’t even care if Julian Assange publishes a picture of Hillary Clinton giving the username and password of John Podesta’s email account to Vladimir Putin. I need to wash my brain out with bleach. Hillary, no matter how flawed, is becoming the candidate that I will be most proud to vote for in my entire life – and almost all of it isn’t her fault.

How People React When a 6-Year Old Girl Takes Her Shirt Off

downloadAs all my readers know, I have a daughter who we call, The Freak. She’s six years old. She embodies everything good about that label, as well as everything bad, being re-translated into good by me, because I love her so damn much.

Yesterday, I took the family to a semi-local apple orchard. It was a balmy 70 degrees, which meant my shirt was too hot. I took it off and enjoyed the corn maze, pumpkin hunting, apple picking (and sorting the rotten ones on the ground), and petting goats and alpacas.

And so did Analisse (The Freak). The moment my shirt came off and was tucked into my back pocket, I felt little fingers shoving something into my other back pocket. I looked behind me to find her, half-naked, pretending to not notice that I caught her. I didn’t care. As a dad, I’m a pack mule, wherever I go. I’m okay with it. Also, I encourage my young daughters to take their shirts off, if they want to. It’s not illegal. If the activity was illegal, as it is when they are older, I leave that up to their mother to determine how much is too little cloth.

About an hour into our visit, I was kneeling down by a goat, feeding it grass, when the old man who owns the orchard rode up on his four-wheeler. He hops off and catches my eye, obviously nervous. In short order, he strode over to me, bent down, and nearly whispered into my ear:

Now, I don’t know if anyone really has a problem with this, but, your daughter, with her shirt off, may cause some people to have a problem, so…

That’s it. I thanked him and he straightened, looking very relieved, got back onto his four-wheeler, and rode away.

Now, I could have argued and told him to fuck off. But I cared more about making the day enjoyable for my kids, getting plenty of apples, and doing the pumpkin thing. It wasn’t a life or death situation. In fact, I figured that really, only the old man had a problem with it, and he would be dead in a few years anyway. Jumbled thoughts ran through my head as I went and told my bride what the old man had said.

We agreed that she should probably put the shirt back on. I spoke to Analisse about it, telling her that some people here wanted it on and so I was putting mine back on too. She agreed after a tiny bit of protest, but quickly brightened up when I pulled my shirt over my head.

Without skipping a beat, she was back playing in the sand.

I don’t know what my point is in writing this, but I was sad. Sad that my daughter couldn’t just enjoy who she was, legally. Sad that some people are so bothered by the skin of a little child, they have to dictate my parenting choices. Sad that it is 2016 and we still shame little children for their natural bodies. Sad that it’s 2016 and we still shame older girls for their bodies. Confused that I was bent over a fence, mostly naked from the waste up, possibly even showing a plumbers crack, and the old man rendered me perfectly normal, and yet didn’t see my daughter that way.

I’ll be back there next year. And next year, I won’t stop her from taking her shirt off again. And when he tells me to have her put it back on, we’ll do the dance again. Or maybe I’ll confront him nicely. Or maybe one day he’ll change.

When Your Guy Has the Best Words – of a Fourth Grader

Here is a list of problems with our current political climate:

  1. We are pigeonholed into teams. Them vs. us. When we look at “facts,” we first check who’s writing it, to see what team they’re on, then determine our preconceived response, before reading a single word.
  2. We think and type in 140 character bursts, or shorten our responses to fit neatly into a text
  3. Sarcasm has become our language. If it doesn’t cause a stir or a laugh, it’s not worth saying
  4. The necessity to explain policy causes suspicion. If you can’t say it quickly you’re either hiding something, or trying to wrangle out of an inconsistent position
  5. Change means you’re a flip-flopper
  6. Compromise is selling your soul

Hillary Clinton was a lawyer. She defended a rapist. I’m sorry to say to those in the cheap seats, that a rapist, no matter how vile their act was, has the same due process rights that you and I have. You and I. Those who wouldn’t ever rape a woman. I know it’s an awful idea to swallow, but it’s true.

Think about Black Lives Matter and their best argument against the senseless slaying of African Americans on America’s streets, by our police. Whenever a young black man or woman is shot dead, their body punctured full of bullets from trigger-happy men in blue, the police department quickly trots out their criminal history. Even worse, if there is no readily available criminal history, they will tell details of the individuals attitude, what they were wearing, how they were carrying themselves, how they didn’t listen to commands and instantly obey. In short, the police are arguing for the position of being judge, jury, and executioner – disregarding the due process that every white man who encounters the same officers seem to get by default.

Back to the rapist.

So this guy rapes a girl and requests a female lawyer. Hillary is assigned to be the public defender at the time and is handed the case. She attempts to recuse herself but is left with little choice. Hillary takes the case. The guy does a lie detector test. Passes, saying he didn’t do it. Clinton sends samples to a guy in New York. Samples are misplaced. Guy could get off if he wanted to. No samples. Lie detector pass. Easy, right?

Yet Clinton convinces him to plead guilty.

Five years later, Clinton is interviewed on tape and describes, in detail, the chain of events. She laughs during the interview at things like her naive notion that justice was always served correctly and that lie detector tests were reliable.

But in the minds of those who cannot sit through a grainy and lengthy interview, understanding the nuances of our system of laws that not only are to keep us safe from rapists, but were written on the principle that we were innocent until proven guilty. In our current climate, Trump slams his fist against the podium and thunders into the air, “Clinton laughed at a 12-year-old girl who was raped.”

And his followers lap it up. They parrot it online. It becomes gospel. So gospel that when their guy says, “I can grab women by the pussy and kiss them without even asking, because I’m a celebrity,” his followers excuse him by saying, “Hillary laughed at a raped girl!”

Lawyers like Hillary are exactly the type of lawyer Trump would need if someone came forward, unafraid of his power, and accused him of sexual assault.

Michelle Bachmann and Biblical Sexual Assaults

sirani_elisabetta_-_timoclea_uccide_il_capitano_di_alessandro_magno_-_1659“Is sexual assault against women a big issue? Yooooou bet it is!”

Said Michelle Bachmann on the “Stand in the Gap” radio program. She then followed it up with:

“I believe that Hillary Clinton will set a standard in this country that will lead to even more sexual assaults against women, because she will be setting anti-biblical agenda.”

Really, Michelle Bachmann? I’m not so sure. Let’s look at the Biblical standards for sexual assault.

First, Judges 21:10 – 24

10 So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children. 11 “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin.” 12 They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan.

13 Then the whole assembly sent an offer of peace to the Benjamites at the rock of Rimmon. 14 So the Benjamites returned at that time and were given the women of Jabesh Gilead who had been spared. But there were not enough for all of them.

15 The people grieved for Benjamin, because the Lord had made a gap in the tribes of Israel. 16 And the elders of the assembly said, “With the women of Benjamin destroyed, how shall we provide wives for the men who are left? 17 The Benjamite survivors must have heirs,” they said, “so that a tribe of Israel will not be wiped out. 18 We can’t give them our daughters as wives, since we Israelites have taken this oath: ‘Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to a Benjamite.’ 19 But look, there is the annual festival of the Lord in Shiloh, which lies north of Bethel, east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.”

20 So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards 21 and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife. Then return to the land of Benjamin. 22 When their fathers or brothers complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Do us the favor of helping them, because we did not get wives for them during the war. You will not be guilty of breaking your oath because you did not giveyour daughters to them.’”

23 So that is what the Benjamites did. While the young women were dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them.

Sounds a lot like sexual assault to me. But wait…let’s continue! Numbers 31:7 – 18:

They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every man. Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder. 10 They burnedall the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps. 11 They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, 12 and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.

13 Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.

15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

Hmmm…seems a bit like ownership of a woman to me. If she’s a virgin, you get to keep her! If not…kill ’em all! Yeah. Forget sexual assault. This Biblical stuff needs its own terminology.

Let’s keep going, shall we? Deuteronomy 20:10 – 14:

10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies.

What? God-sanctioned ownership of the women of the town? Of course, this doesn’t say anything about checking their vaginas for an intact hymen, but we can be fairly certain this whole virgin business was quite important to the barbarians.

This Biblical stuff is fun! Let’s actually look at the law of God. Deuteronomy 22:28 – 29:

28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

Oh God no!!!! No God! That can’t be what you meant! Surely Michelle Bachmann, you’re anointed one, knows the Biblical laws better than those libruls! Hell…Hillary Clinton supports an anti-biblical agenda! I’m feeling a little cognitive dissonance here…

Deuteronomy 22:23, 24:

23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

Um…I’ll just let that one speak for itself.

Deuteronomy 21:10 – 14:

10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

Now THAT one is just weird. But hey! It’s Biblical!

Meh. I’m bored. Let’s look at Minnesota’s rape and sexual assault laws, otherwise known as Minnesota’s anti-biblical agenda. The link is here

Rape and sexual assault are illegal in Minnesota, as in all other states. However, Minnesota doesn’t call these crimes by the usual terms. The legal name for the crime of rape and sexual assault is “criminal sexual conduct.” Minnesota has five degrees or levels of criminal sexual conduct that vary based on the unlawful sexual activity and the age of the victim.

You can read all the gory details of why we can’t do what the Bible teaches anymore, at that website.

But really, it seems to me that Michelle Bachmann has it back-asswards. Donald Trump is biblically within his rights to do anything he wants to a woman, as long as he has 30-shekels of silver jingling and jangling in his pocketses for her pa. And only sometimes might he be kilt at the gate – but not to worry, so does the female, being she didn’t yell loud enough to stop the rape.

I think I’ll stick with Hillary’s anti-biblical agenda.

The Clinton Emails

spyI respect The Atlantic and their lengthy, well-researched reporting. I see them as fair. Objective. Going out of the way to make sure they consider all angles to a story. Here is what Russell Berman has to say about the latest Clinton emails from the Wikileaks hack, which I have no time to read for myself:

How you react to the emails will almost certainly depend on how you already felt about Clinton. A diehard Bernie Sanders fan who sees Clinton as a corporate Democrat driven by expedience will find confirmation in her vacillation over what kind of Wall Street reform to support, her backing of the Bowles-Simpson plan that would have cut spending on entitlement programs, and her musing in a paid speech that “you need both a public and a private position” on policy. In mentioning the dual positions, she was making a comparison to Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and the unsavory political machinations Honest Abe had to undertake to achieve ratification of the 13th Amendment.

Those who view Clinton as hopelessly liberal, craven, and corrupt will seize, as the Trump campaign has, on her stated “dream” of “a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders.” They’ll smell conspiracy when they read hints that a Clinton campaign spokesman who formerly worked for the Justice Department got a heads up on a court hearing related to the release of her State Department emails. The Trump campaign said it was evidence of “collusion” between the campaign and the Justice Department, but notice of the hearing would have been public information.

The most common thread in the Podesta emails, however, is that they show a political candidate being political. Not much more, and not much less. Clinton is a mainstream Democrat who admires “moderates” and pragmatism. And yes, she did move to the left to defeat an insurgent liberal opponent.

“And yes, she did move to the left to defeat an insurgent liberal opponent.”

We knew this. We celebrated it. The loudest argument that Bernie put forth in the end was that Clinton and the DNC had adopted 90% of his left-leaning positions. This was politics. Horse trading. A carefully constructed campaign. Something that has always been – until Donald Trump.

At least the Trumpster is being consistent in leveling accusations of collusion and fraud against the Clinton campaign, as he did against the RNC and the final ole’ college try of the Cruz/Kasich campaigns that utterly failed in the end. The difference here is that Clinton won and they didn’t.

Do I want it to be different? Sure. Do I want all news to be objective? No. No I don’t. I appreciate objective news, as I also appreciate subjective news. Opinions help me form my own opinions, just as facts bolster those opinions. In today’s 24-hour subjective entertainment-news climate, it’s up to me (and everyone else) to be careful what we parrot, making sure we validate everything we read with the facts.

I understand that when I say “the facts,” people will retort, “But what if the facts are fed to you, but aren’t really facts?”

We live in a new age. What is done in darkness will be brought to the light. For that, we have Wikileaks.

I’m More Moral than the Religious Right

how-to-deal-with-the-bboc-big-bully-on-campus-bjodqt-clipartThis is going to be a gloating victory lap. I get to puff out my chest in pride, raise my fist to the wind (maybe flip it the bird), and let out a loud “Fuck yeah! I’m better than them!”

What? You say pride goeth before a fall, Religious Right?

Donald Trump.

You say it’s wrong to swear?

Donald Trump.

What’s that you say? I’m not allowed to have sex before marriage?

Donald Trump?

I can’t get divorced and remarried?

Donald Trump.

I have the perfect…er…trump card to EVERYTHING they throw at me now! Donald Trump is their guy. And he is the embodiment of everything they have ever been against, holding their stone-age book of rules (extrapolated eisegetically for the common era) over the heads of those they deem unworthy of their hateful god.

But that’s not really my point. No. I’m actually better than them. Not only do they now have no leg to stand on, with respect to their faux holiness, but they also are defending the very acts that they accuse we atheists of partaking in, simply because we can. After all, the Religious Right holds that morality is dictated by God and without God there can be no morality. Remove God and you have anarchy. Every man for himself. Every woman for herself.

Except that’s not really how morality works. Those with their heads out of their dusty Bible cover scented asses understand this acutely. Simply put, if it takes a God to prove to me that I cannot grab a woman by the pussy, I’m no better than a worm.

And that’s my point. I understand that a woman’s snatch, hootch, box, vagina…whatever she wants to call it, is hers. She’s the owner, just as I am the owner of my penis, and nobody has the right to grab it without my permission (unless, of course, I’m about to fall over the edge of a bridge, my pants come off, and some good Samaritan is flailing to grab onto something – anything – to stop my inevitable tumble. Then, of course, he or she (or it, if it’s a dog’s jowls) can grab it). I don’t need a god to tell me this.

More to the point, I won’t defend those who say they can do it. And that’s why I’m better.

“Holy Shit, The Donald Has Scored!”

51gsrq4zt3l-_ac_ul320_sr202320_By now, everyone has heard that comment from Billy Bush on the infamous 2005 recording.

“Holy Shit, The Donald has scored!”

It is clear that Bush is referring to Arianne Zucker, who is seen wearing a purple dress, and quite uncomfortable with the entire exchange. But The Donald hadn’t “scored.”

To “score” in popular culture, means to get the girl. Whether one is talking about a quick shag betwixt the sheets or even just a wink and a nod in your direction. I’ve given my wife a high five when she has scored an enviable triple-take from a lovely gentleman. In short, there is a definite connection between both parties.

Except, in this case, there wasn’t. Donald and Billy Bush were sitting on the bus, behind windows that were painted over, clearly unable to be seen from the outside. They saw Zucker walking up to the bus and Bush uttered the word “scored.” I’ve seen this phenomenon before.

“I’ve gazed upon, I liked, and thus it was my right to have.”

I have a dear friend in Arizona that plays the Russian roulette game of OK Cupid and other nefarious dating sites. As a woman, she gets the pleasure of being introduced to every filthy assault that men can throw at her. But one in particular always gets to me: The perceived right for a man to be acknowledged. And it isn’t just that the man demands acknowledgment. It’s that he feels that, if he gazes upon the woman and likes what he sees, regardless of his intentions, he deserves to be vetted.

The following is a typical conversation:

Male (2:07 PM): “Hi.”

Male (2:08 PM): “You look hot.”

Male (2:34 PM): “Fine, you racist cunt!”

Again, I look at this one-person interaction (which is exactly what it is) and see that the man has claimed a sort of ownership over the woman, at 2:07 PM. Not 2:34 PM. 2:34 PM is when he decides that his victim has not performed the correct master/slave ritual, and must be put in her place. This man sees he has scored, by simply happening across the woman’s online profile, and thus can require the woman to prove why she should not be owned by him, if but for a little while.

Billy Bush and Donald Trump are like these men. Arianne Zucker looked pleasing to them, thus they had “scored.” Arianne Zucker’s desires, independence, and most importantly, her inalienable and equal set of human rights, was removed from the equation, the power given to the leering men.

No, Billy Bush. The Donald had not scored. Quite the contrary. As he was filling his face full of minty-fresh Tic Tacs, preparing for a sexual assault, a talented young woman was strolling toward history, holding in her being every right to knee a billionaire in the balls.

Hello Again. People Have Been Asking Me to Write

So I’m writing.

I realize I’ve been away for a while. I’m still alive. I have a lot to say, but much more to ruminate on. A few months ago, I was full of words and things happened. The words evaporated while my thoughts needed to mature. After all, I’m only 36-years-old. That’s too young to be right about everything and too old to be wrong about most things.

I’m still married, still dating other women, still a daddy, and still a fucking atheist. In fact, after watching the Religious Right defending the non-consensual grabbing of the pussy, I’m even more of an atheist. I’m so amused at the curtain finally coming down and revealing the wizard.

Trump is a good Toto.

Anyway, I’ll write more…

Love you all,

Joe Sands

The Benham Brothers Make Me Laugh

billysunday30The spaghettified loop dee loos that the Christian Right have to go through to palatabalize their support for Donald Trump sometimes leaves me in fits of giggles. It’s quite a faux pas for them to be honest, along with most voters today, and admit that they are loyal to the party that panders to at least one of their sacred cows. In many words, spoken by religious leaders, it is noted that not voting Republican is a sin.

Enter the Benham brothers, twin sons of Flip Benham, a virulently anti-gay and anti-Muslim…hell…anti-anything-but-born-again-Christian, procurators of a television show that was cancelled before it even aired, whence their anti-gay views were discovered.

When asked what we thought about Trump’s silence we simply responded, “We cannot expect political leaders to faithfully engage the spiritual battle over the shedding of innocent blood when many of our spiritual leaders refuse to address the issue from the pulpit anyway. Donald Trump’s silence simply mirrors the silence of the church as a whole for the past 40-plus years.”

In other words, Christians are hypocritical because they haven’t been anything but silent over the issue of abortion, so therefore Donald Trump’s silence is off limits.

Seriously?

For a couple of blokes who have been plugged in to the Martyred Right speaking circuit, with thousands, nay millions of fans, worldwide, how can these two possibly think that Christians are not speaking up (specifically from the pulpit) about abortion? Quite frankly, young pups, that issue used to be the only issue Republicans voted on for nearly 30 years, ever since Ronald Reagan made it a central theme of his presidency. Being anti-LGBT is all the rage now, with abortion sliding over to the passenger seat, yet still front and center for pandering pols.

Also, Donald Trump actually did make a (sort of) statement about the decision, saying that, if he had been President, things would have taken a much different path. The only problem is, the court decision was a 5 – 3 ruling, rendering any appointed justice Trump could have slid in there, irrelevant.

But why let facts get in the way of voting your conscience…or your party…or whatever reason you vote these days?