Both sides suck

Sean Hannity has been defending creepy hebephile Roy Moore, so people have been calling for advertisers to pull their ads from the Hannity show. One advertiser who has done so is Keurig, which has been prompting the triggered snowflakes on the right to #boycottkeurig. Suddenly I’m seeing angry videos of right-wingers throwing Keurig machines from balcony windows or shooting them with shotguns. It’s absurd.

But what is equally absurd is that I’m seeing liberals declaring that they’re going to buy Keurig machines, or trade in their Nestle equivalent for a Keurig, or are celebrating by drinking coffee from their Keurig. Aaaaargh. K-cups are wasteful — consisting of almost as much packaging as coffee. Why are you celebrating a minor tactical decision by an exploitive, destructive capitalist company by rewarding them for a design that promotes convenience over the environment? I don’t get it.

I should also remind you that Keurig was supporting jingoistic, far right wing propagandist Sean Hannity all this time, that they didn’t seem to mind his constant America-First schtick of hatred for immigrants and people of color and queer folk and the poor, but only broke from the pack when he supported sexing up underaged white Alabamans. There’s an unconscious prioritizing of problems here. It’s not that I don’t think it’s despicable for Roy Moore to have been assaulting children, but that there is so much that is despicable about Moore that it’s shocking that his supporters are only noticing a problem now.

I appreciate that the opposition is finally crystallizing around this one incident to try and kill Moore’s career, and I’ll be very happy if it succeeds, but I’m just disappointed that his long history of theocratic bullshit and general incompetence weren’t enough to have kept him out of office, any office, for the last 40 years. But then incompetence and ideological asininity are no barrier to success in this country.

The Christian Brothers…now there is a name that will live on in infamy

The things one learns long after the fact…when I was a boy, my father had a favorite fishing spot, an oxbow in the Green River north of Kent, Washington, where we lived. It was a lovely place, a little bit of a walk from the road, but you were surrounded by river and trees and grass. I remember well this one trip where we’d been spectacularly successful and had caught a pair of 10-12 pound steelhead, and we were walking back to the car; I was carrying one of the fish, my fingers hooked in the gills, Dad was carrying the other, and my brother Jim was carrying the tackle box, and he saw this thick trickle of dark red blood dripping over my fingers and down the flank of the steelhead, and he puked all over the tackle box. He always had a delicate stomach. I also used to tease him about how he’d get seasick on ferry rides.

Of course, then when he grew up he got a job as a commercial fisherman and spent all his time on a heaving boat in the North Pacific hauling in massive quantities of aquatic beasties, so he’ll probably deny that event.

Anyway, those were good times. The site also had a crumbling wreck in the middle of it, an old school that was decaying walls and broken windows surrounding a gutted interior. My father wouldn’t let us go anywhere near it. He didn’t like the place at all; he’d name it with a little snarl, because it apparently had an ugly history with people who grew up in Kent in the 40s and 50s. I vaguely recall being taunted by other kids about being shipped off to Briscoe if I was bad, but that was about it. All I knew was that it was a step above a ruin, and there was a statue of Jesus in the courtyard, which I was surprised to see erected in the Catholic churchyard in town some years later.

The place was called the Briscoe School for Boys. It was a Catholic reform school where the delinquent kids were sent. That was all I knew about it. A bit out of the way, good fishing, decaying building, occasional whispers of dislike from my parents’ generation.

That’s an impressively oppressive sorta Gothic building to have been plunked down in a small farming town in the Pacific Northwest. I guess the long reach of the Catholic Church meant all kinds of nightmares were assembled in out-ot-the-way places. Even now, the small town I live in in Minnesota has a Catholic history, with the Sisters of Mercy building an Indian boarding school right here in the middle of the prairie. It’s as if some malignant cosmic entity has sprinkled Stephen King bait all across the country.

It was just last tonight that I stumbled across the story of the place. It was founded by the Christian Brothers of Ireland — and you already know what horrors dwelt there, just from that name. Hogwarts it wasn’t; it was a torture factory.

Decades ago, society was much more accepting of corporal punishment, the men alleging abuse acknowledge.

But what happened to them at Briscoe “weren’t beatings, they were torture,” said John Green, a 59-year-old technology consultant who lives near Everett and boarded at Briscoe in the 1950s. “It continued into self-gratification and rage. It had nothing to do with punishment.”

The brothers carried leather straps — about a foot long and an inch or two wide — with which they hit students, the men say.

Jerry Blinn, 65, a retired business manager in Placitas, N.M., said students were punished for anything from getting wrong answers in class to talking in meal lines.

He said one brother would strap students so hard his feet would leave the ground. Blinn, who was sent to Briscoe in 1946 after his widowed, ill and impoverished mother was unable to take care of him, said some brothers also grabbed students by their ears or cheeks and shook them “like a bass on a hook.”

Davison, of Seattle, who ended up at Briscoe about 40 years ago after he ran away from home, remembers being beaten with straps and fists — sometimes so hard he was knocked unconscious. “They beat me half to death there,” he said.

He and some of the other men say they saw brothers beating naked boys with wooden paddles in the showers, and that some brothers had students fight each other.

“It was a truly brutal place,” said Earl Dye, 60, a mental-health counselor in Seattle whose mother sent him to Briscoe around 1955 at the urging of nuns. “In the morning, you would think: ‘I hope I don’t get beaten today.’ And every night you would hope you wouldn’t be one of those boys that the brothers would pull out of bed.”

Several of the men say they would sometimes see brothers take one or two boys out of their dorm-room beds for a while at night.

Pat Gogerty, retired executive director of Childhaven, a local agency serving abused and neglected children, said that happened to his brother, William Gogerty. William lived at Briscoe from about 1937 to 1945. Once, when Pat stayed overnight during a visit, he saw a brother take William out of the room.

“He was gone for a while,” Pat Gogerty said. “He didn’t talk about what happened (then). In those days, you never talked about anything like that.” Years later, his brother told him he had been sexually abused at Briscoe, starting from his first day there at age 8.

Jesus. I had no idea. I’ve known of the Christian Brothers, an evil cabal of self-righteous perverts and sadists, but I always associated them with other places, other countries. But they’d set up shop in my hometown and had creeped out my father years ago? Eerie. Survivors of sexual abuse are still talking about went on there. And what is it with the Catholic Church building prisons for young boys all around the world, and staffing them with psychopaths?

Fruit salad and theocracy

Charles Bethea interviewed Roy Moore’s former law school classmates and professors. Nobody seems to have liked him, one of the professors nicknamed him “Fruit Salad” because he was so confused and mixed up, and they’re uniformly astounded that he’s running for the senate. But they also think he’s going to win.

None of the classmates or professors whom I interviewed, including those who described themselves as Republicans, said that they were supporting Moore’s Senate candidacy. “I probably won’t vote,” Melton said. “That’s how bad it is. I don’t think this Doug Jones has a snowball’s chance in Hell,” he added. “He’s a Democrat and they gonna . . . ” Melton trailed off. “Hell, Moore will get sixty-five per cent of the vote. I don’t care what the polls say.” Melton referred to a recent poll showing that Jones and Moore were tied. “I know what the public is gonna get out and do,” he said, sighing. “I mean, we’re one of three states without a lottery. Southern Baptists control the damn state. And they’ll vote for Roy. It’ll be a landslide.”

And there’s the problem with America in a fruit cup.

Big Gay Wooden Box outraged at Fake News

Those scamps at Answers in Genesis are mad at the Lexington Herald-Leader for reporting on their tax shenanigans. How dare they suggest that AiG wasn’t willing to pay their fair share!

In typical, hackneyed fashion, the Herald-Leader has again misrepresented the Ark Encounter. In its July 27 editorial, the paper omitted key information when it declared that our themed attraction had “protested” contributing to the safety fund of the city of Williamstown. To the unwary reader, it suggested that the Ark was not prepared to pay anything at all. Wrong.

Conveniently omitted was a mention that the Ark Encounter was always prepared to pay into the fund, even up to a generous $500,000 a year for this city of 4,000 people. We merely sought a reasonable cap. That was the sticking point, not an unwillingness to pay into the fund. With the editorial’s words that the Ark is a “non-profit religious organization,” the reader was further led to believe that our “protest” included an excuse not to pay into the fund.

It’s what’s not reported in an editorial or article that can lead to a highly misleading thrust. It would be like this newspaper reporting that Fort Knox’s Patton Museum had no visitors last Monday. That is a true statement on the face of it. But not also mentioning that it is closed on Mondays would make the report misleading.

MARK LOOY

Unlike us poor peons, I guess AiG thinks they get to bargain with tax agencies and tell them that they won’t pay the full amount. You know what would happen to me if I told the Minnesota state government or the IRS that I wasn’t “protesting” the tax rate, but that I’ve decided to cap my contribution to $500 per year? I’d be in jail, with a lot of accountants laughing at me.

Speaking of trying to mislead by omission, how come Looy failed to mention that, in their mad scramble to demonstrate their willingness to support the community with a reasonable cap, they first transferred ownership of the Big Gay Wooden Box to their tax-exempt religious division for $10, and then hastily sold it back for $10 when the state of Kentucky pointed out that that would invalidate their $18 million tax subsidy? That sneaky shuffle seems to me to be a good thing to mention when they claim to have been engaged in good faith negotiations — not mentioning it makes that letter misleading.

Dumb and dumber

Oh, crap. It’s Sunday morning, and all I need is a sermon from dumbshit Jim Carrey. It’s nice that he’s working with former prison inmates, but the most help he seems to providing is dollops of platitudes, while promoting a pernicious and ugly Christian doctrine.

Ultimately, I believe that suffering leads to salvation. In fact, it’s the only way.

No. Ten thousand times no. This is the gospel of Mother Teresa, and it does not lead to salvation — it leads to the veneration of poverty and misery and pain and death. This is why Christianity is a death cult (although, in the case of the prosperity gospel, some splinters of it are transforming themselves into a money cult, which isn’t any better).

Suffering is not a blessing. We should not look on human beings in pain and console ourselves with the thought that the more despair they experience, the more likely they are to find Jesus. We should look on that pain and do what we can to end it.

So yes, it’s good that Carrey is trying to do something to help the needy, but praising their suffering is not the way. Would he also praise cancer for bringing people closer to his god?

Probably. Because he’s a dumbshit.

Where is Shelly Miscavige?

It’s a strange mystery, because apparently we do know where Shelly Miscavige is, and her husband, the twisted egomaniacal head of Scientology, David Miscavige, certainly knows precisely where she is, since he’s such a control freak. Apparently, she’s in California.

Even before Leah Remini came out of Scientology, however, we’d been writing about the strange disappearance of Shelly Miscavige, and we’ve worked hard to investigate her whereabouts through multiple, independent sources. And all of those sources point to one place, where we believe Shelly has been living and working since 2005: the Church of Spiritual Technology headquarters compound near Crestline, California.

So we know where she is. She’s monitored by Scientologists and chooses not to reveal herself, thanks to the nasty psychological shackles that the cult has placed on her. Maybe the question should be “How does Scientology compel Shelly Miscavige to hide?”

Another question might be, “What is Shelly Miscavige doing in Crestline, California?” We apparently know the answer to that, too.

CST is a bizarre sub-entity of Scientology whose mandate is to archive L. Ron Hubbard’s writings and lectures in underground vaults so that they can be recovered after civilization collapses. CST has vaults in three locations in California and one in New Mexico and planned to add another one in Wyoming that seems to be held up. But it’s at the headquarters compound in the mountains above Los Angeles where the actual archiving work goes on, with Hubbard’s words etched on steel plates to be stored in titanium containers filled with inert gases. For the last 12 years, Shelly Miscavige has worked on that project, as well as other Scientology products.

I’ve read Hubbard’s cheesy pulp stories. I’ve read parts of his nonsensical Scientology books. I’ve listened to recordings of his bizarre, rambling, inane lectures.

His crappy words are being etched on steel plates to be stored in titanium containers filled with inert gases, to be preserved for eternity? This is madness.

Remember this, though, when someone tries to tell you the Bible or the Koran are obviously precious because of the believers commitment to preserve and maintain them for generation after generation. That doesn’t mean squat, because human beings sometimes don’t have any taste at all.

Some of them also like to lock people away from their friends and families.

Every time. Every time the Catholics make up nonsense.

The Pope has just reiterated a rule about the Eucharist.

The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition. It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament. It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist. Hosts should obviously be made by those who are not only distinguished by their integrity, but also skilled in making them and furnished with suitable tools.

The newest rule:

Hosts that are completely gluten-free are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist. Low-gluten hosts (partially gluten-free) are valid matter, provided they contain a sufficient amount of gluten to obtain the confection of bread without the addition of foreign materials and without the use of procedures that would alter the nature of bread.

I remember being inundated with mail from outraged Catholics explaining the nature of the communion wafer: it specifically transformed into the flesh of Jesus when served, although it wasn’t a change of substance but of spirit. And now I learn that Jesus can only be made from wheat, and specifically must include some quantity of gluten, or the magic doesn’t work.

I’m pretty sure that if there were an actual Jesus, son of a god, living in Palestine 2000 years ago, he would not have been made of wheat, and he would have been gluten-free. I’m also pretty sure that the menu from the last supper was not preserved — there are more than enough silly arguments about whether the bread was leavened or unleavened — that for all we know they might have been nibbling on nice slices of pumpernickel, and no Catholic has ever shared the right kind of bread at communion, so they’re all going to hell.

As if you needed another reason to boycott Hobby Lobby…

In addition to being hypocritical moralists and outright bigots, the owners are now certifiable international criminals. They’re building a “Museum of the Bible” in Washington DC, and Steve Green wanted to stock it with ancient artifacts, so he threw buckets of money at Middle Eastern thieves to buy up ancient relics, knowing full well that this was illegal and was supporting looting. The guy is a fucking crook who’s feeding the destruction of history, all in the name of his bible.

He has to give them back (almost pointless, given the loss of provenance) and pay a $3 million fine, a pittance for a guy worth $5 billion. A more appropriate sentence would have involved extensive jail time and closure and confiscation of his museum.

My kids are going to be so disappointed in me

I’ve failed. Compared to that model father, Jay Sekulow, I’ve completely failed at life.

Poor Christians opened their wallets to a religious nonprofit run by Donald Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow. In turn, Sekulow hired one of his own teenage sons—straight out of a Nickelodeon internship—and named him a “director” of the charity, where the son subsequently earned nearly a million dollars.

We raised our kids godless and with the weird idea that grifting was an immoral act. Now they’re going to look at their bank accounts and wonder why I was so cruel to them. Heck, I’m looking at my bank account and thinking I must have messed up.

The Sekulow family has full control of CASE [Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism], which raked in $229 million in donations from 2011 to 2015 alone, The Washington Post reported. CASE solicited donations through an aggressive phone campaign. A script for CASE telemarketers, obtained by The Guardian, instructed callers to pressure the poor for money. “Could you possibly make a small sacrificial gift of even $20 within the next three weeks?” the script instructed telemarketers to ask retirees, the unemployed, and other people who said they were too poor to give. The donations would go toward preserving “our traditional Christian values,” the script said.

Just call me a bad dad. Oh well. At least I’m not going to go to jail for that kind of fraud!

Wait. Neither is Sekulow, I guess.

In a statement to The Guardian, a Sekulow spokesperson said the nonprofit’s payouts were all legal.

Damn. I should have followed the American Way, but I done fucked up.