For anyone who thinks that President-Presumptive Trump is not Reaganesque: he has a fraud trial in November and an incredible number of sexual assault and harressment accusations, even before his first day in office. He’ll be well on the way to top the Reagan Administration’s record of 138 investigations, indictments, or convictions on his own. 


i-voted-stickerI stand proudly with what I said about my vote on Election Day, and I refuse to believe that we live in a country where most people do not share these underlying views. (In fact, it appears that by the popular vote, a majority share not only the views, but the vote.) I believe that those who voted for her opponent’s electors did so despite, not because of, their candidate.

Despite the inevitable decision by the Electoral College, I will stand for progress and liberal values:

I voted not for her; I voted so my daughter and other girls could would know that girls can grow up to be President.
I voted so my wife, my daughter, girls and women would know that we recognize the reality of sexual assault but do not accept it.
I voted so those still working to find work in our economy know that we will build on, not reject, the progress made in the past eight years.
I voted so those who work to make our economy run know that we stand with them, not the rentiers who live off of them and their labor.
I voted for the huddled masses yearning to be free, so they know that America is still the land of opportunity.
I voted so that those who identify as racial or ethnic minorities know that we judge people on the content of their character, not on the color of their skin.
I voted so those discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender identity know that we stand with them.
I voted for those facing religious bigots turning their homelands into a hell, so they know that we provide refuge and reject religious intolerance.
I voted so veterans know that the land for which they sacrificed appreciates their contributions.
I voted so those with mental health issues know that we recognize their pain and want to offer solutions.
I voted so those who were on our land before us know that we treasure their sacred land and will fight to protect it.
I voted so those with disabilities know that our country recognizes their value in our society.
I voted so those who live on the coasts, know that we will work to keep their homes on dry land.
I voted so those with polluted air, or poisoned water, know that we are going to work to make their air breathable and water drinkable.
I voted so that she can be our standard bearer for the progress we have made in the past 240 years in our country, and the progress we hope to make in the future.
I voted for her, yes, and for so much more.

John McCain, war hero (front, right)

John McCain, war hero and senator (bottom right)/Library of Congress photo

As has been widely reported, blowhard and presidential candidate Donald Trump has belittled John McCain’s (R, AZ) (Silver Star, Legion of Merit With Combat Distinguishing Device and one star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device and two stars, Purple Heart with one star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with one star and numeral ‘2’, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device and one Star, Combat Action Ribbon, Prisoner of War Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal with one star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with two stars, Commander of the National Order of Vietnam, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation, Vietnam Campaign Medal) record of military service, saying “I like people who weren’t captured.” A number of Republican politicians have (appropriately) attacked Trump for his ridiculous attack.

I’m starting to wonder where they were when:

Max Cleland, war hero and senator US Congress photo

Max Cleland, war hero and senator/US Congress photo

  • Tammy Duckworth (D, IL) (Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Combat Action Badge, Senior Army Aviator Badge) had her service belittled by Joe Walsh.

Tammy Duckworth, war hero and senator/US Congress photo

Tammy Duckworth, war hero and congresswoman/US Congress photo

John Kerry, war hero, senator, Secretary of State/

John Kerry, war hero, senator, Secretary of State

Oh, that’s right. The only thing that matters is that first letter after their names.

Note: if you want to ask J. E. Bush why swiftboating John Kerry is praiseworthy but doing the same to John McCain is reprehensible, you can do so through his website’s contact page.

Iran: WWRRD?


President Ronald Reagan with Caspar Weinberger, George Shultz, Ed Meese, and Don Regan discussing the President's remarks on the Iran-Contra affair, Oval Office

As I hear reports about the new deal with Iran regarding its nuclear program, I have decided to hold it to the standards that conservatives apparently use these days: WWRRD.

As dealings with Iran go, the answer would be: sell the Iranian government weapons in violation of an embargo, in order to illegally fund Central American terrorists trying to overthrow a democratically elected government.

That said, Reagan set a very low bar for U.S. foreign policy with the states on the Persian Gulf and in Mediterranean Asia: Terrorist attack on a Marine barracks in Lebanon? Cut and run. What to do about Saddam Hussein? Sell him chemical weapons, obviously.

Perhaps this new approach is better.

I have a rant building up that has nothing to do with any of my regular subjects. Perhaps I have a new category, the “birthday post”, with my previous editions being: Life Lessons from Vacation (2014), Icarus (2013), and Twelve Things I Wish I’d Known Twenty Years Ago (2012) — none of these have been written on my birthday, but they were all inspired by my thoughts surrounding my birthday.

There is a car company with a commercial out for the new model year of their iconic roadster. (I’m not going to name the car company or embed the commercial because the commercial enrages me so much, but I have included a link for anyone who hasn’t yet seen it.) The outline of the commercial is, you had fun with your car when you were a teenager, then took on responsibilities and had to drive ‘responsible cars’. Now that your children have left home… or you can afford an extra car… or they’re driving themselves… or your wife divorced you for being a selfish prick, you can have the new version of the car you drove as a teenager. In short, now that you’re in your midlife crisis, buy our car. I’ve always thought of this model as a midlife crisis car, but I don’t remember them ever having been so open about it.

I’m not entirely sure why my response to the commercial is so strong. Perhaps part is because I find the rhyming cloying. It’s probably more because I’ve never defined myself by the car I drive, and I find the idea of owning a car because it’s ‘fun’ to be ridiculous. Perhaps I find this grating because I have been having a crisis in my midlife, and have been for a few years, but I know that it won’t be solved by buying a car that reminds me of when I was me.

Frankly, the idea that there is a time, “when you were you” (as the commercial has it) is laughable — particularly in reference to the high school years. I am who I am, and I like much about who I am. I would be as disoriented being a younger version of myself as the high school me would be if he suddenly found himself in my current life. Back in high school I was (like it seems everyone else is at that age) floundering, trying to figure out who I was, and not realizing that that process is one that only time can determine, and that time will continually change the answer.

At this time of year it does get hard to not think about the years I’ve spent in jobs I don’t like, that barely pay the bills (if that), and that don’t give me an opportunity to use my talents or make a contribution. It’s hard to not rethink all the choices I’ve made that have contributed to my failures, and wonder if I could have made different decisions while keeping the relationships that make my life worth living. All of that makes it difficult to remember that I do have talents, that I can make a contribution, and that I can make life better for others (and maybe for myself, too).

Even with all of that, I wouldn’t want to go back to who I was in high school, or even in college. (I was a grumpy SOB then, too, for one thing.) That said, there are aspects of myself that have softened over the years I wouldn’t mind reclaiming (the self-confidence, the competitiveness, the passions, the combativeness, the metabolism).

So, my message to the manufacturer is this: midlife crises are crises. Your car won’t fix them. Pretending it will is predatory bullshit.

P.S.: “Driver’s license… took two tries.” When I was in high school, we called those people bad drivers, it was never something to be proud of.

A great piece on the difference between civil and religious marriage from a clerical perspective.

Glass Overflowing

It is an odd relationship–the way ministers often act as agents of the state to sign civil marriage licenses. We can’t sign any other documents on behalf of the state. But hundreds of years ago, when marriages all (mostly) took place in churches, we entrenched the two acts–the act of the church in joining people in the covenant of sacred marriage and the act of the state in conferring civil rights and relationships to couples.

There has been plenty of fear ever since the Supreme Court ruled last week that marriage equality was the law of the land. Much of this fear has been promoted by fear mongerers, threatening to set themselves on fire (just kidding–I’m not kidding about this. He was. A minister said he would set himself on fire if the Supreme Court ruled as it did). And the fear mongerers are successfully ‘mongering’ a…

View original post 758 more words


The horrific racist terrorism at Emanuel AME church in Charleston, brought a quick reminder that the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia was still being flown by the South Carolina state legislature. A great fracas has ensued, including my early contribution here:

Much of the debate has focused on the post-1865 meaning of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia and its rectangular counterpart, the battle flag of the Army of Tennessee/Confederate Naval Jack. From the flags’ adoption by the nation’s largest terrorist organization shortly after the war (where they were clearly attempting to claim the heritage of the Confederate Army) I have seen charted the inclusion of the flags in the state flag of Georgia (1956), and the running up of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia in South Carolina (1962) as responses to the African-American civil rights movement. (Mississippi, on the other hand, incorporated the flag into their own in 1894, which raises the question, “What precipitated Mississippi’s 1894 flag change?”)

For example, it is clear from context that the Klan (and many of their ‘intellectual’ allies) have meant the flag to be an instrument of terror (like their ‘illuminated’ crosses) as well as a claim of revolt and descent from the armed forces of the Confederacy. On the other hand the states of, Georgia and South Carolina appear to have meant theirs in revolt, rejecting anti-segregation laws. In both cases, there is clearly a racist element to their displays.

Let’s go back a bit now… like a century before South Carolina raised their flag. What was the original meaning of the battle flags and naval jack?


Well, it wasn’t “states’ rights”, because even if that had been the cause of the war, there was another flag for that:

(And, if you do think that “states’ rights” were the cause of the Civil War, you might want to read the declarations of secession for South Carolina, Texas, and Mississippi the only right in question was the right to own slaves — to exploit, to beat, to rape, and to murder fellow human beings.)

constitution_3_of_4_630No, the flag in question is a flag used in battle as the identifier of a military unit. It never flew over any of the Confederate capitols (neither statehouses, nor the national capitol). It was displayed by those troops who were actively engaged in war against the United States of America. In other words, the flags in question were solely used by illegal militias whose sole purpose was armed insurrection against the United States of America. The Constitution has a little something to say about that:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

US Constitution, Article III, Section 3

Even by this very strict definition, the people fighting under the flags in question were committing treason, something that President Lincoln knew well. It was the reason for the reason for his general pardon. He knew that there were those in Congress who would want the Confederates prosecuted to the full extent of the law, which would mean that the white adult male population of the returning states would be reduced dramatically (even more so if they included those ‘adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort’).

What does it mean today to fly those flags today? Well, you might mean that you take pride in your Southern or rural heritage. There were surely many Confederate soldiers who displayed gallantry and were respected by their opponents — Lee, Jackson, and Hill come to mind — but they are counterbalanced by the systemic slaughter through starvation and disease at Andersonville, and there is certainly a romance surrounding failed causes (see the English Cavaliers, late Scottish Covenanters, Russian monarchy, and Paris Commune). And Southern culture reaches far beyond the Confederacy and the antebellum South, so there is no reason for it to be defined by secession. Don’t be surprised if the reaction you receive is to be treated as a racist terrorist — because that is what it has meant to African-Americans for a century and a half.

The one meaning that cannot be escaped, though, is that by displaying the flag you have claimed to be an active member of the Army of Northern Virginia, Army of Tennessee, or Confederate Navy — illegal militias whose sole purpose is armed rebellion against the United States of America. In short, you have declared yourself to be a traitor. You should be happy if you are treated as such.

%d bloggers like this: