Because Jesus

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Back in the day, 2003, when moral superiority was important, and assuming his paying his victims off had worked for him, Dennis Hastert, still high after going after Bill Clinton for having consentual sex with another adult declared,

“It is important to have a national notification system to help safely recover children kidnapped by child predators, but it is equally important to stop those predators before they strike, to put repeat child molesters into jail for the rest of their lives and to help law enforcement with the tools they need to get the job done.”

But when his activities were uncovered, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert begged for leniency for covering up decades of sexual abuse.

Instead of life, Hastert got 15 months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release and sex offender treatment.

Oh, but he wasn’t told to stay out of public restrooms. He can still use those.

This sentence, I mean slap n the wrist, resulted from Hastert’s pleading guilty to withdrawing large amounts of money in small amounts to avoid detection and then using the cash to pay off one of his victims.

In a real ballsy move, Hastert had asked his former political protege, Tom Cross, to write a letter of support in hopes of receiving a lighter sentence.

This act was beyond despicable because Tom Cross is the brother of Scott Cross, one of Hastert’s victims.

Instead, sticking by his brother he stated,

“We are very proud of Scott for having the courage to relive this very painful part of his life in order to ensure that justice is done today. We hope his testimony will provide courage and strength to other victims of other cases of abuse to speak out and advocate for themselves.”

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin called Hastert a serial sex abuser, someone who Hastert believes, or claimed to believe, should be put away for life.

But Hastert had his defenders.

The religious crowd.

“I have observed him in many different and difficult situations. He has never disappointed me in any way. He is a man of strong faith that guides him. He is a man of great integrity. He loves and respects his fellow man. I have never witnessed a time when he was unkind to anyone. He is always giving to others and helping anyone including me so many times.

So I know his heart and have seen it up close and personal. We all have our flaws, but Dennis Hastert has very few. He is a good man that loves the lord. He gets his integrity and values from Him. He doesn’t deserve what he is going through. I ask that you consider the man that is before you and give him leniency where you can,”

wrote Tom DeLay.

Representative Thomas Ewing, a former colleague wrote,

“Denny Hastert and I were as close as brothers, sharing our goals, ambitions, and our family life, both the ups and the downs. I know him as a man of faith, integrity and honesty. He was an extremely hard worker, always willing to extend a helping hand to others.

With his achievements during his record-setting years as Speaker, he ranked with the greatest of our former Speakers, bar none.”

He loves Jesus, so let’s just turn our backs.

He got support from over 40 Republicans and his wife who, while pleading for mercy, seems to forget that the victims’ lives were not easy, and that they suffered.

Notice how callous his wife comes across.

“If one of his students or wrestlers ever needed anything of him, he would be there for them, and he was never happier than when he could watch someone he helped succeed. Now, with his failing health, I worry about how much time we will ever get together … This has taken a terrible toll on our family.”

Because no toll was taken on the victims or their families.

Dave Hastert, his brother wrote,

“He’s looked down upon by the county and a lot of people, who came to him in the past for help (and not for what he being charged with), now no one wants anything to do with him. Depression, that’s going to set in sooner or later … If it were me, I’d be wheeling that [wheel] chair to the highway and waiting for a semi.”

Because the victims were never depressed

David Dreier, another former colleague wrote,

“I write to tell you that Dennis Hastert is one of the most dedicated and hard working public servants I’ve known. More than a decade ago we established the House Democracy Partnership which has worked to strengthen legislative bodies in new and reemerging democracies across the globe. It’s an important part of his long list of accomplishments. Colombia was one of our partner countries. His efforts to transform that country are widely recognized.”

The other writers asked the court to remember his years of dedicated service in politics, and reminded the court that Hastert is in poor health.

They include former California Representatives John T. Doolittle , Thomas Ewing, and Porter Goss, who also once headed the CIA along with former Illinois Attorney General Ty Fahner, former Illinois state Representative Doris Karpiel, retired Kendall County Sheriff Richard Randall, and, for some reason, Leo Kocher, a wrestling coach at the University of Chicago.

When the letters were submitted to the court, the writers thought they would remain sealed. But when the judge ruled they had to be made public, 19 writers withdrew theirs.

Apparently, although they defend and support Hastert, they don’t want people to know who they are.

They are that committed to what they believe.

The judge dismissed concerns that the public’s knowing about Hastert’s conduct would be rough on him.

“If there’s a public shaming of the defendant because of the conduct he’s engaged in, so be it”, said judge Durkin as he handed down his sentence.

 

But most are not fetuses

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On April 21 the Coates Amendment to the Energy and Water Agencies Appropriations Act failed by a vote of 48-49

All Senate Democrats, with the exception of Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, voted against the amendment, and were joined by Five Republicans, Lisa Murkowski, Bill Cassidy, Rob Portman, Lamar Alexander, and Dean Heller.

However, 47 Senate Republicans (and that lone Democrat) voted not to provide federal aid for children that were poisoned by the decisions of Michigan’s Republican governor.

The Coates Amendment was offered by Indiana Republican Senator Dan Coates, who had explained,

“Last month, nearly 10 years since the program’s inception, the Government Accountability Office took a look at the program’s finances and found that the Department of Energy is quietly sitting on unspent funds. The history of this loan program suggests that the best course of action is to give the money back.”

But it was not the best course.

The failure of the amendment means that the money can be used in Flint, but the idea that 47 Republicans attempted to prevent that is a little more than disturbing.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid was none too happy:

“Three of the four Republican cosponsors of legislation to help the people of Flint voted to eliminate the funding source today. It is a disturbing trend that Senate Republicans are regularly unable to fulfill their commitments. The Senate cannot function if senators do not keep their word.

Republicans have proven once again that they are willing to turn their backs on the people of Flint. Every time the Senate comes close to a bipartisan compromise to help children suffering from lead poisoning, Republicans find an excuse to back away. Today, Republicans voted to remove a funding source for legislation to tackle Flint’s water crisis without offering a single dime to clean their poisoned water. More than 100,000 people – including 9,000 children under the age of six – have been poisoned in the city of Flint, and it is unconscionable that Republicans would attempt to deny them the support they desperately need.”

I guess those GOPers forgot that there might be some fetuses being affected by the lead water.

She has quite the image of herself.

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When Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell was up for discussion, then Senator John Kerry had one question for all the overweight, middle aged men who expressed concern about being approached in the shower by a Gay soldier. He wanted to know how high an opinion of themselves these guys had if their biggest objection to Gay soldiers was that they themselves were so irresistible that the very sight of them would cause a Gay man to lose control.

It might have been a tongue in cheek question whose purpose was to show how absurd the fishing for objections had become.

Now we have the “Bathroom Bills’ that are based on no facts at all, as there have been no reported cases of Transgender people preying on people in restrooms, although we have numerous cases of old Republicans doing that.

The president of The Liberty Council,  the theocratic law group that not only defended Kim Davis for her refusal to do the job she had been elected to do, but encouraged her to continue to refuse to hand marriage license to same sex couples because she had a religious objection, Anita Staver has announced that she plans to carry her Glock .45 handgun with her to the women’s restroom at Target stores.

She feels, apparently, that being as irresistible as she is, she needs to “protect” herself from anyone she thinks is Transgender.

If her name seems somewhat familiar, Anita Staver is married to Mat Staver, head of the legal team that defended Kim Davis in her effort to deny same-sex couples the right to marry and orchestrated her public release from jail.

What people like Anita don’t seem to realize is that there is a huge possibility they have already been in the restroom with a Transgender person and nothing happened, a situation most unlike those awkward moments when you enter a restroom and some asks you if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and savior.

They are supporting a solution to a non-existent problem.

I live in New Bedford now, the Whaling City, and I am sure there are a lot of whales angry at the Whale-ocide that was centered here during the the 19th Century, and would probably like to avenge the ancestors they lost and the whales never born.

So I have placed a harpoon on the wall next to the window that faces the harbor so that, perhaps, seeing it there any whale seeking revenge will avoid my apartment, or I will be ready when the invasion happens.

Imagine how I would look if I went to a city council meeting and advocated that the city require every home within a five block distance to the piers have a harpoon for defense against vengeful whales.

But solutions are needed even when there is no problem for them to solve.

Meanwhile, no one has proposed any law to restrict the use of public restrooms by convicted sex offenders, and Dennis Hastert who once said in 2003 that any repeat child molesters should be put away for life was very happy with 15 months in prison and then two years of restricted movement.  in spite of multiple mollestations.

Although not all clergy are child molesters, but there have been a measurable number of them, clergy have not as a group had any laws passed against them being near children.

But Transgender Americans can now be arrested in such places as Oxford, Alabama, if they use a public restroom. They are supposed to only pee at home.

 

 

Will the real Trump please stand up

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Since Donald Trump rode down his escalator to announce he was running for president, there have been two opinions about his subsequent performance.

Okay, actually one opinion, but there are two theories to explain the performance.

Although the Left and Right may differ on why, their opinions are rather similar in essence.

The first theory is that he was pretending to be the man we saw in front of the cameras as he was playing a role for his own benefit, and to gauge if people would follow that presentation.

The left saw him as a self-serving attention seeker who would drop out if his ego got wounded by a low response, while the Right claimed he was encouraged to run by the Democrats so that the GOP would be disgraced.

The second theory is that there would be too many people who would buy the act and support the cartoon they were watching. The left was somewhat surprised how many people seemed to be waiting for the opportunity and the validation of their opinions to express their bigotry strongly and publicly, while the Right was somewhat embarrassed by who came out of the wood work and ho strongly they did so.

Now that this image has a following, having said out loud what people were thinking and giving permission for bigotry to bespoken aloud, Trump’s team has informed the GOP that he has been ‘projecting an image’, and “the part that he’s been playing is now evolving”.

Both of these would seem to verify the claims of the Right and Left, but not necessarily the motivation.

They now say that he will moderate his tone in the coming months to help deliver big electoral gains this fall, in spite of his earlier performance.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s senior aide, made the case to Republican National Committee members that Trump has a private and public personality.

“When he’s out on the stage, when he’s talking about the kinds of things he’s talking about on the stump, he’s projecting an image that’s for that purpose. You’ll start to see more depth of the person, the real person. You’ll see a real different way.

He gets it. The part that he’s been playing is evolving into the part that now you’ve been expecting, but he wasn’t ready for, because he had first to complete the first phase. The negatives will come down. The image is going to change.”

The message was welcomed by some party officials but criticized by others who suggested it raised doubts about his authenticity.

Ben Carson, a Trump ally who has sold his soul to Trump for perhaps some offered role in the Trump administration if he wins, has said, “He’s trying to moderate. He’s getting better.”

However, as Trump’s advisers were promising that he would moderate his message, Trump himself was insisting,

“I just don’t know if I want to do it yet. At some point, I’m going to be so presidential that you people will be so bored.”

Although he is not going to do it now, the fact that he said he would eventually do it does seem to imply that he knows he is playing a role, and admitting it.

 

Know your audience, or just don’t speak

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It used to be that candidates kissed babies. Well, not all of them. Batman was running for city council in Gotham once, but refused to kiss one because it was not hygienic, and could be harmful to the child.

Now it seems eating and being filmed doing so is the thing.

But, there are dangers in that.

Poor John Kasich went to a pizzeria in New York, and rather than pick up the slice placing his index  finger in the center of the crust and folding the pizza by raising the thumb and middle finger, he used a knife and fork.

A knife and fork.

Obviously while attempting to show he was one of the guys, he showed he clearly wasn’t.

Then there was that pickle thing.

In a deli he savored various styles of pickles, but it was obvious from what was on the plate that these were new pickles and not the aged sour savory ones those from the Northeast pine for when we are living west of the Appalachians.

He might as well have been eating cucumbers with the word “pickle” written on them.

His next error was standing outside a matza bakery and, while talking, carelessly shaking the box of matzas potentially breaking them, which would render them unusable on Passover, and instead merely large crackers

But as bad as these faux pas were, it was when he forgot that the appeal to Christianity to get the evangelical vote just doesn’t work when you are in a Hasidic section of Brooklyn.

At a book store in Borough Park, he encountered a group of Talmud students.

“What do you guys do?” Kasich asked them.

“Study,” was the reply.

“And what are you studying?” Kasich asked.

“Talmud,” the men responded.

“OK, but what are you learning right now?”

“Um …” Long pause.

“And what is your lesson?” Kasich pressed.

“Hilchos Shabbos. The laws of the Sabbath.”

“Yeah …” Kasich said.

This was followed by an awkward pause.

“You know who I like?” Kasich finally said. “Joseph. You guys like Joseph? You study Joseph? What do you think about Joseph? Did you hear the most important thing Joseph said to his brothers?”

Crickets.

That would be like going to a catholic high school run by nuns and asking the kids, “Hey, ever hear about Saint Peter?”

And being the true evangelical pandering politician he is, he forgot his Christian privilege and displayed his assumption that it’s all Christianity all the time in the United States when he attempted another awkward conversation about the upcoming Passover.

“The order from God, on the last, on the last plague that was sent to the Egyptians, was the first born, every male was going to be visited by the Angel of Death. ‘Let my people go. Let my people go. The Jews were instructed to take the blood of the lamb, and to put the blood of the lamb over the lampposts, over the doorposts, so when the Angel of Death came and saw the blood of the lamb, the Angel of Death would pass over their homes.”

 “The great link between the blood that was put above the lamppost, the blood of the lamb, is Jesus Christ is known as the Lamb of God. And the great link is, it was the blood of the lamb that saved the Jewish people, and in Christianity, it was the blood of the Lamb of God that saves all of us. It’s a wonderful, wonderful holiday for our friends in the Jewish community, the Passover.”

Apparently he does not see that a Jesus reference doesn’t work as well in the most conservative Jewish section in Brooklyn as it does in other parts of the country where religions other than Christianity are consistently dismissed.

During my time teaching middle school level Special Education I had kids who had learning disabilities which meant that they were intellectually equal to their peers, but had some problem processing certain information. Another time I had kids who were labeled “Emotionally Disturbed” which also meant that they were equal to their peers intellectually, but something in their life had overwhelmed them so processing information and living within a larger society was difficult for them.

My job was basically to find ways around these roadblocks so they could eventually attend classes with their peers without intervention.

During class one day an administrator from the central office was visiting the school, and decided to come to my class. To show empathy with my students he sat down next to one of them and began a conversation. He spoke, slow, loud, and in simple vocabulary, which caused the student to look uncomfortably toward me as he wasn’t sure what was wrong with the man in the suit.

I motioned to him to just go with the situation

He did his best to be polite, even as the other kids who were observing this began to look to me and discreetly gesture in an attempt to find out what was wrong with this man who looked important.

After he left, the students wanted to know how someone who obviously would have fit in with Mrs. Dorothy’s kids, whose classroom was filled with elementary level educational books and manipulatives since they were mentally handicapped, had such a good job in the school district.

They were questioningly sympathetic toward this man who seemed to be below them in intellectual capacity.

When I watched, and then re-watched the video of Kasich talking to the Talmud scholars, I saw them shooting the look my students had.

Uncomfortable.

Out of touch