the persecuted male speaks

On January 20, 2018, there was a meeting before the Women’s March in New Bedford, and the organizers limited the attendance to women, although men took part in the March afterwards, the rally in front of the downtown library, and the small get together after in the room where the meeting had been held.

This was understandable as those in attendance may have wanted to express thoughts and opinions in a safe space with people of like mind and experiences. The presence of men could very well have limited the free flow of the discourse. Some women would probably want to speak without fear of judgment or lack of empathy, while others might have been attending the meeting after much internal debate having never attended a meeting like this before and at which they may speak about their concerns and experiences publically and for the first time ever.

Although the media was not barred, the organizers specified they wanted only female reporters in attendance.

Again, the desire was to have the coverage as close to the actual proceedings and content as possible without the fear of its being filtered through the male perspective which, as pure as the intentions of the reporter may have been, had a greater chance of misrepresentation and bias than with women reporting.

The male reporters would have filtered their coverage through a male perspective and understanding, and their presence could have impaired free expression and would have been a subtle and unintentional form of control and disruption.

A male host on the local talk radio station, a station that is known for its heavily conservative bias, wrote an opinion piece on the event the following day on the radio station’s website condemning it as having been an example of hypocrisy as the women who in his words “screech” about discrimination, not only exercised it themselves, but in so doing violated the freedom of the press by their requirement that reporters be women.

It is important to note, they did not bar members of the media from attending, but wanted those who did to be women for obvious reasons.

With women reporting on women and the content of the discussion they had, there would have been a better chance of reportage being more faithful to the meeting than how a male might have reported it. Something that was important to the women may not have seemed so to a male, with the opposite being true, and the reportage could be skewed because of that.

The radio host’s claim of First Amendment suppression was somewhat illustrative of the problem many of the women may have spoken of, ie the lack of women employed in certain male dominated positions because the station had no women reporters to send, or so it claimed, nor, it would seem, any female employees in any position who could be sent to cover the event for that matter. This would be hard to accept, especially when, once it was pointed out that only 15% of the station’s on air talent are women, the defense was that 50% of their off air employees are female, yet it was decided that none of them were capable of covering the meeting for the station.

I am not a reporter, but this blog has shown I can report on things I have participated in, as could a woman from the station have done in this case.

In spite of the time between the event’s being announced and its taking place, the station could not find a woman employee who would attend and report? Or was their intention to create a situation they were hoping to complain about?

Again there was no lock out of the press, but obviously the station was unable to send a woman, or chose not to so it could have a false issue to bloviate about.

They sent a male reporter.

The women may not have been all that incorrect in assuming a male would not speak about the discussion in the meeting in a faithful way. The opinion piece to which I referred described the meeting as being held in the bowels of the building, obviously to imply something hidden and nefarious. In reality, the meeting was held in a building that had once been a department store, and took place on the ground floor in a large corner room that had two glass facades, one facing a street with high pedestrian traffic due to its location, the other the vacant lot behind that is used as a pedestrian walk way.

Obviously a purposeful misrepresentation.

Further evidence of bias was the author’s describing the women who participated as “those screeching against discrimination”.

Males discuss and offer reasoned arguments concerning things they oppose. Women screech.

According to one of the radio station employees, defending the women’s restriction would have been a valid position if the male reporter “had been allowed in, stripped himself naked and screamed something contrary or disruptive to the message of those speaking and assembling, but that isn’t what happened.”

Obviously this lacks the understanding that disruptions do not always have to be loud and demonstrative, but can be quiet and subtle if it effectively silences those who would have spoken without it.

Sometimes presence is enough to stifle.

At the school I taught at in Southern California in the 1980s many parents and students were immigrants, and of those many were refugees from the wars taking place in Central America at the time. On one particular parents’ night the parents were gathered in the auditorium for the introductory speeches and award presentations. While it had no affect on the other parents, when the Junior ROTC students walked unannounced into the auditorium for the presentation of colors and quietly lined up along the two sides of the auditorium, there was panic among the Central American parents and students, some of whom fled out the doors at the rear of the room. Those who remained were visibly nervous and kept surreptitiously looking over at the ROTC, and only became visibly relaxed when they left. However, they were obviously not as cheerful about the proceedings then as their smiles and chatter had shown they were before.

The JROTC were not screaming and acting in a demonstrative manner, but their mere uniformed presence was threatening and disruptive to those for whom the quiet entrance of people in military uniforms had been a harbinger of death.

Fear is disruptive.

Having not experienced what the Central Americans had, the other parents may not have understood the reaction, but their understanding or lack of it did not change the reality of the people whose participation in the program was stopped immediately.

This had been a silent and silencing disruption.

So here, with the pre-Women’s March meeting, we have yet another case of those with privilege feeling persecuted because something either does not include them, can happen without their input, or they experienced the same treatment they have traditionally meted out to others.

People without the experiences should not be so eager to pass judgment on the actions of those who have had them.

It must be tough to be a male in the United States what with all the historical mistreatment they have suffered at the hands of women.



The early Christian church had a problem.

Only those could be saved who had accepted Jesus Christ and were baptized. Some more contemporary churches would say you are not saved unless you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior. My father, a Boston Irish Catholic from the old school, would occasionally joke about some really Christ-like person who was not Catholic saying, “Nice person. Too bad they won’t be saved.”

But the early church had a geography problem. There were a lot of people who were in places disciples couldn’t get to, North and South America are two such examples, so they could not get baptized.

What happens to them now?

It is one thing to reject Christ, but what about those who have not heard of Him. Between Adam and Eve with the apple and Jesus showing up, there were a lot of people who died with that Original Sin that Jesus was coming to erase, and obviously would have had no chance to accept or reject Him.

The church solved that problem by explaining that over that weekend between His death and resurrection, whatever He spent His time doing, one thing Jesus did was go to where all the dead people were hanging around twiddling their thumbs and introduce Himself, giving them the chance to be saved. Apparently, since no one said otherwise, they all took the deal and went to heaven. But this applied only to good people as the bad ones had already been sent to hell. There was no uncertainty for those guys.

Those good people Jesus saved were in for a surprised since they hadn’t known how much better heaven was going to be and thought all those years they had been in the best place possible. It had been like thinking that the local amusement park was the best place to be, and then getting to go to Disneyland.

But this still left the baby problem.

Adults can hear the teachings and then either accept or reject them, so the heaven or hell thing is somewhat acceptable, if you don’t count those who haven’t heard about Him yet, and who still need a place to go.

The babies.

They can’t understand what is said to them for a good year, so what chance did they have to accept or reject the noises they hear people pushing in their direction. So the practice began to baptize the babies soon after birth so that the babies would be saved, assuming they would continue to accept Jesus when they got older and knew words.

But what about those still-born ones and the ones who died between birth and baptism? They couldn’t be sent to hell. That would be so un-Christ-like.

So, Limbo was invented. That place all those people who had died between the Garden of Eden and Jesus  went was reopened and called Limbo.

These “Innocents”, whether newborn babies or isolated people in places where missionaries haven’t shown up to give them the either/or choice went to Limbo where they enjoy what they think is ultimate bliss because they have not done anything that warrants hell, but also not the right thing to go to heaven. They will spend eternity thinking this is the best that is.

Basically Limbo is that place you put people you don’t know what to do with. You just hang them out there.

They haven’t committed any sins because they don’t know the rules they would have to break in order to do that. They are too young.

The early church made up all these rules and then held people who didn’t know about them, the babies that is, to them, and then threatened them with some sort of punishment because of situations over which they had no control.

I have no idea why they didn’t just acknowledge the babies have no real responsibility for things and would just give them a break.

But people in charge like having rules that insure that power, and go to great lengths to find ways to maintain that power. Of course, part of that is just putting people in Limbo because you just don’t want to address the absurdity, or revamp the faulty approach they have been using.

The DREAMers have broken no laws. They came as children with the parents they had no reason, or capacity to question. They lived according to the rules they know.

And now, as they wait to learn what will happen to them, they are placed in Limbo, but unlike the people who are supposedly in the real one, they had a chance to see the American dream, and know what they could be a part of, if the people in charge would look at reality and adjust.



He isn’t

When I was a kid in elementary school, the nuns told us all about the saints hoping we might become like at least one of them. Of course, whether or not we did was not simply a question of our proclaiming it, but it had to be witnessed by others and display consistency. You couldn’t say you were like St Jerome, the hermit who lived and prayed in the wilderness merely because you stayed in your room one night eating just one slice of pizza instead of two, watching  news shows on television instead of the stuff you liked while claiming you are a hermit separated from the world while fasting.

You might not have had to move into the mountains and live in a cave, but you did have to live with his spirit.

We all want to be like someone much better than our self-esteem allows us to think we are, and we want others to think that too.

Donald Trump wants to be just like Ronald Reagan or to at least be thought of as such.

He said so.

In explaining the new Trump, the one who sold himself to whoever would buy his act that he was their candidate, especially evangelicals he said,

“If you look at Ronald Reagan, and he was a Democrat, he was actually, he was a Democrat with a very liberal, or at least a pretty liberal bent, and he became a Republican with a somewhat conservative — I wouldn’t say very, but he was a conservative Republican.”

And how he suffers the same slings and arrows as Ronnie.

“I’ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author. Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I!”

The problem there is that people had been looking to the book he referred to as containing proof that Trump is not all there, and Ronald Regan had that same problem when people began to wonder if he was suffering with a touch of Alzeimers.

Sort of in line with this he tweeted,

“Now that Russian collusion, after one year of intense study, has proven to be a total hoax on the American public, the Democrats and their lapdogs, the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence.”

When he touted his tax plan he claimed,

“Our last major tax rewrite was 31 years ago. It eliminated dozens of loopholes and special interest tax breaks, reduced the number of tax brackets from 15 to two, and lowered tax rates for both individuals and businesses. At the time, it was really something special. It was a time of extraordinary optimism — it was truly ‘Morning in America,’ an economic miracle for the middle class.”

He was just like Reagan, if, of course, Reagan’s plan had not been a bipartisan bill in whose formulation Congressional Republicans and Democrats worked together with Reagan.

With his “Make America Great Again” he points out that Reagan’s America was the last time America was great.

But the big difference that threatens the necessary consistency to merit a real likeness was the bill that allowed migrants to qualify for temporary status if they showed that they entered the United States before Jan. 1, 1982, and had continuously resided since then, and which could get them permanent residency within 18 months if they met certain requirements, such as learning English. The program took effect in 1987, and covered 350,000 people who had worked in U.S. agriculture at least 90 days in each of the preceding three years.

2.7-million migrants got green cards.

Reagan called it amnesty, and Edwin Meese, Reagan’s former attorney general, explained the law this way,

 “President Reagan called this what it was: amnesty. Indeed, look up the term ‘amnesty’ in Black’s Law Dictionary, and you’ll find it says, ‘the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act provided amnesty for undocumented aliens already in the country.’ “

The difference is Trump wants to play with the DACA kids and has gone so far as to throw over 1,000 out of the country after they served in the military.

Trump is no Ronald Reagan




an economic fable

An old man was walking in an unused field near where many children often played, and found a wide and very deep hole, as deep as he was tall.  He thought this could be dangerous since any child running in the area could accidentally fall into the hole and not be found until it was too late.

The old man asked around, but it seemed whoever owned the land and was responsible for the hole had moved on leaving the hole behind.

So, whenever he had the chance, the old man would bring a wheelbarrow full of dirt and dump the contents in the hole. He did this as often as he could, but it was not the only thing in his life, so it took quite a number of trips.

Another man had seen the old man pass by his house occasionally, but then only the part of the trip when the wheelbarrow as filled with dirt, and told his neighbors about the obviously feeble minded old man who was always pushing a wheelbarrow filled with dirt  down the street.

The man’s neighbors began to watch him as well.

After a few months, he had filled the hole within three inches of the rim, but on what should have been his last trip to finally fill the hole, he felt a pain in his chest and went home to rest where he died that night.

When the man who had made fun of him noticed he had not seen the old man for a few days, out of curiosity, after mentioning this to his neighbors,  he and a few of them walked in the direction the old man had always walked when pushing his dirt filled wheelbarrow to maybe see what he had been doing.

As they walked through the unused field, they came upon the old man’s wheelbarrow lying on its side with its contents spilled out of it and a shovel lying beside it.

While the others looked on, one of them shoveled the remaining dirt into the hole giving it a small additional inch high mound on top.

Many parents of the children who played in that field praised him because their children could have skinned a knee tripping on the rim of the hole as they ran by it. Having seen the wheelbarrow with the dirt spilling out of it, they couldn’t understand why the old man had begun digging such a dangerous hole, and some got angry at the old man.

In their praise of the man who put the last dirt on the hole, few of those who had seen the old man with the wheelbarrow filled with dirt seemed to recall that he was always walking toward, not away from the hole with it.

Although the old man had filled in the lower 5’7” of the hole, those who looked on had only seen the last 4 inches being put on the top.

When he left office, President Clinton left his successor a hefty surplus which he in turn reversed, leaving his successor with an economy that was the worst depression since the big one in1929.

This president’ successor had to make a major course correction, and, in spite of the expressed plan of his opponents to make him a one term president, and attempting to make that happen through continuous obstruction, he set in motion the improvement of the economy..

What is happening with the economy now isn’t something that began at the bottom or which suddenly happened, but is the continuation of what began before the present president took office, but for which he is more than happy to claim  total responsibility for.

The hole he claims he filled alone is merely topping off the progress he inherited.


They did it again

Apparently forgetting that there are DACA people in the military who could be sent away to a country they were taken from by their parents and, so , know nothing about, and from the country they grew up in and joined the military to defend, and forgetting most Americans who pay attention have seen repeatedly that as long as troops are good photo ops or can be used as the go to “victim” to justify some harebrained political proposal, but are abandoned the moment they are of no use, losing benefits and programs, the Republicans, with Trump leading the charge, have decided on a tactic of claiming that the other party that wants to do right by the DREAMers must hate the troops.

But no amount of flag pins worn, bunting hung, and loud, but empty, protestations of utter troop support can erase or hide the reality.

As the government shut down, there was an attempt to play the troops against the DREAMERS by calling the DREAMers “illegal aliens” that people want to protect while claiming the troops are being betrayed by having their pay frozen.

Trump tried to do this by tweeting,

“Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!”


“A government shutdown will be devastating to our military…something the Dems care very little about!”,

Mitch McConnell, with the appropriate breaking voice verging on tears, told the Democrats as the shutdown they were willing to accept unless DACA was dealt with as it should have been before Trump changed his mind again was approaching,

For America’s men and women in uniform, shutting down the government means delayed pay.” 

But the truth we are not supposed to know or remember, if we once knew it, is that before the shutdown, Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, had proposed a measure to guarantee military families get paid even during it.

As she stated,

“I don’t want one moment to pass with there being any uncertainty of any soldier anywhere in the world that they will be paid for the valiant work they do on behalf of our national security…I ask for immediate consent.”

Mitch McConnell objected to her proposal.

He complained that the Democrats did not like the troops and preferred foreigners to them, and, yet, he is the one who, as the head of the Senate majority, prevented a pro-troop action.

If the proposal was brought up for a vote and passed, the GOP, and Trump, would have lost their manufactured victim tactic.

This is not supporting the troops.

separating his fiction from actual fact

Trump loves branding.

He puts his name on many businesses that eventually fail, makes up nicknames for his opponents with the same fervor of a middle school bully, and gives titles to things like they were products vis-a-vis the “Schumer Shutdown”.

In that last case, and his similar branding, he does that to cover over the actual facts hoping the brand name will work magic.

Take his uninformed view of immigration that he wants to pass on to his base. He uses the term “chain migration” knowing people will assume it is the actual name, and will accept it without any research.

He said it, so that is what it is.

He connects what he calls chain migration to the visa lottery system, and then hopes that his base will think of picking names out of a hat.

Either he is doing this on purpose as it supports his agenda, or he really does not know how the system actually works.

Following the attack in Manhattan last year when Sayfullo Saipov drove a van into a crowd, Trump saw a chance to politicize this to promote his white nationalist tendencies and kept mentioning that he came to the United States on a diversity visa from Uzbekistan.

“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based. We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter).”

The reality is that the diversity visa program is a merit-based system.

Trump wants to replace a system with the very system he wants to replace.

Some may be surprised to know that the Diversity Immigrant Visa program was a congressional program begun in 1990, 8 years before Schumer was elected to his present senate seat, in response to lobbying by Irish and Italian Americans who felt their families were facing struggles in immigrating, and it requires recipients to meet a number of merit-based factors, including a certain level of education or comparable work experience.

Countries like India, China, and Mexico are eliminated from the program because they have used up their slots in a span of five years.

The program gives those with no family ties a chance to immigrate to the United States, but even then, out of one million applicants only around one hundred thousand get chosen, and of those only half actually come here after successfully passing the vetting that includes fees for the application, background checks, educational requirements, interviews, health examinations, and a number of additional measures.

You do not win a prize.

This is hardly pulling names out of a hat.

Trump relies on confusion to get support from his base, and his misrepresenting what the visa lottery system actually is is yet another example of that.

Unfortunately for him and those who support this tactic, enough people are informed to not fall for it.

He is like a computer


          “Throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. … I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!”

It’s sanctioned discrimination and nothing else.


It was nineteen-eighty something and as he lay unconscious on the bed, the EMTs entered the apartment and were greeted by his rather distraught significant other who explained that in spite of taking his meds, his systems seemed to be breaking down. He had never been that unresponsive before.

The EMTs set up their equipment and were preparing to treat the patient, but when my friend brought out his prescribed meds, in case that would be of importance, they immediately realized that the person unconscious on the bed was suffering with AIDS, put their equipment away, collapsed the gurney, and left.

The AIDS epidemic was in full swing, and by this time medical personnel, especially EMTs, had been trained well enough to take the necessary precautions, but the ill man had to be taken to the hospital in the back seat of a car, but even then, he was left alone in a side room of the emergency room until they could get around to him. Not having received the emergency care he should have at home, in the ambulance, and in the emergency room, he was dead within hours.

The EMTs had said nothing as they left. They offered no explanation for their decision to leave. They just packed things up, which to those present seemed to be part of their preparation for the care it was assumed they were about to administer.

It was the 80s, so the decision to leave could have been based on their fear of AIDS, their not wanting to deal with Gay people, or their belief that AIDS was a punishment from God, and for religious reasons,chose not to cross the deity.

Regardless, a person died.

For those who have ever called EMTs or brought someone to the Emergency Room for whatever reason, imagine your feelings and horror if someone refused to do their job because they did not like something about the person needing the care, especially if that person is powerless at that moment.

If you go into a career that deals with saving injured people, making sick people well, and keeping people safe, it would appear to be the wrong career choice if you find ways to avoid doing that,

The Trump White House this week has changed the focus of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR) by having it protect the “religious freedom” of health care providers with the institution of the “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” (CRFD) whose job will be to ensure providers are allowed to opt out of providing care when they have objections based on personally held religious beliefs.

The obvious victims of this religious preference over civil law are GLBT people, people living with HIV/AIDS, and women who seek to have an abortion, but, considering religions have rejected Black people because their skin color is the Mark of Cain, Jews killed Jesus, Catholics were papists and the church the Whore of Babylon, the Church of England splintered into sects including Puritans and Separatist, the Protestant Reformation split the Catholic Church into many offshoots all of which hated the others and when given the chance persecuted whoever was not in charge at any given time, Special Needs kids are evidence that their parents have sinned, and politics and religion now have fuzzy borders, they are not the only ones who can be left to die or be refused needed care.

The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division will be “responsible for OCR’s national conscience and religious freedom program, including enforcement of and compliance with laws protecting conscience and the free exercise of religion and prohibiting coercion and religious discrimination.”

Religion will be free to exercise various forms of discrimination.

Last spring, Trump appointed the Heritage Foundation’s Roger Severino to serve as the head of Health and Human Service’s civil rights department. Servino was the Director of the DeVos Center of Religion and Civil Society at the Foundation where he spoke against civil rights protections for GLBT people, especially Transgender individuals, and authored a report opposing  the implementation  of those parts of the Affordable Care Act  that prohibited discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex when it comes to federally funded health programs.

Present at the announcement of this new department were House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy who helped kill a GLBT rights bill in 2016, Vicky Hartzler who led the fight to keep Transgender people out of the military, James Lankford who believes it should be legal to fire GLBT people just for that regardless of their job performance, Everett Piper who made it known that Oklahoma Wesleyan University sought a religious exemption so it could discriminate against Transgender people, and Montse Alvarado, head of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, an anti-GLBT group.

Add this latest move by Trump to his earlier ones:

trying to ban Transgender people from serving in the military, ending protections for Transgender students in school and transgender employees in the workplace, supporting a court case defending firing people for being GLBT, signing an executive order allowing people to discriminate against GLBT people as long as they say it is because of their religion, lashing funding for HIV research and care, and nominating many anti-GLBT prople to positions where they can exercise their prejudices.

He obviously forgets he is the president of all citizens, not just those who voted for him, and has no problem with the idea that some people will be denied basic medical treatment.

He will soon have the blood of the victims of discrimination on his hands.

He says what he doesn’t mean



After a meeting to present the president with a bipartisan proposal to deal with Immigration and DACA where Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham were blindsided by the president having asked others who have consistently spoken about their objection to immigrants and anyone who could be considered “other”, a meeting that was thought to be intended as a friendly presentation and exchange of ideas on the proposal, Dick Durbin let it be known that President Donald Trump called certain African nations “shithole countries”.

He said a few days later

“To think that the President of the United States would refer to any country on Earth as an S-House country, for goodness’ sakes, what does that say?”

Meanwhile Republican Senator Tom Cotton and David Purdue, two of the surprise  attendees at the meeting at first said they could not recall that language, but then changed that to President not saying “shithole.”

A further rebuttal to Durbin’s claim was offered by a senior GOP source familiar with the matter who claimed that the president had not said “shithole”, but, instead had said “shithouse”, as if that makes it all right.

Obviously, whichever term he used is unacceptable, it didn’t help that the president expressed his opinion that he preferred immigrants from places like Norway over places like Haiti, Central America, and Africa.

As far as the “shithole” reference, Lindsey Graham had pushed back against it use by the president,

“My family was from one of those s-hole countries. They came here with limited training, limited experience. They made a life, they started a business and they gave me a chance. That’s what America is all about.”

The term, while not being denied by many of those bothering to comment on it, has now been rebranded as  merely “strong language, and excused as the language that would be used by people in a bar, which the Oval Office is not.

But to me, the most bizarre attempt to make an excuse for what the president said came from Senator Rand Paul,

He suggested that rewording the offensive terminology and the words used by the president to something more neutral would make the president’s sentiment acceptable.

Let’s take the whole scenario and put different words in there and let’s say, ‘We’d rather have people from economically-prosperous countries than economically-deprived countries.’ Or, ‘We realize that there are more problems in economically-deprived countries, therefore there’s a bigger impetus for them to want to come.’ Then it wouldn’t have been so controversial.
There still might have been some controversy, but it wouldn’t have been so much. What I can say is, is that if you do a poll, and one of the worldwide polling companies did this, and they asked people in 50 countries, ‘Would you like to come to America,’ it’s about 700 million would come next year. We would double our population.

So practically, we’re a great place, and practically, we do have to eliminate. And if you look at where they’d rather come from, if you live in a very, very poor, economically-distressed country, you’re more likely to want to come than if you live in England or Norway.”

In this case, a Trump defender not only explains what he meant to say, but rewrote the dialog to  express something completely different than what the president who knows words, good words, said.

If that is what the president meant, then, why didn’t the president say that?

Why is it Paul’s responsibility, or anyone else’s to pick up after the president.

The GOP has become the guy  with the shovel in the parade who walks behind the elephant.