that’s what little protests are made of

take a knee don’t
black an eye don’t
close your eyes to
hate and lies and

hold your head high
hold your fist high
hold your breath you
son of a bitch

we hold these truths to be self-evident: not all are created equal; not all are endowed with unalienable rights; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are allowed, but you must not be ungrateful.

be grateful you
degenerate punks
you rich, entitled,
arrogant shits

anti-American
anti-military
anti-patriotism
anti-white (oops)

I have a nightmare, deeply rooted in the american dream, that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: “we hold these truths to be self-evident: not all are created equal.”

not all are created equal
not all are graced with freedom
not all are given a voice
not all. not all. not all.

Turning Our Attention to the Real Threat – Mike Pence

I’ve used most of my recent essays to consider various actions and statements by Donald Trump, and the horrendous HB1523 that’s now law in my home state of Mississippi. With his preposterous public relations stunt of Sunday, I’ll now use a few words for Mike Pence.

I’ll start with a general look at Pence, and end with Sunday’s planned “protest.”

Mike Pence has always been the more dangerous of the Trump/Pence ticket.

Trump is a largely failed businessman, a public buffoon (a persona he embraced on The Apprentice), the subject of hundreds of lawsuits (both business and professional), known for sexual assault, bankruptcy, and civil rights violations (see aforementioned lawsuits)…and the biggest waffle not in Congress. Is the wind blowing? Trump is moving that direction. Anything for a buck and piece of the proverbial pie. He’s been laughed at in his hometown of New York City for decades. No one took him seriously – at least not until the presidential election of 2016.

The Republican field was rife with mediocre politicians, none fit to front a presidential campaign. In steps Trump – the hair, the spray tan, bravado and all. It mattered not that he wasn’t really a Republican. It mattered not that he had no ideas for positive growth in any sphere of American life. He had the few things that mattered, that eventually won him the electoral college (not the biggest victory there, and a solid loss in popular vote) – a political outsider who hated Obama, was supported by the alt-right, had money, and seemed somehow ‘genuine’ because bad ideas fell easily from his mouth, unscripted and salacious.

He won – the perfect foil to Obama, from his ineptitude to his grammar to his love of Twitter.

And as foreseen, he’s been awful – bumbling through foreign affairs, failing to appoint competent people to crucial positions, trading nuclear war barbs with North Korea on Twitter, assaulting everyone from the LGBTQ community to the 1st Amendment to all women everywhere.

For all the failures, contempt, and maliciousness of Trump, Pence is far worse.

Pence is an experienced politician – he knows how to get things done politically. Why has Trump failed to pass any kind of significant legislation? One big reason is his political neophytism.

To ‘experienced politician who can get things done,’ with Pence we add also ‘man hell-bent on forcing his morals and ideals on a nation.’ Trump has no real ideas or beliefs – Pence does, and they are largely horrendous.

A few select examples:

  • wants to outlaw all abortions and overturn Roe v. Wade (once signed a law saying doctors could be prosecuted for abortions and requiring the burial or cremation of aborted fetal tissue, wants to “send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs”);
  • his anti-women stance is shown even more in his refusal to meet with any woman aside from his wife alone, greatly reducing the chance that any woman would be hired for a job that required working very closely with him;
  • wants to defund Planned Parenthood;
  • is strongly against guaranteeing and protecting the civil rights of the LGBT community in America, since it’s against his Christian values, and worked as governor and in congress to limit the rights of the community;
  • has supported “conversion therapy,” saying on his website (in 2000) that “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” right after stating “Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage;”
  • would like even harsher immigration “reform” than we’ve seen out of Trump;
  • would be a nightmare for public education. As governor of Indiana he pushed for vouchers and tried to repeal Common Core, in addition to voting against “No Child Left Behind” as a congressman;
  • doesn’t believe in climate change;
  • opposes all efforts to reform gun laws;
  • opposes the free press at least as vigorously as Trump, having even tried to create a state news outlet while governor of Indiana (Just IN).

There are many other problematic stances and beliefs this man holds, but the small sampling above should suffice to demonstrate my main point – Trump is incompetent and therefore somewhat dangerous; Pence is experienced and therefore far more of a threat to America, and possibly the world, than Trump could ever be.

Anyone willing to use public office to force their own personal beliefs on others treads awfully close to authoritarianism, a trait we’ve seen with Trump and would see magnified many times under Pence.

And then we have Sunday. Mike Pence attended the Colts/49ers game in Indianapolis with his wife…until he walked out to protest football players exercising their 1st Amendment right to free speech. We soon found out, via Twitter, that Trump and Pence had discussed and planned this action beforehand, presumably to bring additional attention to a topic they’ve focused on more than hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

If he didn’t want to “dignify” the event, then he should have never attended the game. He knew with 100% certainty that players would take the knee, since the 49ers are the only team to have at least one player kneel at every single game since Kaepernick started the movement in 2016.

Sunday’s walk-out was a political stunt [press were even instructed to wait outside as Pence would be leaving shortly in protest], posturing to bring attention to a lie – a lie perpetuated continually by the administration – that the protests in the NFL (and expanding to other sports as well) are all about disrespecting some nebulous “America” ideal. In fact, both Trump and Pence and all of their advisors know that the kneeling players are bringing attention to the actions of police nationwide, particularly in minority communities. [More on this administration lie here.]

In addition to continuing to support a racist mischaracterization of professional athletes, Mike Pence wasted a significant amount of taxpayer money on this asinine trip, to the tune of approximately $250,000 (flights from Las Vegas to Indianapolis, then on to Los Angeles, plus the security and other apparatus traveling with a VP).

Even after the recent attention on wasteful travel practices in this administration, Pence felt it was somehow justified to blow through our hard-earned money to garner a few political points for his boss by assaulting the 1st Amendment and furthering an agenda that looks ever more authoritarian.

Mike Pence knows what he’s doing. Between his lack of charisma and his 18th century ideals, he knows he never could have been elected president in the 2016 election. But he’s placed himself in a position now of great power, and with the most inept person to ever sit in the oval office as his boss, the chances of his ascension to the presidency are greater than he could have ever hoped or imagined.

Just keep in mind, America, that Pence as president will be just as difficult, if not worse, than the mess we find ourselves in today with Donald Trump.

Leaping Backwards Yet Again: HB1523 Takes Effect Today in Mississippi

So this happens today – the most sweeping pro-discrimination, anti-LGBT law in the nation takes effect in my home state of Mississippi. I’ve never been more ashamed to live, work, and raise my family in Mississippi.

You can now legally discriminate against anyone whose private life doesn’t align with whatever you proclaim your “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” to be, specifically related to the three areas enumerated in Section 2 of the law.

“(a)  Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman;

 (b)  Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and

 (c)  Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”

Read the grossly misleadingly titled law – its impact will be wide spread in Mississippi. For the sake of convenience I have pasted the entire text of the law below, with my own select commentary added in red.

 

Link to the law text online.

 


BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

     SECTION 1.  This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.”
No, this law does not protect “freedom of conscience,” rather it allows people to discriminate and refuse services to others based how they judge the lifestyle of the other.
     SECTION 2.  The sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act are the belief or conviction that:

          (a)  Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman;
Almost too obvious here, but you can discriminate against basically anyone in the LGBT community with this one. Less obvious, you could also discriminate against anyone who has been divorced, depending on how you interpret your religious text and the word “one.”
          (b)  Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and
Anyone having any kind of sexual relationship outside of a heterosexual first marriage gets hit with this one. So you can be refused all sorts of services because you are having sex. This is not protecting moral convictions, it’s another intrusion into the bedroom by the government.
          (c)  Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.
Blatant attack on the transgender community that could also have additional repercussions down the road.
     SECTION 3.  (1)  The state government shall not take any discriminatory I have to interject here – note how the state is trying to co-opt the word discriminate? As if being prosecuted for discriminatory actions would be discrimination against those who discriminate? action against a religious organization wholly or partially on the basis that such organization:

          (a)  Solemnizes or declines to solemnize any marriage, or provides or declines to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization, formation, celebration or recognition of any marriage, based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 2 of this act;

          (b)  Makes any employment-related decision including, but not limited to, the decision whether or not to hire, terminate or discipline an individual whose conduct or religious beliefs are inconsistent with those of the religious organization, based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 2 of this act; or

          (c)  Makes any decision concerning the sale, rental, occupancy of, or terms and conditions of occupying a dwelling or other housing under its control, based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 2 of this act.
Religious organizations are already protected by law – a church does not have to perform any specific marriage, can hire and fire as they please, etc.
     (2)  The state government shall not take any discriminatory action against a religious organization that advertises, provides or facilitates adoption or foster care, wholly or partially on the basis that such organization has provided or declined to provide any adoption or foster care service, or related service, based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 2 of this act.
So if your lifestyle happens to run afoul of how Section 2 is interpreted, you might not be able to adopt children…I suppose we’ve decided they are better off in the foster system than living with a loving couple we happen to not like. Watch out parents, perhaps your lifestyle means the laws will be coming for your biological children next.
     (3)  The state government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person who the state grants custody of a foster or adoptive child, or who seeks from the state custody of a foster or adoptive child, wholly or partially on the basis that the person guides, instructs or raises a child, or intends to guide, instruct, or raise a child based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 2 of this act.
It doesn’t matter how crazy your ideas are, the state can’t use your craziness against you if you can somehow manage to claim your ideas are protected by Section 2 above – you could still get custody of a child and guide them by your baseless craziness. Nice to know…
     (4)  The state government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person wholly or partially on the basis that the person declines to participate in the provision of treatments, counseling, or surgeries related to sex reassignment or gender identity transitioning or declines to participate in the provision of psychological, counseling, or fertility services based upon a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 2 of this act.  This subsection (4) shall not be construed to allow any person to deny visitation, recognition of a designated representative for health care decision-making, or emergency medical treatment necessary to cure an illness or injury as required by law.
So anyone suffering with gender dysphoria can be denied treatment and counseling, and then generally you can be denied psychological/counseling/fertility services if the physician doesn’t like your choices. At least it is clarified that visitation and decision-making and emergency services cannot be denied…
     (5)  The state government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person wholly or partially on the basis that the person has provided or declined to provide the following services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization, formation, celebration, or recognition of any marriage, based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 2 of this act:
Simple again – if you don’t like the marriage because of your “moral convictions,” you don’t have to provide any services to the couple joining their lives together in love. [Services specified below.] Wonder how the Supreme Court’s future ruling on the notorious cake case might influence this section.
          (a)  Photography, poetry, videography, disc-jockey services, wedding planning, printing, publishing or similar marriage-related goods or services; or

          (b)  Floral arrangements, dress making, cake or pastry artistry, assembly-hall or other wedding-venue rentals, limousine or other car-service rentals, jewelry sales and services, or similar marriage-related services, accommodations, facilities or goods.

     (6)  The state government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person wholly or partially on the basis that the person establishes sex-specific standards or policies concerning employee or student dress or grooming, or concerning access to restrooms, spas, baths, showers, dressing rooms, locker rooms, or other intimate facilities or settings, based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 2 of this act.
Here’s a great one for you…so now, women, you CAN be forced to wear dresses in any work place, if that’s what your boss decides he wants the “sex-specific standard” to be! And to anyone in the trans or non-binary community, there’s no question in this state – you will be discriminated against in most places of business.
     (7)  The state government shall not take any discriminatory action against a state employee wholly or partially on the basis that such employee lawfully speaks or engages in expressive conduct based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 2 of this act, so long as:
YES, you read that right…state employees are about to be able to behave in this way, even on the job! As long as their actions/speech are generally allowed, they can discriminate at will and somehow be protected. [Specifics listed below.]
          (a)  If the employee’s speech or expressive conduct occurs in the workplace, that speech or expressive conduct is consistent with the time, place, manner and frequency of any other expression of a religious, political, or moral belief or conviction allowed; or

          (b)  If the employee’s speech or expressive conduct occurs outside the workplace, that speech or expressive conduct is in the employee’s personal capacity and outside the course of performing work duties.

     (8)  (a)  Any person employed or acting on behalf of the state government who has authority to authorize or license marriages, including, but not limited to, clerks, registers of deeds or their deputies, may seek recusal from authorizing or licensing lawful marriages based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 2 of this act.  Any person making such recusal shall provide prior written notice to the State Registrar of Vital Records who shall keep a record of such recusal, and the state government shall not take any discriminatory action against that person wholly or partially on the basis of such recusal.  The person who is recusing himself or herself shall take all necessary steps to ensure that the authorization and licensing of any legally valid marriage is not impeded or delayed as a result of any recusal.
So now you can work a state job, be paid by the taxpayers, and you can refuse to do your job! You can refuse to provide the taxpayers who pay your salary with the services they pay you to do.
          (b)  Any person employed or acting on behalf of the state government who has authority to perform or solemnize marriages, including, but not limited to, judges, magistrates, justices of the peace or their deputies, may seek recusal from performing or solemnizing lawful marriages based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 2 of this act.  Any person making such recusal shall provide prior written notice to the Administrative Office of Courts, and the state government shall not take any discriminatory action against that person wholly or partially on the basis of such recusal.  The Administrative Office of Courts shall take all necessary steps to ensure that the performance or solemnization of any legally valid marriage is not impeded or delayed as a result of any recusal.
See above comment…now, in Mississippi, I can take a job where I’m paid by the state, by the people, and refuse to do my job for a significant part of the populace. I have an idea – get a different job!
     SECTION 4.  (1)  As used in this act, discriminatory action includes any action taken by the state government to:
This section is just going to list the ways that the state government cannot punish people who choose to exercise their “moral objections” to the lives of others – this is how you cannot be punished by the state if you discriminate against all of the people you can now object to.
          (a)  Alter in any way the tax treatment of, or cause any tax, penalty, or payment to be assessed against, or deny, delay, revoke, or otherwise make unavailable an exemption from taxation of any person referred to in Section 3 of this act;

          (b)  Disallow, deny or otherwise make unavailable a deduction for state tax purposes of any charitable contribution made to or by such person;

          (c)  Withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, materially alter the terms or conditions of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny any state grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, guarantee, loan, scholarship, or other similar benefit from or to such person;

          (d)  Withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, materially alter the terms or conditions of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny any entitlement or benefit under a state benefit program from or to such person;

          (e)  Impose, levy or assess a monetary fine, fee, penalty or injunction;

          (f)  Withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, materially alter the terms or conditions of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny any license, certification, accreditation, custody award or agreement, diploma, grade, recognition, or other similar benefit, position, or status from or to any person; or

          (g)  Refuse to hire or promote, force to resign, fire, demote, sanction, discipline, materially alter the terms or conditions of employment, or retaliate or take other adverse employment action against a person employed or commissioned by the state government.

     (2)  The state government shall consider accredited, licensed or certified any person that would otherwise be accredited, licensed or certified, respectively, for any purposes under state law but for a determination against such person wholly or partially on the basis that the person believes, speaks or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 2 of this act.
Sections 5-7 of the law can be seen below, but I’ll make no comment. My specific interests lie in making sure we all see and know and understand just how evil this new law is, and what it allows, as seen above and in Section 8. The following 3 Sections of the law detail specifics about pursuing “relief” through the court and legal system of the state.
     SECTION 5.  (1)  A person may assert a violation of this act as a claim against the state government in any judicial or administrative proceeding or as defense in any judicial or administrative proceeding without regard to whether the proceeding is brought by or in the name of the state government, any private person or any other party.

     (2)  An action under this act may be commenced, and relief may be granted, in a court of the state without regard to whether the person commencing the action has sought or exhausted available administrative remedies.

     (3)  Violations of this act which are properly governed by Chapter 46, Title 11, Mississippi Code of 1972, shall be brought in accordance with that chapter.

     SECTION 6.  An aggrieved person must first seek injunctive relief to prevent or remedy a violation of this act or the effects of a violation of this act.  If injunctive relief is granted by the court and the injunction is thereafter violated, then and only then may the aggrieved party, subject to the limitations of liability set forth in Section 11-46-15, seek the following:

          (a)  Compensatory damages for pecuniary and nonpecuniary losses;

          (b)  Reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs; and

          (c)  Any other appropriate relief, except that only declaratory relief and injunctive relief shall be available against a private person not acting under color of state law upon a successful assertion of a claim or defense under this act.

     SECTION 7.  A person must bring an action to assert a claim under this act not later than two (2) years after the date that the person knew or should have known that a discriminatory action was taken against that person.

     SECTION 8.  (1)  This act shall be construed in favor of a broad protection of free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions, to the maximum extent permitted by the state and federal constitutions.
The law will be interpreted broadly, so feel free to discriminate at will.
     (2)  The protection of free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions afforded by this act are in addition to the protections provided under federal law, state law, and the state and federal constitutions.  Nothing in this act shall be construed to preempt or repeal any state or local law that is equally or more protective of free exercise of religious beliefs or moral convictions.  Nothing in this act shall be construed to narrow the meaning or application of any state or local law protecting free exercise of religious beliefs or moral convictions.  Nothing in this act shall be construed to prevent the state government from providing, either directly or through an individual or entity not seeking protection under this act, any benefit or service authorized under state law.
If existing laws are broader, great! Because in no way will this particular monstrosity be interpreted narrowly – see next paragraph.
     (3)  This act applies to, and in cases of conflict supersedes, each statute of the state that impinges upon the free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions protected by this act, unless a conflicting statute is expressly made exempt from the application of this act.  This act also applies to, and in cases of conflict supersedes, any ordinance, rule, regulation, order, opinion, decision, practice or other exercise of the state government’s authority that impinges upon the free exercise of religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act.
If another law is narrower or conflicts with this one, it is out! Discriminators, start your engines – you are protected by this law!
     SECTION 9.  As used in Sections 1 through 9 of this act, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
Section 9 is definitions…but read them. “Persons” are protected throughout this law, meaning individuals or religious organizations or businesses! Business policy can now be expressly discriminatory in hiring, firing, serving, etc., because a business is a person who can have a strong “moral conviction” according to this law. Think on that for a few minutes.
     (1)  “State benefit program” means any program administered or funded by the state, or by any agent on behalf of the state, providing cash, payments, grants, contracts, loans or in-kind assistance.

     (2)  “State government” means:

          (a)  The State of Mississippi or a political subdivision of the state;

          (b)  Any agency of the state or of a political subdivision of the state, including a department, bureau, board, commission, council, court or public institution of higher education;

          (c)  Any person acting under color of state law; and

          (d)  Any private party or third party suing under or enforcing a law, ordinance, rule or regulation of the state or political subdivision of the state.

     (3)  “Person” means:

          (a)  A natural person, in his or her individual capacity, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof, or in his or her capacity as a member, officer, owner, volunteer, employee, manager, religious leader, clergy or minister of any entity described in this section;

          (b)  A religious organization;

          (c)  A sole proprietorship, or closely held company, partnership, association, organization, firm, corporation, cooperative, trust, society or other closely held entity operating with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in this act; or

          (d)  Cooperatives, ventures or enterprises comprised of two (2) or more individuals or entities described in this subsection.

     (4)  “Religious organization” means:

          (a)  A house of worship, including, but not limited to, churches, synagogues, shrines, mosques and temples;

          (b)  A religious group, corporation, association, school or educational institution, ministry, order, society or similar entity, regardless of whether it is integrated or affiliated with a church or other house of worship; and

          (c)  An officer, owner, employee, manager, religious leader, clergy or minister of an entity or organization described in this subsection (4).

     (5)  “Adoption or foster care” or “adoption or foster care service” means social services provided to or on behalf of children, including:

          (a)  Assisting abused or neglected children;

          (b)  Teaching children and parents occupational, homemaking and other domestic skills;

          (c)  Promoting foster parenting;

          (d)  Providing foster homes, residential care, group homes or temporary group shelters for children;

          (e)  Recruiting foster parents;

          (f)  Placing children in foster homes;

          (g)  Licensing foster homes;

          (h)  Promoting adoption or recruiting adoptive parents;

          (i)  Assisting adoptions or supporting adoptive families;

          (j)  Performing or assisting home studies;

          (k)  Assisting kinship guardianships or kinship caregivers;

          (l)  Providing family preservation services;

          (m)  Providing family support services; and

          (n)  Providing temporary family reunification services.

     SECTION 10.  The provisions of Sections 1 through 9 of this act shall be excluded from the application of Section 11-61-1.

     SECTION 11.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2016.
This abomination becomes law in Mississippi today.
 

The “Pro-America” False Dichotomy: Do Not Fall Prey to Fallacy!

“Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for
right.” Martin Luther King, Jr., I’ve Been to the Mountaintop

Donald Trump has created, and is now perpetuating, a narrative around kneeling football players that is a false dichotomy. This logical fallacy is nothing new, and certainly makes frequent appearance in politics.

False dichotomy: When only two choices are presented yet more exist, or a spectrum of possible choices exists between two extremes. False dichotomies are usually characterized by “either this or that” language, but can also be characterized by omissions of choices*.

It’s not difficult to pull out the false dichotomy being perpetuated by the administration – first by Trump (in his speech in AL and especially on Twitter), and then continued Monday in the press briefing. The narrative being sold to the gullible is roughly this:

  • support America (flag, anthem, military, laws, etc.),
  • be unpatriotic and un-American.
  •  
    Two extremes have been presented to the American public, and unfortunately many people are falling for the logical fallacy. Many feel like they have to support anything “American” [as defined by the administration], or risk being called (or in fact, being) un-American traitors.

    Obviously, there are a myriad of positions one could take that fall between “agree everything I call American” and “hate America.” But none of those positions are currently being left open for our citizens under the pressure of POTUS. By shaming anyone who would dare side against him, a movement against free thought is mobilizing.

    So instead of dealing with crucial issues like Puerto Rican hurricane disaster recovery, North Korea, private emails again used for conducting government business, or running our crumbling country – over the weekend the White House set their sights on forcing American adults to pledge allegiance to a scrap of fabric and sing an anthem which in its later verses has an entirely revolting perspective on slavery. [It’s another great question…when can we look at getting an anthem that represents the people of the United States? But I digress…]

    The fallacy presented falls apart easily – a person can, in fact, disagree with a certain American governmental position or action and not place themselves as enemies of America. There is a long history in our country of disagreeing but not hating or disrespecting, and I won’t take to listing examples of various in-between positions since we all know of them and many of us have probably been in exactly that position! Love for America does not require acceptance of her failures.

    Beyond the logical fallacy of the false dichotomy we’ve been presented with, there are other concerns regarding Trump’s attack on football players and their peaceful protest. [I can’t believe I’m having to write this…a president bickering with sportsmen is beyond absurd…] A few of those concerns are:

  • Straw man logical fallacy [refuting an argument by attacking an unrelated argument]: the players have taken a knee during the national anthem in order to bring attention to unchecked police brutality, specifically against minorities and in minority neighborhoods. The strawman set up by the administration is that the players are disrespecting the flag/anthem/military/country. It’s simple then to attack and belittle that disrespect, except it has nothing to do with the situation at all. This straw man approach by Trump is unethical and wrong.
  • The First Amendment protects the rights of free speech, peaceable assembly, and petitioning for government redress of grievances. Peaceful protest by the people has been inferred from the First Amendment, and supported by the courts and our laws. The men attacked as “sons of bitches” by Trump are peacefully protesting, asking for the government to correct an egregious wrong, and exercising their right to freedom of speech. The unconstitutional approach by Trump is unethical and wrong.
  • The right to not stand for the anthem or salute the flag is well established by court precedent (West Virginia State Board of Education vs Barnette), which states, among other things, “no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” You cannot force people to participate in the pledge, anthem, saluting the flag, or anything else of that nature. The forceful approach by Trump is unethical and wrong.
  • The President of the United States has much more important work to do than sticking his nose into a conversation where he doesn’t belong or have any standing to comment on. The President of the United States has no business calling his constituents “sons of bitches,” nor calling for them to be fired from their jobs for actions that are entirely legal. The overall approach taken in this conversation by the President of the United States is unethical and wrong.
  •  
    At the end of the day, any flag is just color and design on fabric. No one fights to defend a scrap of fabric, they fight to defend the ideals represented therein. In America, when the ideals of our country are being trampled by the government, people protest. We call attention to the fact that what the flag stands for is being destroyed, whether by politicians, police, or even the president. This is what #TakeAKnee is all about, and the people perpetuating the dangerous false dichotomy of “you’re either for us or against us” know that full well. This is a distraction technique, or even worse.

    My greatest fear in this discussion is the false dichotomy America narrative looks toward the endgame of using bad logic to turn us against each other – to quelch freedom of speech, expression, and press; to create a mob mentality of unquestioning “American support” among the populace; to then use their creation to further autocracy in the United States of America. If it is unsafe to speak up, then our right to fight for right is greatly diminished. By further dividing the public and creating division among voters, the people are more concerned with the actions of their neighbor than potential treachery committed by their elected officials.

    Instead of allowing ourselves to be pitted against one another, our focus needs to be on making sure that our government officials are doing their jobs with the best interests of all American citizens as their primary objective.

    Do not fall prey to the pro-America false dichotomy fallacy – our democratic republic may well depend on it.

    Examples of perpetuating the false narrative:
    Trump’s speech at Luther Strange rally in AL:
    “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired! You know, some owner is gonna do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’…They’ll be the most popular person in this country…But you know what’s hurting the game…When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem…”

  • Trump begins by misrepresenting what the players are doing, then sets the false dichotomy as “do American my way or you are un-American,” and then goes on to call for private business owners to fire their employees based on how he envisions being patriotic. He gets angry enough to curse about those who disagree with him. Dangerous and pathetic.
  •  
    Trump’s Tweets, a selection (@realDonaldTrump):
    ”If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!…Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!…If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!…Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!…Courageous Patriots have fought and died for our great American Flag — we MUST honor and respect it! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!…” [and there are more, just visit his profile to see]

  • more of the same us vs them language, misrepresenting the issues and situation, calling for the 1st Amendment to be violated, and calling on retaliation for not “doing American” the way he wants people to.
  •  
    From Monday’s press conference (Sarah Huckabee Sanders):
    “promoting patriotism should bring us all together…always appropriate to promote flag, national anthem…this is not about the president being against something but about him being for them…everyone should be able to celebrate national pride, supporting those who fought and died for our country…”

  • this pushes the false dichotomy of “for us or against us…support what we say support or you’re un-American.” Now it’s not just POTUS, but his minions in the White House as well.
  •  
    *https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/94/False-Dilemma

    best left unsaid

    inspired by the (mis)speech of Donald Trump at the United Nations on 19 September 2017* + the history of the United States of America**


    so what did you think, dad?
     

    This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by
    imposing a failed ideology that has produced
    poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried.

     

    failure abounds, it must be stopped

     
    the drums of war have begun beating yet again
     

    We face this decision not only in North Korea…the Iranian
    government…ISIS…the criminal regime of Bashar
    al-Assad…the corrupt and destabilizing regime in
    Cuba…the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela…

     

    criminals left and right, just like Congress

     
    (but dad, I didn’t know they’d ever stopped)
     

    The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue
    regimes that violate every principle on which the United
    Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor
    the sovereign rights of their countries.

     

    of our sovereignty, we offer correction

     
    the American war machine, on the march since 1775
     

    Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been…I
    intend to address some of the very serious threats before us
    today but also the enormous potential waiting to be unleashed.

     

    the machine well oiled, unable to be stopped

     
    (has there ever been a time we weren’t at war?)
     

    Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support
    terrorists but threaten other nations and their own people with
    the most destructive weapons known to humanity.

     

    they’re most destructive, we’re most powerful

     
    cowing those who think differently
     

    If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then
    evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become
    bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only
    gather power and strength.

     

    their ways are evil, they must be corrected

     
    (enforcing freely the American way)
     

    In America, we do not seek to impose our way of
    life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example
    for everyone to watch.

     

    watch carefully, adjust accordingly

     
    lying, stealing, killing, genocide, replacing
     

    In Syria and Iraq, we have made big gains toward a
    lasting defeat of ISIS.

     

    when facts fail, narrative fills in

     
    baiting, threatening, bombing, pretending
     

    The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind
    the false guise of a democracy…We cannot let a murderous
    regime continue these destabilizing activities while building
    dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it
    provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program.

     

    ye who have ears, let him hear

     
    starting, treating, resuming, ending, resuming
     

    We want harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife. We are
    guided by outcomes, not ideology. We have a policy of principled
    realism, rooted in shared goals, interests, and values.

     

    goals and values, but not ideology

     
    (can I see this never-ceasing conflict? what’s the proof?)
     

    Strong, sovereign nations let diverse countries with
    different values, different cultures, and different dreams
    not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of
    mutual respect.

     

    if the respect is lacking, we can enforce that value

     
    revolution, native genocides, 1812, mexico, opium, civil
     

    From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope
    of military operations, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set
    up by politicians…Major portions of the world are in conflict and
    some, in fact, are going to hell.

     

    avoiding damnation, our plans can’t fail

     
    korea, spain, philippines, china, nicaragua, haiti, dominican republic
     

    We have it in our power, should we so choose, to lift millions
    from poverty, to help our citizens realize their dreams, and to
    ensure that new generations of children are raised free from
    violence, hatred, and fear.

     

    it’s in our power, but we won’t choose it

     
    world war 1, russia, world war 2 (hiroshima, nagasaki)
     

    The United States has great strength and patience, but if it
    is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice
    but to totally destroy North Korea.

     

    been there, done that

     
    korea (again), cuba, dominican republic (again), vietnam, thailand,
     

    If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea’s reckless pursuit
    of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world
    with unthinkable loss of human life.

     

    stop loss of life, drop bigger bombs

     
    lebanon, grenada, libya, panama, iraq, somalia, haiti (again),
     

    From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true
    socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered
    anguish and devastation and failure.

     

    punching bag of an idea, even though practically extinct (china?)

     
    bosnia, kosovo, afghanistan, iraq (again), pakistan, libya (again)
     

    It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront
    another reckless regime — one that speaks openly of mass
    murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel, and ruin
    for many leaders and nations in this room.

     

    sticks and stones, but words

     
    and that’s nowhere near the full list, my son
     

    Our success depends on a coalition of strong and independent
    nations that embrace their sovereignty to promote security,
    prosperity, and peace for themselves and for the world.

     

    groups of one, getting shit done

     
    (damn dad, you’re right…why are we built this way?)
     

    Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action.
    All people deserve a government that cares for their
    safety, their interests, and their well being, including
    their prosperity.

     

    our sovereignty, others will comply

     
    because we know what’s best, son
     

    Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever…Are we still
    patriots? Do we love our nations enough to protect
    their sovereignty and to take ownership of their futures?

     

    hope they bought it, thank god it’s over

     


    *Transcript can be found online at http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/19/trump-un-speech-2017-full-text-transcript-242879

    **For a somewhat comprehensive list of wars into which the US has inserted itself or started, at least the ones we’ll acknowledge, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_the_United_States. It’s one hell of an eye-opening read.