Sniffing his own hand in North Carolina, Obama says he doesn’t smell sulphur, laying to rest once and for all the rumor that he is a demon

When I heard that Obama, during a speaking engagement in Greensboro, North Carolina yesterday, went out of his way to ensure the crowd that he wasn’t a demon, as someone in the right wing press had apparently just suggested, I felt compelled to know the backstory… Well, it turns out that it was America’s leading conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, who had shared the shocking revelation just a few days prior. Jones, on his popular daily program, told his followers that both Obama and Clinton smell of sulphur, proving that they are, in fact, demons. Those who are familiar with Jones, who also believes that no children were really shot at Sandy Hook Elementary and sinister forces are breeding a race of “fish people”, likely won’t be shocked by this. What may shock you, however, is the fact that, in spite of these conspiracy theories peddled by Jones, the Republican candidate for President, Donald Trump, appeared on his show not too long ago. And, not only did he appear on the show, but Trump complimented Jones, saying, “Your reputation is amazing.” I know we probably don’t need any more evidence of the fact that we’re living in truly insane times, but, if you ever have any doubt, watch these two videos.

The first is of our President, Barack Obama, sniffing himself for sulphur. The second, produced by a fellow named Todd Dracula, shows a crying Alex Jones breaking down his evidence that the entities we know as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are, in reality, demons. [Apparently he’s seen “white papers” that prove they’re monsters that hate children, prosperity, and a number of there things we hold dear as Americans.]

And, this, my friends, is why there’s no way in hell the other intelligent lifeforms in our universe will ever allow us leave the Earth and colonize other planets.

Now, if we could just sniff Trump’s hands…

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Now’s not the time to disengage… Or is it?

Like a good number of you reading this now, I’ve been tempted to stop engaging with certain people this election season. Given the unprecedented level of vitriol, and the sheer number of lies being bandied about, it’s a tempting proposition to just cut people off. It’s completely understandable, I think that people, with the election now just four weeks away, want to start erecting walls in hopes of keeping the madness at bay. I’ve considered unfriending several people in my network, even friends and family members. Thankfully, as of right now, I’ve been able to resist the temptation, though. I haven’t yet taken to Facebook to yell, “If, after everything that’s come to light over the past several months, you still can’t see Trump for the misogynstic, racist, mentally unstable, power hungry hate monger that he is, I don’t want to see you, or hear from you, ever again.”

Every day, though, it seems that more and more people are taking to social media to do just that… to announce publicly that they’re not only aggressively disengaging from those with opposing views online, but have every intention to carry it over into the real, face-to-face world as well.

A few days ago, in a Ypsi Facebook group, someone suggested that we, the members of this community who can see the Republican candidate for what he truly is, stop frequenting a certain store because the owner had been observed putting a Trump sign in her front yard. And, just now, I saw that a business owner in Ann Arbor has gone public with an online request that his friends come out and tell him whether or not they intend to vote for Trump, as he wants to know that those who he ‘socializes with, invests in, does business with, and supports’ essentially share his values. And I get it. At some point you need to let people know that, if they indulge in antisocial behavior, there will be ramifications. If the neighbor next door gets a swastika tattoo on his neck, you’re well within your rights not to ask him over for the neighborhood barbecue. With that said, though, I think, once you start talking about loyalty oaths, you’re getting into some tricky, inherently un-democratic territory… Interestingly, as I was thinking about all of this last night, and wondering where I might draw the line for myself, I received the following note from a reader of this site.


While clearly a conservative, the fellow who sent the above note, I’m pretty sure, was never one of our more aggressively far right readers. At least I don’t remember him ever being rude about his beliefs, or unreasonable in the conversations that he had here. But, even so, I think it’s a good, extremely timely, reminder that some folks on the right really are open to the possibility of change. So, as tempted as I may be to just give up on the so-called “basket of deplorables” who comprise the Trump base, I think I’m going to try to keep engaging for a while longer. And I’m going to try my best to actually listen, and not just reflexively throw out the “He’s a racist, and you must be one too” card when confronted by those who, for whatever reason, are staying loyal to the reality television personality at the top of the GOP ticket. I’ve admittedly been doing a poor job of that lately, and I’m going to try to do better. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself now. Of course that may change on Saturday, when I’m going to be joined on the radio by Scott Hagerstrom, the Trump Pence Michigan State Campaign Director.

So, were do you stand on this? Are you still engaging, or have you given up on the idea that meaningful discussion can still be had? Are you still open for good, honest, respectful debate, or have you decided to just excommunicate all of those with whom you disagree? Do you think that Trump so egregious a candidate that his followers are beyond redemption? And, if you are keeping lines of communication open, at what point do you decide that enough’s enough?

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Your thoughts on the second debate between Clinton and Trump

Watching tonight’s debate, I had four thoughts worth sharing. Here they are. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment.





For what it’s worth, I was also disappointed that no one used the word “pussy.”

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“Grab ’em by the pussy” …my thoughts on the hot mic confession of sexual assault that may change the course of human history

Earlier this summer, we talked here on the site about the possibility that Trump might have a Dead Zone moment – a moment in which, in front of the entire nation, he would reveal to us something so absolutely shocking about himself that we could not help but to turn away collectively in disgust, once and for all. I believe, at the time, most of us thought it wouldn’t happen, as everything he’d said and done up to that point had just been written off as “Trump being Trump,” as though that were an adequate excuse for his boorish, vile and anti-social behavior. It seemed, at the time, that he was invincible. We’d heard him make countless misogynistic remarks, incite violence at his rallies, suggest with a smirk that gun rights advocates might want to save the nation by assassinating his rival, and even mock the disabled, but none of it seemed to matter to his supporters, who just kept watching and cheering. As he himself noted at the time, he could “shoot somebody and not lose voters.” Apparently, though, there may be a limit as to what some Trump supporters can stomach after all.

This past Friday evening, the Washington Post shared 2005 audio of Trump caught on a hot Access Hollywood mic telling the show’s host, Billy Bush, that he can essentially “do anything” he wants to women because of his celebrity. “When you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump is heard telling Bush. “You can do anything.” Then, offering an example of what he can do to unsuspecting women, Trump is heard to say that he can just, “Grab ’em by the pussy.” [He also admitted on the tape to having recently tried to fuck a married women.]

Yes, the Republican nominee for President pretty much confessed to having engaged in sexual assault, forcing himself on women without consent.

And it looks as though that might might finally mark a turning point in the campaign. Over the last 24 hours, we saw a wholesale stampede away from Trump, as dozens of lawmakers sought to distance themselves from the embattled candidate. Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz, one of the first to withdraw his endorsement, said I’m out. I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine.” Arizona Senator John McCain, who was the GOP nominee in 2008, followed shortly thereafter which the following statement. “No woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior. He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences,” he said. And, of course, those Republicans who had already come out against Trump, like former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, took the opportunity to pile on and add their voices to those, like McCain and Chaffetz, who were saying that this was truly beyond the pale. Romney took to Twitter to say, “Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.

grabpussyWhile it’s doubtful that the defection of high ranking Republicans, like McCain, Chaffetz, and the dozens of others who have jumped ship since Friday night, will directly impact the support Trump currently enjoys from his predominantly small town, white, male base, I suspect we’re going to start seeing a trickle down effect as funds from the Republican National Committee begin moving away from Trump’s presidential campaign to down ticket contests, as the party attempts to keep its other candidates from being pulled under by the sinking Trump organization. And it looks as though it might already be starting. I just read mention that the RNC has started to pull back funding from Trump, and the Trump campaign has responded by cancelling ad buys in battleground states like Florida and Ohio. And, worse yet, Trump is being disinvited from campaign events, like one this weekend in Wisconsin, where he was supposed to have been campaigning with Senator Paul Ryan. While early polling seems to indicate that Trump supporters don’t care about his history relative to sexual assault, I can’t help but think that the poll numbers will begin to shift in time, as the ads stop running, and the media starts to portray Trump more and more as a candidate in crisis.

Of course, there’s the possibility that he could do or say something during tonight’s debate to shift things back in his favor. I suspect, for instance, that he’ll talk about Bill Clinton’s affairs, and insinuate that, however bad what he said in the 2005 tape may have been, Bill Clinton has said and done worse, but I don’t see how it will help him at this point. By taking the low road, and bringing up Bill Clinton’s history, he’s not going to bring party leadership back to his camp, and, without them, and the money that they control, I don’t see how Trump can stay competitive in battleground states.

Oh, and things are likely going to get worse for Trump. According to a story that broke last night, there are other hot mic recordings from the set of Trump’s reality television program The Apprentice that are even worse. And, as if that weren’t enough, women have started coming forward with stories of how the reality television celebrity had “grabbed their pussies”. So this really does appear to be the beginning of the end, barring a Clinton collapse or scandal of some sort.

dontgrabpussyFor what it’s worth, I think that many in the GOP are happy that this happened. I suspect they’ve wanted to disengage from Trump for a while now, but they just haven’t had a way out. “Grab ’em by the pussy,” gave them that way out, a way to turn their backs on Trump without offending the far right base of the party who handed Trump the nomination.

The thing I find most interesting is the fact that, if Clinton does get into office because of this, and if she’s able to get progressive legislation enacted on, say global climate change, it could turn out that “Grab ’em by the pussy” is what saved the earth. I mean, we’re at the tipping point now relative to global warming. If significant action isn’t taken immediately to limit carbon emissions, our species is done for, and we certainly weren’t going to see any leadership from Trump, who has said in the past that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese… I don’t know how it will all play out. I think it’s very likely that we won’t act aggressively enough and we’ll go extinct. But what if this 2 minutes of audio from Access Hollywood is what ultimately saved us from that fate, or from Trump using a nuclear weapon? How strange would it be if this was a more impactful moment in human history, given what’s at stake, than when we landed on the moon? How surreal would that be?

While we’re at it, let’s also talk about hypocrisy… To all of you out there right now with friends and family members who are still defending Trump, please ask them what they would have said if audio had surfaced of President Obama telling someone that, because he was famous, he could do whatever he wanted to women. Just close your eyes and image for a moment, what the these friends and relatives of yours would be saying at this very moment, if they’d heard a recording of Obama saying that he, as a course of habit, just “grabbed” attractive women “by the pussy.”

And I think that’s what angers me the most about this. There’s a different standard for people on the right. When Michelle Obama wore a sleeveless dress, we were told by people on the right that it was unbefitting a First Lady. But, when photos come out that show Melania Trump posing nude with another woman, there wasn’t a peep. When Howard Dean screamed at a rally, we were told it showed that he lacked the temperament to be President. But, when Donald Trump called an actress a “fat pig” it’s somehow alright. When John Kerry changed his mind about tax cuts and the Iraq war, we were told that he wasn’t fit to be President because he was a “flip flopper.” But Trump can change be shown to have lied several time within the course of a single speech, seriously misrepresenting his past positions, and it’s just accepted. I have no problem with setting high standards for the office of President, but at least be honest with regard to how those standards are applied.

One last thing… If reality television fame allows you the power to “grab pussies” without consent, what does being the President of the United Sates of America, the most powerful person in the world, allow you to do? It’s kind of scary when you think about it. If he’s like this now, what would he be like as our President?

Lastly, if you’ve never seen Elia Kazan’s brilliant film A Face in the Crowd, which is about the rise and fall of a television personality slash conman with political aspirations, I can’t think of a better time to sit down with the family and check it out. I watched it last night with Clementine, and I think that it helped her to understand, at least to some extent, the situation that we’re in now with Trump, even if he didn’t, like the alcoholic drifter Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes, portrayed by Andy Griffith in the film, come to fame from poverty, only to have it all unravel on live television, as a hot mic broadcast a glimpse of his true self into the homes of his millions and millions of fans. It’s an incredibly visionary piece of work, which foretold, among other things, the rise of celebrity culture in the United States and the popularity of television-enabled con men like Donald Trump, who drive big ratings by connecting with the masses through the telling of “simple truths” (which are actually anything but), all while serving their political and financial ends.

[note: The “Pussy Grabs Back” image at the top of the page was designed yesterday in collaboration between Feminist Fight Club, Amanda Duarte, Stella Marrs and Female Collective, and a href=””>there are t-sirts available. (Proceeds will be donated to RAINN, the nations’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.) I have no idea who made the second graphic.]

Posted in Environment, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Trump’s candidacy is forcing values voters to have difficult conversations, reconsider what really matters

For me, the decision to vote against reality television personality Donald Trump, and for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was an easy one. There was never really any doubt in my mind as to who I would be casting my ballot for. I can appreciate, however, that others, even some whom I consider to be my friends, are struggling with the decision for reasons that are personally very important to them. This is especially true for those who feel as though abortion is a sin, and have grown accustomed over the years to casting their votes for conservative candidates who, like Trump, promise to push so-called “pro-life” agendas. I don’t pretend to know how difficult it must be for people of faith to look beyond the subject of abortion and vote against the Republican candidate for President, but I found this recent Facebook post by my friend Billy Kangas, and the subsequent conversation it’s spawned, to be incredibly interesting. I’m heartened to see that these kinds of conversations are happening, and I’m proud of my friends, like Billy, who are opening themselves up to criticism by initiating dialogue like this.


Here, with Billy’s permission, is what he posted last night. Billy, I should add, is an anti-hunger activist, a liturgical theologian, and a graduate student at The Catholic University of America. [The above photo comes courtesy of Kate de Fuccio.]

To my christian friends who are voting for Trump. I know why you are doing it. You hate Abortion.

I know it’s an important issue… but I feel I have to say something.

But this pro-life only attitude has become dangerous. Not only for the nation and the world but even our souls.

It’s been used to cover such a multitude of sins.

It’s justified budgets that abuse the poor.

It’s justified supporting candidates who vote to cut food aid to the most vulnerable, those who support the death penalty, those who oppose the care of creation, those who close the door on the refugee, those who promote unjust wars, and those who refuse to take action to reform our immigration policy, gun laws, or work for racial reconciliation.

We accept politicians who ignore the 1 in 5 people in developing nations who are living in extreme poverty, or even worse, allow them to further abuse them through unjust trade deals, or unsustainable aid policies that are focused more on generating American wealth then on helping the needy in their distress.

These things are antithetical to the faith and we have sacrificed working on them just hoping that maybe this time the right judges will finally get appointed and overturn Roe V. Wade.

I have brought these issues up time and time again and have been told that until we overturn abortion these other issues are marginal and secondary.

We can’t keep going this way.

I want to challenge you. We are faced with a candidate who has time and time again demonstrated he’s got it wrong. He promotes a message that marginalizes the stranger, he denies care for creation, he values security over justice, and profits over mercy. He objectifies women and promotes a culture of masculinity of the most deplorable kind.

I do not want my children to grow up believing that this is what a leader in America looks like. I do not want the witness of the Church to be that the “end justifies the means.”

The end does not justify the means. Our message is freedom to the captives, food for the hungry, water for the thirsty, clothes for the naked, grace for the sinner, mercy to the debtor. Our means is the cross. The daily laying down of our lives.

Vote for this. I don’t care how you do it but vote for this.


Grace and Peace….

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