“Our Father” knows best

[William] Barr’s path into the apparatus of the state is one on which he followed his father’s footsteps. Donald had worked at the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency. While William was still a student at Columbia, where his father had also enjoyed a distinguished career as a teacher and administrator, he worked as a summer intern at the CIA and in 1973, took up his first full-time job there as an analyst.

That same year Donald Barr published an atrocious science fiction novel called Space Relations and dedicated it to his wife as a token of “thirty years’ love.” It is a probe launched from conservative, white, male America into the strange inner worlds of its own psyche in the Nixon years. As literature, it is excruciating. But it deals in a usefully unguarded way with themes that bear heavily on William Barr’s present position as Trump’s most formidable enabler: the legacy of slavery, Catholic sexual dogma, the proper response to revolt from below…

…Space Relations is really a thinly disguised plantation novel in which (Planet} Kossar serves as the Old South. Readers are being pointed in the direction of some allegory of American history…”

“The literary sins of the father—especially ones as grave as Space Relations—should not be visited on the son. There is, however, a very strong connection between Donald Barr’s hard-line Catholicism and William Barr’s present position as the main (perhaps the sole) intellectual buttress of Trump’s presidency. That connection lies in the idea of authority.”

And so it goes…

Homeless Jesus in trouble


Bernard Weil/Toronto Star

A “Homeless Jesus” statue depicting Jesus as a homeless person lying on a bench covered in a blanket was recently installed outside of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village, Ohio. So, naturally, someone called the cops on it within 20 minutes of it being revealed.

As the Cleveland Scene reports, Father Alex Martin, the church’s pastor, received a visit from a Bay Village police officer after someone reported a homeless person sleeping on a park bench. He says he hopes the incident can serve as a lesson for how we can better help those in need.

Americans traveling outside North America say it feels like VietNam War days, once again. Pretend to be Canadians!

Don’t admit you’re an atheist if you’re running for Congress

…In this era of increasing diversity and the breaking of long-rigid political-demographic barriers, there is no self-identifying atheist in national politics. Indeed, throughout history, only one self-identified atheist in the U.S. Congress comes to mind, the late California Democrat Peter Stark…

This puts the country at odds with democracies the world over that have elected openly godless – or at least openly skeptical – leaders who went on to become revered national figures, such as Jawaharlal Nehru in India, Sweden’s Olof Palme, Jose Mujica in Uruguay and Israel’s Golda Meir. New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, the global leader who has arguably navigated the coronavirus crisis with the most credit, says she is agnostic…

In a country that changed its original national motto in 1956 from the secular “E pluribus unum” – “out of many, one” – to the faithful “In God We Trust,” it seems people don’t trust someone who doesn’t believe in God.

Most Americans likely don’t even know this happened. Part of the larger propaganda campaign that accompanied the Cold War.

I’ve been an atheist since I knew enough science to make a decision about belief in the real world versus superstition. About 13 years old. A philosophical materialist since I was 18 and truly enjoyed the investigation of systems of reason and decision-making.

After all these years, I never have bumped into any sound argument to reverse those two conclusions. In fact, every step forward in science and knowledge reinforces my understanding.

Who is the hypocrite here?


These voices tell me I am Christ!

After years of soul-searching, the Catholic Church adopted the position that the death penalty must be shunned in all cases. The reasoning is not as complex as some would make it. It was arrived at after years of more gradual change…allocating exemptions, dispensation, small steps towards the position now held since 2018.

I bring it up as the abiding doctrine that should rule over – and against – the decision made by a right-wing Catholic organization to identify the US Attorney General as a “Christlike figure” – issuing this plaudit in between his oversight of two federal executions.

How to call ’em, Bill!

Fake President’s fave doctor believes in alien DNA, demon sperm, and Hydroxychloroquine


I saw her with my own eyes…

A Houston doctor who praises hydroxychloroquine and says that face masks aren’t necessary to stop transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus has become a star on the right-wing internet, garnering tens of millions of views on Facebook on Monday alone. Donald Trump Jr. declared the video of Stella Immanuel a “must watch,” while Donald Trump himself retweeted the video…

Immanuel, a pediatrician and a religious minister, has a history of making bizarre claims about medical topics and other issues. She has often claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.

She alleges alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, and that scientists are cooking up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. And, despite appearing in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on Monday, she has said that the government is run in part not by humans but by “reptilians” and other aliens…

Both Facebook and Twitter eventually deleted videos of Immanuel’s speech from their sites, citing rules against COVID-19 disinformation…(which) set off yet another round of complaints by conservatives of bias at the social-media platforms.

Immanuel responded in her own way, declaring that Jesus Christ would destroy Facebook’s servers if her videos weren’t restored to the platform.

Since she’s both a “physician” and a church…I wonder if she ever gets round to paying taxes on the dollar$ she’s siphoning from the herd of ever-more-gullible-loyalists in Trump’s army of True Believers.

Nutballs merge their conspiracy theories

If you are trying to download a cat video on your face mask, you may be waiting for a long time. After all, it’s a face mask, not a smartphone.

Yet, messages circulating on social media now are trying to somehow connect face masks with 5G. That’s 5G, as in the “fifth generation” technology standard for cellular networks, and not 5G as in $5000. As I’ve covered before for Forbes, conspiracy theories have already alleged that the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is really the effects of 5G rather than a virus. Now, there are videos…claiming that the metal piece in a surgical mask is a 5G antenna…

American idjits continue to demonstrate that there are no boundaries to their ignorance and gullibility.

“Religious” Trump follows the global authoritarian playbook


He even got it right side up!

It was a striking moment: Donald Trump, Bible in hand, posing for photos in an apparent moment of political theater made possible by the dispersal of protesters through the use of tear gas.

The president’s visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church, known as “the Church of the Presidents,” came immediately after giving a Rose Garden speech framing himself as “your president of law and order” and threatening to send federal troops to “restore security and safety in America.” The next day, Trump made another high-profile visit to a place of worship, this time Washington’s St. John Paul II National Shrine…

When enough people perceive – or can be convinced – that traditional elements of the social fabric are at risk, religious signaling through the use of symbols and images can help would-be authoritarians cement their power. They present themselves as protectors of the faith and foes of any outsider who threatens tradition.

Useful, educational, thoughtful reflection on what is probably one of the oldest political hustles in the book.