13 Things Donald Trump Has Done To Piss Me Off

“‘But he hasn’t even done anything yet!’ erupts from every corner of the internet, including whatever fetid swamps Milo Yiannopolous resides in.”

Advertisements

It’s only been six days since Donald Trump was elected president. Choruses of “But he hasn’t even done anything yet!” erupt from every corner of the internet, including whatever fetid swamps Milo Yiannopolous resides in. But for those of you at home keeping score, here are 13 things that Donald Trump has done to earn my fiery ire.

1. Jailed Journalists

While covering the Women’s March in D.C., six journalists from various organizations including RT America and Vocativ were jailed. The journalists could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted on felony charges under an anti-rioting D.C. statute.

Though Donald Trump has yet to comment on this specific case, his delegitimization of and “running war” with the media tells us exactly what we should think of these journalists and what he thinks about them, despite the fact that all have denied participating in or urging others to participate in the violence seen on inauguration day.

Shoutout to brave and independent journalists.

2. EPA and Science Agency Gag Order

dsc00934

Donald Trump ordered a “regulatory freeze pending review” on the EPA , as a larger communication clampdown on the agency. According to the New York Times, “emails sent to EPA staff and reviewed by The Associated Press also detailed specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency’s social media accounts.”

He is directly attacking regulations put in place before Barack Obama ended his presidency, a first step toward killing them. He has also, through this action, kneecapped the ability of science agencies to inform the public about the greatest environmental crisis facing us – climate change.

Shoutout to @RogueNasa and @BadlandsNPS for the clapback.

3. Literally all of his cabinet picks

dsc00933

Betsy DeVos knows nothing about banking, education, or government. Steve Mnuchin made a fortune on struggling homeowners through legally dubious methods that earned him the nickname “the foreclosure king.”

Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon with no government experience. Rex Tillerson used to be the CEO of Exxon Mobil, creating an unprecedented level of conflict for a position as Secretary of State. And Jeff Sessions doesn’t know whether or not to protect atheists as Attorney General.

Shoutout to Chuck Schumer for a vicious “No” on DeVos. (Keep it up.)

4. Federal Hiring Freeze

Trump has instituted a hiring freeze on any federal government hiring except for those in national security, public safety, and the military. This hurts many veterans who would benefit from jobs in the public sector, and ensures that every other segment of government is weakened except for the ability to attack abroad and at home.

Speaking of federal employees, shoutout to the Secret Service agent who would rather take jail than protect Donald Trump.

5. Justification For Police State

dsc00935

In a tweet, Donald Trump said that if Chicago couldn’t keep their apparent “carnage” under control, he would “send in the Feds!” Not only does no one know what this really means, but it’s going to be a little difficult to keep a bunch of federal employees on staff after that hiring freeze we talked about.

Donald Trump is laying out the justification for a police state, with the apparent “carnage” as the cited excuse, even though studies show that, largely, crime is currently at its lowest levels ever.

Shoutout to crime for not existing as much.

6. “Immigration Restriction.”

Denying that he would follow-through on his most consistent and wild campaign promise, Donald Trump claims that he is not calling for a muslim ban, but only “immigration restrictions.” However, the executive order shortly restricts travel and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Iran.

He has also vowed to ramp up the deportation and detention forces regarding immigrants, and publicly publishing a daily list of immigrants that commit crime, reinforcing the idea that immigrants commit a lot of crime, and they don’t. It’s not even close.

Shoutout to my hardworking and disenfranchised illegal immigrants. 

7. The Wall

dsc00938

Even the Homeland Security Secretary has admitted that building a wall alone will not work. Some have noted that the wall is not a particularly effective means of reducing illegal immigration. Others still have noted, citing research by the congressional budget office, that here is no economic justification for it, as the cost for the wall will be astronomical – between $12-15 billion for creation – in the low estimates – far more than any monetary gains made by it. The congressional budget office also estimated that upkeep for the wall would exceed the initial construction costs within seven years.

Further research shows that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than their citizen counterparts, and contribute a great deal to our economy in the form of taxes and work. If they all left, we’d be in trouble.

Lastly, despite Donald Trump’s claims, Mexico has repeatedly and steadfastly refused to pay for that wall, guaranteeing that the money Trump needs for it is going to come from robbing us – the taxpayers – blind, and he has changed his position to say that Mexico will “reimburse” us for the funds we spend on the it.

If “reimbursed” isn’t synonymous with “scam”, I just don’t know what is.

Shoutout to the Mexican president for canceling his visit with Trump. 

8. Lying About Inauguration Size and Popular Vote Slaughter

Many can’t understand why some of the issues of most apparent urgency to the president appear to be trivial, like the size of his inauguration (which was visibly smaller than Barack Obama’s), or his loss of the popular vote (in which he was gutted like a pig by Hillary “NastyWoman” Clinton).

The facts are there, and anyone who says they’re not is lying.

Shoutout to everyone who skipped attending or watching the inauguration.

9. Dakota Access Pipeline

dsc00939

Trump has issued an executive order to restart construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline that Standing Rock, North Dakota had refused, reversing an order by Obama to halt construction on it. Trump has cited the construction jobs that the pipeline will create, but failed to mention the ecological and environmental risks that the residents are rejecting.

Shoutout to Standing Rock and all the protestors. Keep warm.

10. The Affordable Care Act

dsc00936

 

Through executive order, Trump has taken aim at the first steps of repealing Obamacare. Particularly foolhardy is House and Senate Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, who desperately want to repeal the law but have no clear plan for a replacement, leaving millions without the healthcare that they need for themselves and their families.

Shoutout to everyone who just turned 26.

11. Abortion gag order

Trump has issued another executive order that no federal funding will be allotted to any organizations that perform abortion services. This fulfills on the promise to defund organizations like Planned Parenthood, which provide a range of healthcare services that actually reduce the amount of abortions and teen pregnancies in the US.

Shoutout to all the doctors that perform abortions, and solidarity for the ones who can’t.

12. Support for anti-LGBTQ legislation

SMLGBT

Trump pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, if passed by Congress. It allows broad discrimination against LGBTQ folks, including by employers, businesses, landlords, and healthcare providers, provided the discriminator claims to be motivated by deeply held religious beliefs.

This overturns an executive order from Obama in 2014, prohibiting discrimination among federal contractors.

Shoutout to my struggling LGBTQ folks, especially youth. You are valued and important.

13. Elimination Of Arts Funding

dsc00861

Trump’s delegitimization of the arts becomes tangible as he reaches for a budget that would eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts entirely. Donald Trump has routinely criticized art in the form of SNL, Hamilton, Meryl Streep, or anyone that says anything that is critical of him or just an impression he doesn’t like.

Let me tell you something. Art is power, and art has always been to agitate and provoke. Shakespeare spent his time criticizing the folly of nobility, Claude McKay and Langston Hughes wrote eloquently about the plight of black Americans in a supposedly gilded age, and one of Pablo Picasso’s most famous paintings is about the bombing of a Basque Country village during the Spanish Civil War. No wonder Trump wants to silence that. No wonder he will not succeed.

Shoutout to my fellow artists who just won’t stay quiet. 

Silver lining?

Democracy is alive right now. That’s the silver lining. I included those shoutouts for a reason, and it’s that you need to know you are not alone.

Every day, I’m seeing people take up the task that is asked of them, even though it’s more than they’ve ever had to carry before. I see people calling their representatives, helping others find out who that is for them, rallies, marches, funding, donations, journalism, research,  …and it all comes down to one word: Resistance.

What Donald Trump is doing is not by accident. There’s a method in the madness.

If you don’t know that he lost the popular vote, that his inauguration was smaller, that his approval rating is garbage, or that tens of thousands more people showed up to protest than to celebrate him, then you will think he has more support than he really does.

This means that you won’t know that Democrats, Republicans, gay people, celebrities, journalists, black people, white people, Asian people, Mexican people, women, immigrants, and badass National Park Services are united in rejecting this supposed “leader.” You won’t know you’re not alone.

dsc00937

He doesn’t want you to know, either, because that is what mobilizes you against his agenda. That is what gives you the strength and courage to oppose, because you know that your fellow citizens are with you. He doesn’t have the support, he doesn’t have the numbers, and he doesn’t have the votes.

But you do.

Rise up.

Feel free to comment, like, share, and follow below!

Twitter

Instagram

Youtube

Facebook

Liberal America

Why Christians Lie – The Gruth Creed, Part 1

IMG_0987
‘Bout to investigate the Sherlock Holmes outta some claims, right here…

Recently, I visited my home church for a presentation called “Evolution’s Achilles’ Heel.” I was invited by a church member named Bob, ostensibly because Bob knows that I’m an atheist. I don’t mind that sort of thing, even if many atheists do. I’ve spent too much time in the church to have that unbridled, uncompromising animus towards church people and their ways. I understand them too much. Like Ender.

In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. – Ender’s Game

So I sat down in the Friendship room, with a pad of paper and a pen for notes, and watched this thing with an open mind. What I was treated to was a sack of unrepentant lies.

The video featured a slew of Ph.D. scientists from various universities talking about the fatal flaws of the theory of evolution. They deftly blurred the line between an atheist and an evolutionist, suggesting that evolution is not compatible with a belief in God. Also thrown in to the line-blurring montage was the line between completely separate and distinct scientific theories like The Big Bang and evolution. They mentioned that we don’t really know what a kind is, and then proceeded to say later in the video that creationists see the growth of life as “within kinds.” They repeated mantras of missing transitional fossils, distinctions between micro and macro evolution, fables of people losing tenure because they don’t support evolution (great review on Ben Stein’s “Expelled” here), and the ever popular, Hitler’s “atheistic” regime.

Bob…thought he was imparting truth to me, but how could that be true if nothing in the video was?

What I was more confused about than the presentation, which was the festering boil on the body of truth that I expected it to be, was why no one in the room could see it. Every minute or two of the video was punctuated by thoughtful Mmm’s, deep nods, and tsk tsk-ing at how the evolution nuts twisted the facts. Did it not matter to anyone that not one of these 15 Ph.Ds was an evolutionary biologist, that that was not their expertise? Did it not matter that the number 15 comprises a supremely small number of scientists in the scientific community? Did it not matter to them that all of these objections have been dealt with before quite deftly and conclusively?

They deftly blurred the line between an atheist and an evolutionist, suggesting that evolution is not compatible with a belief in God.

It comes as no surprise to atheists that Christians lie. And I’m certainly not referring to the fact that we have differing viewpoints on a lot that goes on in the world. I mean straight-up, bald faced lying, as in saying things that are not true. At first, this can dismay atheists and other non-believers. Bob wanted me to see that video because he truly thought that he was imparting truth to me, but how could that be true if nothing in the video was? Answer: Bob’s playing with a different deck of cards than I am.

It all comes down to one simple fact: In the Christian paradigm, God is truth. This is different than saying that God reflects truth, that truth is something independent of God against which He can and has been measured, and which He accurately reflects every time. This instead is the claim that God is the literal embodiment of truth, which changes everything. Take it back to grade school with your fractions for a moment:

 God/Truth = _____/False? The answer’s ‘Not God.’

The weapons in the atheist’s arsenal are powerless here, because atheists do not accept the foundational presupposition that God is equal to truth. It’s not even that they say that God can’t be, either. It’s that they view God, as all other things, as something independent of truth, something to be reasonably tested against it, and they find that He fails.

Bob’s playing with a different deck of cards than I am.

This unfortunate God-Truth Position (which I will subsequently be referring to as The Gruth Creed) is the probable cause of Christianity being as impervious to logic as dragon’s skin to magic. I’m certainly not the first person to suggest that Christianity damages important portions of critical thinking, and some might say that this view is condescending, saying that the little sheep just have no idea what they’re doing. I see it differently. I see this instead as a reason to teach our children how to discover rather than what to believe. In doing so, we can engender beautiful inquiry about this fantastical actual world that we live in – without making things up.

Next time, we’ll talk about why Christians accept bad arguments.

Feel free to like, comment, share, and follow below! If you appreciated this blog, please consider becoming my Patron!

Twitter: @Ame0baRepublic

Islam is Bad and We Should Talk About It

I bookmark this as "The summer that Allah was not pleased at all."
I bookmark this as “The summer that Allah was not pleased at all.”

I’ve been doing a lot of research on Islam lately, and it’s come to my attention that I have a bias. And I don’t mean “come to my attention” in the smarmy politician way, or the “third grader who is being made to apologize by his teacher” kind of way. Actually, nobody even spotted this but me, but I think it’s worth bringing up because it tackles multiple issues at the same time.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a black atheist. This puts me in a very interesting position to comment about race and religion. I can remember writing a pretty scathing piece about the lack of understanding when it came to the rioters in Ferguson, MO. I wrote about how people lacked a fundamental understanding of the black community and the struggles that it had gone through, that rioters are trying to have their voice heard in a situation where injustices are leveled against them with no political recourse, that I condemn their behavior, but I completely understand why they’re doing what they’re doing and what they’re attempting to achieve from it. I realized that I sounded like a hardcore Islam apologist.

I realized that I sounded like a hardcore Islam apologist.

After this realization, I had to ask the question of motives or intentions, and the obvious came to my mind first: I think differently about this because I’m in one group and not in the other. The reason I think that Islam is bad but I can understand the rioters is that I’m a black atheist. Right? This is a valid criticism of myself that I want to explore, and I’ll tell you why I don’t think it leads to the same things.

One of the main problems here is the conception of belief, and what we know is that not all belief is the same. I’ll even go out on a limb to give Christian and Muslim apologists what they would like to hear: I don’t really think that all wrong belief is necessarily bad. Even though beliefs do not exist in a vacuum, I can’t bring myself to say that a belief that Elvis is alive is all that bad, however wrong it may be. What matters is how a belief is arrived at, and even more importantly, the mechanism by which it can be changed or destroyed.

What matters is how a belief is arrived at, and even more importantly, the mechanism by which it can be changed or destroyed.

This mechanism is hugely important, and it’s one of the reasons that many atheists love science so much. They love it because there is a systematic process of being able to credibly dismantle belief. For example, as Bill Nye mentioned multiple times during his debate with Ken Ham, if you found a fossil in the wrong place, that would change his mind about evolution, whereas Ken Ham says that no one is going to tell him that the word of God isn’t true. If there are good ideas and bad ideas in the world, and we recognize that it’s possible for a good person to believe a bad idea, then the badness of an idea or belief would increase based directly on a small or non-existent amount of ways to credibly dismantle it.

For example, I clearly believed that decent human beings might wear a vest with a T-shirt. So dangerous, and just no way to speak reason to the man.
For example, I clearly believed that decent human beings might wear a vest with a T-shirt. So dangerous, and just no way to speak reason to the man.

This is what is scary about faith and the reason that my opinions about the rioters are different. I reached those conclusions by taking in a vast history of race relations in this country, not just localized incidents. Polls, stats, research books, etc. The best part of a conclusion produced through reason is that it is subject to it, not to mention that by any sensible standards, I could be reasoned away from that belief, should it prove untrue, unnecessary, or harmful. And the reason that this situation is different is that I am not pre-committed to a set of beliefs about the world based on being black. I respect and understand the deep role that race has played in my life, but I can freely condemn the rioters. If you have already committed to the truth claims of Christianity, you cannot then claim that you possess the same freedom to just walk away. The same is not true of religion. It purports claims it cannot prove, and makes faith, the process by which you believe the unbelievable, a virtue and a requisite for entry into the community.

The same is not true of religion. It purports claims it cannot prove, and makes faith, the process by which you believe the unbelievable, a virtue and a requisite for entry into the community.

And in all truth, I admit that I could be considered functionally complicit in advocating for violence against authorities or in ignoring the injustices leveled against the police community (a lá #KillAllCops), innocent whites, and even innocent blacks who happened to accidentally own a store near the rage of the mob. I accept my faults and admit my biases and I’m sorry. Which, I guarantee you, is a hell of a lot more truth and honesty than you are likely to find. Really, it’s all I’ve got.

Part of the problem of fundamentalism is not that people are radical, but it’s that the radicals don’t know the parts of the Bible or the Qur’an to ignore. They haven’t been taught the PC apologetic spin on a proliferation of topics. What you get when people believe something with no credible evidence is a mad scramble, because the Christian, by dint of being a Christian, cannot relinquish certain parts of the faith and still consider themselves a Christian by any reasonable standard. Everyone would like to concede that fundamentalism is a problem, but no one wants to talk about what the fundamentals actually are.

Everyone would like to concede that fundamentalism is a problem, but no one wants to talk about what the fundamentals actually are.

For example, we could say that a radical Muslim’s idea of a God that he has never seen, and a paradise he’s got no proof of is ridiculous, but when we have fore-committed to the ideologies of Christianity, our hands are tied, and we can only say that his particular paradise is ridiculous, not the belief itself. Or better yet, we could claim that it wasn’t really one of the most pervasive, universal, and influential systems in the history of man (religion) to convince this man to do this (even when he says that that is explicitly why he’s doing this), but it was a neat “confluence” of political and geo-political circumstances that caused this. Give me a break.

Islam is bad, as are all ideas that do not have a basis in truth. But it’s worse because of how it affects women, homosexuals, apostates, and other Muslims in general that live under these systems that implement laws that correspond to their own human flaws and desires in the name of a God who doesn’t exist. This hardly seems controversial to me. Empathy is elemental.

Let me know what you think by liking, commenting, sharing, and following below! As always, be my Patrons! 

“BOP Goes The Weasel” – Why The Burden of Proof Fails

In terms of really being able to debate someone about anything, you have to be able to understand what their axiom is. If you don’t know what an axioms are, they are the groundings of beliefs, or things that are self-evidently true. You know, like “Leonardo DiCaprio is the peanut butter to my jelly”, or “Quinoa is abhorrent”. Okay, okay, I’ll give you a real example: “Murder is wrong.” It’s important to note at this point that axioms are not technically beliefs. They are what are under or inside of beliefs, whatever metaphor suits your fancy. Beliefs are the things that arise from axioms.

You know, like “Leonardo DiCaprio is the peanut butter to my jelly”, or “Quinoa is abhorrent”.

For example, having a conversation about whether someone should get first degree, second degree, or manslaughter for killing someone with a baseball bat is a conversation based on the axiom “Murder is wrong.” Asking what punishment they deserve is impossible when the other participant in the conversation has not conceded that they deserve any type of punishment at all, not to mention you’ve thrown in the extra axiom that “Wrong deeds require punishment.” Another grand example of axiomatic differences is the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes, where we can debate until the cows come home about the color or fabric of his clothes, but the truth is that he’s not wearing any.

The Burden of Proof

Here’s where I want to present one of the most basic claims of skepticism and of atheism: The burden of proof. BOP is levied against Christians all the time, in an effort to properly orient them to the ways of logic and skeptical reasoning. However, if we take what we know about axioms and apply it, it should be pretty easy to show why BOP falls flat.

BOP goes something like this: “There’s a infinite ‘mount o’ thangs we dunno, an’ we can’t just go ‘round essepting erry claim that comes along! Whenever sumun makes a positive claim, the burden of proof is on THEM to provide evidence, not the person that don’t believe ‘em. Ya can’t prove a negative. Can’t nobody prove the non-eegsistence of the Flyin’ Spaghetti Monster, but it ain’t up t’us to disprove it. It’s up to y’all to PROVE it.”

I know you may have thought this post was going a different way, but the truth is that this is a pretty sound argument. How else do we protect ourselves and conserve our energy? How else do we respond to a world that is clearly much bigger than ourselves, with a possibly infinite amount of things that we don’t know about it? Answer: By not trying to definitively disprove the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. By not really testing the veracity of claims and instead testing the likelihood of them, and reserving our research and thorough testing for claims that seem more likely.

Ya can’t prove a negative. Can’t nobody prove the non-eegsistence of the Flyin’ Spaghetti Monster!

The Achilles heel of BOP is that it’s a logical argument, but it’s applied to people, who behave much differently than logic. One thing I’ll always see floating around the Internet is sentiments like this: “I don’t believe in evolution, I accept the overwhelming scientific fact of evolution.”

I also see many atheists talking about the “claims of Christianity” or the “claims of God and His divine nature” and other things of that sort. But what these don’t take into account is that Christians do not truly believe that they are claiming anything. In essence, Christians and atheists are talking past each other because they have not agreed on a fundamental axiom.

Christians do not truly believe that they are claiming anything.

In much the same way as someone might feel that they are not “believing in evolution”, as pictured above, Christians do not particularly feel that they are “believing in God.” They believe that they are only accepting something that is already self-evident. Even the holy book says so: “For since the beginning of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen.” (Romans 1:20) This is the axiomatic difference between the atheist and the Christian: God is self-evident.

BOP, while a fantastic argument, does not resolve this axiomatic tension, and in many cases, as seen by atheists all over, ultimately fails. Maybe it would’ve worked with the very first person that ever claimed that there was a god, but by now, it’s something that people are born with, and something that they’re taught. It’s not to say that people are brainless automatons, but it is to say that your basic assumptions about the world affect and color how you debate these topics. This is crucial to understanding what belief is. The burden of proof argument, while valid, only works on someone who understands themselves to be making a claim that requires evidence, not on a person that believes themselves to be accepting evident fact. Understanding axioms is the first step to understanding belief, and the first step to being able to convince someone that maybe the emperor doesn’t have on any clothes at all.

Be sure to like, comment, share, and follow!