Wing-nut: Carry Guns And Extra Ammo To Church

SIG_Pro_by_Augustas_DidzgalvisAccording to the Oath Keepers, (or, as I refer to them: “Oaf Creepers”) ISIS could be planning to attack your church.

Beware! Or, better yet, be armed! BE VERY HEAVILY ARMED!

But first, a bit of history before the hysteria, to place this nonsense in context.

The Oaf Creepers were founded by Elmer Stewart Rhodes. He likes to go by “Stewart,” but I think “Elmer” is a much better fit. (He’s a “Fudd” if I’ve ever heard of one.)

The Creepers are, as one pundit put it, “A conservative group whose members make Ted Nugent look like a bleeding-heart Rachel Maddow.” They claim to be defenders of the Constitution. (Or at least, their rather warped interpretation of it.)

These ‘Murican “patriots” are primarily composed of current and ex military and law enforcement types. Like all quasi-military groups, they pride themselves on following orders. Except, of course, their infamous “Declaration of Orders We Will NOT Obey.”

Orders like:

  • confiscate guns,
  • detain Americans as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to trial by military tribunal,
  • invade Texas or any other state if they secede from the country or,
  • enter a state in force without the express consent and invitation of that state’s legislature and governor.

It’s highly unlikely that any government entity would ever give them such orders. If the country ever devolves into a police state, the government has more than enough muscle to do this with their own people. They won’t need a bunch of mentally challenged ammosexuals to help out.

The Creepers might want to check with Herr Trump about that “detaining Americans as ‘unlawful enemy combatants’ or to subject them to trial by military tribunal” bit. He seems to be in favor of that.

Also, I don’t seem to recall the legislatures and governors of Nevada (Bundy Ranch Standoff) or Missouri (Ferguson) sending them an invitation.

In Nevada, they were too much even for the Bundy Bozos. The Security Chief kicked them out! In Ferguson, the St. Louis County police threatened them with arrest for acting as a security force without a license. They promptly left, tail tucked firmly between their legs. (Well, they needed something down there to fill the void.)

That should give you a general idea about these mental midgets. If you want to explore more (you masochist, you) check out their website, but keep the Emetrol handy.

Now, on to their latest idiocy.

Since a couple of ISIS idiots attacked a church and killed a priest in France, ol’ Elmer knows why it happened and who’s next.

As to why: because the “modern, emasculated, French metro-sexuals” at the church in Normandy that suffered the attack weren’t “real men.” (i.e. armed to the teeth)

As to who’s next? Us, of course! After all, isn’t everything about us?

According to the post on the Oaf Creepers’ website, ISIS has a “kill list” of nearly 15,000 Americans and they’re coming to a church near you.

But what about here in America? Are there real men in your church? Are they armed and ‘switched on’ during service, to safeguard the church and those who worship inside?… A church will be hit. And it might be yours. Get ready.

For those of you who are shaking in your boots, shoes, sandals, socks or whatever, not to worry. Elmer knows just how to handle the situation.

  1. Go armed to church… I recommend a reliable semi-automatic, high capacity handgun of at least 9mm caliber for that task, such as a Glock or Smith and Wesson M&P, with at least one spare magazine.
  2. Carry a backup gun, and/or a no-nonsense fixed blade knife as a backup, carried within easy reach of both your hands (carry it up front near your belt buckle).
  3. Have a couple shotguns (at least) discretely hidden within the church.
  4. Wear body armor under your suit.
  5. Have radios for communication
  6. Have an exterior armed security team.  It would be foolish to rely only on armed men inside the church.  You need men on the outside too.
  7. Have a layered security. Don’t rely on just one team, either outside or inside.  You need both.  And ideally, on the outside, in addition to the overt team manning the exterior entrances, you would also have someone in a discrete location, who is not easily seen by bad guys.
  8. All competent adults in the congregation should be armed.
  9. Train people in emergency medical and have trauma kits on hand.

There you have it, folks. The simple nine-step solution to your jihad problems. Simply turn your church, parish, temple or synagogue into an armed camp and all your worries will evaporate like mist on a summer morning.

Unless, of course, you’re attacked by suicide bombers. Then, you’re S.O.L.

p.s. Note to Elmer and the Oafs: “Real Men” don’t need to pack penis substitutes.

Featured image credit: Augustas Didžgalvis

Mormonism: The Big Con? (pt 2: Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off to Church We Go)

Mormon ChronologyCONTINUED

When last we left Joe, Ollie, Marty and the various “Holy Ghosts”, Joe had just finished “translating” the Book of Mormon and had gotten it copyrighted. (I guess they didn’t check for plagiarism.)

However, when it comes to having the BoM printed, there’s a slight problem. Printing books costs money and Joe’s previous scams haven’t been too financially successful, so he doesn’t have the loot to do it.

Fortunately. “God” comes to the rescue. Seems Big Daddy has a talk with Joe and tells him that Marty will suffer “GOD’S PUNISHMENT” if he doesn’t pony up the Benjamins to print the book. Doctrine & Covenants Section 1986fad446-c7a9-442e-9347-0c2d06f8060c_oA few quick thoughts on the matter:

  1. Why is Big Daddy always broke? Hell, he can create gold by farting a certain way. Why does he always want ours? He can’t spend it. Maybe he eats it. Who knows?
  2. Isn’t it handy to be the only one B.D. chats up? I mean, who’s to say what you say isn’t what he said? A touch more on that later.
  3. I always thought extortion fell under the “sin” category. However, as we shall learn over the remaining posts, a sin isn’t a sin if Big D or his “prophet” commit it. And, laws aren’t laws unless Big Daddy and Joe approve of them.

(8/1829) Marty gives Joe $3,000 (A little shy of $64,000 in todays moolah.) to cover publishing costs of the BoM. To raise the money, Marty has to mortgage part of his farm, which is repossessed when he can’t pay it off. (So, Marty does what Big D demands, and Big D rewards him by having him lose part of his farm. What an asshole! This isn’t the last time B.D. screws someone for doing what he commands. We’ll run across multiple examples over the ensuing years.)

Before we get to more of the “latter-day” fun stuff, lets take a quick gander at the BoM.

It’s reputed to be the saga of various bands of Israelis that sailed boats (In one case, a submarine) from the Middle East, all the way to South America. It then traces the history of their descendants (aka “First Nations”, “Native Americans” or “Indians”).

Unfortunately, there are more than a few glaring errors in the narrative:

  1. First of all, it is not backed up by DNA evidence which clearly shows a direct descent from Eastern Asians, not Semitic Asians. FAIL!
  2. The BoM says that the descendents had chariots. FAIL! The wheel was unknown in the Western Hemisphere.
  3. The BoM’s 2nd Book of Nephi, which was supposedly written around 590 BCE, uses the word “Bible“. FAIL! There was no “Bible” in 590 BCE. The Pentateuch had barely been written around 621 BCE, but the Bible was still just a gleam in Big Daddy’s eyes.
  4. Ether 9:31-33 tells the tale of cattle-herding snakes. FAIL!
  5. The BoM claims horses were used as “beasts of burden”. FAIL! There were no horses in Pre-Columbian America, and hadn’t been since the Pleistocene Era.

    Early_Horse_Mesohippus

    Mesohippus

  6. Speaking of non-existent animals, Ether 9:19 says elephants were also used. FAIL! There never were elephants in America. There had been mammoths and mastodons, but they’d been extinct for about 6,000 years.
  7. The BoM also mentions domestic cattle. FAIL! Not in the new world. (This is getting monotonous.)
  8. The BoM details fighting with steel swords. FAIL! There were no metal weapons of any kind used in the Western Hemisphere.final-fantasy-sword-envy
  9. The BoM says dark skin is a “loathsome” curse, because either you or one of your ancestors screwed up. However, righteous living will cause your skin to become white and “delightsome.” FAIL! FAIL! (and one more for good measure) FAIL!
  10. There are a lot more problems, inaccuracies, inconsistencies and downright lies, but I think you’ve got a handle on the situation.

There has been speculation that Joe “translated” the BoM for other than altruistic reasons. One reason for the speculation might be because he tried to sell the rights to the book, right after it was published. (However, nobody was buying his story.)

Can I get a witness?

(6/28/1829) Joe, Ollie, Marty and David Whitmer retire to the woods. (Them mushrooms ain’t gonna harvest themselves.) While there, they’re visited by another angel and he has the plates with him. I guess Joe had already given them back.

Afterwards, they all sign a statement titled “Testimony of Three Witnesses” (Tot3W)  which is conveniently located at the beginning of every BoM.

(7/2/1829) Eight more people: Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer Jr., John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joe Sr., Hyrum Smith, & Samuel Smith “witness” the plates. All eight are members of the Smith or Whitmer families. Page is a Whitmer Bro-in-law.

Mary Whitmer claims Moroni shows her the plates as well, but she’s just a woman, so I guess she doesn’t count. Mrs Joe claims she felt the plates through a cloth, although she never exactly saw them. (Seems she didn’t peek in the bean barrel. No Pandora, she.)

Unfortunately, a few problems with all this “witnessing” keep popping up.

For starters, if you’ve read the “Tot3W”, you’ll notice that it seems to insinuate that the plates were seen, but it really doesn’t say how they were seen. (Don’t laugh, this becomes important.) There are an incredible number of “weasel words” in there that allow you to draw whatever conclusion is convenient for your point of view.

And then, there’s the “I can’t seem to keep the story straight” problem.

Let’s start with Marty. You might remember that last post I compared Marty to my favorite bird. (If you’ve ever camped out by a northern alpine lake and listened to the haunting serenade of the loons, you’ll know why I love ’em.)LoonsBut, actually, I was referring to the other usage of the word. You know, “crazy as a ……”

His belief in earthly visitations of angels and ghosts gives him the reputation of being a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Here’s what some of the people who know him have to say about Marty: “a great man for seeing spooks” (Lorenzo Saunders); “a visionary fanatic” (Jesse Townsend); “overbalanced by marvellousness” (Pomeroy Tucker). Pomeroy Tucker reminiscence, 1858, in Vogel 1996-2003, 3: 71

For instance, during a break in translation transcribing, Marty takes a 2 or 3 mile “walk & talk” with J.C.. Of course, J.C. is in the form of a deer, but talking with him as familiarly as one man talks with another”. John A. Clark letter, August 31, 1840

Another time Marty has also seen the Devil, whom he describes as “a very sleek haired fellow with four feet, and a head like that of a Jack-ass.” Vogel,EMD 2: 271, note 32.

And, he always seems to know whenever YHWH (Big Daddy) or J.C. stops by to take in a Sunday sermon, even if nobody else can see them.

Then there’s the time when Marty encounters J.C. poised up on a roof beam. Ronald W. Walker, “Martin Harris: Mormonism’s Early Convert,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 19 (Winter 1986): 34-35. I have absolutely no clue as to what J.C.’s doing on the roof . Maybe he heard the drinks were on the house? (Ooooh sorry. That was a bad one, even for me.)

Ok, I think you probably get the picture. Marty may not be the best choice for a credible witness. But, I guess you go with what you’ve got.

At one point, as the BoM is readied for printing, the typesetter (John Gilbert) asks him “Martin, did you see those plates with your naked eyes?” Marty replies “No, I saw them with a spiritual eye!John H. Gilbert, “Memorandum,” 8 September 1892, in EMD, 2: 54 (I’m not into “magic mushrooms”, so I usually see “with a spiritual eye” after 5 or 6 heavy hits on the bong.)

Later, in 1838 he testifies in court that neither he, nor any of the other “witnesses” ever physically saw the plates. Stephen Burnett to Luke S. Johnson, 15 April 1838, in Joseph Smith’s Letterbook, Early Mormon Documents 2: 290-92 Three of the 12 Mormon Apostles promptly leave the church. (Lotsa juicy detail coming up down the timeline.)

By 1853, he crosses back over to “Saw’em-Touched’em” Land. He tells David Dille that he held the 40-60 lb plates on his knee for “an hour-and-a-half” and handled them “plate after plate” Martin Harris interview with David B. Dille, 15 September 1853

Other than being a few frogs shy of a flap jack, what possible motivation could he have had for this charade?

In the winter of 1828, Marty and his wife visit his sister-in-law, Abigail. This is how Abigail describes one conversation: “… Martin Harris and Lucy Harris, his wife, were at my house. In conversation with the Mormonites, she observed that she wished her husband would quit them, as she believed it all false and a delusion. To which I heard Mr. Harris reply: ‘What if it is a lie; if you will let me alone I will make money out of it!’ I was both an eye and ear witness of what has been above stated, which is now fresh in my memory, and I speak the truth and lie not, God being my witness.” Lucy is on record as confirming the conversation.

Now, if you think I’m picking on Marty, I’m just using him as an example. There are problems and conflicts with all the testimonies.

David Whitmer said he saw the plates “by the eye of faith” (aka Psilocybe liniformans?) Psilocybeliniformans2Later, David said he found them lying in a field and even later said that they were laying on a table with other gold & brass plates, the Sword of Laban and our old friends, Urim & Thumim. Millennial Star, vol. XL, pp. 771-772

Joe publicly charged Ollie with lying, perjury and counterfeiting, among other crimes. Senate Document 189, Feb. 15, 1841, pp. 6-9 (And, of course, lots more on this coming up down the line.) However, everyone is supposed to believe him when he agrees with Joe?

Let me finish up on the “witnesses” with this little factoid: By 1847, all 11 “witnesses” leave the church. Not 1, not 3, but every last mother-humpin’ one of them. (Kinda tells you something right there!) Some come back later to enjoy their celebrity status or for some other non-altruistic reason, and some don’t.

Hi ho, hi ho, It’s off to church we go!

(3/26/1830) Joe publishes “The Book of Mormon.”

(4/6/1830) Eleven days later, starting with 30 suckers, I mean saints, Joe incorporates the “Church of Christ” in Fayette NY, or was it Manchester, NY? (Inquiring minds want to know.) 

Nit picking time (Hey, they’re the church’s nits, not mine!) Part of the incorporation location confusion comes from the church claims prior to 1834 that it is in the Smith home in Manchester, (actually, the house is just north of the Palmyra town border) and then, after ’34, the official church version changes to the Peter Whitmer house in Fayette.

Complicating it even more is the fact that no legal records of church incorporation exist in the Palmyra/Manchester area, the Fayette area, or anywhere else in the state. It seems this may not be a legal organization.

Wherever it is, it seems everyone has a great time, speaking in tongues, having visions, prophesying and fainting. Joseph Smith History, 1839 draft Also, Joe and Ollie are both ordained “as an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church”. This later gets modified so that Joe becomes “1st Elder” and Ollie becomes “2nd Elder”. (And, the power struggle begins.)

2nd nit: According to the church (ala Nephi 27:3-8) Christ’s true church is required to have his name on it. That raises a bit of a “sticky wicket”. (Always wanted to use that phrase, and btw a sticky wicket is a damp, soft pitch in cricket. So, who says my posts aren’t educational?) By that reckoning, it seems that between May 3, 1834 and April 1838, J.C. didn’t have a true church. During that time period, the name was changed to “The Church of the Latter Day Saints”. (No Christ, nowhere, nohow)

(6/9/1830). Holy exorcism, Batman! Joe performs his 1st miracle! Yup, our boy Joe casts a devil “of uncommon size from a miserable man in the neighborhood of the ‘great bend’ of the Susquehannah.”. (At least that’s what he claims.)

Unfortunately this gets Joe hauled into court again. He’s charged with performing an exorcism, but he’s acquitted. Would love to be a fly on the wall during the trial. If Joe admits to the charge, that means he’s guilty. If he denies the charge, that means he’s either lying under oath or he lied about the exorcism. Since he’s acquitted, I think I know what his testimony is.

About the same time, Marty gives himself a promotion to Prophet. He claims in two years non-Mormonites will be stricken off the earth and Palmyra will become the New Jerusalem complete with streets of gold. Gilbert, John H. (September 8, 1892), Recollections of John H. Gilbert, Palmyra, New York

Obviously this does not go down well with Joe. (The “Prophet” part at least.) In September, Joe claims that B.D. tells him he’s the only Prophet and Marty is something else. While he’s at it, B.D. gives him the authority to issue commandments on any subject. (Wouldn’t that make him at least a demigod? Talk about inflated ego!)

Meet Sid

Sidney Rigdon (1793-1876)

Sidney Rigdon (1793-1876)

One of the early converts, Parley P. Pratt is sent to preach to the Lamanites (aka Indians). On his way, he stops by to visit his old Campbellite preacher, Sidney Rigdon. Sid reads the BoM and decides to convert.

(We’ll catch up with P.P.P. a bit later. Or rather, the husband of his 9th wife will. It doesn’t end well.)

After being baptized, Sid proceeds to convert hundreds of his old flock.

(12/1830) Shortly after, he pays a visit to Joe. As a preacher, Sid is a fiery orator and Joe needs one of those. He is immediately made the church’s flack hack. (spin doctor)

About this time, Big Daddy decides it’s time to relocate to greener pastures (and money). Since Sid already has hundreds of Mormonites in Ohio, that seems to be a good spot. B.D. tells Joe that a little farming village called Kirtland will be their new home. So, over the next year (1831) Joe & the gang set up shop in Kirtland.

Despite Marty’s earlier claims, B.D. tells Joe that Zion (New Jerusalem) is located in Independence, MO.

(6/7/1831) Joe takes a small group to check it out. (I’ve been to Independence, and other than being my idol “Give ’em Hell” Harry’s home town, it’s a long way from any fantasy of Zion, I ever had.) While there, they lay a cornerstone for a proposed temple. Within a year about 800 saints settle there.

If you’ve read “The Religious Wrong (pt 3: The Great(?) Awakening)“, you’ll recall that in this period, a lot of religious/cult groups’ idea of Utopia included “small c” communism, (with a healthy dose of sex on the side). Kirkland fit the pattern.

(2/9/1831) Joe has a “revelation” detailing the “Law of Consecration” or what he calls “The United Order of Enoch” Doctrine & Covenants 42:30-39 In short, “saints were to “consecrate” (give) their belongings to the church, and the church would give them what they need, keeping the extra for “good works”.

Sounds like “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” to me. (Mr Marx would be pleased. And, I ain’t talkin’ Groucho!)

(7/17/1831) As for the sex on the side? Joe has a revelation from Big Daddy recommending that he practice polygamy. (Or does he?) Joe neglects to tell anyone about it other than one brand new member (Willie Wine Phelps) who neglects to tell anyone else about it for 30 years. The rest of the Mormonites, don’t learn of B.D.’s current views on polygamy/polyandry until 1843. By that time, Joe is already screwing over a couple dozen “wives”.

What makes this even more interesting, is that Joe’s own “translation” of the BoM comes out strongly against the practice: But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. “Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.Jacob 2:23-24

The appearance of Sid starts Ollie’s slide into insignificance. Sid takes over as scribe helping Joe re-translate the bible. However, Joe never quite finishes his translation, and strangely enough, none of the “Prophet, Seer & Revelators” that follow, pick up the ball.

Sid is named one of Joe’s two counselors and becomes a close partner in the operation. He’s even a guest of honor along with Joe at an informal “tar & feathers party”.

You get the tar, and I’ll get the feathers. Let’s get together and have a great time!

T&F PartyListen, my children, and you shall hear the legend of the infamous “Tar & Feather Incident”. (3/24/1832) (This one’s kinda like the Boston Tea Party in that there are a lot of facts known, but as for the truth???)

Let’s start with the facts: A group of men drag Joe & Sid out of their respective houses. (Joe & Emma are lodging with the Johnsons and Sid’s bunked in with another family.) The mob beats them and strips them naked. They try to force some tar and acid down Joe’s throat, but the bottle evidently breaks. They slather hot tar on their bodies and dump feathers all over the sticky mess.There’s also a doctor in the group that has been brought along to castrate Joe. (But not Sid.) Fortunately(?) for a lot of Joe’s future bed buddies, the doctor gets cold feet.

According to the church, this is a drunken mob stirred up by some apostate Mormonites. The church’s spin is that these were petty and vindictive men who have left the church over minor issues. There are obviously some “apostates” in the mob. There are also some current members and the previously mentioned doctor.

As to another possible reason for the anger of both members and ex, remember back seven paragraphs, where I mentioned “The Law of Consecration”? Well, a lot of these folks have decided that they don’t want to give everything to Joe and let him decide what they get back. Seems to them Joe is fleecing the flock. Seems to me, that’s not a minor issue. As a side note (aka foreshadowing) later events prove they have a point.

And, then there’s the situation with the doctor. Now, dumping tar and acid down Joe’s throat, I can understand. It keeps him from preaching. However, cutting off Joe’s balls doesn’t stop him from preaching, it just means he’ll do it in a higher register. Soooo, why is he here? Also, why was Joe the only castration candidate?

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to 16-year-old Marinda Johnson. I mentioned current members being involved a couple of paragraphs back. Two of those members were Marinda’s brothers and Joe’s host’s sons. It seems Joe was either “getting frisky” with the girl, or was trying to. Considering castration is a rather extreme punishment, my money’s on the former.Frisky Joe While you and I might consider this sort of a “rockstar-groupie” thing, I don’t think Marinda’s brothers saw it quite that way.

I’ve heard the church claim that this is not adultery, because Joe has already been given the go ahead by B.D.. Since nobody knows about that except for Willie Wine (And, I ain’t so sure about him.) that’s a piss poor excuse. Also, Joe’s track record (as we shall see) paints him as a bit of a sexual predator.

Btw, this is not the last we’ll see of darling Marinda. But that’s a story for later down the timeline.

Joe & Sid survive the experience obviously, and go on to greater low jinks. But, I have already exceeded (once again) my self-imposed word limit.

Next episode, we’ll continue the life and times of Mormonite Kirtland, including Joe’s next sexual conquest, “The Word of Wisdom”, the power struggles and (hopefully) the real reason Joe and the gang had to skip town.

In the meantime, if the Mormon missionaries knock on your door (and, they will, sooner or later), tell them you belong to the church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or if in Oregon, the Church of Elvis. (Hey, those religions are just as valid as Mormonism.)

Grouchy

ps Here’s one for the road:

p.p..s.: If my ramblings don’t revolt you, check out my FaceBook page (“Grouchy’s Grumbles”) you might just enjoy it. Better yet, you might “like” it. I’d love it if you did.It’s free (and worth every cent) and almost completely painless (other than the usual bad jokes).

Mormonism: The Big Con? (pt 1: Joe & the Magic Hat Stone)

Before I get into Mormons, or as it informally calls itself, the LDS Church, I better restate my “I used to be one of them critters” disclaimer.

Yes folks, I was a “saint”! A latter day saint, to be specific. That’s what the LDS stands for. The church’s full name is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

However, I grew up and now I’m an ex-Saint. A practicing Mormon might call me a “Jack Mormon”, but I prefer to think of myself as a “fallen angel”.

The following is a history of the early Mormon Church (complete with snarks). Believe it or not, almost all my source material comes from them. However, this is not the stuff they taught me back in my 4 years in seminary. Some of this is stuff they didn’t want to talk about at all!

But to be fair (for a change) the rise of Mormonism needs to be placed in context. I highly recommend you read “The Religious Wrong (pt 3: The Great(?) Awakening)” first. Better yet, since the context needs context, start with pt 1 and work your way back here. They’re fun reads, unless of course, you’re a “fundy” or a “bagger”. Then…..not so much.

Also, this post is not a slam on some of my good Mormon brethren & sisteren. (Is that a word?) As with all “religions” there are members who earnestly try to make this a better world. Unfortunately, as with all “religions” this one has its share of bigots and assholes as well. Although, lately they’ve lightened up a bit on blacks and transferred their hate to the LGBT community. (However, they do LOVE American Indians!)

Any excuse for a little “Satchmo”!

Mormon Chronology

Joseph Smith (1805-1844)

Joseph Smith (1805-1844)

 

(12/23/1805) Joseph Smith Jr. is born in Sharon Vermont.

The Smith family is rather itinerant, due to various failed business and farming ventures. In the warm weather, Joe Sr. and the older brothers (Hyrum & Alvin) like to go treasure hunting. (Which just might be part of the reason for those failures.)

Unfortunately, they don’t have any maps with “X” marking the spot. However, they do have divination tools. Among those tools are seer stones. Now, in order to get that “special sight” the stones are supposed convey, they have to be viewed in the bottom of a hat. (I shit you not!)

After three crop failures in a row, the Smith family moves to Palmyra, New York. (1816) Palmyra is right in the middle of the “Burned-Over District“, a hotbed of evangelical fervor. (Or fever, if you prefer.)

The 1st Vision

1st Vision Joe Jr. supposedly is confused with all the different religions with their conflicting “truths”, so he decides to take a walk in the woods to sort it out. Smith tells several different versions about when it happens. In one, he claims he was 14. (1819) Another time he was 16. (1821) Another time he split the difference. (1820)

According to the stories, he witnesses a pillar of light (a sunbeam?) descending from the sky and out pops Big Daddy and J.C.. (Hmmm, I wonder what kind of mushrooms were in season?)

They proceed to inform him that all the religions have drifted from “THE TRUTH”, and are essentially various piles of crap and stay away from them. Later, when he tells a local minister what Big Daddy said, for some reason the minister takes umbrage. (I can’t imagine why.)

(Fair warning: I may be an atheist, but I LOVE good gospel music.)

Now, here’s the part that floors me. To explain, I’ll resort to one of my infamous “Grouchy Scenarios”:

For this one, you’re Joe Jr.. You’ve just had a close encounter of the third kind with God and Jesus. Not only that, but they went out of their way to come down and talk to you personally. Do you: 1) drop everything and devote your life and all your energies to these guys; or 2) go on pretty much as if nothing had happened?

Jr. chooses door #2!

He tells his family, the minister and a few others (who basically laugh at him). Other than that, every thing goes on as normal. He continues farming with the family and going treasure hunting with daddy’s stones. In fact, he doesn’t come up with a detailed description of the event until 1838. (Kinda makes you wonder…..)

But, here’s the kicker: Not only did several family members subsequently join the Presbyterian Church, Joe Jr. applied with the Methodists in 1828.

(9/21/1823) Joe Jr. gets a night-time visit from an “angel” named Moroni. Btw, Mormon angels don’t have wings. I guess they teleport or something. (Maybe they borrow floo powder or a portkey from Harry.) Little Golden BookMoroni tells him that there’s a book written on “Golden Plates” that are buried on Cumorah Hill, conveniently located just a short hike south.

The next day, Jr. digs up the plates. but Moroni tells him he can’t have them for four years. Not only that, but he has to show up every year on this date for further instructions.

A couple of years later (1825) Jr. & Sr. Smith go treasure hunting in Harmony PA. They never find any treasure, but Jr. finds Emma Hale.

(3/1826) The local fuzz bust Jr. for fraudulent use of seer stones.He’s arrested, jailed, and examined in court in Bainbridge, New York on the charge of being “a disorderly person and an impostor” (Can you say “scam artist”?) in connection with his use of a seer stone to search for buried treasure. The evidence indicates he’s found guilty but he’s apparently released on the condition that he leave the area. Quinn, pp. 44ff.; and H. Michael Marquardt and Wesley P. Walters, Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record (Salt Lake City: Smith Research Associates, 1994), pp. 70ff.

This event goes on right in the middle of the time Jr. is receiving “heavenly instructions” on how to con, excuse me, “save” the world.

The church used to deny this ever happened. Even going so far as to say: “if this court record is authentic, it is the most damning evidence in existence against Joseph Smith.” Hugh W. Nibley, The Myth Makers (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1961), p. 142.

In 1971, the original court records were found. And, they were authentic!

(1/18/1827) Two years after they meet, Jr. & Emma elope to get married. (Emma’s daddy doesn’t much care for Jr. and Big Daddy must be a mite pissed at Jr. as well, their first three children die on the day they are born.) Emma is to play a major role in the early church, and another role after her husband dies. More on those down the timeline.

(10/22/1827) Joe finally gets his hands on the “golden plates”, (Now that he’s married, I’ll drop the Jr. but I think I know him well enough to call him Joe.) but is told he can’t show them to anyone. (Always a convenient excuse.) He does show his mother a pair of specs with gemstones for lenses. The stones are to be used to translate the plates, since the plates are written in “Reformed Egyptian”. Unfortunately, no other examples of this language have ever been found (or even heard of).

The gemstones, believe it or not, (and, I don’t) are the Urim & Thummim of Old Testament fame. They pop up several times: Exodus 28:30; Leviticus 8:8; Ezra 2:63; Nehemiah 7:65 & Deuteronomy 33:8 with Urim doing a solo in Numbers 27:21 & 1 Samuel 28:6. They were usually associated with the High Priest’s breastplate. Priestly Garments

(12/1827) Rumors of a Golden Bible started getting around the neighborhood and Joe & Emma decide to split before someone comes looking for it. A neighbor (Martin Harris) gives them some money and they hightail it back to Harmony with the plates, as the story goes, hidden in a barrel of beans. (I’ll refrain from any “spill the beans” jokes, although it’s extremely tempting.)

The Magic Translation

Safely ensconced in a small house on Emma’s daddy’s property, the work commences. Joe “translates” the plates, with Emma writing down his translation.

And, this is where it gets a smidgin confusing to yours truly. Allow me to elucidate:

Joe has the plates and the U&T specs. Logically, one would assume that Joe would put on the specs, look through the U&T lenses at the plates and commence to translate.

WRONG!!!

Remember back early in this saga, when I mentioned the use of a hat to get that “special sight”? Well, that’s the way he translates the plates. Instead of looking at them, he translates them by looking into his hat.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s how Emma describes the scene to one of her sons (Joe III): In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.” History of the RLDS Church, 8 vols. Independence, Missouri: Herald House, 1951. Last Testimony of Sister Emma, 3:356Working the Stones(In other words, he pulls “The Book of Mormon” out of his hat!)

Also, in a bit of foreshadowing, you might notice something interesting about that reference source. R you up to figuring it out? If not, we’ll get reorganized in a few episodes.

As for the plates themselves, they weren’t even in the room. According to Emma’s daddy, “The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with a stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the Book of Plates were at the same time hid in the woods.”. Affidavit of Isaac Hale dated March 20, 1834, cited in Rodger I. Anderson, Joseph Smith’s New York Reputation Reexamined, (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990), pp. 126-128.

You’ll notice in both accounts, there’s no mention of the “gemstone specs”. They both refer to a singular stone in the bottom of his hat. I wonder if this the same stone, or its brother, that got him busted back in ’26?

The Lost “Book of Lehi”

Martin Harris (1783-1875)

Martin Harris (1783-1875)

(4/1828) Martin Harris travels to Harmony and takes over writing Joe’s translation dictation. Marty is ……….oh …… what’s the polite word?……oh yeah. “Interesting”. An impolite description would sound something like “A bit of a loon.” (Multiple examples forthcoming.)

Marty sort of cleans up the single stone/U&T specs confusion by saying that the stone isn’t the Urim or the Thummin, It’s just Joe’s old “seer stone”.

Over the next couple of months they write “The Book of Lehi”, 116 pages in total. This is to be the first book in the BoM. At this point, Marty takes the 116 pages back to Palmyra to show his wife what he’s up to.

And…..he….”LOSES” THEM!

Two month’s translation effort of holy(?) words, and they’re not important enough to keep track of? Or even to make a back-up copy????

After a couple of months, Joe wonders what the hell happened to Marty. He heads back to Palmyra to find out.

He finds out!

He also finds out Big Daddy ain’t too tickled with the situation. BD teleports one of his angels to take back the plates. (Not to worry, fairy tale fans, it’s only temporary.)

(10/22/1828) Joe gets the plates back.

So at this point it should be a simple matter just to retranslate the missing pages and press on with the rest of the translation.

Right?

Evidently not! There are a couple of problems here: One’s real and one’s not-so-real. And, of course, the not-so-real problem is the one the church hides behind.

Before I tackle those, let me step out of the narrative for a moment.

This situation exposes one aspect of a much larger question: Where did the BoM really come from? In researching these posts, I’ve run across some solid arguments, with some rather persuasive evidence, that it has a less than holy origin.

My problem as a blogger, is that I am a blogger, and not a book writer. And, to really explore this particular question in-depth is going to take something more book length than blog length. Characters like Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery (whom you’re about to meet) figure into it along with some published and non-published books that were written prior to 1828. And then there’s related issues like “The Book of Abraham”. “The Kinderhook Plates” and the “Greek Psalter Incident”.

So, instead of exploring all of these in depth as I’d like to, I’m going to provide links to my information sources as I go along, and you can investigate at your pleasure.

Ok, back to the narrative!

First, let’s tackle the “not-so-real” problem that the church likes so much:

According to the church, this episode is Satan’s plan to trap Joe and destroy the church before it even gets started. They know this, because that’s what Big Daddy told Joe. (Or, at least that’s what Joe says BD told him.)

BD said that wicked men had altered the manuscript . So, if Joe retranslates the lost pages, they will claim he’s a phony because he can’t duplicate the original.

There’s one HUGE problem with this cop-out: Martin Harris wrote down the translation in ink on foolscap. Any changes would be immediately noticeable, and if they rewrote the 116 pages, it would be pretty easy to spot as a forgery since it wouldn’t have been in Marty’s handwriting.

Now, the real problem:

Lucy Harris (1792-1836)

Lucy Harris (1792-1836)

Marty probably didn’t really lose the 116 pages. The evidence seems to suggest that his wife Lucy purloined them. (For you baggers reading this, purloined means stole.) Most researchers agree that she probably promptly burns them.

But Joe just can’t take the chance of them being gone forever. In Joe’s mind, the “wicked men” are Lucy. Lucy can’t stand her husband’s “Mormonite” friends, as she calls them. She thinks they’re frauds and phonies. And, it’s Lucy that’s setting a trap.

However, keep in mind that it’s only a trap if the whole thing is a scam, since any alteration or rewriting of the original would be immediately noticed.

Fortunately, BD knew thousands of years ago that this was going to happen. He had one of his profits prophets write a whole second book that covered the same things the “Book of Lehi” covered, only in different words and not quite the detail.

Viola! Problem solved. No way to compare texts. No way to prove Joe lied through his hat.

Oliver Cowdery (1806-1850)

Oliver Cowdery (1806-1850)

(4/5/1829) Oliver Cowdery comes to Harmony and takes up Harris’ old job as secretary. Ollie tells Joe that he’s already seen the plates in a “vision” aka “state of altered consciousness”. (Carlos Castaneda would be so proud.) And, it turns out that Ollie, like his cousin Joe, is a treasure hunter. Ollie even has his own divining rod.

Ollie’s description of the translation process doesn’t mention the hat, but the U&T is back and being used. (Probably just needed a little “spiritual refurbishment”.)

To further confuse the confusion, after 1833 the gemstones (the U&T) are somehow integrated into the hat stone, so that now, there’s just the one stone. Which, the church says, is safely tucked away. In other words, if they really, really wanted to prove the authenticity of the magic stone’s translation ability, they could do it? (Hmmmm.)

The Return of the Holy Ghosts

(5/15/1829) Joe & Ollie head out to the woods to pray and John the Baptist shows up. (Must be mushroom season again.) Big John confers the Aaronic priesthood on them. He tells them that the Melchizedek priesthood will also be making a comeback, but not quite yet.

In fact, no one knows when the Melchizedek priesthood comes back. Joe never tells anyone how or when it happens.

LDS theologians think it happened sometime before the church was established a few months later, since part of the initial church organization included “Elders”, and Elder is the lowest rank of the Melchizedek. Other than that tidbit, they don’t have a clue.

The Melchizedek is considered the senior priesthood, with the Aaronic being the junior. Nowadays, the Aaronic is primarily for male teenagers. (Went up through the ranks myself.) Back when I was a Mormon, it was for WHITE male teenagers. At 19, you graduate to Elder.

Big John also tells them that Joe will be the 1st Elder of the Church and Ollie the 2nd. Joe & Ollie then proceed to baptize each other in the Susquehanna. (I’m not quite sure why Big John doesn’t do the honors. After all, he’s the pro.)

A bit later, Joe & Ollie are praying in the woods, and who drops by to chat? Peter, Paul & Mary! (Oops, sorry ’bout that!) I mean Peter, James & John. Still, all-in-all, some pretty heavy hitters. (Damn! I have got to find out what type of mushrooms are native to the area.)

(6/1829) The translation’s finished, and Joe gets a copyright for The Book of Mormon.

Next episode, things start rolling. There’s some “witnessing”. We meet most of the early players. The book is printed. The church is organized. The fun begins.

Until then, take care.

Grouchy

p.s. There are 14 varieties of “magic mushrooms” that grow in New York state.

Idaho faith healer: ‘Medicine is a product from Satan’

Laying_on_of_handsIdaho is in the news again. Oregon’s beautiful, but slightly wacky neighbor (It’s Tea Party troglodyte heaven, seasoned with a large dash of Mormon style fundamentalism.) is considering whether to remove a shield law that allows parents to kill their children by denying them proper medical care because “religion.”

After two children died from lack of medical care because of the parents’ beliefs, the Governor, Butch Otter, ordered a task force to look into the situation.

As you can see from the chart below, Idaho is one of nine states where you can get away with negligent homicide, manslaughter or capital murder because “Big Daddy” told you to do it. It’s also a “get out of jail free” card in Washington, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia.
(You pull that shit in Oregon and we’ll give you a multi-year vacation at the Iron Bar Inn.)

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

You’ll find a lot more info on the subject at Child Inc.

Last Thursday, (8/9/16) the Idaho legislature held hearings on the matter. Among those testifying, was self-professed “faith healer,” Dan Sevy. (Ever notice that these charlatans are always “self-professed?”) Accompanying Dan were 12 of “God’s groupies” from the cult-like church, “Followers of Christ.”

According to their post in Wikipedia, among the “Followers of Christ” doctrines is “a literal interpretation of scripture, including in the power of faith healing…the use of prayer and laying on of hands by church elders is believed able to cure illness…members of the Followers of Christ refuse all forms of medicine and professional medical care…The church practices shunning of those who violate or challenge church doctrine, including those who seek medical treatment.

In fairness (and more than a little embarrassment) I have to admit that the “Followers of Christ” organization is based in Oregon (with “churches” in a few other states, including Idaho). In fact, they are the reason we have strict laws against this sort of thing.

After several cases of members’ children “gone to meet their maker” a bit early because faith, prayers and laying hands on them didn’t cut it, the Oregon legislature “murdered” the religious exemption unanimously.

Which brings us back to the aforementioned “faith healer” and his attempt to keep Idaho from doing the same.

In his testimony, Sevy stated,

I want to point out that we believe in freedom of health care. Not free health care, but freedom of choice in health care.

Translation (according to church precepts): “We believe in the freedom to deny health care to the sick and dying.”

He continued,

And there’s no greater suffering than one that is personal to oneself, whether it be himself or his children, and I as a parent find the suffering of my children far greater than my own.

At this point, a State Senator, Jeff Siddoway, commented that he is religious (Mormon) and considers medicine one of God’s gifts. (If that’s true, Big Daddy was a few thousand years late in giving it.)

Sevy wasn’t buying that!

We believe that pharmaceuticals and medicine is a product from Satan. Proof can be found in one of the lost books of Enoch.

Equating it with “witchcraft and sorcery,” he continued,

Those who imbibe in those things will not attain a home in heaven…We do disagree with medicine and believe that it puts our very eternal lives in jeopardy…Our goal is eternity, it isn’t here. Our goal is not suffering…If the statute is changed, I’ll not change anything I do.

Btw, Sevy was the father of five children. Only three survived!

Will the task force make any recommendations to the legislature? And, if they do, will the legislature do anything about it?

I wouldn’t be inclined to hold my breath. After all this is the state legislature that passed a law requiring that the bible be part of the curriculum in courses such as law, philosophy, ethics, astronomy, biology, geology, world geography and archaeology. (Fortunately, the governor vetoed the law.)

However, if you think shield laws like this should be dumped in the trash where they belong, there is an online petition to get Idaho to do something about it. You’ll find it here.

Stay tuned!

In the meantime, check out the “faith healer’s” performance below and see how many “rotten tomatoes” you think it deserves.

Photo Credit: Public Domain photograph courtesy of Wikipedia.
Chart courtesy of http://childrenshealthcare.org
Video courtesy of The Idaho Statesman

The ‘Religious’ War On Hillary And Women In Power

UntitledLet the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. 1 Timothy 2:11-15 (KJV)

There you have it, ladies: Keep your mouth shut and spread your legs. Oh, and don’t forget to believe this BS is holy writ, behave yourself and lay off the hooch. Because: Eve and the talking snake.

Most Christians have relegated this garbage to the trash heap of history. (Btw, it wasn’t written by Timothy. It was supposedly written to Timothy by that renown misogynist, Saul of Tarsus, aka “Paul.”)

However, there are some individuals (I call them “Khristians” as opposed to “Christians” because most of their beliefs would have been anathema to Christ.) still believe this junk.

For instance, a week ago on the American Pastors Network program, “Stand in the Gap,” APN board member, Gary Dull, had some choice bull droppings to spread on the subject.

According to Mr. Dull, (no snark needed) women serving in positions of political leadership is a sign that a society is “spiritually rotten.” As an example, he brought up Isaiah 3:12,

As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

The chapter goes on to complain of the abomination of flirty women with swaying hips, wearing baubles, bangles and beads. (Not quite sure if that has anything to do with women in power, but then, I’m not a troglodyte bible-thumper.)

Dull went on to quote the passage at the top of this post, to prove that women are chattel. Then he stated,

In God’s line of authority, it seems very clear in the scripture that a woman should not be in authority over men, which would limit a woman from being the president of the United States of America or even a queen of some other particular nation.

If you have your Emetrol handy and want to listen to some of this insanity, here’s a soundbite:

Lest you think that Mr. Dull is an outlier, (as opposed to an out-and-out liar) here’s a few other quotes from the ranks of the Religious Wrong:

Georgia pastor Benjamin Faircloth: [Hillary Clinton] “would have no problem setting this nation on fire.” He then went on to compare the U.S. to Turkey.

Turkey, what’s happening there, Pastor Rick, is going to happen here in America…To me, what it does is it shows us a parallel, it shows us an overlay, it shows us what’s coming to this nation. If they can’t win by the ballot box, if they can’t win by, you know, fair, free elections, there is no doubt in my mind that same scare, that same type of entity here in America will pull the trigger and destroy this nation. If they can’t do it the way they wanna do it, I think that they will pull the trigger…I think her heart is black, I think it’s evil.

Still got the Emetrol handy? There’s more:

Then on “Generations Radio with Kevin Swanson,” Rev. Kev (He’s a wing-nut Presbyterian pastor who thinks it’s better to kill your kids than let them read Harry Potter.) had this to say,

On the one hand, the nation embraces a sexual decadence. On the other hand, the feminists —who themselves rather appreciate free love, sexual impurity and adultery, but they don’t appreciate fact that a woman was taken advantage of. Therefore, in order for [Clinton] to be vindicated, she has got to prove herself by winning the power struggle over the highest office in the land. This is what defines America today…If they can achieve the ultimate zenith of power, this will become the final chapter, in a sense, of the present war that feminists have waged over this nation.

Finally, (The list goes on and on and on and on, but I’m running out of Emetrol.) James Edwards, on his radio program, “The Political Cesspool,” (which pretty well describes the program) had a few choice comments to make.

Should Hillary Clinton be president of the United States?…The husband is the ruler of the house under God’s law, and that’s the law that I abide by. Would this country be better, frankly, if women didn’t even vote? I mean, ask yourself that because we see women are so — even more than men, and even though men now — need this status, they need to be accepted, they need food, water, shelter, and status in order to survive, but women especially need that. You know, I think the model before suffrage was a husband and a wife come together as a unit and the man casts the vote for that family.

After eight years of filberts bemoaning the fact that there was a “nigger” in the White House, it looks like we can look forward to four to eight years of religious troglodytes crying because there’s a women doing what “Big Daddy” says is a “man’s job.”

Will the Republican House Elect the Next President?

It’s like déjà vu all over again. – Yogi Berra

4393514042_ff5e669e66_bI’d say Glenn (Conspiracies-R-Me) Beck is back, but unfortunately, he never seems to go away.

As many of you may know, Beck is not a big fanboy of The DONALD (aka “hairball”). He’s much more of a Cruz creep. After Cruzy abandoned his presidential wannabe quest until next cycle and left Glenn without a jackass in the race, Beck has been trying desperately to find a way to handicap the “orange oligarch.”

Well, by jinkies, Beck thinks he’s found a way. (My apologies for using “Beck” and “thinks” in the same sentence.) Now, I know the “never Trump” movement has tried and failed miserably to keep hairball from winning the nomination, but Glenn has a much bigger goal. He wants to stop him from winning the general election.

He wants a true blue (or is that “true red?”) conservative candidate to steal the election from dapper Donald. (More on that in a moment.)

Of course, there are a few minor(?) obstacles to overcome. You can find a list of them HERE. However, to save you the ordeal of having to click a link, I’ll summarize.

  • It costs a hell of a lot of money to get on the ballot in all 50 states.
  • Even if you had the Benjamins, it’s too late to get on the ballot of a lot of states.
  • Even if you had the Benjamins and a handy, dandy time machine to get you on the ballot in all 50 states, there’s virtually no reality in which you could win 270 electoral votes.
  • The only person who would benefit, would be Hillary, since you’d be splitting the conservative base.

Looks like an intractable problem, doesn’t it? Au contraire mon ami!

Since it would be impossible for Beck’s boy (Well, you knew his choice isn’t going to be female, didn’t you?) to reach 270. The trick is to make sure nobody else makes 270, so that the election is decided by the Republican controlled House of Reps.

…and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President… U.S. Constitution, Article II, section 1, clause 3

This has actually happened a couple of times. Once, after the election of 1800, the House decided that Tom Jefferson won over John Adams. Jefferson also got the most votes in the election, 41,300 – 26,952. After the 1824 election, the House declared John Q. Adams the victor. This, despite the fact that Andy Jackson got the most votes, 151,271 – 113,122.

I’m not gonna comment on the SCOTUS decided election of 2000.

The first step in the process was to find a catchy name for his plan. Beck, or one of his minions decided to call it “Bailout2016.” I have to admit, I was a bit surprised at the choice. I thought bailouts were anathema to conservatives. (Note to any “baggers” reading this: “anathema” means something or someone that one vehemently* dislikes.) *strongly

Step two is to provide an alternative to the hairy one. According to #Bailout2016’s website, there are certain criteria to be met;

  1. You need someone who is not supporting Trump. (That eliminates 36 current and 8 former senators, 163 members of the House, 19 current and 12 former governors.)
  2. You need someone who is not a slave to the party. (See #1)
  3. You need someone who has an easy enough path to win these states and won’t need the help of conventional money and party resources. Perhaps someone self-funding? Or someone with an unfair advantage via identity politics or home state? (Willie, want to make another run?)
  4. You need someone who will actually do it. (Has a bullet-proof ego.)
  5. You need someone that doesn’t care about his future in Republican circles. (Because, he will have none.)
  6. And perhaps, most difficult, you need someone who is very well liked by the incoming members of the House of Representatives. (A Koch Bros lobbyist, perhaps?)

And, of course, someone who is an actual conservative (by Glenn’s definition, anyway).

Step three is where to spend your limited bucks to the greatest effect. Here again, there are criteria.

  1. Avoid “Blue States.” (Hillary is going to win there anyway so it’s just wasted money.)
  2. Avoid “Purple States.” (Don’t hand those to Clinton, wrapped up in a pretty red ribbon.)
  3. Target states that hairball lost. (They didn’t like him anyway, so it makes the job easier.)
  4. Eliminate all states with ballot deadlines that come before mid-August. (That eliminates all the states, except Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, with a total of 13 electoral votes.)
  5. Since 13 electoral votes aren’t gonna do diddly, some borderline states need to be added. According to Bailout2016, those states are: North Dakota, Montana, Louisiana and Kentucky. That brings the electoral total up to a whopping 35. (I never said this plan wasn’t stupid, cause it is.)

The next step is to find a sucker….er, candidate to run. The aforementioned website listed several possibilities, ranging from Willie to “Little” Dick Cheney. (Despite the fact that Little Dick came out for hairball.) They haven’t actually got one yet. For a bit, it looked like they settled on right-wingnut writer Brad Thor. However, the latest word is that he has declined the honor.

Are there problems with this grand scheme? Oh, lawdy, way too many to count. Let me concentrate on the big two.

Number one: This has been tried before, with disastrous results.

Back in 1948, Southern Democrats stormed out of the Democratic National Convention, because the Dems had the audacity to insert a civil rights plank in their platform. The apostate Democrats formed the States Rights Democratic Party (aka “Dixiecrat Party”).

They then attempted to usurp the regular Democratic ticket on the southern state ballots, hoping to force the election into the House of Representatives, where they thought they’d get their way. To this end they did manage to replace the Democratic ticket in South Carolina and Mississippi (surprise, surprise) as well as Alabama and Louisiana. In the rest of the south, they had to run as a 3rd party (which they were).

Unfortunately for them (fortunately for the rest of us) their grand plan fizzled. They ended up getting 1,175,930 votes (2.4%) and carrying Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina, which along with an electoral vote in Tennessee gave them a grand total of 39. By comparison, the Republican ticket (Tom Dewey and Earl Warren) got 21,991,292 votes (45.1%), carried 14 states and received 189 electoral votes. Harry Truman got 24,179,347 votes (49.6%), carried 30 states and received 303 electoral votes.

Number two: This whole scheme presupposes that Hillary won’t get more than 260 electoral votes.

According to the latest poll, Hillary is leading hairball by 15 points. And yes, polls are volatile. However, except for a few outlier polls, she has maintained a consistent lead throughout this cycle. For that to change, hairball will have to pull out the old etch-a-sketch and so far he has shown absolutely no inclination to do anything remotely resembling that.

Stay tuned!

Featured Image Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Massive Numbers of Sanders Supporters Switching to Clinton

24527808392_a6ef950989_bSome Sanders supporters at the Democratic National Convention have been very vocal in expressing their displeasure that “their man” did not win the nomination. That even extended to booing Bernie, at a rally Monday morning, when he said “We must elect Hillary Clinton!”

In every hard-fought political campaign, there are hard core “true believers” that mentally refuse to believe that they lost. And, if they did, it had to be because of some chicanery and they would NEVER support the winner. As justification, they would claim it was because of the “chicanery” or some personal or political flaw (real or imagined) in the winner. In 2008, there were a number of Hillary supporters that yelled and screamed that they would never support Obama. However, in the end, the vast majority of them did and Obama won the election.

The media loves to emphasize discord and conflict in politics. (It’s good for sales.) And, the so-called “Bernie-bots” gave them plenty of fodder. As is often the case, media blew it out of proportion to the point that it looked like the “bots” were representative of all of Sanders’ supporters. I still see headlines that imply that Hillary is doomed because Bernie’s people won’t support her.

PP_16.07.24_demNomination_report_typesHowever, according to Pew Research, that is NOT the case. Pew ran a number of preference polls throughout the primary season and in comparing them, found some interesting facts.

As expected, both Bernie and Hillary had their consistent backers. In Hillary’s case that amounted to 29% of Democratic and Democratic leaning registered voters. Bernie laid claim to 20% of those Dem and Dem leaning voters. And, as is also expected in a stretched out campaign, 44% vacillated between the candidates. Sometimes they supported Hillary, sometimes they supported Bernie and 7% never could make up their minds.

So far, no big surprises, but here’s one:

Out of those consistent Sanders supporters, 2% are going to sit on their butts in November or vote for minor party candidates like Jill Stein (Green Party), Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) or Rocky De La Fuente (American Delta Party). Eight percent of Sanders supporters are going to jump to Trump.

And (drum roll please).,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,90% are going to vote for Hillary.

So, what should you do the next time, some die-hard Bernie-bot claims that Hillary is going to lose to Trump in November, because she just can’t win without the support of all those people that voted for Bernie in the primaries?

Just smile. You’re never going to burst their fantasy bubble anyway. So, why try?

Featured Image Photo Credit: VectorOpenStock, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license; Chart courtesy of Pew Research Center

Sappy Sarah Palin Claims Ted Cruz Is Dead (To Her)

8571336506_24b0320377_bSarah Palin couldn’t make the Republican National Convention (aka the Regressive Incest Fest). Her son, Track was on trial for domestic-violence assault, interfering with the report of a domestic violence crime and possession of a firearm while intoxicated.

You’ll be happy(?) to know that Track got off with a pinky tap on the wrist. Two of the charges, domestic-violence assault and interfering with the report of a domestic-violence crime, got dropped and all he has to do is attend some classes.

As a result of this distraction, she’s been a bit quiet until yesterday. But, you know Sarah, if there’s a way to insert herself into the news stream, she’s gonna grab it.

Enter Teddy Cruz! Or more specifically, Teddy boy’s “Vote Your Conscience” speech at what was supposed to be hairball’s coronation.

On Wednesday, (I suppose in the spirit of unifying the party behind the “Great Orange Blunder”) Cruz was invited to speak at the convention. As with most of the convention, this move was VERY poorly thought out.

Hairball had called Cruz’s wife ugly and claimed his father had something to do with the Kennedy assassination. Did anyone really think he was gonna roll over and play servile puppy? Cruz has a multitude of personality disorders, but he’s not Chris Christie.

Anyway, after Cruz not only didn’t endorse the Regressive nominee, but asked everyone to vote their conscience (if they could remember where they left it) he was soundly booed and castigated by tea party types.

Voting your conscience? Regressives can’t have people doing that. Most of them don’t even know what a conscience is. (Well, after all, it is an over-4-letter word.)

With an opening like that, was the “half-baked Alaskan” front and center to “refudiate” Cruz? You betcha!

Sarah used to be a Cruz’er, back when he was running for Senator in 2012 If fact, Cruz even credited her for his win. but those days are dead and gone. (And, according to “Caribou Boobie” so is he.)

Instead, the half-term, half-wit decided to hitch up with hairball’s run for presidential wannabe in hopes of an administration gig she could quit after destroying it. (Energy Secretary, for those of you who didn’t click the link.) Since then, she’s been tossing some of her best(?) word salads in support of the hairy chee-to.

After Cruz’s speech, Sarah high-tailed it over to Breitbart to give Cruz a piece of her mind. (As if she could spare any.) She titled her post “Sarah Palin to Ted Cruz: Delete Your Career.

Cruz’s broken pledge to support the will of the people tonight was one of those career-ending “read my lips” moments. I guarantee American voters took notice and felt more unsettling confirmation as to why we don’t much like typical politicians because they campaign one way, but act out another way. That kind of political status quo has got to go because it got us into the mess we’re in with America’s bankrupt budgets and ramped up security threats.

It’s commonplace for politicians to disbelieve their word is their bond, as evidenced by Cruz breaking his promise to endorse his party’s nominee, evidently thinking whilst on the convention stage, “At this point, what difference does it make?” We’ve been burned so horribly by that attitude that voters won’t reward politicians pulling that “what difference does it make” stunt again. Politicians will see — it makes all the difference in the world to us.

She even sent along a delightful little video:

It’s probably safest not to invite both Sarah and Teddy to your next shindig, although it would certainly liven it up a bit.

Stay tuned. I have the sinking feeling that this isn’t the last we’ll hear about this.

Nate Silver Projects a Tsunami in November

Donald_Trump_and_Hillary_Clinton_during_United_States_presidential_election_2016Nate Silver has the best record around for calling electoral college results in presidential elections. In 2008, he correctly called 50 of the 51 states’ electoral college results. The 51st “state” was Washington, D.C. (He missed Indiana by 1%.) In 2012, he called all 51 correctly.

What makes Nate so successful is that he goes beyond poll averaging and uses probability theory. And no, I’m not going to go into the details of probability theory, this post is going to be nerdy enough with all the numbers and “weighting” and the different types of poll forecasts. Being a non math major myself, I’m going to try to explain all this in language real people speak. If you’re into esoterica, I’ll provide some links so you can nerd-out to your heart’s delight.

As to the “weighting” I referred to above, that can be explained easily: ALL POLLS ARE NOT CREATED EQUALLY! Different pollsters have different histories when it comes to accuracy and different pollsters have different biases. (Kind of explains those commissioned by Bullshit Mtn, as well as some others.) Nate takes those factors into consideration when he “weights” his polls. For the nerdy among you, you can check out those ratings here.

If you check out Nate’s projection web page, you’ll find three sets of projections;

  1. “Polls only” is based only on polls from a particular state; for example, only polls of New Hampshire are used in the New Hampshire forecast.
  2. “Polls plus” is based on state polls, national polls and endorsements.
  3. “If the election were held today” (I think you can figure out this one all by yourself.)

Ok, enough preamble, let’s get to the good stuff.

Yesterday, (6/29/16) Nate released his first projection for the 2016 general election. If you’re a Dem, it’s a doozy! If you’re a Regressive, not so much and if you’re a Trump (aka “hairball”) chump, you might look for a convenient cliff to take a flying leap off of.

If the election were held today, (6/3o/16) Hillary would get 47.8% of the vote, compared to hairball getting 42.1%, giving her an 81.3% chance of winning the election, as opposed to hairballs chances of 18.7%. She would rake in 338.3 electoral votes to hairball’s 199.1 and Libertarian, Gary Johnson’s .6%. (Yeah, I know electoral votes don’t come in tenths, but we’re talking mathematical probability here.)

In the “polls only” projection, the numbers are 49.0% – 41.8% (popular vote) and 352.4 -184.4 (electoral vote); giving her an 80.2% to 19.7% advantage.

The “polls plus” projection looks a bit better for hairball, but not much. There it’s 48.7% – 44.4% (p.v.) and 318.0 – 219.8 (e.c.) giving her a 73.8% – 28.2% chance of winning.

But, what’s really interesting in the projections are this cycle’s “swing states.” A couple of the “usual suspects” are there: Ohio and Florida, but this time around, Missouri, Arizona and North Carolina make the list, with Georgia not too far behind. (The times, they are a changin’.)

Now, bear in your mind (if you’ve got the room up there) that things do change. In politics a week is a year. Therefore, projections also change. Nate updates his every day. If you want to keep up, here’s the page.

Stay tuned!

Featured Image Photo Credits: Gage Skidmore (Donald Trump), Gage Skidmore (Hillary Clinton), Krassotkin (derivative) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Hawaii Leads The Nation In Gun Legislation

gun-market-militarized2-1024x768With a congress more beholden to the NRA than the 90% of the population that want something done to regulate guns, it seems that it’s up to the states to take the necessary steps in responsible gun legislation.

And no, that doesn’t mean the guys in the black helicopters are coming to confiscate your shootin’ irons. (Although, if you think it does, maybe in your case, it should.) For the rest of us, Hawaii has taken several constructive steps in the right direction.

Last Thursday, the same day Democratic members of the House staged their sit-down protest over inaction on gun legislation, Hawaii’s governor signed a landmark gun legislation bill. The bill, (SB 2954) which took effect immediately, authorizes county police departments in Hawaii to enroll firearms applicants and individuals registering their firearms, in an FBI criminal record monitoring service, called “rap back.”

According to the governor’s press release,

The service notifies the agencies when a firearm owner is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country. This will allow county police departments in Hawaii to evaluate whether the firearm owner may continue to legally possess and own firearms. The law also authorizes the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center to access firearm registration data.

State Senator (and gun owner) Will Espero called it, “Common sense legislation that does not hurt anyone. It just means local police will be notified.

(In case you’re curious, the NRA is NOT HAPPY about this. That alone, tells you it’s good legislation.)

As you can imagine, the NRA finds this one of the most extreme bills we’ve ever seen. The law could affect gun owners outside Hawaii, because the state requires visitors carrying guns to register.Amy Hunter, spokeswoman for the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

This was not the only gun legislation that the governor, David Ige (A Democrat, naturally.) signed into law. Two other needed bills were also signed into law. One, (HB625) disqualifies a person convicted of stalking or sexual assault from owning a gun. The other, (HB2632) requires anyone diagnosed with a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder to surrender their weapons.

All-in-all, three common sense laws to better protect citizens from the epidemic of mass murders in this country. (And yes, when there are more mass murders in a year than days in a year, it is an epidemic!)

Featured Image Photo Credit: Pål Joakim Olsen Creative Commons Attribution 2.0