Wednesday, May 25, 2022

"Thoughts And Prayers"

 


"Today, I signed documents that instilled freedom in the Lone Star State," said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. “Freedom” means allowing people to carry a handgun or AR-15 without first getting a background check and training.

 Trump just released a statement saying “America needs real leadership in this moment, not partisanship... That’s why I will keep my commitment to speak in Texas at the NRA convention.” (Guns are banned during Trump's upcoming speech at the NRA conference. No "freedom" allowed there.)

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Mitch “$1,267,139 from the NRA” McConnell: “Horrified and heartbroken by reports of the disgusting violence directed at innocent schoolkids in Uvalde, Texas. The entire country is praying for the children, families, teachers, and staff and the first responders on the scene.”

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Marsha “$1,306,130 from the NRA” Blackburn: “Horrified and heartbroken to learn of the significant loss of life in the shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Please join me in lifting their loved ones up in prayer. Thank you to the local first responders working on the scene.”

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Mitt “$13,647,676 from the NRA” Romney: “Grief overwhelms the soul. Children slaughtered. Lives extinguished. Parents’ hearts wrenched. Incomprehensible. I offer prayer and condolence but know that it is grossly inadequate. We must find answers.”

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Answers, Mitt? Keep taking that NRA blood money. They'll tell you all the answers your party wants to hear.

Senator Schumer is planning legislation to expand criminal background checks to gun buyers on the internet and at gun shows, and to lengthen the waiting period for gun buyers flagged by the instant background check system to give F.B.I. more time to investigate.

But these heartless and corrupt gun fetish appeasers will do NOTHING to assure more mass murders will not happen.

NRA Contributions to Republican Senators:

Mitt Romney (UT) $13,647,676

Richard Burr (NC) $6,987,380

Roy Blunt (MO) $4,555,722

Thom Tillis (NC) $4,421,333

Cory Gardner (CO) $3,939,199

Marco Rubio (FL)$3,303,355

Joni Ernst (IA) $3,124,773

Rob Portman (OH) $3,063,327

Todd C. Young (IN) $2,897,582

Bill Cassidy (LA) $2,867,074

Tom Cotton (AR) $1,968,714

Pat Roberts (KS) $1,581,153

Pat Toomey (PA) $1,475,448

Josh Hawley (MO) $1,391,548

Marsha Blackburn (TN) $1,306,130

Ron Johnson (WI) $1,269,486

Mitch McConnell (KY) $1,267,139

John Thune (SD) $638,942

Shelley Moore Capito (WV) $341,738

Martha McSally (AZ) $303,853

Richard Shelby (AL) $258,514

Chuck Grassley (IA) $226,007

John Neely Kennedy (LA) $215,788

Ted Cruz (TX) $176,274

Lisa Murkowski (AK) $146,262

Steve Daines (MT) $123,711

Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS) $109,547

Roger Wicker (MS) $106,680

Rand Paul (KY) $104,456

Mike Rounds (SD) $95,049

John Boozman (AR) $82,35

John Cornyn (TX) $78,945

Ben Sasse (NE) $68,623

Jim Inhofe (OK) $66,758

Lindsey Graham (SC) $55,961

Mike Crapo (ID) $55,039

Jerry Moran (KS) $34,718

John Barrasso (WY) $26,989

Lamar Alexander (TN) $25,293

Mike Enzi (WY) $24,722

John Hoeven (ND) $22050

Susan Collins (ME) $19800

Deb Fischer (NE) $19,638

James Lankford (OK) $18,955

Jim Risch (ID) $18,850

Tim Scott (SC) $18,513

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We’ve heard their twisted interpretations of the Second Amendment, neatly framed as a tool for insurrection and Civil War.

"The very point of the 2nd amendment. It was not to allow firearms so Americans can hunt. It was to ensure that the American people would not become slaves to a despotic or tyrannical government."

That is NOT how it was proposed. I would really appreciate them showing us the founder who said, “We need militias to wage war on the federal government”. The irony is militias were formed to HUNT SLAVES. 

It was also due to the fact many founders preferred militias over a standing army.

The Proposed Amendment at the Virginia Ratifying Convention of 1788:

“That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”

The fact is, militias were used more for hunting and suppressing slaves, and killing Native Americans, than resisting tyranny. In this regard the Second Amendment ironically provided the means for genocide as well as the tyranny of slavery. After the Revolution militias had nothing to do with freedom and defense from tyranny. Southern militias did wage war on the Federal government, but in defense of slavery, not freedom.

 This rather deflates the nobility and purity of the Second Amendment.

 Some historical context:

 ...Slaveholding regions had institutionalized police-patrol systems specifically to “regulate” enslaved persons more than 100 years before American independence.

In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, the colonial government passed laws in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their white male employees to be members of the Georgia militia and those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state. The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who might be planning uprisings.

As Carl T. Bogus wrote for the University of California Davis Law Review in 1998, “The Georgia statutes required patrols, under the direction of commissioned militia officers, to examine every plantation each month and authorized them to search ‘all Negro Houses for offensive Weapons and Ammunition’ and to apprehend and give twenty lashes to any slave found outside plantation grounds.”

James Madison even rewrote the Second Amendment into its current form during the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention in response to that state’s largest slaveholder, Patrick Henry, demanding that Virginia’s slave patrols be explicitly protected.

President Biden speaks for the majority of Americans who want to do something about the proliferation of AR-15 type weapons of war and the mass murders committed by deranged and unstable people who have easy access to them.

Biden condemns the NRA and the gun culture for the flood of too many weapons of mass murder into the untrained hands of too many young and dumb white men, disturbed misfits, racists and sociopaths.

He urges reasonable restrictions of sales, more gun safety requirements, and to reinstate the assault weapons ban.

Biden said he would institute a voluntary buyback program for existing assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. He also proposed requiring citizens who own assault weapons to undergo a background check and register those weapons with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as those who currently possess machine guns must do.

One simple, logical, and sane answer would be to ban the manufacture of AR-15s for the civilian population. 

To stop a water-borne cholera outbreak in London in 1854 Dr. John Snow suggested shutting down the public water pump in the neighborhood most affected by the disease. 

We need to "shut down the pump" of AR-15s. It's a public health issue.

None of these measures would deny anyone’s Second Amendment right to own a firearm. Lives would be saved and the will of the American people would finally be realized through legitimate and fair representation.

But we don't have a government of legitimate and fair representation...

The NRA owns the Republican Party, and enough Democrats, to assure this.

“Thoughts and Prayers” = “I don’t care”.

Freedom: AR-15 Style

 

Uvalde: AR-15

Buffalo: AR-15

Boulder: AR-15

Orlando: AR-15

Parkland: AR-15

Las Vegas: AR-15

Aurora, CO: AR-15

Sandy Hook: AR-15

Waffle House: AR-15

San Bernardino: AR-15

Midland/Odessa: AR-15

Poway synagogue: AR-15

Sutherland Springs: AR-15

Tree of Life Synagogue: AR-15

Freedom AR-15 style to be continued...

Or maybe it has nothing to do with freedom, but amassing power through instability and chaos?

Professor of history at New York University and author of "Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present, Ruth Ben-Ghiat concludes, “No amount of dead children will ever make Republicans regulate guns because they know that mass death primes us for authoritarianism.”

More:

"America’s gun culture is priming us for authoritarianism"

We’re on a dangerous path when the very thing that frightens is the thing that promises to save us from our fear

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Destruction of Words

 

Why can't we reason with the radical Right? Why is good faith discussion almost always impossible?

First, they don’t want to understand us. They embrace their prejudiced beliefs and rely on their leaders’ propaganda instead.

But we need to understand them, not just by their words, but how they redefine them and employ them to attack opponents, and as evidenced by their 1/6 coup, our democracy itself.

Words have different meanings to them. They redefine words to fit their narrative of demonization.

As Orwell’s Party member phrased it in "1984", “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”

They started with “trickle down economics”, “government is the problem”, “liberal media”, “Liberalism is a mental disorder”.

Soon after, “snowflakes”, “libtards” and “anti-American socialists”, and “Democrat party voter fraud” became expressions of their hate and lies.

But this wasn’t enough to keep their base inflamed. More fuel needed to be poured onto their flames of fury.

Here are just a few samples of their even more radicalized twisted definitions and ideological talking points:

“Critical Race Theory is Marxism.”

“Leftists hate America.”

“Democrats are communists.”

“Democrats want to replace white Americans with brown people.”

“Biden stole the election.”

 By “ideological talking points”, I mean lies.

Anger, fear, blame, and hate are their go-to emotional reactions when it comes to the press, public education, public healthcare, voter rights, minorities, immigrants, Democrats and progressives. Their propagandists have been hammering this into their heads for decades.

Their propagandists understand they respond to feelings more than facts, so they warp information into “alternative facts”, that elicit an emotional response.

Their extremist has reached its endgame in Marjorie Taylor Greene’s new ad. She calls Ilhan Omar, Maxine Waters, Ayanna Pressley, Adam Schiff, Joe Biden, Rashida Tlaib, Nancy Pelosi, AOC, and Elizabeth Warren, “Communist Democrats who hate America, hate God, and hate our way of life.”

My observations have brought me to some conclusions about what forms the foundation their radical Right ideology.

Their rigid belief system depends, and is built upon, the ruins of their destruction of words.

Thus:

Ignorance isn't ignorance to the ignorant.

Stupid isn’t stupid to the stupid.

Delusion isn’t delusion to the delusional.

Racism isn't racism to the racist.

Bigotry isn’t bigotry to bigots.

Fascism isn't fascism to fascists.

Treason isn't treason to the traitor.

A cult isn't a cult to the cult.

Seems to be a pattern, here.

A third of Americans embrace at least some of the radical Right’s “Great Replacement Theory”.

Most Republicans believe Trump’s Big Lie about a stolen election.

Their hate for racial and gender equality, journalism, public healthcare, public education, democracy, decency, truth, voter protections, impartial elections, and most Americans tells us THEY are the ones who hate America.

The radical Right ignorance, stupidity, delusion, racism, bigotry, fascism, and treason of Trump’s cult have undermined truth and election integrity, and incited open insurrection and radical Right terrorism.

They are reason why we are desperately clinging to the precipice of a divided and failed republic.

And the radical Right will STILL blame “commie” Democrats and progressives.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Red Scare '22

 

We heard it in the 1930’s:

“The streets of our country are in turmoil. The Universities are filled with students rebelling and rioting. Communists are seeking to destroy our country.” – Adolf Hitler

We heard it in 1950:

“I have here in my hand a list of 205 [State Department employees] that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.” - Senator Joseph McCarthy

We heard it recently:

“Like it or not, we are becoming a communist country. That’s what’s happening, the radical left democrat communist party." - Donald Trump

We even heard it in the previous comment thread:

"I never said "democrats are communists who hate America". But since you brought it up, prove they aren't." -  Peter Henderson 

“Commies are everywhere! The democrat communist party wants their Marxist CRT in grade schools and math books! Commie teachers are brainwashing our children!”

Reality check:



The following exchange is from the comment thread at fellow blogger Tom Degen’s post on Marjorie Taylor Greene, “The Queen of Accidental Comedy”. And yes, she also said, "The Democrats are launching a communist takeover of our country with their so-called "infrastructure" bill and Biden's budget."

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Dave Dubya: 

The best thing I can say about Marshall Marge is, it's better to have someone evil and stupid in Congress than someone evil and smart.

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Darrell:

MTG is a nut job. Luckily she is a rarity on the conservative side and on the far fringe.

The left's nut jobs are many and currently in positions of great power, hence the calamitous decline in our nation and world standing. Biden should be in the Alzheimer's wing of an assisted living home and not in the oval office. I guess the leftist lunatics really in charge find him to be a useful mouthpiece despite the nonsensical crap he spews each time he tries to speak to the public though. It is scary because the leftist fringe IS the mainstream of that failed political movement now.

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DD:

"MTG is a nut job."

Darrell is correct, but he follows Dear Leader's Big Lie and calls Democrats commies.

These delusions are held by most conservatives these days.

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Darrell:

I recall when Democrats were for the average Joe. Now Joe is for the far left fringe special interest groups, including ones that are self-avowed Marxists that do indeed despise America. These are not your father's Democrats anymore.

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DD:

Darrell and MTG are on the SAME PAGE in that hateful ideological position. They think Democrats are commies.

They really do.

Lately it seems anyone who supports democracy, voter rights and public education and healthcare is a "commie" to the fascist Trumpists.

Republicans have ALWAYS supported the rich and their agendas. They will cut food stamps for the poor and gut Social Security to give the rich more profits and tax breaks. We all know this.

Darrell has no problem with those who serve mammon over human beings.

I challenge Darrell to show us the names and statements of "avowed Marxists who indeed despise America" that Biden supports.

Yeah, we know. He can't.

But he BELIEVES it, and that is all that matters to him. Beliefs and Trump both trump facts with the radical Right.

Hell, the Republican Party claims Trump's attempt to overturn the election by sending his mob to storm the Capitol was "legitimate political discourse".

Can they be any more pathological in their lies?

Your fathers' Republicans were NOT Trumpists who stormed the Capitol to overturn a fair election because their Dear Leader is incapable of admitting he lost.

Just ask Darrell for evidence that the election was stolen.

I hope you have a long time to wait for his answer. He banned me before responding to this question.

He'll take just as long to inform us of the "Marxists" that Biden supports.

Darrell doesn't know how radicalized he's become. He's now a full-fledged Trumpist. A true believer.

I like Darrell, but I've witnessed him go from condemning Trump's incitement of his violent mob to defending the Big Lie that resulted in this horrible violation of our democracy and termination of our legacy of peaceful transition of power.

Who really hates America here?

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Anonymous:

Biden administration, that's who really hates America."

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DD:

Vern the Anonymous Troll said, "Biden administration, that's who really hates America."

This is from a supporter of Trump and his coup.

We know what's behind this hatred. It's because the Biden Administration are all "communists", amirite?

This patently dishonest and delusional red-baiting and commie-calling serves only one purpose. It lends justification for the radical Right to HATE their fellow Americans who happen to disagree with them.

This is exactly the scapegoating and demonization that fascists and white nationalists employ to ramp up their false sense of victimization and blame for their opponents.

"If you don't agree with me, and believe Republicans and Trump, you obviously hate America! Trump won! Stop the steal! You're ALL commies."

One recent example is their hysteria over Critical Race Theory.

They inflame moral panic and bitter resentments by falsely saying CRT  is taught in public elementary and high schools. They don’t understand this is not true, nor do they comprehend what CRT even is. Their propagandists define it for them, saying it is “Marxist indoctrination that teaches kids they are racists who hate America”.

Pure 100% bullshit.

We've seen this movie before. Their hate and lies are self-fueling and self-fulfilling. 

If Trump can incite a mob to storm our Capitol, he can incite his cult into even more acts of violence and terrorism.

Remember he told the thugs they were "special" and he loves them.

All he has to do is declare open season on liberals, progressives and Democrats, and his enraged cult would start picking us off.

The hate and false justification for their hate are already in place. 

They see dangerous enemies in those of us who promote racial and gender equality, equal justice under law, fair elections, voter rights, public healthcare and public education.

Their culture war is only one command away from open civil war. They await their Dear Leader's order to start shooting.

This is proven by the arrests of his Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who have admitted to it. They were told to “Stand back and stand by”.

They lust for the blood of Americans whom they've been indoctrinated to hate, and see as enemies.

Sounds just like a cult, doesn't it?

I pity them, but fear them. They are dangerous, and have proven to be a domestic threat as great as Jihadist terrorists.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Christo-Sharia Law

 


The rank hypocrisy on the Right has blossomed into an amazing thing to behold.

Women who rightly demanded, “My body, my choice”, are now suppressed by the same anti-mask authoritarians who proclaim, “My body, my choice”.

They don’t see the hypocrisy, of course, just as they also don’t see racism and inequality.

Lately their moral panic and hobgoblins have been more about their “not-racism” towards Blacks, demonizing BLM, CRT and any other progressive notions about race and inequality. They love to tell us they, “don’t see color”.

Right. Racism isn’t racism to racists. Count on it.

It wasn’t that long ago when anti-Muslim bigots and other conservative racists howled about “Sharia Law” coming to the US.

We can’t have religion interfering with our laws, can we? Well, make that non-Christian religions.

After all, these hypocrites will say, “America is a Christian nation, derived from Biblical law by our founders”.

It’s all bullshit, as any sane and informed person knows.

But we can’t forget the other inequality embraced by the Right that has never gone away. With the help of one conservative Catholic woman, conservative Catholic Supreme Court Justices are denying women’s reproductive rights.

The long struggle for equal civil rights has taught us there is no equal justice under law when the law’s impact is tilted against one race.

The long struggle for women’s rights has taught us there is no equal justice under law when the law’s impact is tilted against one gender.

The Right has ALWAYS opposed any progress in racial and gender rights. And they have always complained about not having the power to legally suppress the rights of others.

This is what makes me yearn for the days when the Right complained about “judicial activism” and “legislating from the bench”.

That was never their problem was it? They have ALWAYS wanted their own judicial activism and legislating from the bench.

With a conservative Catholic majority on the Supreme Court, it was only a matter of time before they tore down the wall between church and state.

Let’s remember theocracy and fascism are both inherently built on inequality.

On October 10, 1936 Heinrich Himmler created the Reich Central Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortion, or Special Office (II S), a sub-department of Executive Department II of the Gestapo.

What’s the difference between the “Master race” and the “Master Gender”, when it comes down to the rights of minorities and women?

Neither of these authoritarian mindsets have a high opinion of equality and democracy.

And let’s not give in to their Big Lie about being “pro-life”. They DON’T CARE about the woman’s health, or the child’s well-being after birth. The love their AR-15s more than the terrorized kids in schools. They pass laws protecting weapons manufacturers, but do nothing about school shootings.

They will refuse to consider guaranteed healthcare for them when they get sick or injured. They will still continue their war on public education and public healthcare that would improve or save their lives.

At their core they are indifferent or even hostile to our Constitutional general welfare. No empathy flows in their cold-blooded veins. No light of compassion shines into their closed minds. No mercy emanates from their hardened hearts.

Dr. Graham Walker tweeted, "Just so we're clear: the pregnancy that ends up in the wrong spot, like the fallopian tube? The one that will NEVER turn into a baby and will rupture and kill your wife, daughter, or sister? Terminating that fetus is also an abortion, and they want to ban those, too.” 

The most recent official data available on the incidence of ectopic pregnancies in the United States is from 1992, when the rate was estimated to be 19.7 per 1000 pregnancies, which represents an estimated incidence of 108,800 pregnancies per year. – Science Direct

Republicans now want to sentence over 100,000 women to death per year.

They really don’t give a damn about the woman or the child, just as they don’t give a damn about racial injustice. They prove it every day. 

If this highly partisan activist Right-wing Supreme Court won't convince more people to vote out the Republican authoritarians on the Right, equal rights, equal justice under law, fair elections, proportional representation, and our entire democratic republic are doomed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

No Room For Debate

 

The Republican National Committee has voted unanimously to leave the Commission on Presidential Debates, ending more than three decades of a bipartisan civic process.

We don’t even have to guess why they would do this. They’re cowards and liars, always hiding in their fake victimhood. Democracy is the only real threat to their authoritarian rule.

Their unofficial, but operational, new party motto says it all. “Not fair!”

"The Commission on Presidential Debates is biased and has refused to enact simple and commonsense reforms to help ensure fair debates including hosting debates before voting begins and selecting moderators who have never worked for candidates on the debate stage," Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.

It’s no surprise the Republicans are boycotting the 2024 presidential debates. This isn’t the first American political tradition they are ending. They demolished our historic tradition of peaceful transition of power on 1/6/21.

They will ALWAYS whine, “Not fair!”, whenever forced to stand on equal ground with the opposition. Nobody has a greater sense of entitlement than rich white men and their corrupt political party.

They have no respect for civil discussion or fair debate. They have no desire to answer questions. These are no longer considered "legitimate political discourse" by the radical Right.

Like all authoritarians, they prefer to intimidate, bully and lie their way to power.

We remember how Trump behaved in his debates with Hillary in 2016.

Maybe a no stalking rule would help restore some civility to debates? There's no "both sides" about that.

But Republicans will always howl about being the “victims”. They have no tolerance for a level playing field.

As I recall one of the two presidential debates in 2020 was moderated by FOX(R)'s Chris Wallace.

Even this is no longer acceptable for the spoiled crybabies. FOX(R) isn’t “Q” enough.

Working the refs is SOP on the Right. They attack journalism and journalists as a matter of ideology, inventing "alternative facts" to dupe the public.

There is no question they are enemies of democracy, and are working to eliminate fair elections and fair representation for Democratic voters.

Want to know the real reason lying Republican cowards are fleeing from debates?

They don't want to answer questions like, "Who won the 2020 presidential election?"

The don't want to be reminded of their 1/6 coup, or face questions about their support for overturning the election, or defending their other Big Lie, that it was "legitimate political discourse".

If these traitorous lying fascists are not defeated, the American experiment as a constitutional democratic republic is dead.

We know that even if a Democrat is in the White House, democracy will still be imperiled.

We’re stuck with the poison pills for democracy that are embedded in our Constitution. The Electoral College and anti-representative minority rule of the Senate will always be roadblocks suppressing consent of the governed.

It’s all hands of deck for every election, or this ship of state is sunk.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

American "Virtue"

 

Historian Dr. Gary Girod tweeted: “If there's an oil crisis & oil companies are making record profits, a healthcare crisis & healthcare companies are making record profits, a financial crisis & finance companies are making record profits, then the companies are the crisis.”

 Be careful, Gary. Blaming corporate greed for society’s ills will get you labeled a “leftist commie who hates America”.

“Good Americans” must not question corporations’ greed, and the power they buy with their wealth.

 They are special artificial “persons” who are above reproach. And clearly some “persons” matter more than others.

Corporations are endowed with legal personhood, while human beings are denied access to basic healthcare.

Corporations can write our laws and buy our judges and politicians, to the degree they have become the immortal demi-gods we all must serve.

This indicates the US is an oligarchy, the opposite of a democratic republic. It is a corporatocracy.

No wonder we hardly ever see this word in our corporate media.

Yes, avarice is endemic to the human species, but greed is the number one American "virtue", in its faithful obeisance to the infallible "Free Market God" under the Holy Order of Capitalism. 

Western Religions may call greed a sin, but our special American culture will revere and serve mammon over helping the sick and poor.

Nobody cares so much about this obvious cognitive dissonance when the almighty dollar is within grasp. Compassion recedes with growing wealth. The same is true for religious fundamentalism. 

Hypocrites ignore the more humane values of their faith. It's true for conservative Muslims and Jews, but even more so with conservative Christians.

The utter absence of "love your neighbor" is almost universally reflected in Trumpist Catholics and the evangelical radical Right. They'd rather donate their money to greedy TV preachers, mega-church millionaires, and even Donald Trump, than see the "unworthy and lazy", aka brown people, get food, shelter and healthcare. 

We can't allow all that "free stuff" go to the undeserving poor, can we? Capitalism and the Free Market God frown on that, just as they frown on democracy.

Indifference to human suffering, and even hate, are usually far stronger than love in their hearts. 

Obviously corporations have no conscience. This enables the confluence of right-wing evangelical and corporate interests to suppress equality, democracy and a representative republic. 

But they do love their money and the political power it buys, almost as much as they love themselves and their self-righteousness.

Bless their hearts.