Nel's New Day

September 24, 2017

Christian Goals against ‘Others’ Fail to Protect ‘Us’

The travel ban may be extended to eight countries as Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continues his battle against terrorists from a religion other than Christianity. “We cannot gamble with American lives,” said John Kelly last January when he was secretary of Homeland Security. Since 9/11, an average of one person has died each year on U.S. soil because of Islamic terrorists both foreign and U.S. Using the excuse of keeping the nation safe, the government has spent at least $4 trillion on wars, veterans, and interest on the expenditures.

Yet 16 people have been killed in only two mass killings thus far this year in the U.S., eight each in Plano (TX) and Bogue Chitto (MS). The reason for both was domestic violence. Most people don’t even know about these tragedies—or the thousands of other deaths in U.S. mass murders. The recent, non-lethal bombing at the London tube consumed the media for days, but the Plano tragedy that occurred about the same time got less than less than 5 percent of internet links.

In 2015, 1,686 women were killed by men in “single victim/single offender” incidents. Ninety percent of the victims knew their offenders, and of those who did, 64 percent were wives or other intimate acquaintances of their killers. Three women are murdered every day by a current or former intimate partner.

The news coverage of the London bombing fits the U.S. obsession with “Islamic terror” driven by conservatives. Fear is the motivation for their successful elections. When they become legislators, they make guns more accessible, again using the motivation of fear.

During the past two days, the issue of kneeling during the national anthem has consumed the media. Conservatives are on television bitterly complaining about the “disrespect” for the flag. Yet domestic violence and sexual assault by prominent sports figures are overlooked or explained by blaming women. In the past 14 years, 80 football players had been involved in 87 arrests.

Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice was suspended for two NFL games for knocking out his fiancé—now his wife—in an elevator. Giants kicker Josh Brown was suspended for one game in 2015 for assaulting his wife, Molly. She had been assaulted almost two dozen times, once when she was pregnant, according to police and court records. A sheriff said that the NFL never asked him for records in their investigation. Brown’s journal revealed that he abused his wife and saw her as a slave. “I have controlled her by making her feel less human than me,” Brown wrote.

Brown used the same tactic that white supremacists use against the Muslims, people of color, and other minorities: white conservatives consider everyone else as less humans. One way to do that is to overemphasize the violence of “others,” and de-emphasize the violence of “us.” That way white conservatives can maintain their feelings of superiority and ignore the suffering of others.

DDT is a master of “othering.” His selection of nominees shows his prejudices with white male far-right religious conservatives dominating his appointments to courts, cabinet, and staff. For example, Jeff Mateer, DDT’s pick for a Texas federal judgeship, is a classic symbol of LGBT hatred. He not only advocates for nondiscrimination laws but also calls transgender children as “part of Satan’s plan.” Mateer is a former high level staffer for the religious right organization Liberty Institute, now known as First Liberty Institute (FLI). The organization founded to ban marriage equality represents conservative Christians and opposes separation of church and state. While working there, he advocated against nondiscrimination laws that included LGBT people, lamented the increase in states banning the dangerous practice of “conversion therapy,” and described transgender children as “part of Satan’s plan.” Mateer, who has no judicial experience, thinks the separation of church and state is not guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Federal judges are appointed for life.

Another nominee with no judicial experience, Matthew Kacsmaryk, is also associated with FLI. Federal judges are appointed for life. Russell Vought, pick for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote that Muslims have a “deficient theology” because they “do not know God.” And the list goes on.

Another DDT appointee who was confirmed with only 50 votes, Department of Education Betsy DeVos, is also protecting white males against everyone else. She has rescinded the college sexual assault policy to help rape victims in favor of their rapists. DeVos said that rapists should be expelled from a school only when found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” not when the preponderance of evidence is against them. Schools can also use informal mediation for sexual assault accusations, forcing victims to meet face-to-face with their rapists for an “amicable” solution. The only advantage is that—thus far—universities don’t have to follow DeVos’ new guidelines.

DeVos got her information from men’s organizations, including the National Coalition for Men that publishes names and photos to women whose cases were dismissed. Another of her consulting organizations, SAVE, wants a victim’s sexual history used as evidence.

Candace Jackson, appointed by DeVos as her civil rights official, claims she was a victim of discrimination because she is white. She also said that 90 percent of rape accusations “fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.” There is no evidence for Jackson’s claim. Jackson also believes that all the women accusing DDT of sexual assault were lying “for political gain.”

Early in the summer, DeVos cut back investigations of civil rights issues so that there will be no check into systemic problems. DDT’s budget removes over 40 employees from the investigation staff.

As part of his Christianizing the U.S., DDT officially proclaimed September 3, 2017 as a National Day of Prayer in violation of a judge’s ruling on separation of church and state in 2010. His announcement told people to “go to your church and pray”—no synagogue, mosque, or other place or worship and no provision for people who choose to have no place of worship. A president’s direction to “pray” is also exclusionary and endorses a religious message.

The base of the GOP is the white Christian. There is no guarantee that changing demographics mean changing numbers of elected Democrats, but there’s some hope and whites will stop hating the “others.” An example of that is the Christian church that is “tithing for trans people,” raising money to help people obtain gender affirmation medical care. Faithfully LGBT wants to repair the damage of right-wing pretend Christians who discriminate against trans people and encourage violence. The church started its project after 150 evangelical leaders signed the “Nashville Statement” that rejects transgender identity, homosexuality, and feminism in its need to reestablish the “Christ-defined” roles of men as household leaders.

White Christians are going to be fighting even harder now that they are in the minority—43 percent of the population to be exact. That’s a little over half the number 40 years ago when eight of ten people identified as white Christians. During the past several decades that demographic has elected presidents, locked in Congress, and taken over the majority of state governors and legislatures. The percentage of white Christians shrinks with younger voters: two-thirds of seniors are in that category whereas only one-fourth of those 18-29 are white Christians.

 

September 13, 2014

NFL, U.S. Have Violence against Women Problem

Rush Limbaugh: forcing the NFL to punish players for domestic violence will “chickify” the game:

“We’re feminizing this game, and it’s a man’s game. If we keep feminizing this game, we’re going to ruin it.”

Limbaugh also said that NFL players are Democats—probably because they’re black—and no Republicans are accused of beating up on their wives.

Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox & Friends: beaten unconscious by then fiancé and now husband, Baltimore Raven Ray Rice, Janay Rice should “take the stairs.” Co-host Anna Kooiman giggled. Host Steve Doocy: “The message is, when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.”

Fox network contributor Tamara Holder: “The anti-testicular police are coming out and just taking this guy’s b*lls and ripping them off and not paying attention to the fact that there is a family here.”

David Anthony Wiggins, a Republican candidate for Baltimore County sheriff: “Women want equality. [Janay Rice] got some of it.”

Bryan Fischer, American Family Association spokesman:  regarding his perception of Janay Rice’s lack of education, “when biblical standards of morality are ignored, people get hurt.”

People have expressed outrage at Janay Rice or dismissal of the abuse’s seriousness because married Ray Rice; others blamed her because she must have done something to provoke Rice.

Sixteen female senators expressed outrage in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell demanding the dismissal of all players who commit domestic violence. The only women senators failing to sign the letter are Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Deb Fisher (R-NE). Rice had originally been suspended for only two games; his indefinite suspension came only after the graphic video footage was leaked to the public.

Before the video was leaked, Ray Rice avoided any jail time because Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain approved his entering New Jersey’s Pre-Trial Intervention program as a first-time offender. The same prosecutor is trying to put Shaneen Allen, a 27-year-old mother of two, into jail for three to ten years. Also a first-time offender, she didn’t know that her Pennsylvania concealed-carry permit didn’t allow her to carry a gun in New Jersey. Pulled over for a minor traffic offense, Allen informed the officer she had a gun, explaining that she had been robbed twice and was afraid for her children, and showed her permit. She was arrested and refused the same pre-trial program where Rice is before losing her job.

With evidence that they had seen the video last April, NFL has asked for an independent investigation into the situation. A law enforcement official, who insisted on anonymity, reported an NFL official left him a voice mail on April 9 thanking him for the video and adding, “You’re right. It’s terrible.” Leading the investigation is former FBI director Robert Mueller who works for a law firm that has represented the NFL; the investigation is being overseen by two NFL owners. Only the Rice controversy is the focus of the investigation.

Terry O’Neill, president of NOW, said, “The NFL does not just have a Ray Rice problem; they have a violence against women problem.”  Two other players still on the field are Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, convicted of DV, and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald, accused of domestic violence. A description of the alleged violence is here. According to Slate research, the 49ers have four players who have been either charged with or arrested for domestic violence, sexual assault, or assaults against women. The Arizona Cardinals have three, with one of them on the practice squad instead of the 53-man roster and another suspended for substance abuse. The Seahawks have two, as do the Chicago Bears. The Ravens had two until the video of Rice showed up. Nine other teams have at least one player. These don’t include players like Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs who was accused of domestic abuse but not charged. There was no video.

The NFL also has a violence against children problem. Texas has indicted Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson on a charge of injury to a child after he “whooped” his four-year-old son. Peterson, 29, lost a son a year ago from head injuries after the boyfriend of the boy’s mother assaulted the two-year-old. After the boy pushed a sibling off a video game motorbike. Peterson stripped a tree branch of leaves and left the child with cuts and bruises to his back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child’s hands. At a previously-scheduled appointment, a doctor concluded the wounds are consistent with child abuse. The boy also said that his father often used “a lot of belts in daddy’s closet” and would stuff leaves in his mouth while striking him with his pants down. Although Peterson was deactivated from the game tomorrow, he has not yet been suspended from the NFL. That means he still gets paid.

Domestic violence discussion is a long-buried issue, but Nation reported on an investigation into South Carolina’s crisis. Three times as many women have been killed by current or former lovers there than the number of South Carolina soldiers who lost their lives in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The state is among the top ten states in the rate of women killed by men for over 15 years and topped the list three different times, including last year with a murder rate for women more than double the national rate.

Factors that leading to this large number of killings in South Carolina:

Legislators don’t pass laws to protect women. The series reported that “a man can earn five years in prison for abusing his dog but a maximum of just 30 days in jail for beating his wife or girlfriend on a first offense.”

Prosecutors face challenges in getting cases to stick. These range “from overcrowded court dockets and under-trained police to victims too scared to testify against the men who beat them.”

Trusted pastors advise that staying and working things out is God’s will. “In churches that did acknowledge abuse… pastors often compounded the problem by counseling abusers and victims together—and then sending them home with the sting of their shared grievances still fresh. Back behind closed doors, the abuser would take out his frustrations on his partner all over again.”

Todd-Kincannon-twitter-photoTodd Kincannon, former director of South Carolina’s GOP, demonstrates the state’s attitude toward domestic violence. After the release of the Rice video, he tweeted, “I hope the dumb bitch who initiated physical violence with her NFL player fiancé  learned a good lesson when he justifiably beat her.”

Domestic violence problems are not unique in South Carolina, and opposition to fighting domestic violence is not unique with the NFL in sports. More than three women per day lose their lives at the hands of their partners. Since February 15, 2014 when Ray Rice hit Janay in the elevator, over 600 women have died from domestic violence. This is a cultural problem in our society.

Twenty years ago today, President Clinton signed the Violence against Women Act.  It was the first federal legislation to specifically address domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes and to provide federal funding to improve local response to violence against women, including training and resources for law enforcement and judges. The law has been renewed three times since 1994, the most recently last year when Republicans bitterly fought its expansion to Native American, immigrant, and LGBT communities. A key part of the landmark law redefined wife beating as a crime rather than a joke. A man witnessing Rice’s brutality laughed and told his friends that Rice “should have taken her to their room first.” That’s today’s society.

Major brand sponsors are watching the NFL investigation into domestic violence. Nike and Electronic Arts have already dropped their connections to Ray Rice. Perhaps money can succeed when a sense of right and wrong doesn’t.

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