Sunday, July 21, 2024

Biden drops out, endorses VP Harris

Huge news for those who follow politics. And all of you, should, in my opinion, but I'm not going to go there right now.
But this is a very BIG story; It only broke about half an hour ago. Joe Biden has decided to drop out of the Presidential race. He is endorsing his VP, Kamala Harris.
My take: it was a wise move on his part. His odds of defeating trump a second time seemed lately to be poor indeed, and the problem was not likely to improve as we got closer to Election Day.

And although I'm a long-time supporter of Kamala Harris, I doubt whether her chances to win are much better. How many conservatives who are open to going for a Democrat--and there are precious few of those--would pull the lever for Kamala? Few-to-none, I'm thinking.
How many Independents would jump on board? I doubt the number would be robust enough to swing the election. And we're at the point where independents and undecideds determine the outcome of every Presidental race. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, I'm just pointing out that it's a fact.

So, it's a big deal. I think it was the way to go. But I'm skeptical that the change will help much in our effort to keep a petty, revenge-obsessed and incompetent insurrectionist from getting his hands on the power stick again.

Here's a link to this breaking story from the NY Times.

"Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2024 Ben Lawrence Basile

Sunday, June 9, 2024

What the hell did you expect me to do?

This short piece really caught my attention. Pastor and author Chris Kratzer sums up perfectly why the modern-day Evangelical movement seems so foreign and so fake to millions of us who were raised in it. Please give this a read. It's so well worth the next 3 minutes of your day.

What the hell did you expect me to do?

You told me to love my neighbors, to model the life of Jesus. To be kind and considerate, and to stand up for the bullied.

You told me to love people, consider others as more important than myself. "Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight." We sang it together, pressing the volume pedal and leaning our hearts into the chorus.

You told me to love my enemies, to even do good to those who wish for bad things. You told me to never "hate" anyone and to always find ways to encourage people.

You told me it's better to give than receive, to be last instead of first. You told me that money doesn't bring happiness and can even lead to evil, but taking care of the needs of others brings great joy and life to the soul.

You told me that Jesus looks at what I do for the least-of-these as the true depth of my faith. You told me to focus on my own sin instead of trying to police it in others. You told me to be accepting and forgiving.

I paid attention.

I took every lesson.

And I did what you told me.

But now, you call me a libtard. A queer-lover.

You call me "woke." A backslider.

You call me a heretic. A child of the devil.

You call me a false prophet. A reprobate leading people to gates of hell.

You call me soft. A snowflake. A socialist.

What the hell did you expect me to do?

You passed out the "WWJD" bracelets.

I took it to heart.

I thought you were serious, apparently not.

We were once friends. But now, the lines have been drawn. You hate nearly all the people I love. You stand against nearly all the things I stand for. I'm trying to see a way forward, but it's hard when I survey all the hurt, harm, and darkness that comes in the wake of your beliefs and presence.

What the hell did you expect me to do?

I believed it all the way.

I'm still believing it all the way.

Which leaves me wondering, what happened to you?

Grace is Brave. Be Brave

Pastor and Author Chris Kratzer 

Monday, February 26, 2024

Why QOP pols lied after the fake Smirnov allegations

One of the huge stories that came out in the last couple of weeks was about the indictment of  Alexander Smirnov for peddling his cock-and-bull story to the FBI about the supposed-corruption of Joe and Hunter Biden while Joe was our VP. All tied in with Hunter's time on the Board-of-Directors of Burisma, blah, blah, blah...

Many folks have been wondering how and why Representatives James Comer and Jim Jordan could have embraced the easily-disproven lies that Smirnov vomited up in his statements to the FBI and then run, so enthusiastically, with them. 

Let me begin by saying that in today’s QOP, a primary objective is to constantly spew disinformation and do it while screaming at the top of your lungs. You may or may not be “right” or have the facts on your side, but it doesn’t matter. It’s easily provable that they’ve been lying frequently but that’s never an issue with them. Well, it hasn’t been an issue at least since the election of Obama and the hateful and mostly-fact free rise of the Tea Party.

They know how to “flood the zone with shit” as Steve Bannon once famously said, and it’s a big help for your point to be fake, to be made up, so as to be as spectacular and attention-grabbing as possible. Being right, having the facts on your side, is optional. It worked for Hitler and the Nazis as they were working to consolidate their power in Germany and it’s working for Rethuglicans today.

Yes, Christopher Wray—a trump appointee—and DOJ staff warned them on more than one occasion that nothing Smirnov told them could be verified, but that didn’t stop them. Not at all. Didn’t even slow them down. They were on those bogus, unsubstantiated allegations like a dog on a bone and then doubled down and said that the charges against Smirnov didn’t change the underlying facts—which were, of course, based on Smirnov's lies from day one—and that Biden was still involved in bribes and corruption in concert with Hunter when he was the Vice President. It’s a stunning example of deceptive, fact-free, circular reasoning and it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from today’s QOP in the trumpian, post-truth era of our Nation’s history.

They’re not going to stop until we stop them. If we don’t vote out a whole lot of the insurrection-loving, wanna-be Fascists in the 2024 elections, we will slide into Fascism within 2 to 3 years after the last ballot has been counted.

This is no time to sit on the sidelines. It’s no time to say that both major party candidates suck. Democracy is hanging in the balance as we get closer to the November 5th elections.

Make your voice and your ballot count this time. It's democracy's last chance. 

"Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2024 Ben Lawrence Basile

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Ignorance, Bad Grammar and Life

Here's what was going through my mind when I first saw the disgusting and absurd sign you can see in the banner photograph: I hate, loathe and despise people who keep others locked into a life of religious extremism. I have first-hand knowledge and a ton of life experience on that. I'm here to tell you, it's cult stuff.

And I'll confess that I absolutely judge people who seem to have slept through High School grammar class and talk--or write, in this case--on a sixth-grade level. And with sign dude, how about all those unnecessary apostrophes in plural nouns that don't denote possession? In addition to that, there are no missing letters in any of those nouns appearing on that sign, denoting a contraction where an apostrophe would be called for.

The old school slur Homo's might be an exception where the apostrophe could be appropriate, as it's short for homosexuals. I'll ignore for the moment what a pejorative term that is... But as in the case of pros for "professionals", it's so common that the abridged word need not have one.

I know this posting is 100% pedantic, but that stuff really sets me off. And here's why: people who care so little for education that they fracture the English language like that often show complete carelessness and ignorance in practically every area of life.

It can be a tell about a contempt for education in general and the importance of learning and expertise in any/all areas of life. The sign-maker's ignorance and prejudice here are on full display and clearly illustrate what I'm "talking" about in this post.

Here endeth the lesson rant.

"Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2024 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, February 12, 2024

Yes, the Chiefs are an NFL Dynasty

The "D word" came out repeatedly last night after the Kansas City Chiefs bested the 49'er in Super Bowl LVIII. It was an overtime thriller with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs coming away with the 25-22 victory.

Can you say "Dynasty", boys and girls? Is it hyperbole to put that tag on the Reid and Mahomes-led team now that they've got three Super Bowls in the bag? That's 3 out of the last 5, including back-to-back wins for the last two Super contests. 

Well, I think it's not. Not hyperbole. What the Chiefs have done is remarkable. It's more than that. It's extraordinary and it's elevated Mahomes into the Stratosphere of NFL quarterbacks.

There was no shortage of post-game articles and broadcasts where Mr. Mahomes was mentioned along with Brady and Montana. And while it's justified based on what he's been able to do in the last five years, he's going to have to continue to perform at that Herculean level to justify a lot of the talk I've heard in the 24 hours since he tossed that last TD pass to Mecole Hardman to put the Chiefs' third NFL title in the bag. 

It's good to remember in this context that Brady retired with seven Super Bowl wins under his belt and Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw each had four. And Montana was 4 for 4, something I'm 100% sure will never happen again. Yeah, the Dynasty tag surely fit the 49'ers in the Joe Montana-Jerry Rice era.

I think it's worth mentioning another salient fact in the context of this back-to-back and 3 out of 5 talk: the Chiefs played in 4 of the last 5 Super Bowls and the only team to beat them in that remarkable stretch was the Buccaneers. Brady and the Bucs spanked 'em, 31-9 in Super Bowl LV, a feat no other team had been able to pull off against the Chiefs in that illustrious five-year span. And that gave TB 12 his seventh and final Super Bowl ring. 

Mahomes is only 28 and there's no doubt that--barring serious injury--he will continue gathering trophies and accolades as he continues on with his Hall of Fame career. 

And that Dynasty stuff? Yeah, it fits. It's not just hype or happy hour chatter from Chiefs fans. And to what lofty heights will Patrick, Andy Reid and Kansas City's remarkable team ascend as we go forward?

Well, we're about to find out...

"Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2024 Ben Lawrence Basile

Thursday, December 14, 2023

The Circle of Life

I’ll always remember the morning in spring when I woke up to see a half-dozen vultures congregated in the street a few feet in front of our yard. This was in the time of Covid, most likely in 2021.

I couldn’t quite see what the party was all about, but within a minute or two, the feast had moved into our front yard and I could see that the wake was dining on some medium-sized creature, a possum, I was thinking.

This went on for about an hour before the party broke up. It was a busy day and so what was a spectacle in the morning was pretty well forgotten by lunchtime.

I didn’t give it anymore thought until the next morning when I went out to throw the recycling into the bin and discovered about half a skeleton of the hapless menu item who had provided breakfast for that ravenous flock the day before. I’m no expert, but it seemed to confirm my thought that it was a possum. Because there wasn’t too much left besides an ivory skull, I’ll never know for sure but I know for certain that vultures are really efficient when it comes to their role in keeping the circle of life in motion. The remains of the creature they feasted on looked as though they had been lying, undiscovered, in the woods for months but I knew for a fact that Peter Possum’s heart had been beating 24 hours before I found him in my yard.

I reflected on that for a moment and have from time-to-time since and it shined a bright light on something we modern folk don’t think about much. Everything in our world has a life span. We humans certainly do. None of us knows how long we’ve got, and life can–and often does–come to a screeching halt. I suspect that my possum friend was creamed by a neighbor’s car before he was gnawed on by Vic Vulture & friends.

And in that moment, I had another clear and memorable insight into how the Circle of Life works. Especially outside of that overly-sanitized and highly-idealized picture of life that lives somewhere in the recesses of this modern, suburban man’s brain. And for a moment, I had a sense that all was well in Mother Nature’s Realm.

"Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, November 13, 2023

Could Religious Extremists Ever Assume Power in the US?

Could they? Is such a thing even possible here? Well, if that's not something you've been giving much thought to, permit me to tell you a few things going on right now among some Christians holding some pretty extreme ideas. They often refer to themselves as Dominionists. 

There is a movement afoot in the US right now to compel everyone—believers, people following other faiths and non-believers alike—to “get on board”, to submit to their narrow ideas about how things ought to go. It’s the fulfillment of their Apocalyptic vision that “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”. (Philippians 2: 10–11)

Of course, not all Christians in America share the idea that the Church could or should be on an intentional, well-planned campaign to make this happen—regardless of what it might take to accomplish the mission, so to speak, but it’s happening, nevertheless, and the movement is gathering strength.

Although it’s true that the majority of American Christians are not on-board, it’s also true that the real hard-core and extreme adherents to any religion are usually the ones holding the power stick and are therefore able to carry out such a plan. Support from everyone who subscribes to the faith is not necessary.

And if you’re worried about what could happen to any of us in this Nation who might refuse to go along, or whether such a thing is even possible, let me point out that it’s happened many times in the history of Christianity and is a reality for millions of citizens and inhabitants of the six majority-Muslim Countries that are purposefully, authentically theocratic.

In a theocratic, authoritarian State, those in power can—and often do—force everyone, regardless of belief or unbelief, to submit to their authority, to their ideas about God’s will. They have the power to discredit, marginalize, excommunicate and—quite possibly—harm or kill those who don’t believe and/or don’t want to live in a theocracy.

The not-crazy believers would likely disapprove of the most extreme courses of action, but you’d still be discredited, jobless, slandered, ostracized, and—in a worst-case scenario that seems to be coming closer to reality with each passing day—dead.

We are only three or four short steps from having an authoritarian government in power with extreme religious leaders empowered as close partners, able to put in place their extreme ideas in ways that will impact all Americans, whether they’re believers or not. 

Think Taliban or the mullahs and Imams of Afghanistan or Iran but with extreme Evangelical Christian leaders, whether clergy or lay, holding some office or not, calling the shots and compelling obedience.

Yes, what I’m describing is a worst-case scenario, and they may not be able to actually pull it off, but trump-loving Evangelicals and Christian Dominionists are trying as hard as they can right now to bring it about.

If what I’m saying seems really far-fetched to you, I suggest you read up on Christian Dominionist ideas and theology by following this link: 

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile