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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fear and loathing in Minnesota

Image of Syrian refugee child from PSU.edu

Our governor has chosen not to embrace the rampant xenophobia currently flooding the United States, and will continue to accept Syrian refugees. In response to this decision, many Minnesotans are posting comments to Mark Dayton's Facebook page. Some of the comments are supportive, like:
 Governor Dayton, Thank-You for not allowing fear to blind you to those in need; we are a land of immigrants with the freedom to practice the religion of our choice and to live freely from persecution - to cower to the bigots and fear-mongers would be un-American.
Some are not:
governor goofy we already have plenty of taxi drivers here keep syrians out what they hey like them so much move over there governor goofy you babbling tax monger
 My condolences to the poor people who have to put up with this ass as your Governor. He is completely insane and cares more about immigrants than his own citizens. Thank God I live in a state where our people come first.
 What in the hell are you thinking?? We have enough trash in Minnesota as it is!!!! We ALL say NO MORE!!!!!!!
  Maybe all the taxpaying citizens should leave your state, then all that will be left is a welfare state somali ghetto, hell it looks like that now.
 Hey, Dayton. This is the USA. ....Just thought I would remind you. We don't need any "refugees."\
Traitor of the state of Minnesota and its people I hope you get voted out and in the least when these so called refugees I pray you are one of first that gets it when they start killing.
I posted a comment, commending Governor Dayton on his decision, and two of the responses I received were...interesting. This is a screenshot of that thread:


First, Lee Alberts. With his rebel flag profile picture. Whenever I see a rebel flag on the back of a car or truck in Minnesota, I resist the urge to give the owner of said vehicle a history lesson about how we live in the Northern portion of the country, and while the North was not blameless or sinless when it came to slavery, the North FOUGHT THE SOUTH and won. Anyway, back to Mr. Alberts. On his Facebook page, Mr. Alberts refers to President Obama as "Obozo," has numerous memes insulting and denigrating Hillary Clinton, including one that puts her in black face, and a cartoon of President Obama with a rope around his neck. 

By the way, we would welcome a Syrian family into our home with open arms.

Now, James Johnson, the classy fellow who called me a "Muslim bitch." Mr. Johnson's Facebook page is a veritable shrine to Pamela Geller, Donald Trump, conservative click bait sites, and hate. A lot of hate. He also shares quite a bit from a page called AAAA. The "long description" of AAAA, from their own page:
We are Anti Incompetence, Anti Corruption, Pro America. We must unite as Americans to protect our sacred foundation......The Constitution. Without it we are only slaves. Please help enlighten the ones who are taken in by the lies of the corrupt politicians in our government. Help keep America American.
Can I be a bitch? Oh hell yes I can, especially when some asshole from Burnsville attacks me for telling the truth. From The Washington Post:
Perhaps one of the most persuasive arguments against equating refugees with terrorists is simple: It's exactly what the Islamic State wants.The very same refugees entering Europe are often the very same civilians who face the indiscriminate violence and cruel injustice in lands controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (though, it should be noted, many in Syria are also threatened by the brutal actions of the Syrian government). Globally, studies have shown that Muslims tend to make up the largest proportion of terror victims, with countries such as Syria and Iraq registering the highest toll.If Muslim refugees come to Europe and are welcomed, it deeply undercuts the Islamic State's legitimacy. Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has helpfully catalogued some of the Islamic State's messages on the refugees pouring into Europe from the Middle East. The messages give the impression of deep discomfort and even jealousy that the Muslim population the Islamic State so covets for its self-proclaimed "caliphate" would rather live in "infidel" Western lands.
All these hateful, bigoted people, like James Johnson and Lee Alberts, like the governors and right-wing politicians and pundits calling for a ban on refugees in a country built by immigrants and refugees, are helping ISIS. When countries refuse sanctuary to people fleeing war and terror, we embolden those waging war and terror. ISIS can take all of this hate and use it to recruit. "See," they will say, "they hate you because you are Muslim, because you worship Mohammed. This is why they must be punished." 

If we do not give in to fear and hatred, if we stand together and, using the current vetting processes we have, continue welcoming refugees, we are telling ISIS they have no power. A French father told his son "They've got guns, but we have flowers."

There is power in peace. There is power in standing up to terrorists by being exactly the opposite of what they want us to be. There is no power in supporting hate and fear and violence. That is precisely what ISIS wants: they want us afraid of "the other," they want us turning on our neighbors, they want us divided. 

They want a stranger on the internet so angry, he calls another stranger a "Muslim bitch."

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Joshua Feuerstein vs Starbucks

Image from Starbucks.com

Starbucks rolled out their annual holiday cups a few days ago, and Oh. My. God. You'd think Starbucks had changed the recipe for Peppermint Mocha to Peppermint Baby Parts With A Sprinkle Of The Ground-Up Femur Of Jesus. The asshat in charge of the War on Christmas™ 2016 battle against overpriced coffee is a guy named Joshua Feurerstein. Or, as he is being called around our house, "that douche."

Joshua Feuerstein decided that he desperately needed a video to go viral, probably to pay for another Cartier watch, so he took his sanctimonious right-wing Christianity, and his GUN, to a local Starbucks. Where he suddenly realized Starbucks had taken the "Christ out of Christmas!" Holy wise men, how dare they? Obviously, every other year, Starbucks' cups were plastered with the face of Jesus, the star of Bethlehem, perhaps the stable where Jesus was born. Well, no. Snowflakes, yes. Poinsettia flowers, yes. Modern renderings of ornaments, yes. But no Jesus, no star, no stable. 

This raises the question: how exactly did Starbucks take the Christ out of Christmas for 2015, when Christ was never part of the Starbucks holiday experience in the first place? Donald Trump has even jumped on the red cups bandwagon, pondering if a boycott of Starbucks might be the way to go:
I have one of the most successful Starbucks in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks? I don't know. Seriously, I don't care. By the way, that's the end of that lease but who cares. (source)
Cups. This is all about cups, and some wanker's desire for publicity. No, not Trump, Feuerstein. From what I have gleaned in two days of researching Joshua, he's a hot mess of narcissism. He begged for $20,000 in order to buy a new video camera, but still makes videos using his phone. No one knows what Joshua did with the $7,000 he raised begging on the internet for said camera. 

Oh, and Joshua Feuerstein's brilliant "boycott" plan? Go into Starbucks, order a beverage, and when they ask your name, reply "Merry Christmas." Thus forcing the employee who brings your coffee to the counter to call out "Merry Christmas." Someone should tell Joshua it's not a boycott if you're still giving the company money.

To their credit, many Christians are telling Joshua Feuerstein to shut up. Comments on his Facebook page are rife with people calling him out on his stupidity, comments like:
Oh dear God. It's a CUP one that NEVER said Merry Christmas by the way...how about you skip your mocha choco latte and feed a family instead?
This is getting ridiculous! They NEVER had merry Christmas on the cups to begin with!! They DO have a Christmas blend coffee though,which says CHRISTMAS on the bag or box!!! Get a grip people!!!
I'm a Christian. And this is just ridiculous! I'm not sure we serve the same God....by the way you encourage people to be arrogant. It's the LOVE of God that draws people to Him. Not this.....this breaks my heart....makes me nauseous...all this over a red cup! Really?? And just because people have viewed it does not mean they agree.
Real talk: 
I can confidently say that Jesus doesn't give two shits about what is or isn't on your Starbucks red coffee cup...so just stop it. Right now. 
He'd actually much rather you give that money you spent on that Starbucks to your hungry neighbor, however.
I think Joshua Feuerstein should consider himself lucky he can afford Starbucks. There are many people who cannot. There are many people who cannot afford clothes, or food, or a home, or medical treatment, but to Joshua, it's those damn cups that Jesus cares about. If Joshua Feuerstein wants to truly put the Christ back in Christmas, maybe he should stop begging people to "share if you care!" on everything he posts, stop ranting about cups, and donate some time and/or money to a local homeless shelter.  

If you shop at Starbucks, keep an eye out for their Christmas blend coffee, their Christmas gift cards, their Christmas music, and their Advent calendar. Because nothing says "we hate Christmas" more than selling an Advent calendar.