What you don’t know will hurt them

I have been on this planet for more than seven decades, and there are times when I learn something that I wonder how I could have possibly never known it before. When the heavens open and sprinkle enlightenment on my small brain, I experience that elusive concept known as an epiphany.

I was sipping some coffee and watching one of my favorite TV shows, CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley when this segment about “intersex” caught my attention. In a sudden rush I had a sense of clarity and mind opening. Click the link to the video segment above. I encourage you to watch it.

So, what exactly is intersex? The Planned Parenthood website gives us this definition, “Intersex is a general term used for a variety of situations in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the boxes of ‘female’ or ’male.’ Sometimes doctors do surgeries on intersex babies and children to make their bodies fit binary ideas of ‘male’ or ‘female.’”

I once had a part time job at a community theater in college and was exposed to many gay men and women. Although I couldn’t imagine myself being attracted to a man, I understood these were just people. My church teachings led me to believe their sexual orientations were sinful and taboo. After pushing back on some sexual advances, I learned how to handle myself. It would be impossible for anyone to “change” this straight guy, because sexual orientation isn’t a choice.

I live in Florida, whose governor has declared a war against homosexuality. Oh, he will deny it, but straight up, he’s against anything he believes will “turn” the children of his state gay, which brought about the “Don’t say gay” law. I think there’s a belief if we just don’t talk about it, we can get rid of all this gayness around us. Not only is Ron DeSantis naïve, but more hateful than we ever knew.

But this is not about Florida; it’s about God. I love the concept of God but have a major question for this sole proprietor of morality. Does God make mistakes? I can see most hard-core, born-again evangelicals jumping out of their skin at that question, but hey, only snakes jump out of their own skin. So, listen up.

In my quest to find answers about faith, religion and the dogmas of the world, I read the Christopher Hitchens book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. He gave a healthy argument about why circumcision is “mutilation” and “primitive amputation.” There are many proponents of this procedure, and my friends at CenterForInquiry.org say it is medically justified but not necessary. This is probably the best argument for the procedure, according to the BetterHealth.vic.gov site in Australia, “possibly a lower risk of men getting sexually transmissible infections (STIs) than men who are not circumcised.

The late Hitchens was more interested in exposing the practices of the Jewish traditions and some so-called “trained” mohels, who were spreading diseases because of the ways they executed their technique. Now, think about this. All men are born with a foreskin, but most religions and cultures have adopted circumcision as normal. The myth that a circumcision lowers a man’s sexual pleasure is hardly provable.

How does this relate to intersex? Well, when a baby is found to have attributes and or organs of both sexes, the medical world moves quickly to fix the problem. Here’s an Atlanta case cited in the Chicago Tribune, “Northside Hospital will pay $22.8 million to a boy severely injured in a circumcision accident… The child had his penis severely burned in the mishap in August 1985.” His attorneys demanded extensive reconstructive surgery and psychological counseling. Allegedly, this was a case of a surgeon not properly trained on a new laser-cutting technology.

Just as if God had made a mistake, the doctors quickly suggested to fix the situation by turning a healthy baby boy into a girl. So, let’s get back to intersex. You might be shocked to learn that, according to ABC News, “An estimated 1 in 2,000 children born each year (in America) are neither boy nor girl.”

The 37-year-old Chicago woman featured in the CBS News segment mentioned at the top of this post is Pidgeon Pagonis, and her new book, Nobody Needs to Know: A Memoir tells her story about the many operations and pain she suffered to be made into the gender and sex the medical profession wanted her to be rather than the way God made her. The hospital involved has since publicly apologized for their mistakes; they played God and lost. They used fear to get the parents to approve of these unnecessary and dangerous procedures. Just being non-binary was safer.

Now we have Mike Johnson, the new Speaker of the House from Louisiana, who has written that homosexuality is an “inherently unnatural” and a “dangerous lifestyle” that would lead to legalized pedophilia and possibly even destroy “the entire democratic system.” According to MotherEarth.com, Johnson adheres to what he and his wife call a “Biblical worldview.” I would assume this involves the Old Testament passage of Leviticus 20-13, “If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.” Mike Johnson surely knows that killing someone because of their homosexuality would be a sin, but not so fast.

The pain and suffering many men and women have gone through because of the repulsive and unsuccessful “conversion therapy” faux treatment forced on them by parents and religious leaders is just another abuse of children and young adults by people who don’t understand how someone becomes gay. They don’t “become;” God made them gay.

Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist and psycholinguist, wrote a 2005 New York Times op-ed titled Sniffing Out the Gay Gene. Pinker points out this research was based on that used to analyze perfumes, “A team of Swedish neuroscientists scanned people’s brains as they smelled a testosterone derivative found in men’s sweat and an estrogen-like compound found in women’s urine. In heterosexual men, a part of the hypothalamus (the seat of physical drives) responded to the female compound but not the male one; in heterosexual women and homosexual men, it was the other way around.” Does this prove that being gay is baked into our brains?

Science magazine was more definitive in 2019, “After studying the DNA of nearly half a million people with varying sexual experiences, the researchers found no evidence of a single “gay gene.” So, whose fingerprint is really on this homosexuality thing?

In his book The Blank Slate, Pinker writes that when a fetus is developing in utero, the changes, growth and activities of development are based on a timing blueprint, which is a part of our species. The amount of a given chemical at a certain time, and how the fetus absorbs it, will determine the next change. Any deviation from the timeline will have powerful effects. Pinker points out, “The biology of homosexuality is a politicized minefield that scares away scientists (and the universities and agencies that pay for their research).” Religious zealots will never pay for a study that proves them wrong.

I’m led to this question. What if medical science could analyze the creation and placement of sexual organs to determine when a fetus is more susceptible to a future sexual orientation of homosexuality? Would we let the Mike Johnsons of the world declare such fetuses must be aborted? You know, we’ve got to nip this homo thing right in the bud.

A two-thousand old document, written by men of little scientific knowledge, tells us that God has nothing to do with everything they found repulsive. But if you believe in God, then you believe all that he/she/it creates is holy. And again, If God is all powerful, how could anything he allows be created be wrong?


Tattoo Detective: Our Last Hope for the Future

Imagine being able to time travel into the unknown. TATTOO DETECTIVE: Our Last Hope for the Future is a science fiction novel examining the world after all the guardrails of normal society have been dissolved.

The story follows two American tattoo detectives who are sent on a mission that changes them and their world. This dystopic look at the United States and the flaw in humankind is not a Pollyanna prognostication, it’s fundamentally close to our current reality and could be predictive of where we are headed. The opening chapter says it best, “…we could have done something, but we fell madly in love with technology, weapons and wealth.”  For purchase or dowload, go here. Check out our author page on Amazon.



Death by Government Inaction

I hope you are angry about mass shootings, because that means you still have a drop of humanity in your blood. But if you’ve grown passive to the stupidity, mental illness and terror being perpetrated on the citizens of this country by their own kind, then you are soulless.

The debates about abortions, death penalties and gun ownership are all connected, and have brought what used to be an intelligent country to its knees. Some consider an abortion as taking the life of another person, while the zealots of gun control would rather own a gun than reduce the possibility of their kids being killed at school, at play, or in church. The argument about whether a person who takes a life should have their own life ended by the state is more than an ideological argument. The blunt reality is our courts and juries are not infallible. The Innocence Project has taught us the courts have convicted many innocent men and women, and taking their lives is just as much a sin as someone taking an innocent life.

I have a little secret. I no longer get sad and depressed when I hear about another mass shooting, I get ANGRY, just as I did last night when the news about the domestic terror incident in Lewiston, Maine blasted across the phones, tablets and TVs in America. By now, you know the stories of those Mainers who lost their lives at the hands of a highly trained military person with an endless supply of ammo and an over-the-top mental condition. Each time a mass killing happens, we hear from Senators, Representatives and lunatic public speakers that enacting gun reforms, assault rifle bans or heavier qualifications for gun ownership will have no effect. Some members of the cult named the National Rifle Association tell us that fewer guns will make us less safe. Now there’s the very definition of convoluted logic.

Some basic changes to what we believe, who we are and how we go will thwart or at least, lower the number of mass shootings. A great first step would be making all those who tell us that we can do nothing about gun violence actually read the Second Amendment. When doing so, they should emphasize the words, “A well regulated Militia,” since those very words are the reason so many people lose their lives each year. Maybe the gun freaks should memorize all of it, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Since the framers capitalized the word Militia, it’s clear they meant those who could be called up by each state, if necessary, to help defend the nation. Those people would indeed be well regulated by the presence of a commanding officer. The Second Amendment states people have the right to “bear Arms,” but it says nothing about the ammunition needed to use those weapons. Therefore, why don’t we monitor sizeable ammunition purchases to trip an investigation the same way someone buying large amounts of agricultural fertilizer, diesel fuel or other bomb ingredients might become a suspect? Had we known Timothy McVie was buying large quantities of substances to create a bomb, we could have stopped the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing.

If a person who has been receiving treatment for mental illness was seen buying a huge cache of automatic weapon ammo, we might keep a closer eye on him. We don’t, we didn’t and, according to some elite, right-wing Congressional idiots, we never will.

Privacy is a funny thing. At times, it’s a precious American right we need to protect, but at other times it’s not. We go after software companies for refusing to breach the phone of a terrorist. We get “unbiased” judges to sign off on search warrants that are based on stretched data or lies to get into our homes, our computers and our cloud storage. The US government spies on its citizens all the time in the name of law enforcement, and now with our new draconian abortion laws, the state will be able to acquire your medical records to prosecute you and your doctor.

According to historical data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, since 1899, more than 474-million firearms have been produced for the US market. This figure includes imports from foreign gunmakers but excludes exports by domestic gunmakers. So, it’s not unreasonable to conjecture that more than 400-million guns are in the hands of that “Militia,” which is NOT REGULATED AT ALL.

According to Forbes magazine, more than 20-million assault rifles are held by many law-abiding citizens. Of course, a certain percentage of those owners have criminal records or mental disorders which could turn their ownership into tragedies, but we will never know. The fight to prevent the government knowing anything about individual gun owners, their weapons and the amount of ammunition they own is not allowed. WHY?

If someone was stockpiling large amounts of fertilizer, rocket fuel and digital igniters, we certainly would want to know why. Even small amounts of such materials could be used to make a bomb capable of blowing up a dozen or more people. Then why should the privacy of a nutjob who owns a couple of AR-15s and enough ammo to kill dozens of people at a bowling alley be protected? He’s just as bad as a bomber.

If the Congress of this country had any sort of moral core, they would push back on the manufacturers, lobbyists and organizations who are the very reason more and more people will die. If they can’t see that inaction has actually made it worse, so they are blind, ignorant and complicit. By the way, their contributions from the National Rifle Association are outright bribes. 

In closing, I’d like to get one more thing off my chest. When you call a press conference to share the latest information on the mass shooting in your town, keep it brief. Yes, Ms. Governor, Mr. Mayor and Joe City Council, please stop with all the thank yous and butt kissing. Of course, the first responders are wonderful and that is why we pay them. And what person who lost a loved one wants to hear you utter the words, “Well, it could have been worse.”

When the man with the gun is still running around “armed and dangerous” don’t keep telling us how bad things are and that you never imagined it happening in your town. SHUT UP and stop the bullshit. Just give us the facts. We already know how unexpected and wicked it is, so stop with all the political pablum. If you did a better job maybe you would have approved some money for mental health surveillance. STOP BLABBERING and do your damn jobs.


It’s a People Problem

Matt Gaetz is a hater. Donald Trump is a Hater. Bebe Netanyahu is a hater. They seem to love talking about the people they hate. When a powerful person demonizes another, a religion, a class of people or a specific tribe, bad things follow.

Those haters see it as a game, but it’s not a sport when people’s lives are at risk. The Chuckie-looking Representative from the panhandle of Florida has been begging for attention, like an immature toddler. One could say Kevin McCarthy is a fool for allowing himself to be trapped into an unworkable concession, but the fact is clear. Matt Gaetz’s real desire was to grab power, use it to disrupt a proceeding, then dump a speaker he always felt was beneath him.

Now, with wars raging in Ukraine and Israel, Congress has been neutered by this overzealous neocon who lacks any meaningful principles. I was appalled when Donald Trump personally asked Gaetz to nominate HIM for Speaker of the House. Matt Gaetz hates the United States government, and thus, those who desire to represent the people and serve the nation. This whole Speaker of the House crisis was self-inflicted and unnecessary. It demonstrates how unready the Republicans are to govern. If you want to throw someone out, shouldn’t you have a plan to quickly replace the victim?

This disrespect is the result of those who are hating. Donald Trump hates anyone who disagrees with him. The cult he has created is based almost entirely on hate. He came right out and showed he hated Obama. When he announced his first run, he demonstrated his hate for immigrants, especially Mexican Americans. Once he got the job, he never ran out of so many others to hate. When Covid hit, he went on and on about how much we should HATE China. He simply knows nothing more than hate.

He showed us he hated judges, lawyers, Gold Star families, war heroes, Democrats, institutions, court decisions, election results and people in general. When the Saudi government ordered the killing of a Washington Post reporter, his response was, “Every country kills people.” When wars erupt, like forest fires, he’s always right and claims only he has the solution. He asserts he could end a war in a week, without explaining how. And his genius idea to keep trees from exploding into flames was to use our dwindling water supply to permanently keep the trees wet. WTF? This fucking idiot decries any idea that isn’t his. And by the way, I am far from hating him, I despise him.

One of his bright plans was treating Covid with bleach. Well, low and behold, some of his cult members attempted exactly that. At a trial earlier this summer, four men of the Bradenton, Florida area were found guilty of conspiring to defraud the United States by distributing an unapproved Covid drug. The prosecutors called them “conmen” and “snake-oil salesmen,” and they were sentenced to more than twelve years in prison. Yet more bonehead followers of the Orange Jesus who illicitly made millions then ended up in prison for falling for Trump’s hate and lies.

Now, we have a full-out war in Israel. There is a maxim in dealing with those you disagree with, find a way to cool the temperature and start a discussion. In order to placate the hard right, stay in power and avoid jail, Bebe Netanyahu became an over-the-top hater of Palestine. That created tensions and lone-wolf attacks against Israeli police and soldiers, which brought forth more than two-hundred Palestinian deaths this year. Netanyahu’s pomposity made things worse, not better.  

There is no justification for the attacks on the people of Israel last weekend, but Bebe is not the right leader to attempt to put out the inferno that has been burning for more than five decades. The Prime Minister of Israel didn’t start the fire, but he has done nothing in his rhetoric and actions to cool tempers. We can only hope the voters will throw him out, the courts will convict him, and he’ll be put in a place where he can do no further harm. They just announced they have formed a new government and a special war cabinet without the far-right big mouths who still have gasoline tanks in their hands. A good step forward.

Trump and his slaves, like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Josh Hawley, Matt Gaetz, Tommy Tuberville and other isolationists like them, need to be silenced. The US military has suffered from congressional malfeasance. The House of Representatives has been frozen by hate mongers and liars. If we don’t collectively rise up and put these people in their places, they are going to destroy our great land.

If you support a racist, neo-Nazi you are complicit. If you back someone who interferes with the readiness of the military, you are a traitor. It’s past time to hold some feet to the fire and bake the hate out of them. Hate has no place in America, or anywhere else.

When I spoke with a Russian American friend of mine about the way gays are treated by Putin and his cult, she shook her head, and said, “You see, in my country, they just have to have someone or something to hate. That is all they know.”

One could come back with a snappy retort like, “Haters gonna hate,” but I fail to see the purpose of stirring up hate against humans. Sure, get your revenge Israel, but just remember, if you keep hating after you sign a peace treaty, what happens to you is on you. God Bless.


Tattoo Detective: Our Last Hope for the Future

Imagine being able to time travel into the unknown. TATTOO DETECTIVE: Our Last Hope for the Future is a science fiction novel examining the world after all the guardrails of normal society have been dissolved.

The story follows two American tattoo detectives who are sent on a mission that changes them and their world. This dystopic look at the United States and the flaw in humankind is not a Pollyanna prognostication, it’s fundamentally close to our current reality and could be predictive of where we are headed. The opening chapter says it best, “…we could have done something, but we fell madly in love with technology, weapons and wealth.”  For purchase or dowload, go here. Check out our author page on Amazon.