Mike Pence — Up Close and Poisonous
After all the fumbles and stumbles from the Trump campaign, his pick of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his VP may have been a stroke of genius. It connects Trump to the Republican establishment, gaining needed support. Also, Pence is a rabid evangelical, which brings that demographic into the fold, as it were. And he wasn’t even the first choice, but more on that later.
Pence is a rock-ribbed, reich-wing conservative. In the late 1990s he ran a think tank lobbying for private prisons, in which inmates would be required to work in order to pay for their own incarceration. In 2013, his first year as Governor, while other states were easing marijuana laws, he pushed for tougher sentencing for offenders, raising his concern that “low-level drug offenders were not facing sufficient punishment.” In 1999 he claimed that the Disney movie “Mulan” was a part of a liberal plot to gain support for women in the military. During his 2000 campaign for the U.S. House, he gave his views on tobacco: “Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.” He later added there was “no causal link medically identifying smoking as causing lung cancer.” At the time he was taking contributions from the big tobacco companies Brown & Williamson, R.J. Reynolds, and Philip Morris.
In 2001, his first year in the U.S. House, he openly mocked climate science as a myth, and that in global warming “the environmental movement has found a new chant for their latest ‘chicken little’ attempts to raise taxes and grow centralized government.” During his 2012 campaign for Governor he raked in about $100,000 from Big Tobacco, and over $300,000 from either the Koch brothers or one of their main front groups, Americans For Prosperity. AFP President Tim Phillips called him one of their favorite governors.
That’s all bad enough, but what should really concern us are his religious views. He has said he’s “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” You’re about to learn what an understatement that is. Nobody hates Planned Parenthood more than this guy. While in the House from 2001-2013 he was nearly a one-man crusader for defunding it completely, calling it Big Abortion, and he introduced a bill to that effect in 2007. In 2009 he called Roe v. Wade “the worst U.S. Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott.” In 2011 he co-sponsored a bill to alter the Hyde Amendment, which says federal funds can only be used for abortion in the case of rape, incest, or health of the mother. He wanted to change the wording to “forcible” rape. It was defeated. He’s still against the idea of abortion in case of rape, because “We’d have an epidemic of women claiming to have been raped just so they could get an abortion.”
Last year he signed into law Indiana’s version of RFRA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That’s the one that allows religious bigots to beat people over the head with their Bronze Age superstitions, specifically against LGBTQ people. After blowback from many sides the bill was slightly modified. Pence continually “tests the boundaries of the law,” as The New York Times wrote, in his zealous pursuit of Old Testament law and justice.
On March 25th he signed into law HB 1337, one of the most draconian anti-abortion laws in the country. As he signed it he said, “I sign this legislation with a prayer that God would continue to bless these precious children and women.” Along with the usual restrictions like admission privileges (usually unnecessary) and ultra-vaginal probes (state-sanctioned rape), it bans abortion if the mother learns of severe disability in the fetus. It requires the parent or parents of an aborted fetus or miscarriage to obtain a burial transit form, and have it either buried or cremated at a funeral home. It requires a woman seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound and listen to the heartbeat at least 18 hours before the procedure. It’s all about shaming, one of the greatest of Christian values to extremists like Pence. People like him give a bad name to a religion that already has enough baggage of its own. I always thought religion should be a comfort to people, not a cudgel to smite them. With people like Pence, it’s all Leviticus, all the time, as if they’d never heard about another testament, New Testament, with its message of love and tolerance. If Jesus were to come back today I can easily imagine him pinching off the heads of every one of these hypocrites, and spitting in the neck hole. At any rate, on June 30th U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton struck down HB 1337 for infringing on women’s right to choose. But Pence will continue to “test the boundaries of law,” HB 1337 being only one of the eight anti-abortion bills he’s signed into law in his three years as Governor.
Maybe it’s in SunTzu’s The Art of War or some other mystical source, the strategy of using the adversary’s own weapon against him, in this case shame. That’s just what a group calling themselves Periods for Pence has done. They opened a Facebook page, flooded his office with calls, and sent numerous tweets to the Governor, a few of which I include here:
“I have cramps! Is it menstrual or the large number of politicians in my uterus?”
“Good morning, it’s your hoo-ha! Call @GovPenceIN. Tell him hey from your hoo-ha!”
“Gov Pence, I’m 43 and will go through the change soon. Just want to make sure you will still care about my vagina.”
“Been 4 days since last period. Hope I’m not preggo, but I don’t know. U seem to know my body better. Thoughts?”
“Started my cycle today. When will you be by to check my used pads for HB 1337 compliance so I know to be home?”
Of course, you can’t shame a man who seemingly has no shame. There are a host of reasons to vote against Donald Trump, and Mike Pence should be at the top of the list. Why? A week before the RNC Convention, Donald Trump, Jr. met with an advisor to Ohio Governor John Kasich, to offer him the VP slot. Trump Jr. said as Vice President he would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy. That’s pretty conclusive, I’d say. When the advisor asked what President Trump would be doing, Junior said “Making America great again.” Apparently, the Donald isn’t interested in governing, and sees himself more as Chairman of the Board. If that’s true, our next president could effectively be this Nazi (yes, the Nazis considered themselves Christians, too). And if Trump wins the election, it’s likely that the House and Senate will remain under their control.
Have you seen the official 2016 GOP Platform? It’s the most radical I can remember. It calls for dramatically increasing the already bloated Pentagon budget, repealing or easing banking and environmental laws, privatizing Medicare, offshore drilling along both coasts, and declares that “coal is an abundant, clean energy source. But it’s the social issues I want you to be aware of:
— Repealing the 62-year-old Johnson Act, which prohibits churches and other tax exempt organizations from engaging in political activity.
— Supporting gay conversion therapy, also called pray-away-the-gay, which can include electro-shock therapy. It’s been widely criticized throughout the medical community.
— Legalizing discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
— Requiring Bible study in public schools, “A good understanding of the Bible being indispensible for the development of an educated citizenry.”
— Lawmakers are to use religion as a guide when legislating [what, you mean like Sharia Law?], stipulating “that man-made law must be consistent with God-given natural rights.”
– — Overturning Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal throughout the land.
— Pornography is “a public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions.”
There was no mention anywhere of climate change, a genuine public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions. In fact, Republicans are the only major political party in the WORLD that categorically denies global warming (and are paid very well to do so by the fossil fools industry).
It’s not hard to imagine a real “law and order” theocracy happening right here. It wouldn’t be America’s first, either. There was the puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony, and that didn’t work out so well (#Salem). And ladies, if you think these bastards won’t put you in those beekeeper outfits, you’d better think again. There’s a reason it took women 50 years longer than black men to be able to vote. Remember, it was your fault that we got evicted from the Garden of Eden! We’re literally dealing with a completely neolithic mind-set here.
America, stop for a second and look around. We’ve just walked up to the edge of a cliff.