Yet another blog for spewing. This one may end up with a lot of religious and social content.


All FITB do X - NOT!

So, I've been following the snark that occurred when a wannabe anthropologist at Slate wrote How Black People Use Twitter - The latest research on race and microblogging. It, and the jingoistic graphic that went with it, spawned the cute and snarky hashtag #browntwitterbird. @InnyVinny posted a fantastic mixup of graphics and pointed snark, and requests for variations started pouring in. Then other bit-whackers started contributing art.

What almost, but fortunately not completely, gets lost in the flush of adorable icons is this craptastic tendency of so-called journalists to make sweeping generalizations about ethnic and social groups. Saying things akin to "Black people link to each other and talk dirty late at (US) night" is like saying "White people go to John Birch meetings on Fridays and church on Sunday". In both cases, not the case. Sure, you didn't say "all", but it's implied that you're talking about the majority in your generalization. Unless you have the statistics, preferably a supermajority to back it up, don't go there.

The "researcher" in the Slate piece looked at a subgroup of young, urban, American, mostly black youth who were interlinked. They mostly used phone text apps to twitter from. Well, folks, I can explain the night thing right there - nights are cheaper on most phone plans - as in "unlimited night and weekends". That plus working during the day, and it's not a mystery, or even a social phenomenon. Younger people tend to be "connected" electronically in the US - there are plenty of articles out there bemoaning the fact that "too many" kids have expensive cell phones. He generalized this subgroup to be "Black People" - as in "most black people", by inference. Ummm, no.

Then this person comes up with the term "blacktags". I cringed. Tell me, are there corresponding whitetags, yellowtags and redtags? How about "turbantags"? Shall we get really jingoistic here? I guess I should be glad he didn't call them "n*****tags" - but that would take Dr. Laura, I suppose.

He points out that these late night tags chatty tags tend to trend. Well duh. Most of the chatty cathys of the daytime are gone for the night, asleep like responsible adults. The tweets are from an interconnected group that does a lot of retweeting and repeating their own tweets - like most youth, vying for attention among their peers, having fun. So they trend. BFD. I've been awake late nights, and followed some of what might have been subjects of his "research". Some of them I had to muffle my laughter in a pillow to avoid waking up my roomies, they were so funny, especially in context.

He quotes a few black guys as some sort of representatives, and they all basically blow holes in his thesis. I guess this is his throwing a sop to the other side of the conversation. But he never really goes back and corrects his original hypothesis.

If he'd said "Young Blacks", I might have had slightly less problem - because that was actually the demographic he was looking at. Still, the article had no point to be written - other than sensationalism, and pseudoanthropologic voyeurism.

See, social clusters happen in social media. Cliques are as old as society itself. They are just bigger online. Political wonks have theirs, SF&F fans have theirs, soap fans have theirs, sports addicts have theirs, etc. But jackasses don't post "How White People Use Twitter" and then claim that all of them follow hashtags like #lost, #idol, and #baseball. They restrict that stupidity to talking about black people. Not even asians or hispanics get the treatment.

Then there's one final thing: The only way you know, on the net, what race, culture/subculture, country, gender, gender identification, political affiliation, sexual preference, etc that a person has is if they tell you, or otherwise let slip. Even icons that are pictures can lie - what if they use their favorite celebrity? On Twitter, if you don't put a lot of detail in your bio, or give a separate website (like this one), no one knows that you're really a housecat named Speckles. Really.

Edit: An new hashtag in the mix #NotAllBlackPeople - a fun read, again kicking over and poking fun at stereotypes. Take that, Dr Laura "BigotBrain"!

The upshot? Watch your generalizations, they can bite you in the ass!


Hey Conservative Penny Pinchers!

You are soooooo worried about the national debt that you have to deny the unemployed the very lifeline they need to keep their homes and food on the table, why don't you put your bankster bailout bonus money, stock market windfalls and oil company payoffs where your concern is: Make a voluntary contribution to reduce the public debt!!

After all, your favorite presidents have increased it on their watch, especially Bush II - with two intractable quagmire wars, one started purely for the sake of his ego. Clinton reduced the deficit, but Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II increased it, so you are to blame for it, you get to reduce it.

You claim to be the party of "personal responsibility"? Fine, take responsibility for what your votes and your political party has wrought: help pay it down. I didn't vote for Reagan, or either Bush, why should I have to suffer because of their ballooning of the deficit?

If you don't do this, don't come whining to me that I have to endure your fucking "tough love" and "take responsibility" for my "economic choices" (yeah, like I chose not to be born rich, and not to get lucky and marry a millionaire.) You take responsibility for your votes for warmongers and spendthrifts who believe in voodoo economics and disastrous deregulation.



The Banksters OF AIG

Warren, Head of TARP Oversight Panel, Criticizes Bailout of ‘Frankenstein’ AIG This is tame. (Warren's full prepared remarks) The truth is ugly, and AIG is just the most obvious and egregious case. They are all arrogant, obtuse, and ungovernable.

The whole outrage about the bailouts garbage is that it said to all Americans These Banks Are Exempt From The Rules Of The Free Market Governing Failure, You Have To Take The Losses Instead!. They got a "Get Out Of Bankruptcy Free" card, on our goddamn dime!!

The Teabaggers talk about "Socialism"?? Well, bank bailouts are nothing more than socializing losses. The profits, and bonuses, are still private, as their shopping habits attest - The Bonus Bounce and Hamptons again warmed by Wall Street's glow.

We, the taxpayers, paid for most of that, by bailing out megabanks and propping up the rigged shell game that is the stock market these days. Where's my cut, bankster?

The big banks must be allowed to fail and go though ordinary bankruptcy. The high flying brokers need to spend a few months eating rice, beans and ramen. Exempting these creeps from the rules that apply to us little folks (paying your debts, losing it all when your business goes bankrupt, etc) is bad for business, bad for the country, and a horrible precedent to set.

The people who engineering this garbage need to do jail time for fraud - they defrauded their customers and the US taxpayers. Let them wear prison stripes and "trade" bars of soap.


Private Property Versus Public Discrimination

The Controversy

I watched the Rachel Maddow segment where Rand Paul stuck his foot in his mouth, up to his hip, about the Civil Rights Act (1964). He expressed "reservations" about one of the Titles of the Act - it turns out to be Title II - that prohibits discrimination by private businesses that were public accommodations. He also seems to have a problem with Title VII, that prohibits discrimination in private company hiring.

The Libertarian Argument

He argues that prohibiting discrimination by private businesses is, essentially, a government taking of property from the private sphere into the public sphere, negating the owner's property rights completely. Plus, he sees it as trampling on their free speech and free association rights as well, all by evil government fiat. It's a classic libertarian, Randian worldview - all rights are absolute, or they are worthless.

So back to Title II. In the Randian world, private property and private rights are god above all else. Any infringement on this is a state overreach, and evil. In Randian Libertarianism, all property is private, and this is a Good Thing™. Hence, the labeling of any business that serves the public a "public accommodation" (a commonly used label, by the way) that can not discriminate by law is a horrendous government theft of business and freedom.

I can almost see his logic - but only almost. You see, his logic only works if you see the world in a binary view - either/or - all rights are absolute or nonexistent.

But in the real world, everything is comprised of competing rights. Your right to swing your fist stops where my nose begins. Your right to walk wherever you want stops at my property line. Even the Ayn Rand libertarians have to acknowledge this, but will throw a lot of double talk about personal responsibility and government overreach at you to quickly change the subject.

The Reality Argument

In the real United States of America, there are competing rights to everything, and specific private rights, particularly property rights, or even a person's freedom itself, can be abridged if there is a "compelling public interest" - in other words, if the good of the many outweighs the rights of the few - and there is due process in the taking or abridgment.

It is used all the time in criminal cases - people who are convicted of a crime are locked up (denied their freedom) for a compelling public interest (punishment and prevention of further crime.) It is used when they need to build a new freeway - eminent domain is often used by municipalities to put in new roads. (Now, eminent domain is often abused for corporate gain, but that's another rant.)

Research more about "compelling interest test" for determining the constitutionality of a statute that restricts the practice of a fundamental right, and the the Fifth Amendment and takings for the long standing back and forth over just property takings. Google is your friend.

In Title II these were used, with full deliberation and vote of Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964. It has been challenged in court. The right of people not to be discriminated against in public accommodations outweighed the private property rights to discriminate of the owners of such accommodations.

Why are they "public accommodations"? They are designated public accommodations because they are designed, as part of their business model, to attract and provide goods and/or service to members of the public - food, lodging, entertainment, supplies, equipment, etc. They don't require the proprietor to know you by name before you do business with them. You don't have to give your name to buy lunch at a lunch counter or go see a movie - you are just a member of "the public", hence it's public accommodation.

Was there another way? Not that I can think of.

What about private clubs, private houses? One thing to note is that Title II does not require landlords/hoteliers to rent rooms to people if they live in the small dwelling - you can discriminate against people if you actually live in the house you are letting out motel rooms in like a bed and breakfast. It also specifically excludes private clubs, which is why the Boy Scouts can discriminate against Atheists.

A Civilized Society Is Not Binary

That's how it works in the real world, people. A civilized society does not see rights as all or nothing - often one set of rights competes with another. How we balance the various competing interests to provide the maximum liberty and justice for all is where we make this country great.



There is, supposedly, one area where the left and the Tea Party agree: The Government should not have bailed out the banks with taxpayer money.

Why, then, is the Tea Party avoiding the bank protests? Why is their lap dog media not covering it?

Could it be that they are really just astroturf saps in the employ of the corporatocracy? You know, working for the very jerks who run those same banks that are sucking our money from us in fees, usurious interest rates and taxpayer funded bailouts? Could they be that stupid?

Yes, Tea Party, lets reclaim our country - from the banksters who have driven us all to the brink of ruin, and in many cases beyond. Where are your armed protests of the subprime mortgage and CDO frauds?


Sedition and Tea Party America

Lets Talk About Sedition

Main Entry: se·di·tion
Pronunciation: \si-ˈdi-shən\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English sedicioun, from Anglo-French sediciun, from Latin sedition-, seditio, literally, separation, from sed-, se- apart + ition-, itio act of going, from ire to go — more at secede, issue
Date: 14th century
: incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority
- Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved April 18, 2010
See also the Wikipedia Entry on Sedition
Sedition differs from treason in one critical way - treason involves a betrayal of the country or government to a foreign power, whereas sedition is insurrection against the lawfully constituted government of your own country. A spy or a foreign sponsored terrorist commits treason, a domestic terrorist advocating overthrow of the government commits sedition.

Now, I will be honest, the original founding fathers of our country committed, knowingly, sedition and treason (by forming their own government, it became treason) against the British Crown. Pledging their "lives, fortunes and sacred honor" was quite literal - the acts they committed had the death sentence attached if they failed, and included the "civil asset forfeiture" (nice of the republicans to bring that back, huh) of everything they and their families owned.

Now, these "Tea Party" people are bleating about "taxation without representation". I call bullshit. They have the right to vote - unless they've been convicted of a felony. With the amount of guns they cart around, they better not be felons.

People who can vote for their representatives - state and federal elected officials, from school board to President - are NOT "taxed without representation"!! They may not agree with the decisions of those representatives, but that's why we have periodic elections - so that if people are really annoyed, they can vote them out.

So the "Tea Party" is made up, at best, of deluded idiots, or liars. They have representation - they can vote. Their representatives over the years, most of them Republicans, have dug us the hole that we are in now. So what do these idiots do? They talk sedition against the duly elected Democrat government. They lost an election, after their representatives spend us into the poorhouse and deregulate us back into the gilded age of the robber barons, and now they cry that they have "no representation", so they should eliminate liberals. "If Brown can't, a Browning can"?? Honey, that's sedition.

Bush was, and IMO still is, a candidate for arrest and trial as an international war criminal. Furthermore, I believe that he violated the US Constitution by arrogating to himself the power to make war, and lied to Congress about the reason he should be given any ability to deploy troops to Iraq. But that is a far, far cry from advocating the shooting of all conservatives, like the tea partiers advocate shooting liberals. Bush, Cheney, Rove and Rumsfeld should be held accountable in court, according to our laws, not the drumhead of a revolution.

To start bleating about "states rights" after the duly elected Congress passes a law, and proposing "militias" to oppose "federal overreaching" - that is bordering on sedition, people. To start suggesting that various members of Congress be murdered for doing their jobs? Sedition.

The proper way to remove a sitting member of Congress from office is by impeachment, recall or replacement in regular election. Same with the President. If (King) George W Bush didn't get his lying ass impeached, Obama sure as hell won't, because he hasn't lied to Congress and the American people.

I really don't care if you don't like Obama. Elections have consequences, and Obama WON, honestly, in spite of Republican dirty tricks like rigged voting machines and biased voter purges. Dubya? Appointed by the Supreme Court (packed by his father) to his first term, rigged voting machines and voter purges for his second term. A fraud. But we on the left put up with it, for the sake of our country. The least you fake patriots on the right could do is the same, for a properly elected President. Or does patriotism only apply when it's your guy who's in charge?

Tea Party America

The Tea Party itself is an astroturf organization. The money comes from extreme right wing corporate moguls such as the Koch family, and corporate funded right wing front groups like Freedom Works and Americans for Prosperity.

Tea Party America is not one that is friendly to the ordinary worker, really. Sure, taxes will go down - for corporations. Government will get smaller - fewer cops, firemen, libraries, etc. Schools will all be private, so will all health care (even the ER), even the roads will all be toll roads. It will be a veritable libertarian paradise, with huge international corporations, not the hamstrung government, writing the rules. You would not like it. It will not help Main Street America.

Sure, you'll have free speech, but there will be no "public square", "public airwaves", or "public internet" to say them in. Saying them on private corporate property will get you arrested for trespassing and disturbing the peace, plus sued for whatever their lawyers and their deep pockets can think of.

Oh, and your rented apartment, that you think of as your "home"? It will actually just be more "private corporate property" - not yours to speak freely in. You won't be able to actually buy and keep your own home - the recent perversion of eminent domain and the Citizen's United decision will insure that it can be seized for "redevelopment" as condos (paying you a fraction of what it's really worth) and then rented back to you for twice the price.

You'll technically have a "free press", but you won't be able to buy the equipment and supplies to publish anything, much less manage to distribute it through the completely privatized postal service. Since they will be private, their terms of service will allow them to open and read anything, and not carry it if it is "hostile" to them or any "affiliated company".

Most police work will be subcontracted out to paramilitary organizations and security firms like Blackwater or Brinks. Prisons will be completely privatized, instead of only partially like they are now. Court fees will skyrocket, meaning that even trying to have your day in court against a megacorp will be more expensive. There will, of course, be no citizens accountability groups.

Municipal elections will be a joke. The mail and the airwaves will be flooded with propaganda as the largest corporations pimp their candidates. If you work for a major corporation, you will get election propaganda at work, too.

The only "freedom" you will have is a pick of which corporate backed megachurch you attend. Not going to church will be allowed, but it will hamper your ability to get and keep a job, rent a place to live, or get credit. References, you know.

Failure to follow the laws regarding personal conduct and "responsibility" will get you thrown in jail, of course. The only people who will be able to pick up the pieces and restore any semblance of normality after your mandatory maximum sentence will be the megachurches if they feel you have had as genuine conversion experience. Then they will parade you around as an object lesson for a few years. You will have no assets by then anyway, and neither will any of your relatives by then. This circus of fall and redemption makes for excellent drama, of course.

Still, you will pay "government" taxes - they will soak the lower class for the funds to pay for the wars - probably more than you do now. Corporations don't pay for those things. You just won't see any benefit in municipal services, safety net or anything - it will all go into corporate pockets. So they'll still keep the "base" stirred up, while they have their hands in our pockets and around our throats.

Retirement will be a joke - they will privatize all social security, medicare, and private pensions, and then tie them to the stock market. Then they will let the corporations raid them, until the funds are gone. Even 401ks will be shell games, worthless, or taxed into worthlessness. You will have to work until you die.

Fortunately, because of the deregulation of all aspect of business to get rid of the evil interference of government in the "free market" (free from government, not free from monopoly), all environmental, safety and health regulations will be eliminated from both the workplace and the marketplace, so both your employer and foreign companies will be free to poison you and your family with tainted supplies, food, water and air. You won't have to work too long.

Tea Party America is not a place I want to live. Think of the worst combination of a cyberpunk dystopia, 1984, and something out of A Handmaid's Tale. Think of the worst MicroSoft and RIAA EULA that you've ever heard of, and the worst enforcement they've done on it. That's what the corporate backers of the Tea Party want for America, and have the Dominionist nutjobs like Palin to shill for.

This is what these people want to throw out our elected government in favor of.


Spend American Money In America

Our government, no matter what you think of it, has a fundamental charter to expend funds for the public interest - if for no more than "providing for the common defense". Yes, these are taxpayer funds, money from you and I. These funds, coming from the American people, should be spent among the American people, for the good of the American people.

Recently, though, I believe the companies that it has allowed to suckle at the government teat have not been truly American companies - they have had headquarters in various offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands or the Dominican Republic. Even the ones that are US headquartered have been outsourcing the actual work paid for by US tax dollars to India and China. I bet China doesn't allow it's government funds to be spent on American labor, they insist that a Chinese national be hired to do the work!

When I propose that taxpayer funds be restricted to US companies, I get this crap about WTO "sanctions", and how they will "punish" us by taxing or restricting our exports. What exports? You mean the ones that are already banned or taxed, without a whisper of protest by the vaunted WTO in Europe and elsewhere? Or the ones that no one buys because of the cheap Chinese crap that has flooded the market?

The US taxpayer has a reasonable expectation that their money will be spent within this country, not shipped to some opportunistic foreign job shop to pocket and provide tainted goods and/or shoddy service.

State governments are especially horrible at this. I keep hearing about outsourced, to India, unemployment call centers. Great way to indicate that you want your people to get back to work - hire people overseas to "help" them with their unemployment.

I don't mind paying my taxes as part of this great nation, provided those monies are well spent. But prosecuting illegal wars (ala George Bush), bailing out banks, stockbrokers and insurance companies (Bush, Obama), spying on the American people (Bush), wasting money on sewcurity theatre (Bush, GOP) or buying shit from foreign companies that should be bought here is a waste of my money.

Call me isolationist if you like, but we have no responsibility to pay the rest of the world, too. They sure won't pay us. I pay taxes to help my fellow citizens, to advance the nation as a whole, not to make a bunch of offshore tax haven corporate fat-cats richer.

On the subject of taxes, I firmly believe that the capital gains tax rates and the income tax rates should be the same! Why should money you get from letting stock site there (letting your bet ride) be taxed at a lower rate than money you went out and earned? Mind you, I sold stock last year and this year, so this is not just an abstract thing for me.

Also, a single person making over $250,000 is rich, not "middle class". $100,000 is middle class (barely middle class in the SF Bay Area.) How do I know? In tax year 2008 I almost cleared $100,000, and that was basically middle class in the SF Bay Area. 2009 will be maybe half that, and 2010 could be worse.

Single people making over $250,000 need to have their tax rate go up a lot. Back to the Reagan era tax rates would be a good start.

Also, while we should do away with the individual AMT below a certain income threshold (indexed for inflation), we must have a corporate AMT.

Yes, the tax increases will hurt. But, as the teabaggers and GOP whiners have pointed out, we have this biiig, baaad, deficit to pay down. The fact that they didn't do a single damn thing about it when Bush spent the money on his damn wars, useless tax cuts, and unfunded Medicare drug giveaway just seem to pass their notice - it's easier to blame Democrats.

If the Democrats are going to be tagged "tax and spend", they might as well get down to the taxing part so they can do some good for the economy with the spend part. The truth of the matter is that the GOP is "borrow and spend" and the Democrats are "tax and repay".


Christianity, Social Justice and Politics

'Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.' - Matthew 22:21

Most reasonable people pay their taxes, regardless of their religion. It's part and parcel of living in a civilized society. We pay for the socialized benefits of roads, airports, police, fire departments, schools (including our own education as children), courts, military, and even those "socialist" things like social security/disability, medicare, medicaid, environmental protection, national parks, and food safety inspection. Our society has a lot of infrastructure and services, plus regulations, that make this nation both productive, safe and desirable to live in.

This is appropriate, because we all must live in this world, no matter what our religious views of it are. Christians for one are supposed to not consider themselves of this world, but part of Jesus' kingdom. But they still live here, and spend government (Caesar's) cash, drive on government roads, are subject to government laws. Unless you want to withdraw to some entirely off-grid compound in the boonies and try to be a total anti-tax protester, you get the benefit of government infrastructure, therefore you should pay your share.

But the right wing, especially the ones that pander to the theocrats, want to do away with that. They want to do away with all taxes except those that get fed to the military/industrial complex, the prison guards unions, or the police officers unions - and even the police are on the chopping block! They want corporations to pay nothing, small businesses to pay some, the middle class to pay more, and the poor to pay most (but get the least). They truly believe in "trickle up".

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.' Then shall they also answer, saying, 'Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?' Then shall he answer them, saying, 'Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me.' - Matthew 25:41-45

Feed the hungry, shelter the stranger, clothe the naked, tend the sick, help the imprisoned: this is social justice. Yes, social justice is more, but Jesus says more, too.

Now the blowhard of the right, Rush Limbaugh*, says to run away from any church that talks of "social justice". Asshole. Jesus was all about social justice. Overturning the moneychangers tables in the temple was pure social justice. In our society, working for social justice is the way people of conscience see to it that what is right is done without cramming their religion down other people's throats.

The way in which Christians in our society go about the great work is by working for social justice, equality for all. The civil rights movement of the 1960s, the women's suffrage movement, the labor movement - they were all backed by the churches that followed Jesus' teachings. (Before you neocon's look down your nose at unions and the labor movement, remember that they brought us workplace safety, sick pay, vacation pay, overtime pay, child labor laws, workman's compensation and the 40 hour work week. You own lives and your parents lives would suck if those had not existed.)

All of these thing share the principles of justice and equality that Jesus demonstrated and preached. He didn't preach "Attack your neighbors", he said love them, feed them, care for them. When the church started to stray from this basic vision back in the 70s is when I lost faith, when I saw that the whole thing was a fly-trap for hypocrites who loved the old-testament laws and Pauline misogyny more than the words of Jesus himself.

And he answered and said unto them, 'Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God said, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, He that speaketh evil of father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, That wherewith thou mightest have been profited by me is given to God; he shall not honor his father. And ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition.' - Matthew 15:3-6

Many people could not, or did not, take care of their elders, both in biblical times and now. Many were more than poor, but destitute and starving, plus dying from lack of medical care. In the passage above, people would sequester their funds saying they were "a gift to God" - dedicated or tied up in trust and thus unavailable to help their parents. Kind of like spending your kid's college fund on a yacht.

Social Security and Medicare, the things that have significantly reduced the absolute impoverishment and mortality of the elderly in this country since their introduction, are classic examples of social justice, and direct Christian principles being put into a workable secular format. In part, they let people contribute toward their own future retirement. (Yes, I know Congress has mismanaged it - but we've had a mostly conservative Congress for most of the last 20 years!) This is how the principle "Honor thy father and mother" from Jesus' viewpoint can be put into action in a secular, worldly, non-religious manner (in the world, but not of it.)

'And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me: But whoso shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea.' - Matthew 18:5-6

"For the children" - Perhaps one of the most misused rallying cries in the world today. Still, some very important social justice has been done for the children - TANF, welfare, public education, all of that. How does it relate to the above bible quote? Simple: If children do not have food, shelter, clothing, medical care or legal protection, they are often forced into prostitution, theft, drugs, gang activity, and other activity that by any reasonable definition is a sinful "stumble". Yet so many conservatives are very quick to throw children and youth social programs under the bus (after all, they can't vote) and criminalize (enhance the penalties on) the consequences of their neglect.

Don't go all righteous and "pro-life", and then be anti-welfare, anti pre-natal care, anti public schooling, either. If you want to insist that a woman's uterus is yours to command, then you need to help to care for the child that you have insisted that she bear. Also, if you are anti-contraception, you are just a hypocrite - since a child who isn't conceived can't be risk being aborted or end up "in the system."

And being asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God cometh, he answered them and said, 'The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, There! for lo, the kingdom of God is within you.' - Luke 17:20-21

The theocratic wing of the Republican party wants to turn the government (Caesar) into an arm of their interpretation of the kingdom of God. They want to rule this country according to "biblical" principals, to pass laws that make their religious views the law of the land. They already do so in the abortion and gay rights area and it has taken generations to undo the damage, and they keep coming back, like cockroaches.

But the theocrats don't want to pay much taxes. They don't want their corporate friends to pay any taxes. They don't want any safety net - they want to have us all enslaved to the corporations, soothed only by the promise of heaven that comes in brief doses on Sunday. They want "God's laws" imposed. They want to stone gays, force birth on pregnant women, stone adulterers, and burn "unrepentant" non-Christians. They don't want their "Godly" government to follow Jesus and tend the sick, feed the hungry, clothe those needing clothing, minister to those in prison (helping them to prepare for release). They want life to be nasty, brutal, and short, lived only for breeding more soldiers for Christ and singing hymns to the BroodJesus and God.

This is wrong. They want all the power, all the authority, all the right to punish and force people to do as they say, but they already don't want to pay for the small things that their own Messiah commanded them to do that our existing government accomplishes better than any individual or even megachurch could!

And behold, one came to him and said, 'Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?' And he said unto him, 'Why askest thou me concerning that which is good? One there is who is good: but if thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments.' He saith unto him, 'Which?' And Jesus said, 'Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' - Matthew 19:16-19

The theocrats want an Old Testament government. The laws they want are all derived from the piddling strictures of ancient Israel, and it's tribal quarrels. Sort of like a Christian Sharia. Like the Pharisees of Matthew 15, their so-called traditions and cherry-picked old testament bible quotes are more important to them than actually following the words of Jesus.

Jesus himself mandated just 6 commandments: 'Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' The Republican party has had more adultery scandals in the past 10 years than the Democrats. Their media voice, Fox News, lies regularly, and has even gone to court to prove that it is not illegal to lie about the news! Wall street has both lied to us and stolen from us. The theocrats want to kill by stoning people who don't obey the Old Testament Sharia laws.

'Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them.' - Matthew 7:15-20

The theocrats and neo-con religious right are no true followers of Jesus. What they are trying to do is not just wrong in the secular world, it goes directly against the teachings of Jesus himself. The threat to our society is not paganism, or humanism, or atheism, but arrogance and presumption of moral authority on the part of the Religious Right where none exists, even within their own religion!

Jesus raised no army. There is nothing is the gospels about soldiers except in reference to Roman soldiers. Even the sword was only used as a metaphor for strife. (Paul may have incorporated military metaphors, but I hold that Paul has no authority, having been an agent provocateur.) So why are these lunatics raising an "Army of God"? Why are there "Soldiers of/for Christ"? Why is "Joel's Army" supposedly "God's Army"? If your God is as powerful as you say, he doesn't need any damn army!!

The theocrats, dominionists, neoconservatives, and charlatans who deride social justice and promote a gospel of anger or secular power are real wolves in sheep's clothing, and sometimes even shepherd's clothing. They want to twist the words of their own messiah, the words of a great teacher and mystic, to their own selfish and egotistical ends. It is they you need to run away from, whose channel you need to change, who you need to report to your church leadership as being un-Christian.

'Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me cast out the mote out of thine eye; and lo, the beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.' - Matthew 7:4-5

Face it, people, you have a lot to clean up in your own religion before you can start thinking about cramming it down some non-believer's throat. Start by working within the secular system on what your own Messiah told you were priorities: the hungry, the poor, the sick, the homeless, the imprisoned, the old, the children. Start by seeking social justice, equality, and loving your neighbor as yourself.

* Correction: It has been pointed out that it was Glenn Beck, not Rush Limbaugh, that exhorted people to run away from churches advocating for social justice. Mea culpa. I just can't tell one right wing blowhard from another some days.



I want to scream about food, contaminants (additives) and health. I am still seething about the changes they have made to tuna packaging. The tuna "in water" isn't anymore - it's packaged in "water" and "vegetable both" (which contains soy)! I don't know about your reading, but I read water plus "broth" as just "broth", albeit more diluted.

So the food manufacturers adulterate and lie, once again. They also sneakily reduced the can size to 5 ounces, instead of 6. Of course the price didn't go down. They think that no one will notice, or care that they get less tuna adulterated with the 7th most common food allergen - soy - if they don't change the big print on the labels.

They should have to call it Tuna in Soy Broth

If you want tuna without soy, you have to carefully read the labels, and pay much more. Fuck, if you want anything without nasty soy, you have to pay more.

Now some magazine has named fucking Mosnato company of the year? What are they smoking? They want to patent the entire damn food supply, so that they get a cut of every calorie consumed, no life without paying Monsanto. Problem is, their shit is toxic, and is causing a rise in previously rare diseases.

Corporate rule is a fucking scary thing, and unless we start actively fighting it now, we will be slaves to immortal, amoral sociopaths seeking only profit, to be amortized, used and then discarded when we cost more than we can generate in revenue for the corporation. If you don't understand the horror of this, look at the history of Haiti under the French slaveholders.

The Lwa of Vodou and The Devil™

Let me make one thing very, very clear for all you hate filled cretins out there: The Lwa of Vodou are not "The Devil™" of Christianity and Islam. Sorry, that dog doesn't hunt.

Oh, yes, any deity, demigod, helping spirit, angel, etc. that you don't recognize is "The Devil™" in your book, but the fact that you say it just doesn't make it so. I get so damn sick of your narrow little binary thinking that I want to puke. Hell, some of you shitheads see even the Catholic saints as "Demons™". I say you are all so full of shit your eyes are brown.

It is a matter of argument whether the lwa are gods, demigods, helpful spirits, "angels", or what. I will leave that to the Vodou practitioners to declare. But from what I've seen, Vodou is pretty damn Catholic, to the point of making me not want to practice it.

So a bunch of revolutionaries praying to God and the lwa before fighting for their freedom from brutal slavemasters is not a "Pact with The Devil™", I don't care how you try to spin it.

The reason Haiti is so poor? The fucking French made them pay REPARATIONS for having dared to win their freedom from brutal slaveowners. They won, and the fucking French extorted reparations for over a century. Between that and US shenanigans because southern bigots were afraid of a free black nation near our borders (afraid that our own black slaves and/or lower class might get ideas), they've been robbed blind.

The only "devil" involved in Haiti's poverty has been white.


Haiti and Hate

I am saddened by the tragedy in Haiti. I saw some of the first pictures, of people just lying there, smashed, of the presidential palace pancaked. We had some mild, but very noticeable shakers in the previous week here in Northern California, so it really feels like we've dodged a bullet.

They say earthquakes don't have "seasons". Well, with the amount of headline making shaking that has been happening just in the last few months, I might well argue that.

There is one thing that never seems to go out of season, though, and that is right wing hate.

It starts with the crap from Rush Limbaugh, the renowned OxyContin addicted Republican policy godfather and radio host, who had the gall to criticize the President for reacting quickly to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti, with hundreds of thousands dead, but not jumping up and down yelling "Panic" over a foiled attempt by a guy to blow up his underwear on a plane. Oh, where's our priorities? He intimated that the President doesn't care about the country because he didn't panic and fret about a guy who tried to light his dick on fire, and failed, but gets serious about the dead and dying! Oh, wait, those guys are black and foreign, I guess he should ignore them?

Then it piles horrendously deeper with the sheer excrement from evangelical bigot Pat Robertson spreading the hackneyed myth that the people of Haiti have a 'pact with the devil' for their freedom from the french many years ago (I guess because in right wing mythos, black people can't win anything on their own merit and strength.) He goes on to explain that the earthquake is his "loving" God's "punishment" for that deal with the devil.

Wow, that's such an inspiration to come and worship his god, huh? Worship him, or he's gonna wipe your country off the map anytime in the next several centuries. I just adore worshiping a deity that has a cosmic gun to the head of me, my countrymen, and our descendants!! What's a few hundred thousand casualties when you're talking about saving souls, huh?

Sounds like the very definition of evil to me. Pat Robertson pushes a death cult, and a god of torture, murder, and brutality, who wants not freedom and fee will, but slaves and masochists for worshipers. Sheep indeed - for shearing, and your children for lambchops.

Finally, of course, phoney weeper Glenn Beck gets into the act. He adds his simpering voice to Limbaugh, crying crocodile tears over, not the people dying, oh no, but the fact that our President dared to respond quickly to a disaster in a poor black nation!! Oh, the horror!!! He hates whites, he hates the country, waaah, waaah, gimme the vicks so I can cry some too. What a piece of work.

This, people, is what the once proud conservative tradition in our country has become. Fat, drug addled, fake tears, blowhards without any compassion or humanity, who care only for their own money and power. These filthy leeches on the body politic have taken the party of Lincoln and made it kiss the ring of the godfather of pork, OxyContin abuse and bellowing, bow at the feet of a weepy whiney scared cat little boy, and worship a twisted god at the behest of a heartless bigot preacher.

Even if you, like me, have no money, give at least a prayer or well wish to the universe for those suffering in Haiti.

We, as a nation, are better than those who use the power of their money, privilege and media platform to spew hatred and division when people are suffering and dying. We, as a nation, must repudiate these freaks of the right wing, deny them their power over us and our way of life.

It is not the right that must take back the country. It is the heart.


New Year Blither

It has come to my mind that I need to write more. You see, all the "A List" bloggers are prolific bastards that spew forth profound BS whether they have anything to say or not. I tend not to write unless I have some thing to say. Well, in truth, I always have something to say, I just don't think it's worth writing about. I just need to start writing it down anyway.

I write in several locations. There is here, which is my public blog. There is my Live Journal, which mostly mirrors my DreamWidth Journal - there I occasionally have public posts. I also, heaven help me, have become addicted to Twitter, and where I am

What fascinates me is that I like Twitter. I didn't think I would, because a lot of the early adopters I saw were twitting about dumb shit, and didn't know how to pack their words. Turns out that many actually do - those who were journalism trained. See, I learned in junior high and high school journalism how to write good headlines and leads. 140 characters is a good lead sentence. Add a shortened link and you're done. I don't tend to write lengthy "prose" anyway, which counts against me in some places.

I have always wanted to be a journalist, but didn't like the industry. Not when I looked into studying it, and the "dues" they wanted you to pay, and not when I looked at the career opportunities even if I got a degree in it. When I learned about it in high school, it was all about packing the most information into the least space. I did manual newspaper layout and paste-up, newsletter publishing, and have since done some (not fancy software) desktop publishing. This includes writing and copy editing.

Because of this, blogging came naturally. I was my own editor, I was not as constrained to objectivity as a straight reporter would be, but I could at least write better than some of the sheer excrement that I have read out there. Some of the so-called A-List blogs that I've perused just weren't worth following - ego spew and link spam, at best.

I do have standards, however. I try, fairly hard, to have neutral and objective sources for factual data. Don't quote Fox News or AFA sources back at me and expect me to take you seriously. I try for things like the AMA, CDC, universities, and other organizations without obvious or overwhelming political agendas. Certain polls are known to be biased, by the way they compose their questions. I just point and laugh. Then again, reality tends to have a "liberal" bias - facts don't change just because your god says it's evil.

I have, I will freely admit, a progressive bias. I like real progress, I think it's good for people. My definition may be a little different than some might think. I do not thing GMO crops are "progress", for example.

I also tend to be anti-corporate - corporations are fine as long as they don't have the rights accorded to people. You start treating corporations like real people, and you unleash soulless immortal sociopaths on the population - you can't kill, or even really punish, a corporation, they have no ability to have a conscience, and they have the ability to assemble unlimited power without any accountability to the public (and little to the stockholders).

I used to submit stuff to WitchVox, but they changed their submission guidelines to require 1000 - 3500 words. "Essays under 1000 words will not be considered for publication—we are looking for more than off-the-cuff commentary." My reaction? Well La Di Fucking Dah! WitchVox won't be getting my stuff any more - I usually write short and sweet, not long and turgid. I won't pad to meet length. Yes, this is really a problem for me - half of my entries in this blog are well under 1000 words, but are not "off-the-cuff" commentary! Even some of my longer ones are only 965 words. Assholes!

So this entry has covered, several subjects: why I write, locations online where I write, what my background in writing is, what my bias and standards are, where else I've submitted and published but don't any more. At under 800 words. See the problem?