About the Name of this blog

This blog's title refers to a Dani fable recounted by Robert Gardner. The Dani live in the highlands of New Guinea, and at the the time he studied them, they lived in one of the only remaining areas in the world un-colonized by Europeans.

The Dani, who Gardner identifies only as a "Mountain People," in the film "The Dead Birds," have a myth that states there was once a great race between a bird and a snake to determine the lives of human beings. The question that would be decided in this race was, "Should men shed their skins and live forever like snakes, or die like birds?" According to the mythology, the bird won the race, and therefore man must die.

In the spirit of ethnographic analysis, this blog will examine myth, society, culture and architecture, and hopefully examine issues that make us human. As with any ethnography, some of the analysis may be uncomfortable to read, some of it may challenge your preconceptions about the world, but hopefully, all of it will enlighten and inform.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I Stand With My Brothers and Sisters


The spirit of America is taking over the globe.  Protesters in Cairo are holding up signs to show that they stand with the protesters on Wall Street and in Oakland.  There are now Occupy movements worldwide.

For the first time since World War II, Americans have shined the beacon across the world and said, NO MORE.  And the world has joined them.

Whether you agree with the Occupy Movement or not, this is an amazing moment.  The world, for the first time in my life, is coming together in solidarity.  In streets all over the globe, people are standing together, their voices united.  This movement has trumped religion, politics, race, culture.  It has spread virally through country after country. 

I could be argued that this movement had its seeds in the Arab Spring, and to some extent, that is true.  The Arab uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia reminded the world of the power of Gandhi and Martin Luther King’s admonishment of nonviolence.  There is an unstoppable power in standing calmly while the Powers that Be attack forcefully.  The images created by a Selma or an Oakland resonate for a generation.  The picture of the woman offering a flower to an MP in Arlington remains one of the most iconic images of the Vietnam War Protest movement.

While the Arab Spring reminded the people of their power to stand against injustice, it took the Americans to capture the Zeitgeist of that moment and turn it into something bigger.  Most of the world is not ground under the heel of a dictator, and while there was massive global support for the protesters in Tahrir Square, it was support from the sidelines.

Occupy Wall Street made the battle for freedom personal.  The true danger to liberty in the world is not just from governments, it is from the corporations that run those governments, and the Occupy movement is taking the fight to that shadow government. 

In almost every country in the world, the Oligarchs and Plutocrats pull the strings of government.  As a window on this, look at the copyright bills in play before the E.U., the Canadian Parliament and the U.S. Congress.  All three have massive, freedom of speech eliminating bills before them.  These bills would essentially shut down the free flow of information on the internet, subjecting it to the same degree of censorship that countries such as China already impose.  And this termination of free speech would occur in the name of copyright protection.

As Corynne McSherry puts it, “Hollywood finally has a chance to break the internet.”  All of the “First World” countries are involved in this movement to essentially stop the internet cold.  Under these bills, sharing videos on Youtube of a news report would be illegal, singing a cover of a song would be prohibited, even posting a picture that you do not own could result in jail time. 

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy nut (which anyone who knows me, knows that I try to avoid that) I do question the timing of all of this.  Suddenly we have companies trying to force through massive restrictions to internet speech at the same time the internet is the mode of communication that unites a global protest movement that has corporations in the crosshairs.  The timing, while possible coincidental, seems awfully convenient.

I think this move by the corporations is doomed to fail.  I think it will become a “let them eat cake moment.”  (Although Marie Antoinette never said that, and is actually a much more sympathetic character than the anecdotes would imply)  These actions by corporations show their complete disconnect from reality.  Another example is the amazing pictures of a mortgage foreclosure specialist firm holding a homeless themed Halloween party.

The Occupy Movement is spreading, people are standing together, people are saying enough.

And this gives me hope for tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pot, Meet Kettle, I Think You’ll Have A Lot In Common


Recently I heard a criticism of the Occupy the World Movement, complaining that they were selfish and spoiled.  The person talking was saying that they should accept the way things are, and not engage in class warfare, because it is un-American. 

It was obvious that that person got all of their news from MiniTrue.

But let’s break this down.  Are the Occupy protesters selfish?  And a corollary question, is their selfishness wrong?

First, are they selfish?  The answer to this is yes (probably), at least for a lot of them.  They are acting in what would be termed rational self interest, where they are doing something that they hope will have direct benefit to themselves.  They hope that by turning the spotlight of scorn and anger on the Masters of the Universe, and by getting the government to recognize that the 1% are a far smaller group than the 99%, they will effect change that will bring back jobs; jobs that they might one day have.

Rational self interest is different from enlightened self interest, where you do something that has no overt direct benefit to you as a person.  Enlightened self interest is when you act for the betterment of all, with the thought that that improved standard will have indirect benefits to you.  Welfare, Food Stamps and Medicaid are examples of enlightened self interest, since only a small percentage of people need those programs, but all of society benefits from them.  I’m sure that some protesters are acting from enlightened self interest as well.

In either case though, they could be described, in absolute terms, as selfish.

But is that selfishness wrong?  We can answer this in multiple ways.

First, let’s look at the Ayn Rand, Objectivist, viewpoint.  Ayn Rand was the first to argue that people should work toward rational self interest, that selfishness is a virtue.  It should be noted that her definition of selfishness is different from the version we learned in school.  She defines it as everyone should pursue what they want to pursue, without regard to the collective of mankind.  What other people, especially the existing power structures, want you to do has no impact on your decisions.  This is the Howard Roark model of behavior.

So how does this break out.  We have already established that many of the protesters are acting from rational self interest, so we have that covered.  Also, they are acting in a way that directly opposes the power structure, for their own benefit, so that is also Objectivistically acceptable.  Therefore, in terms of Ayn Rand, these protesters are not wrong.  (I realize that I have played fast and loose with her definitions, and taken the literal definition without addressing the intention, but I would like to point out what happens at MiniTrue.  It is very au courant to stick to the letter of the law while blowing apart the spirit.  At least I acknowledge my own spin.)

Next let’s address this from a pure Capitalist point of view.  The Free Market has no regulations; the Invisible Hand must have no restrictions.  This means that government intervention to stop and sort of response to a corporation is as inappropriate as regulation on the corporation.  The Market allows freedom to protest, and the Market, if it wants to continue, must respond to that protest. 

I had a Free Market Evangelist rant to me about the increase on regulations on the food industry, in the wake of one of those incidents where people across the country got sick from eating contaminated food.  He said that it was the consumer’s responsibility to educate themselves, and boycott the dangerous product.  In his argument, if enough people refused to buy the product, the company would have to change their ways or go out of business.  Either way safety would be protected without any government interference. 

Occupy Wall Street is a perfect example of that Free Market Boycott.  Either Wall Street changes the way they do business, or they fold up and go away.  Either way, change is effected, without any government interference.  In fact, if the government breaks up the protests, they are interfering with the Invisible Hand and the Free Market.   This is not a spin on Free Markets, this is actually what is supposed to happen, by the rules of pure Capitalism.

The third interpretation of whether the Occupy protesters are selfish can be found in the latest movement in Evangelical Churches.  This movement is the “Gospel of Prosperity,” which states “God wants you to be rich, Jesus wants you to be rich.  Your duty is to be rich, being rich is God’s will.”  (Speaking of spin, this is completely different from the message I get from the Bible, where Jesus says that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle that for a rich man to get into heaven.  Again, have we declared Opposites Millennium?)

Under this interpretation of the Gospel, people who are tying to get more in life, acting “selfishly” in order to get ahead, are just doing what God wants them to do.  If God wants them to be rich, and they are trying to get more people to be prosperous, then how can that selfishness be wrong or sinful?  God wants them to do it.

So under any of the three viewpoints on the right, the Libertarian, the Free Market or the Evangelical, the Occupy Protesters are selfish, but that selfishness is not wrong.  Selfishness in this case is perfectly acceptable, part of the Free Market, and possibly even God’s will.   There should be no problem with this movement from a selfish point of view.

Or maybe we’re just dealing with a bunch of people who actually want to make the world a better place to pass on to future generations.  Maybe, they just want to do the right thing, with no benefit to themselves at all.  Maybe, for once, these people are being guided by the angels of our better nature.  That would really confuse people.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

And Will There Be Passion Plays About Liberals?


There is a truly frightening trend emerging in the politics of the 21st century, declarations of your political opponents as icons of pure evil.  We see this in the casual comparisons of leaders to Hitler, Stalin, Eichmann or others just as evil.  (I’m just waiting to see someone compared to Cthulu, because I’m tired of them going for the Lesser Evil.)

All joking aside, the most appalling name calling is saying someone, especially the President, is the Anti-Christ.  Not an accusation of behaving in an un-Christlike manner, but actually saying they ARE the Anti-Christ.  This is something that has cropped up from time to time in history. (And thank you Nostradamus for this little gift)  But it is especially prevalent in certain circles in modern America.

Before I go any further, I want to make something perfectly clear, the Anti-Christ was Nero.  End of story.  Most true biblical scholars agree that the entirety of Revelations was an allegory about the Christian persecution at the hands of Rome and its emperor. 

Revelations was an apocalypse, a term which has completely lost its meaning.  An Apocalypse means literally “lifting of the veil” or “revelation.”  To say that the Book of Revelations describes the Apocalypse is a recursive statement, it is saying the same thing.  You might as well say the Book of Revelations describes the Revelation.  It makes no sense.   The apocalypse described in Revelations is the lifting of the veil on the evil and corruption of the Roman Empire.

The Apocalypse referring to the actual end of the world is a product of later theology.  And while we are at it, since the world didn’t end today, I also want to state that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the Rapture in the Bible.  That has no true Biblical origins.  The entire story about the Rapture was developed by the Dispensationalists in the era just prior to the Civil War; it grew out of the writings of John Nelson Darby.  At best it might be considered a Christian version of Midrash.  And unlike Midrash, where they are reinterpreting existing stories to have a deeper understanding, the Rapture has no legitimate biblical lineage.

Now back to the regularly scheduled rant.

Calling someone the Anti-Christ is not playing with fire, it is lighting a fire under an armed nuclear device, while pounding it with sledge hammers.  It is an absolute call to action for devout Christians.  The Anti-Christ, as an agent of pure evil, must be destroyed.  (See any number of cheesy Hollywood films from the last 50 years.)  You cannot be a “good” person and not try to kill or at least hope for the death of the Anti-Christ.  It is a call for Presidential Assassination, wrapped up in Christian Drag.

Imagine if the Left had openly called for Bush’s assassination.  They would currently have lifetime accommodations in Gitmo.  It was branded un-American and evil to accuse Bush of being a war criminal, and saying he should be arrested and tried for crimes against the Constitution.  Calling someone a war criminal is small potatoes compared to calling them the agent of Satan.

I do not understand this phenomenon.  Trying to do good (bring universal health care, fix the economy, and rejoin the world community) is considered to be evil, while actually doing evil (starting wars that are illegal under international law, torturing in violation of the Geneva Convention, and shredding the Constitution) are held up as paragons of good.  (Did someone declare this the Opposites Millennium when I wasn’t looking?)

You can disagree with the President, you can think his policies are bad for the country.  This is not beyond the bounds of decorum.  You can even say they are one of the worst Presidents in history.  But when you begin to compare the President to some of the worst characters in history (fictional or real) you have crossed a line that should never be crossed.

Which leads to the other scary thing going on in America today.  Not only is the President being denounced as the Anti-Christ, the left is generally being accused of treason or worse.  Herman Cain is saying Liberals killed Jesus.  In saying that the Left killed the Christian Savior, it is not hyperbolic to compare this to the Nazi propaganda about the Jews.  The Nazis, and all anti-Semites, point to the Jews killing Jesus as one of the root sins of their people.  This is the core point of most of the Passion Plays, and most of them were written, in part, to stir up anti-Jewish fervor.

The Nazis stirred up animosity toward the Jews, blamed them for everything bad in Germany, and created general hatred of one segment of the population to unify the rest of the country.  The Liberals are the new Jews.  Liberals are the one group that it is culturally acceptable to hate.  And term Liberal is now so politically toxic that even Liberals shun the word.  They describe themselves as Progressive.  

It should be noted as a sideline that the term Progressive used to be a term applied to socially conscious Republicans.  Teddy Roosevelt was regularly termed a Progressive.  Liberal was the Democratic equivalent.  Now liberals wrap themselves in Republican terms, because they have been so marginalized in the national discourse.

Liberals are being so demonized in society today that they are considered de facto traitors and criminals.  Liberals are evil, they even killed Jesus.  At MiniTrue, the Liberal point of view is condemned.  This condemnation resounds through the echo chamber of the mainstream media.  The left is denounced from the speaker’s podium and the pulpit.  Liberal Christian has become an oxymoron. 

To illustrate this comparison, I am going to quote Hitler, changing the word Jew to Liberal.  (The book I am quoting from is ‘Lunacy Becomes Us’)  “If the Liberal wins, his crown will be humanity’s funeral wreath… I believe I fight today in the spirit of our Almighty Creator.  When I fight against Liberals, I am doing the work of the Lord.”  I am not making this statement to be offensive and perpetuate the Hitler meme, I am doing it to make a very specific point.  The parallels with the statements coming out of a Glenn Beck type are very ominous.  There is a segment of the population on the right who, rather than debate Liberals on their views, and criticize them for their positions, resort to blatant hate speech to turn them to the enemy.

It's called de-personalization. When you de-personalize someone, you make them sub-human and worthy of hate.  You don't just minimize a view, you minimize a person or  group.  You remove any compulsion of human dignity toward the targeted population.   
This demonization of the President and the Left in general needs to stop.  The rhetoric will only lead to tragedy.  How many Oklahoma Cities and dead Presidents do we need before we understand that this sort of out of control behavior will tear the country apart?  We barely survived one Civil War.  I don’t think we can survive another.

Denial Is Not Just a River In Egypt


There is a frightening trend going on in society today, denial of science.  It is as if science is the most horrible thing in the world: “That which must be destroyed.”  Scientists are treated as if they are de facto idiots, and that anything coming out of their mouths is a lie.

Ronald Reagan once made a joke, “The nine scariest words in the English language are, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”  It is as if we have rewritten that to state, “The eight scariest words are, I’m a Scientist, and I’m here to help.”

Almost anything a scientist says today is almost reflexively denied.  This phenomenon is extensively detailed in an excellent book called “Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives,” by Michael Specter.  This phenomenon is potentially one of the most dangerous trends in society today.

Because of this thinking, we are rejecting things that literally save lives.  We turn our backs on vaccines, and by choice open the doors to diseases that we thought were historical to again ravage our youth.  We trust an actress by the name of Jenny McCarthy more than the entire medical community.  When she says don’t vaccinate your children because it causes autism, we believe her, no matter that there is NOT A SINGLE SHRED OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT HER STATEMENT.  Seriously, we believe an actress knows more about something than highly educated doctors and scientists.

In the same vein, we reject food technologies that can literally end famine in the third world.  I will be honest, I prefer organics, and I don’t like the idea of gen-mod food, but after researching the subject, I realize I have fallen victim to Denialism.  I let vague, unscientific fear trump years of research that could save literally millions of lives.  I let the ghosts of a worst case, what if, horror blind me to an actual rolling nightmare blanketing most of the Third World.

Steve Jobs, who I considered to be a very intelligent man, despite my intense dislike of his philosophy, probably died because he chose herbal remedies for his cancer.  Like thousands across America, he delayed treatment to try alternative medicine.  This was not a man who could not afford the best medicine money could buy, he was a man who turned his back on it.  Now he’s dead because of his Denialism.

Everywhere I turn in today’s society, we want to find fault in science.  Charles Krauthammer was gleeful when an experiment at CERN seemed to prove Einstein wrong.  He could hardly contain his joy that one of the most eminent scientists in history seemed to have made a fundamental error.  Einstein’s possible mistake expanded into an indictment of the entire Theory of Relativity and by extension all physics and cosmology. 

Some on the right even tried to use the CERN experiment as proof that science, the Big Bang and Evolutionary Theory are all wrong, and that God and the Bible are proven correct.  I saw an argument on the web that said that faster than light neutrinos proved that God created the universe about nine thousand years ago, and that the reason the universe seems older is that the particles traveled back in time because Satan sent them back to mislead the faithful.  (I wish I could remember which thread I saw that in, so that I could cut and paste the actual phrasing in here.  It was more amazing than I could ever reconstruct.  And the following statements of support were even more frightening.)

As further proof of Denialism, you will notice the, “oops we made a calibration mistake, neutrinos don’t go faster than light,” statement got minimal airplay.

This is a consistent problem with the media, and one of the things fueling the distrust of science.  Wacky claims, incorrect conclusions and sensational stories about the failures of science get headlines, and endless discussion, especially at MiniTrue.  The actual science, corrected conclusions and non-sensational interpretation of data are barely mentioned, if they are covered at all.

So why the Denialism?

I think there are two main reasons for this, one that is understandable, one that frightens me. 

The understandable one is that science since World War Two has made some spectacular mistakes, like the problem with Vioxx, and it has created dislocations in people lives, like robotic assembly lines.  Many of the promises of science have been either busts or actively harmful to larger or smaller populations.  Science gave us the bomb, thalidomide babies, unemployed factory workers, and drug resistant bacteria. 

As human nature focuses on negative situations, we forget that science also brought about the end of Smallpox, the personal computer, the passenger jet, and shampoo that reconstructs your hair on a molecular level.  Science has given us wonders, but those wonders come occasionally with horrors.  Humans are wired to focus on the horror and forget the wonder.

We are also suspicious of any science that seems to be inspired by a profit motive.  This is also understandable, and it is a suspicion that I also share.  We have commoditized everything in today’s society, and science seems to be just another profit driven product.  This fact does mean that SOME science should probably be viewed skeptically, but that is by no means the majority of it.  It is probably only a small sector, and tends to revolve around science like the science that stated that cigarettes are perfectly healthy and there is absolutely no proof of any connection between them and cancer or emphysema.

Which leads to the frightening side of Denialism.  There is a significant profit motive in stoking the fires of suspicion about science.  The entire energy industry has a vested interest in making people doubt Global Warming.  The Tobacco Industry depends on people thinking, “I’ll never get cancer.  That’s something that happens to other people.”  Dirty industry counts on people thinking that the cost of environmental protection is higher than the dangers that they create. 

There are hundreds of “scientists” whose entire career is based in confusing issues, and making science seem riddled with error and doubt.  The echo chamber repeats these dubious claims over and over until all science seems like a bad joke and all scientific theory seems to be false.  They get people to believe that Theory in science means that we have no idea if something is actually true.  They create the environment Denialism thrives in.

So what can you do to fight Denialism?

Research.  Find out what the mainstream of science says on a topic.  It requires work on your part, but develop you critical thinking skills.  Learn to analyze claims made by both sides of an issue, not thorough your own filter, but through a rigorous process of determining where mainstream science falls on an issue.  Understand what reputable science says about an issue.  Find out if the science is peer reviewed and solid.

And if you are a scientist, spread the word about how to tell good science from bad, and explain the difference.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Its All the Fault of Air Conditioning

Cool air

Recently my friend Patrick wrote a blog about what he terms “Southern Nice,” in which he defines a cultural artifact in the South where you wrap up your hatred of another in a cloak of false niceness.  He has gotten a lot of “Southern Nice” in response to the blog.

I cannot fully ascertain the validity of his concept, as I am not enculturated into the South, but I will say that it is the best working model of the behavior that I encounter on a day to day basis down here.  As with any scientific or cultural theory, I will therefore adhere to it until a better one comes along.  That said, I would like to deconstruct the possible origins of this phenomenon.

I blame air conditioning.

Let me explain the chain of reasoning.

First we will look at the evolution of emotional behavior, fear turns to anger, turns to hate.  Fear is the most primitive of emotions, followed by anger.  Hate is much more complex, but still speaks to our primal nature.  The chain, fear-anger-hate is a common one, so common that when Yoda tells Luke this, the entire audience can connect to what he is saying.  (If his thoughts had been abstract, and not part of the common collective knowledge, it would not have resonated.)

An example of this: let’s say you are a devout Fundamentalist Christian and you encounter a different interpretation of the Bible (perhaps one inspired by John Spong) which goes completely against what you believe to be True.  The natural reaction to this encounter is to fear: what if the other person is right?  What if I’m wrong?  The next step is to then become angry, angry that you have questions about something you feel you should have no questions about, then angry at the person who makes you question the unquestionable.  That anger then crystallizes into hate: you hate the person who made you ask a question that you feel should never be asked.  Hate becomes, in essence, the perfect armor against those who make you question your fundamental belief structure.

This pattern repeats over and over in human society.  The root of this chain is a lack of epistemology, which causes an inability to rationally asses a cultural challenge.  Lacking the solid epistemological groundwork to analyze the question and determine its validity, the person reverts to a root structural behavior.

Now onto “Southern Nice.”

The South is fully enculturated into a certain belief system, one of the most rigid belief systems I have ever encountered.  The reason for this is that for most of the existence of the United States, they have lived in a closed bubble – you were born in the South, lived in the South and died in the South.  You rarely left, and outsiders rarely came in.  (Unless they were burning cities to the ground)  This sort of isolation further reinforces cultural homogeneity and enculturation.

The South does things in ways that are completely different from, and holds beliefs that are utterly alien to, the rest of the country.  This was OK when they were an isolated, low population backwater.  It isn’t now, because of the huge influx of internal immigrants into the area.  (Which leads to the idea of transference, do the people in the south actually hate illegal aliens, or are they just transferring their hatred of internal immigrants into the one group they are culturally allowed to hate?)

The problem in the South arises when these new immigrants bring the non-Southern culture and value structure into the South.  They expect to have things like they are in the rest of the world.  (I certainly fall into this category, and it has caused me no end of difficulty here.)  The people not from the South have little tolerance for the racism, fundamentalism and general un-enlightenment of the people there.  They challenge the cultural belief system of the South.  The challenge increases cultural rigidity, because any system under threat reinforces the bulwarks.  Fear leads to anger then culminates in hate.

Thus “Southern Nice” is born.

So why do I blame air-conditioning for this?

Well until the invention of air-conditioning, no one not born to it could stand to live in the hot, humid and bug infested hell that is the Deep South.  People rarely even visited it.  The South was able to maintain it’s cultural isolation well into the 20th century because of that fact.  They didn’t grow with the rest of the country.

This changed with air-conditioning.  Air-conditioning allowed people not born in the South to tolerate the climate here.  No longer were the mass populations confined to the Rust Belt, the area of the most tolerable year around climate in America.  Air-conditioning flipped the concept of a tolerable climate from a cool climate to a warm one.  There was a mass exodus from the North East to the South and Southwest.  In 1900 all of the largest cities in America were in the North-East Corridor, running from New York City to Chicago.  In 2011, only two of the largest cities are still in that corridor, the rest have moved to the Southern Tier.  It has been one of the largest internal migrations in history.

And with the migration came new ideas, new ways of doing things, new societal constructs.  The immigrants to the South brought a Northern Value Structure, which threw into question the entire culture of the South.  You had the Civil Rights movement, you had a new emphasis on critical thinking, you had new religions and traditions, you had new political values.  All of these brought new questions and new, challenging ideas.

And that launched the behavior chain.

If it had not been for air-conditioning, the South would have remained an isolated bubble on the fringes of the United States, but with it, the South became a major population center which caused cultural dislocation.  “Southern Nice,” is a cultural artifact that evolved as a response to that challenge of an entrenched belief system.

It’s amazing the spreading impact even from changing one technological variable.

"Hate your next door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace." Barry McGuire, Eve of Destruction

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Did Liberals Kill Jesus?


Herman Cain, and Republicans in general, consistently display a complete lack of understanding of what words mean.  Republicans keep referring to Jesus as a conservative, and all but directly state that if he was alive today, he would be a Republican.

From the Huffington Post, “Cain wrote last December in a RedState column titled ‘The Perfect Conservative’ that Jesus was killed by a ‘liberal court.’”  From the same article: “The column claims Jesus as a conservative. ‘He helped the poor without one government program. He healed the sick without a government health care system. He feed the hungry without food stamps,’ wrote Cain. ‘For three years He was unemployed, and never collected an unemployment check.’”

He wrote in the article the mind blowing description of Jesus’ death:

“But they made Him walk when He was arrested and taken to jail, and no, He was not read any Miranda Rights. He was arrested for just being who He was and doing nothing wrong. And when they tried Him in court, He never said a mumbling word.

He didn’t have a lawyer, nor did He care about who judged Him.

His judge was a higher power.

The liberal court found Him guilty of false offences and sentenced Him to death, all because He changed the hearts and minds of men with an army of 12.”

I’m going to leave the issue of Jesus being the perfect Republican for the time (I’ll blog about that later.)  Right now I want to focus on the complete lack of understanding of what terms mean, and why what Cain said makes no actual sense.

First, a couple of dictionary definitions:

lib·er·al adj.
1.       a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
c. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
d. Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.
2.       a. Tending to give freely; generous: a liberal benefactor.
b. Generous in amount; ample: a liberal serving of potatoes.
3.       Not strict or literal; loose or approximate: a liberal translation.
4.       Of, relating to, or based on the traditional arts and sciences of a college or university curriculum: a liberal education.
5.       a. Archaic Permissible or appropriate for a person of free birth; befitting a lady or gentleman.
b. Obsolete Morally unrestrained; licentious.

con·ser·va·tive adj.
1.       Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.
2.       Traditional or restrained in style: a conservative dark suit.
3.       Moderate; cautious: a conservative estimate.
4.       a. Of or relating to the political philosophy of conservatism.
b. Belonging to a conservative party, group, or movement.
5.       Conservative Of or belonging to the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom or the Progressive Conservative Party in Canada.
6.       Conservative Of or adhering to Conservative Judaism.
7.       Tending to conserve; preservative: the conservative use of natural resources.

Now in light of these definitions, let’s figure out what Jesus was.  From the liberal side: Jesus went against the priests and hierarchy of Jerusalem and Israel, Definition 1a; He reinterpreted the Torah, and laid down a new Covenant, Definition 1b and 3; He gave freely to the poor, healing and feeding them, Definition 2a; He turned water into wine and loaves into fishes, giving those in need plenty, Definition 2b; and by all accounts, He was a gentleman and freeborn and was not born into slavery, Definition 5a.  We do not know if he was highly educated, but there are hints in the Bible that he was very knowledgeable about a wide variety of subjects, so Definition 4 is a distinct possibility.  By all of these definitions, He fits Definition 1c.  Since none of the countries in Definition 1d existed at the time of Jesus, that definition cannot apply to him.  Therefore, it looks like he fits almost every single different definition of Liberal.

To be fair, let’s look at how Jesus stacks up on the conservative side: He threw the Moneylenders out of the Temple, turned the social order on its ear and replaced the Old Covenant with a new one, which means Definition 1 DOES NOT apply; He did dress simply, by all accounts, but we do not know if that was normal in his society, so Definition 2 is undetermined; He preached passionately, even though it put his life in danger, therefore Definition 3 DOES NOT apply; political philosophy was all but non-existent at the time, except for the Greeks and a few Romans, but given that he was overturning the social order, Definition 4a and 4b are unlikely; as stated previously, the countries listed in Definition 5 did not exist, that definition is irrelevant; By traditional Christian beliefs (its not actually stated in the Bible) He was unmarried and celibate, which contradicted traditional Jewish life at the time, so Definition 6 is probably not applicable; and finally since he never spoke on environmental issues, we do not know how he would fall on Definition 7.  Therefore on the Conservative side, we have two definite no’s, two probable no’s, and two unknowns.

By this tally, Jesus fits all of the definitions of a Liberal, and none (or almost none) of the definitions of a Conservative.   Therefore, by dictionary definitions, Jesus was a Liberal.

But was he condemned by a Liberal court as Cain insists?  (As a side note, remember, Jesus was condemned by the Priests, Pilate just ordered the execution.  I’m not saying this out of any anti-Semitism, I’m merely quoting the text of the Bible.  I personally think the Jews are being blamed for things they had no part in: the Romans would have been far more likely to want to shut Jesus up.  But when you are arguing Biblical Semantics, you must be texturally accurate.)

Now, let’s look back at our definitions.  First we will look if they fit the conservative model; the Kohen (the term for the Priests of the temple) at the time of Jesus were rigid and inflexible, which fits definition 1 and 3; they were the heart of traditional Judaic thought, therefore Definition 6 certainly applies; we would assume that they dressed in exactly the manner that the Torah prescribes, so Definition 2 probably applies; Definition 4 and 5 are as irrelevant as they are for Jesus; and just like with Jesus, we don’t know how they stood on environmental issues, so Definition 7 is unknown.  Therefore the Court that condemned Jesus fit the definition of conservative.

How do they stack up on the liberal side?  Lets see: they were Orthodox in their beliefs, Definition 1 is out across the board, except for the part that talks about countries that didn’t exist then; they allowed the Moneylenders into the Temple, which implies a certain lack of generosity, So Definition 2 is not likely; They applied strict interpretations of the Torah, so no on Definition 3; Priests tend to be educated inside of the Temple, and that education focuses on religious studies, so probably no on Definition 4.  All of these are in the Negative column, which seems to indicate that they were not Liberal.

By this examination, they seem to be able to be defined as conservative, with only one possible way out.

That leads us to the difficult one, Definition 5b, which is an obsolete definition of Liberal.  If you consider deciding to execute the Son of God to be morally unrestrained or licentious (which I am sad to say generations of Christians have done, much to the detriment of the Jews) then the court was Liberal, IN THAT ONE SENSE OF THE WORD.

Therefore, if you use an obsolete definition of the word liberal to apply to the court, that is how you can define them as a Liberal Court.  How truly Conservative.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Revolution Will Be Televised


Fox News believes it is calling the shots in America.  In the surface this seems to be an absolutely accurate statement.  All mainstream news organizations, the major networks, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, even Telemundo all follow Fox News’ lead.  They cover the stories Fox wants them to cover, ignore the stories that Fox wants them to ignore, and at the very least parrot back the spin that Fox wants them to parrot.  Although to be fair, they do this last one in the misguided attempt to present a “balanced” opinion, and try to show both sides of the story. 

I must say though, presenting a case based on truth, followed by spin is not “balanced,” because to be fair, you do not have to present a falsehood to balance the truth.  If that were the case, every time you talked about the Earth being round, you would also have to have a member of the Flat Earth Society presenting the argument against roundness.  Journalistic ethics do require presenting both sides of the story, but they do not require wrapping up lies in the tissue of truth.

This said, it is true that Fox controls most of what is covered in the “Mainstream” press, they set the agenda, and everyone else follows it.  If your understandings of Occupy Wall Street, or the protests in the Rust Belt earlier this year, come from Traditional News Outlets, you probably have a very specific viewpoint on those movements, and a very different one on the Tea Party. 

In the past, this iron grip of MiniTrue on the discourse in the country would have disenfranchised and ultimately stopped the protests.  It would have painted a picture of anarchists and malcontents attempting to riot in the great cities of the country, and stopped general support of the movement.  They would have demonized the protestors in the same way that McCarthy demonized the Left Wing.  The Influencing Machine would have bulldozed anyone standing in their way.

And this is what Fox is still trying to do.  The stunt of “Occupy The Five” on the “news” show the Five (complete with tinfoil hats) would have been a devastating portrait of the movement.  Glenn Beck tearful pleas would have gotten traction.  Rush Limbaugh’s rants would have gotten people in the streets in a counter protest.

That is the past.  To understand what is going on in America, and around the world, and why MiniTrue no longer has the control it once had, you need to look at the Arab Spring as a model. 

The totalitarian governments of Egypt and Libya had even more control over the press than MiniTrue (hence the term totalitarian) and yet they could not stop the protests that overwhelmed their countries.  Syria, Iran, Yemen and the others may very well fall to this as well, despite their grip on the news.  The reason for it is actually quite simple, and spells the end of a monolithic control of the press controlling the national discourse.

Young people, by and large, do not get their news from Traditional Media.

At best, the mainstream news sources provide only a portion of the information diet of the youth.  And guess who led the Arab Spring and who’s behind the Occupy the World movement?  The young.

The people out in the streets protesting are not hearing the message that MiniTrue wants them to hear, because they are not listening.

They get their information from a host of completely unregulated, unfiltered sources.  They consume media from Web sources like BoingBoing and Reddit.  (Even the Huffington Post, once the cutting edge of liberal thought is now gone too mainstream for many.)  They follow Twitter feeds, read blogs, watch YouTube videos.  They facebook.

Most of their information comes digitally using a very old fashioned concept.  They get their information from people they know.  It is how we got information for thousands of years, by word of mouth.  It is again how we get information, but the word of mouth now spreads over the entire Web.  This word of mouth exists outside of the control of MiniTrue, any government censors, or the demands of any oligarch.

It is viral, in both senses of the word, and it spreads unstoppably through multiple vectors.  No amount of censorship will shut it off, no amount of blocking will stop it, no amount of trying will make it go away.  For better or for worse, the internet cannot be stopped.  No matter what digital barricades are raised, hackers will always chop their way through, and the hordes will rush through the breach.

The internet stands as the new and ultimate defense against tyrants, the virtual agora where come together and shine a light into the darkness.  For the first time in history, there is no longer a way to control the dissemination of information, knowledge cannot be blocked.  The right to assemble in the virtual world is a truly unalienable right.

For the first time, the revolution WILL be televised (on YouTube.)

In case you have never seen the poem that I'm paraphrasing, here it is:

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Gil Scott Heron

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mourning in America


Steve Jobs is dead.  The way that America has reacted bears more resemblance to the death of a president or a family member rather than an Oligarch.  Over a week has passed an the tributes flow forth almost unabated.  The new iPhone has been declared a memorial to him.  (And what a horrifying way to boost sales, might I add. 

My friend Patrick wrote an excellent blog on his death in comparison to three other visionaries who died in this past week, visionaries that are at least as transformative as Steve Jobs, and whose deaths have gone almost unremarked in the shadows of the Great One’s passing.  (Farrah Fawcett suffered much the same indignity dying at the same time as Michael Jackson.)

I’m not going to cover this ground, instead I want to focus on something I find difficult to understand.

I think its strange that a man revered by the political left demonstrated so few of the qualities that the left claims to stand for.  He was a tech visionary, that is true, but his vision was based on a shallow idea of style over substance.  He was a billionaire, but engaged in little if any charity.  He was a Buddhist, but promoted an intensely material culture.

First lets look at his vision.  His tech devices were based on style, not substance.  In many cases, his products function no better than Microsoft products, they just look cooler.  Everything about the appeal of the Mac, the iPhone, the iPod and the iPad are based on the “cool factor” of the design.  It is entirely image driven. 

The difference between the iPad and the Xoom, both of which do almost identical things with identical apps, is that one looks sleeker and more stylish than the other.  I know many people on the left (myself included) that would condemn an employer for hiring the prettier applicant, and yet, we chose the tablet based on how pretty it is.  To carry this analogy further, my Xoom has 4G, which the iPad 2 will never have, it has a better camera, it can be directly hooked to my computer and it has expandable memory, all of which make it technologically superior to the iPad.  Yet the iPad is the tablet to beat.  It is like we hire the pretty person, with a degree from an average college, ignoring the fact that the slightly less attractive candidate has an advanced degree from Harvard. 

Almost all Apple products fall into this category.  People can buy cool looking things from cool looking stores staffed by people called geniuses.  And they do it religiously, even though there are equal or better products, at lower prices, that just aren’t as attractive.  We would not tolerate this degree of shallowness anywhere else.

Next is Steve Jobs’ lack of charity.  I do not insist that people engage in charity, that is their choice.  If people want to be selfish and hold on to their money, that is their right, even if it is not something I would do.  I do not expect other to live the way I would in their shoes.

My problem is how people, including many on the left, justify that lack of charity.  Everyone keeps repeating that his charity was in giving the world these wonderful devices.  He didn’t need to contribute money to famine or disease, he gave us shiny things to buy, and that was his gift to the world.

This is Ayn Rand charity writ large.  In “The Fountainhead,” she stated that the greatest gift Howard Roark could give the world was his unfettered genius.  This is the foundation of Objectivist Philosophy that the creator must create and that is his only purpose.  Objectivism defames charity as an act of the weak and the controlling.  It is the most Right Wing of the philosophical movements, and yet many liberals I know find no problem with that statement, at least as far as Jobs is concerned.  Of course, the Right is holding it up as proof of their belief system.  (Forbes had a long article to this effect.)

There are others who justify his apparent parsimony by saying that he did his charity in private, and wanted no recognition for it.  That’s fine, and even laudable, when you are an average or even moderately wealthy person.  When you are the world’s 49th richest man, however, you have a duty to be visible in your charity.

Steve Jobs was a cultural icon, and given that status, think how much good he could have done if he had followed the lead of Bill and Melinda Gates and visibly supported a charitable cause.  People would have flocked to support it on the strength of Jobs’ charisma.  If he wanted to do good in the world, think how much more he would have accomplished with the force of his public support for a cause.

I don’t even buy that, because as head of Apple, he banned charitable apps from their devices.  He banned the corporation from becoming involved in charitable acts.  When he eventually relented and began the Red Products, it must be remembered that that charitable donation was the result of consumer spending.  It was simply a way to make people feel good about blowing $400.00 on a new gizmo.

Which leads to the last point, Steve Jobs poured fuel on the fire of consumerism.  In a world of rapidly depleting resources, where some of the worst pollutants known to man come from the electronics industry, Apple taunts people to go out and buy, buy, buy.  People I know who hold “Cradle to Cradle” and “The Story of Stuff,” as their Bible and Holy Mass, rush out and buy anything that rolls off of the Apple production line.

I know people who sold their iPad, just to upgrade to the iPad 2, who discard perfectly good phones for the new iPhone, who dump another couple grand on the MacBook Air when they already have 3 perfectly good computers.  The planet cannot sustain this degree of consumer frenzy, and people laud one of the orchestrators of this hysteria.

Steve Jobs would not have existed if people were not frantic to consume his products, and his products contribute to the bubbles that are wrecking the economy.

We made Steve Jobs, and the others like him, and they will be our destruction. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Price of Acceptance


America has lost its drive.  Both as a country, and as citizens of that country, we have lost our refusal to accept the status quo, our desire to be better than we are, our dreams of the angels of our greater nature.  We now accept that things can’t be better; we have largely decided to give up the fight.

In our individual lives, we no longer make the changes necessary to improve our condition.  We accept and endure, rather than fight and change.  I mentioned this in an earlier blog post on the pursuit of happiness.  Rather than trying to alter unpleasant circumstances, we just say that that’s the way it is, life sucks, and it bleeds through all levels of civic discourse.

That is not an American attitude.  This is a country that overthrew its colonial overlords because they were imposing unacceptable conditions on our country.  This is a nation that rose up and fought a Civil War to end the horror of slavery.  This is a land that busted trusts, provided the weakest among us with the basic dignities of life, marched and demanded that the dictate that “all men are created equal,” actually mean something.

Over and over again, throughout our history, whenever we see injustice, we stand against it.  This is a country that throughout history has tried to shine the light into the dark corners of the world and make the world a better place.  Sometimes we are late, sometimes we go about it the wrong way, sometimes we just plain screw up, but for most of our history, we have tried to pass a better world on to the next generation.

This is why movements like Occupy Wall Street are important.  I may not completely agree with some of their ideology, like ending the Fed, which I happen to believe that we actually need.  That said, the protesters in Zuccotti Park represent people for whom the status quo is not acceptable, citizens who want to see fairness return to the country, Americans who are tired of being told they must make sacrifices when those responsible for the disaster seen to pay no penalty.

The solution to America’s problems being put forth by Herman Cain in his 9-9-9 plan devastates the middle land lower classes.  This proposal is akin to a group of eye witnesses being arrested and charged with murder, because they didn’t stop the homicide, while the murderer gets off free with the defense that “no one stopped me, how was I supposed to know it was wrong.”

We allow our leaders to run the country off a cliff without any real accountability.

But wait, you might say, haven’t we shown accountability?  Didn’t we have three “Wave Elections” in a row?  Isn’t the country throwing people out of office right and left?

Yes, we are, but that’s not accountability.  Accountability is holding people’s feet to the fire, forcing them to do their job and serve the citizens.  It is not chucking them out of office at the first chance, and replacing them with another group beholden to a different set of special interests.

Actual accountability is demanding that the people who wrecked the economy pay to fix it, accountability is demanding that those who benefit the most from this country contribute something back to it, accountability is demanding that elected officials who break the law and violate the constitution be hauled off in shackles to face judgment for their crimes.

Voting them out of office changes the playing field, but doesn’t effect change unless the new occupants are held to their constituent’s expectations.  It is time to draw a line in the sand and say, “This is it; you have no more.  You will not continue down this path, we will not let you.”

It is time to elect people who will listen to the citizens of this country, but it is more important that the citizens then demand that their elected officials actually do listen and act.

We can no longer afford to settle.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Would a Right Wing Christian Nation Look Like?


There would be very little difference between an America made in the mould of the religious right and Afghanistan under the Taliban.  The only major difference would be the Burqa.

I understand that is a very offensive statement.  It is offensive because most Americans believe the dominant religion of the country is Good and Righteous.  It is even more offensive because it is true.

Let’s examine some of the truths espoused by the religious right and their impact on the United States if they got the power to enact them.  I’ll start with the low hanging fruit.

Abortion – This would be outlawed, even in cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother.  Some man forced himself on you; sorry, you must have your rapist’s baby.  Your dad and uncle raped you, too bad, have the baby.  Your pregnancy will kill you, that’s life, at least you have a few weeks to say goodbye. 

As an example of just how extreme this anti-abortion movement is, consider this.  For years federal abortion funding laws have permitted exemptions for rape.  In the current congress they are trying to remove that exemption. From an article on this issue:

“Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), introduced a proposal that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion.  Other types of rapes that would no longer be covered by the exemption include rapes in which the woman was drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, and many date rapes.”

Apparently, unless a woman is beaten into submission, she asked for it.  Isn’t it nice when you can blame the victim?  And again, the general thought about rape is that the woman is asking for it if she gets raped.  I would like to remind you of Kathleen Passidomo’s statement, “There was an article about an 11 year old girl who was gang-raped in Texas by 18 young men because she was dressed up like a 21-year-old prostitute.”

Moving on.

Contraception – Alabama is attempting to enact a life begins at the moment of conception law, known as Personhood.  Colorado has twice defeated the same law because it literally outlaws any form of contraception that acts on a fertilized egg.  This includes the morning after pill, the regular pill and even IUD devices.  The only option available for women to control their own fertility would be a diaphragm, which is as unreliable as a condom; devices that are also under attack from the religious right.

From the Chicago Tribune:
“…an increasingly vocal group of Christian conservatives is arguing that it's time to mount a concerted attack on contraception." Anti-abortion activist Joseph Scheidler's argues that "Contraception is more the root cause of abortion than anything else."

Try to wrap your brain around that logic.

Continuing on to the third issue in unholy trinity of thought that you must ascribe to in order to be a good Christian conservative.

Homosexuality – Forget the discussions on gay marriage or Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, many modern evangelicals want to re-outlaw homosexuality.  It is not only in Uganda where “Kill the Gays” bills are introduced.  Merrill Keiser, Jr., a DEMOCRAT (really, I can’t believe it either) ran a primary campaign against Senator Sherrod Brown advocating capital punishment against homosexuals.  "Just like we have laws against murder, we have laws against stealing, we have laws against taking drugs -- we should have laws against immoral conduct," Keiser says.

Even when not advocating killing homosexuals, many leading Republicans advocate returning homosexuality to a criminal status.  The Montana GOP has that as part of their party platform.  Then there’s Rick Santorum who said,

“We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does.”

This is a candidate for President of the United States of America.  You can Google this statement, just don’t do it at work or around anyone else, because the results of a Google search on Santorum are not exactly acceptable in any sort of environment.

And by the way, if we don’t have the right to consensual sex in the home, where can we have it?

Which leads to the next tenant of the Religious Right.

No sex – except for procreation, and within the bounds of heterosexual marriage.  This includes pre-marital sex, affairs, or just recreational sex.  Forget abstinence only education, how about an abstinence only life?

From the Seattle newspaper:
“Extramarital sex and sex outside marriage should be made illegal and prosecuted, according to a nominee for the Alaska Judicial Council, which nominates state judges.  Don Haase of Valdez, a former president of the right-wing Eagle Forum of Alaska, was nominated to the post by Alaska’s Republican Gov. Sean Parnell.”
Let’s take government out of your lives and put it back in the bedroom where it belongs.  Without Telescreens and Thought Police, how will they monitor this?  I guess eliminating Big Government means something different to these people.

Now onto the truly Talibanesque concepts.

Women’s Rights – Forget them.  They are not acceptable in a biblically based America.  As Michelle Bachman (another Presidential Candidate, where do they find them, under a rock?) said “The Lord says be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands."  And this woman wants to lead the free world.  What if her husband tells her, no you can’t enact a progressive tax policy. (like she actually would.)  Would she submit to her husband like the bible orders her to?  Would she be a puppet leader?

That isn’t the scariest attack on women’s rights though.  This is from the From the Institute of First Amendment Studies and talks about the highly popular Promise Keepers Movement:

“In Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper Tony Evans admonishes men to "take back" the leadership of their homes from their wives, saying that "there can be no compromise" on this issue. Women are instructed to submit to their husbands, "for the sake of your family and the survival of our culture."

PKers are told that women want to be dominated by men in an affectionate paternalism. In 1993, when Dobson addressed a PK rally, he hailed his audience as "50,000 hairy-chested testosterone-driven males," and told them, "Nothing matters more to a godly woman than that a man accept spiritual leadership for her and her children."

His sentiments are echoed in PK-endorsed publications, which tell women that they were created by God for male enjoyment. The book Promises, Promises: Understanding and Encouraging Your Husband, is sold at PK stadium events and contains essays by wives of twelve prominent Christian leaders, many of them PK supporters. It characterizes Eve and all women since as "gift[s]" from God "designed especially" for men.”

Women may not have to wear the Burqa, but they will have to submit to their husbands in all things.  Is this America?

And the best for last.

This is a Christian Nation – This is the core of all of the others.  The religious right wants to make this a Christian Nation.  There have been calls in South Carolina to secede again to form the Christian States of America.  Others have set their eyes on a higher prize: making Christianity the National Religion.

From Politics USA:
According to David Barton, we’ve been getting it all wrong, folks. The First Amendment didn’t establish freedom of religion; it established Christianity as the official religion of the United States, even though it says “”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

If you aren’t a Christian, beware.  This from Mother Jones Magazine:

Last week, legislators in Tennessee introduced a radical bill that would make "Material support" for Islamic law punishable by 15 years in prison. The proposal marks a dramatic new step in the conservative campaign against Muslim-Americans. If passed, critics say even seemingly benign activities like re-painting the exterior of a mosque or bringing food to a potluck could be classified as a felony.

The Tennessee bill, SB 1028, didn't come out of nowhere. Though it's the first of its kind, the bill is part of a wave of related measures that would ban state courts from enforcing Sharia law. (A court might refer to Sharia law in child custody or prisoner rights cases.) Since early 2010, such legislation has been considered in at least 15 states.

And while fears of an impending caliphate are myriad on the far-right, the surge of legislation across the country is largely due to the work of one man: David Yerushalmi, an Arizona-based white supremacist who has previously called for a "war against Islam" and tried to criminalize adherence to the Muslim faith.

Tennessee's SB 1028 goes much further, defining traditional Islamic law as counter to constitutional principles, and authorizing the state's attorney general to freeze the assets of organizations that have been determined to be promoting or supporting Sharia. On Monday, CAIR and the ACLU called for lawmakers to defeat the bill.
But it's not just Muslims who draw Yerushalmi's scorn. In a 2006 essay for SANE entitled On Race: A Tentative Discussion (pdf), Yerushalmi argued that whites are genetically superior to blacks. "Some races perform better in sports, some better in mathematical problem solving, some better in language, some better in Western societies and some better in tribal ones," he wrote.

Yerushalmi has suggested that Caucasians are inherently more receptive to republican forms of government than blacks—an argument that's consistent with SANE's mission statement, which emphasizes that "America was the handiwork of faithful Christians, mostly men, and almost entirely white." And in an article published at the website Intellectual Conservative, Yerushalmi, who is Jewish, suggests that liberal Jews "destroy their host nations like a fatal parasite." Unsurprisingly, then, Yerushalmi offered the lone Jewish defense of Mel Gibson, after the actor’s anti-Semitic tirade in 2006. Gibson, he wrote, was simply noting the "undeniable Jewish liberal influence on western affairs in the direction of a World State."

Despite his racist views, Yerushalmi has been warmly received by mainstream conservatives; his work has appeared in the National Review and Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace. He's been lauded in the pages of the Washington Times. And in 2008, he published a paper on the perils of Sharia-compliant finance that compelled Sen. Minority Whip John Kyl (R-Ariz.) to write a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Chris Cox.

And these are the people trying to take control of the United States?  If they gain power, would this even be America anymore?

Under this vision of this country, there would be no abortion, no contraception, no homosexuality, all of which could be punished by jail or even death.  Not only would women have few rights, they would be required to submit to their husbands.  (And trust me, they would have to have one, if only to avoid being denounced as a Lesbian)  Finally, you would have to be Christian.  Non-Christians, if they were even permitted to be here would be reduced to a second class citizen status. 

And if you are a Christian, you need to ask yourself, would you be considered the right kind of Christian.  (And if you’ve read this blog post this far, you probably are not.) 

It is time to throw off this kind of thinking.  This is a free country, there is Freedom of Religion.  As such the far right can spew this kind of hate.  However, their rights end at my body, at my mind and my soul.  It is time for us to reject the Medieval thinking that fundamentalist propaganda espouses.

One last thing, after researching this blog, and searching the terms that I used to find my documentation, Google now thinks I am a Republican. With their tracking system, every search I do now leads me to evangelical sites.  I think it was the last search I did on making this a Christian Nation.  I don't even want to think what the Santorum search did to the database.  I’m off to Google tons of info on Quantum Physics and evolution to try to clear the system.