Posts Tagged ‘political’

A lot of ink has been used in recent month examining the change in the Republican party. My take is a little different.

The R’s have become the home of the Evangelical wing of Christian churches and the former John Birchers’. The John Birchers are the most interesting additions to the party. They were the first to migrate to the party when President Nixon embarked on his southern strategy to win re-election. The John Birchers’ were previously the dixicrats or southern democrats that Nixon and the Republicans targeted.  The John Birch Society is a political advocacy group that, in their words, supports anti-communism, limited government, a constitutional republic and personal freedom. The society upholds an originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, which it identifies with fundamental Christian principles, seeks to limit governmental powers, and opposes wealth redistribution, and economic interventionism. It not only opposes the practices it terms collectivism, totalitarianism, and communism, but socialism and fascism as well, which it asserts is infiltrating US governmental administration. Congressman Larry McDonald (D-Georgia), (who I worked for in 1978) then its newly appointed president, characterized the society as belonging to the Old Right rather than the New Right.

The society opposed aspects of the 1960s civil rights movement and claimed the movement had communists in important positions. The Society produced a flyer titled “What’s Wrong With Civil Rights?,” which was used as a newspaper advertisement. The group is Anti-Semitic, racist, anti-Mormon, anti-Masonic, and filled with a paranoid fervor. They are against the trilateral commission and at one time tried to tie the Queen of England to an international drug cartel. The UN’s role in the Gulf War and President George H.W. Bush’s call for a ‘New World Order’ appeared to many society members to validate their claims about a ”One World Government” conspiracy. It should surprise no one that Chuck Colson, convicted White House Aide to Nixon, (found Jesus in jail) was an architect of the Southern Strategy for Republicans as well as a supporter and leader of the Family. The “Family” is the secretive evangelical group responsible for the National Prayer Breakfast and the infamous “C Street House”. I lived in another one of their houses while in college. Sen Brownback (R-KA) in 1999, joined together with fellow Family members, Senators Strom Thurmond and Don Nickles to demand a criminal investigation of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. They run a convert operation and have a burnt earth policy against those who challenge them.

What do these two groups have in common? Both need to feed upon people with low analytical skills and suffer some form of paranoia. The average member of each group is less educated then average and believe the world to be seen in terms of black and white, us against them. There is no room for nuance. In one group there is a constant undertone of conspiracies set to undermine their lives. The others group has that plus a belief that there are invisible forces at work that only they understand because of their special calling. There is an invisible force that created the universe and they have a special intimate relationship with. Because of this relationship they get special treasures after they die. While alive they are give a special insight into the universe. They need to see the world in terms of black and white. The Devil is out to destroy them and their way of life with temptation. This is why they eschew facts and reality because there is no proof to substitute their belief patterns in both cases. Therefore evidence base science directly challenges their belief and cause them to lash out.

(Part 2 – Why they hate education)

THis weekend St. Petersburg with host the opening party for the Republican National Convention. In an effort to make sure the elected politicians do not have to meet the voters the City has received a million dollar grant to help with security. This is NO financial benefit to the City from this party. and the city is investing hundreds of hours in “sprucing up the City for visitors who will be kept away form the local by an extensive security Labyrinth. I stop today to take a few pictures of the barricaded and was stopped by two police with in three min. questioned and asked for ID. Along with my driver’s license I presented them with my Florida Bar card and that made things go MUCH SMOOTHER. 

Here are a couple of the pictures I took today.

ImageImage

No matter your service branch – We honor their committment!

Faas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning combat photographer who carved out new standards for covering war with a camera and became one of the world’s legendary photojournalists in nearly half a century with the AP, died Thursday in Munich, said his daughter, Clare Faas. He was 79.

Faas’ Vietnam coverage earned him the Overseas Press Club’s Robert Capa Award and his first Pulitzer in 1965. Receiving the honors in New York, he said his mission was to “record the suffering, the emotions and the sacrifices of both Americans and Vietnamese in … this little bloodstained country so far away.” Faas was best known for covering Vietnam and won four major awards including the first of his two Pulitzers.

In this June 8, 1972 file photo, 9-year-old Kim Phuc, center, runs down Route 1 near Trang Bang, Vietnam after an aerial napalm attack.

What the F*ck has happened to the gay world. Every one is jumping with joy over the table scraps that the President gave today in support of gay marriage. Every gay organization from the National Human Right Campaign, Victory Fund and others are patting themselves on their back about what a wonderful job they did moving the President – Now send us money!

Did no one watch the entire interview or did their heads just explode at another fundraising opportunity? The president went on to say that he still believes that it is a state issue. The headline for tomorrow should read;

OBAMA AFFIRMS NORTH CAROLINA’S RIGHT

TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST GAYS!

That is what he said. That it should be up to the states. Can you imagine an America today if Lincoln had said the he is personally against slavery, but he thinks it is an issue best left up to the states? He realized that Americans should be afforded the same rights in each and every state. Including the right to be legally protected in love.

We have no cause to celebrate today any more then we did when President Reagan finally used the word AIDS. Words can hurt but seldom amount to anything substantial. It is actions that count. Today we got a half ass endorsement and a pat on the head. The President and the gay organizations got a new fundraising tool. And today I got squat! I got no protection for my marriage and told once again that I am a second class citizen in my own country.

A guilty pleasure is the Texts from Hillary. This is the best so far!

A guilty pleasure is the Texts from Hillary.

RIP – A very dear friend of mine passed away this past week. I know that many of my friends relied on him through the years and would want to know. My dad introduced me to them and for years I have relied on their stability. Now more than than ever I will really miss em.

Over the centuries, Facts became such a prevalent part of most people’s lives that Irish philosopher Edmund Burke once said: “Facts are to the mind what food is to the body.”

Facts is survived by two brothers, Rumor and Innuendo, and a sister, Emphatic Assertion.

Facts, 360 B.C.-A.D. 2012

In memoriam: After years of health problems, Facts has finally died.

Facts, 360 B.C.-A.D. 2012.

July 2012, Washington DC is hosting the International Conference on AIDS. The Names Project Foundation, which takes care of all the Quilt Panels is trying to ‘blanket DC’ with all the Quilt Panels. The Quilt has been to DC in 1987, 88, 89, 92 and 1996. Some of the Quilt were included in President Clinton’s Inauguration Parade. The Quilt was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. It is the single largest community project in the World to this day.

The Quilt continues to grow as HIV/AIDS takes more lives. The Quilt now has over 47,000+ panels, weighs over 54 tons and has over 92,000+ names listed. Some famous names include: Arthur Ashe, Eazy E (rapper), Perry Ellis, Rock Hudson, Richard Hunt (muppeteer), Liberace, Freddie Mercury, Tim Richmond (Nascar), Robert Reed (Brady Bunch), Anthony Perkins (Psycho), Max Robinson (ABC News anchor), Jerry Smith (Redskin Football player), Ricky Wilson (B-52 band), Ryan White, Rudolf Nureyev, just to name a few…

According to POZ magazine, the  AIDS Memorial Quilt will be displayed in its entirety for the first time since 1996 in multiple key locations on and around Capitol Hill and throughout metropolitan Washington, DC. from July 21-24.

Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt is a 1989 documentary film that tells the story of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Narrated by Dustin Hoffman with a musical score written and performed by Bobby McFerrin, the film focuses on several people who are represented by panels in the Quilt, combining personal reminiscences with archive footage of the subjects, along with footage of various politicians, health professionals and other people with AIDS.  One of those focused in the film was an ex of mine Tracy Torrey. Part of me want to go to DC to see the quilt, but after all this time and all those deaths and all those funerals, not sure I could handle it.  One of those focused in the film was an ex of mine Tracy Torrey. Part of me want to go to DC to see the quilt, but after all this time and all those deaths and all those funerals, not sure I could handle it.

During the recent weeks much ink has been shed involving the alleged “War on Christianity.” This is usually a topic reserved for the Xmas season but due to the recent pronouncements by the Obama Administration concerning the equal treatment of women with respect to health care, and the Republican efforts to politicize men’s control over the vagina, it has gathered considerable attention. One of the biggest problems in society at large, in my opinion, is the rejection of fact-based arguments based on provable facts. As a society we have ceded thoughts to a few “experts” who do not use facts but rely on hyperbole to reinforce held positions. Even the vaulted “PolitiFact” has some epic fails of recent in their attempt not to be seen as too political. I hope to examine the roots of religion in America and then how it is affecting the debate on education and GLBT issues.

Christians have become apt at playing the “victim card” after almost two thousand years of practice.

“Does anyone know…does the Christian persecution complex have an expiration date? Because…uh…you’ve all been in charge pretty much since…uh…what was that guys name…Constantine. He converted in, what was it, 312 A.D. I’m just saying, enjoy your success.”

“I have to say, as someone who is not Christian, it’s hard for me to believe Christians are a persecuted people in America. God-willing, maybe one of you one day will even rise up and get to be president of this country – or maybe forty-four in a row. But, that’s my point, is they’ve taken this idea of no establishment as persecution, because they feel entitled, not to equal status, but to greater status.”

–      Jon Stewart

This began in America as far back as the Mayflower. American history, as written by those who came to America, is a story of “true Christians” fleeing Great Britain to practice their faith. The reality is a little different. One man’s Freedom Fighter is another man’s terrorist.  The people who fled from England were in fact tied in closely with those supporting Guy Fawkes.

According to an article in the Smithsonian Magazine, the “Puritans” were led by a group of radical pastors who, challenging the authority of the Church of England, established a network of secret religious congregations. William Brewster, one of the leaders of this movement who came to America, became the senior elder of the colony, serving as its religious leader and as an adviser to Governor William Bradford. As the only university educated member of the colony, Brewster took the part of the colony’s religious leader until a pastor, Ralph Smith, arrived in 1629. Thereafter, he continued to preach irregularly until his death in April 1644.

Guy Fawkes

Before coming to America William Brewster was embroiled in the controversy, when Queen Elizabeth decided to have her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, executed in 1587. Mary, a Catholic whose first husband had been the King of France, was implicated in conspiracies against Elizabeth’s continued Protestant rule. It was this event, combined with the rise of James, Mary’s protestant son to the throne, which inspired Guy Fawkes. Brewster himself survived the crisis, but he was driven from court in London, his dreams of worldly success dashed. His disillusionment with the politics of court and church led him in a radical direction.

Brewster and his followers objected to the King being the head of the Church of England. Having lost his ability to rise to power in England, Brewster and his sect made a deal and went to the States. Away from the Church and Crown they wanted to live a life as they interpreted it from the bible. They did not need educated people telling them what to think.  They did not come to America to start a land of religious tolerance. They came so they could develop their form of religious purity.

Giordano Bruno

When Catholics came a few years later they were tortured and killed by these Puritans. To put things in perspective, in this time period the Roman Catholic Church burned astronomer Giordano Bruno at the stake for heresy in 1600. His crime? Advocating an endless universe, and that the sun did not go around the earth. Churches and religion did not allow anyone to challenge their dogma. The Churches used government to enforce their dogma and the crown got their “divine right” to rule from the church.

By 1654, however, the Puritans so dominated the colony that Catholics found themselves actually outlawed, the persecution becoming so intense that they fled to Pennsylvania.  Although Catholics eventually moved to Maryland in small numbers, they still, even until 1776, were not allowed to hold public office, establish schools, or conduct religious services. My girlfriend’s home in southern Maryland still had an alcove in one room designed for secret masses during the catholic persecutions well into the 1700’s. The government confiscated land that had been owned by the Jesuits. It was against this backdrop of violence and persecution by the religious on the citizens of the colonies, that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Bill of Rights. It was not to protect religious beliefs of a particular church, but to protect people from the religious belief of others. As Jefferson said; “If anything pass in a religious meeting seditiously and contrary to the public peace, let it be punished in the same manner and no otherwise as it had happened in a fair or market”

It was not a matter of Churches being protected from government intrusion but of attempting to control church influence and dictum in the actions of government. For millenniums, from the days of the Romans and Greeks, states and countries had a favored religion that would support a favored ruler who would in turn use that government to protect the favored religion. Every so often a leader in either the church or government would challenge that equilibrium and war would ensue. That is the religious heritage of the United States.  It has nothing to do with the noble thoughts of religious freedoms and every thing to do with accumulation of power in the few. In order to understand the current “culture wars” one has to know this history. Not the sanitized history taught in the Bible tracts given by the churches. One needs only to point to the use of the judicial system to enforce dogma by the church a recently as the Salem Witch trials or the enforcement of the slavery laws in the south. As Kenneth Stamp wrote in The Peculiar Institution, Christianity actually became a way to add value to slaves in America:” …when southern clergy became ardent defenders of slavery, the master class could look upon organized religion as an ally …the gospel, instead of becoming a mean of creating trouble and strive, was really the best instrument to preserve peace and good conduct among the negroes.” As to the witch-hunts, according to scholars, the number of executions for witchcraft exceeded 50,000 people. This is the “American Religious Heritage” that Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Pat Robertson and others are fighting for. It is the America Barry Goldwater warned us of. He said that these Christians believe they are acting in the name of god, so they can’t and won’t compromise.  You must have compromise to have a functioning government. Otherwise you have a theocratic rule of law.

As a society we must fight this at every step and not yield a inch to the fanatics who would (and have) white washed their past. These protestant reformers who try to hide the killings of Catholics and non-believers: the Catholics who try to ignore two millennium of wars, executions and burnings (and a few sex scandals) and any others who attempt to control our government and thoughts. We need to challenge not just their arguments and demands but the very foundation they are built on. It is then that the house of cards will collapse under its own weight of hypocrisy.

“There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this Supreme Being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’ “
(1909-1998) US Senator (R-Arizona) Source: Congressional Record, September 16, 1981