Friday, December 30, 2011

Amazon and Barnes & Noble Pull Offensive Calendar

I just checked Amazon for the highly offensive "I'm not Gay I'm a Sissy" calendar and it is n ow gone!  Barnes & Noble pulled it earlier in the week responding to widespread outrage and customer complaints. 

No official word from Amazon but I wouldn't expect it.  They will just quietly hope the controversy dies out.

Meanwhile the cartoonist is still unrepentant for his homophobic and frankly tasteless cartoons.  Glad he is defending his bigotry instead of trying to deny it.  At least he is honest about that, unfortunately he was anything but honest in his deception of people living with AIDS and LGBT people.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Barnes & Noble and Amazon Sell "Funny" Homophobic Calendar

I have pretty thick skin. Growing up in a Jewish family and being a fat kid you learn to roll with the punches to a point. The new "humorous" calendar being sold by Barnes & Noble and Amazon really takes to cake for offensive.

Titled, "I'm Not Gay, I'm Just A Sissy" it reenforces about every negative stereotype possible.  I can only imagine the outrage if this was a 2012 Minstrel Calendar with happy laughing black face performers pictured, or a 2012 "Women are so Dumb" calendar.

This is the kind of trash I expect to see at a KKK rally, not Barnes & Noble or Amazon.  If you feel the same way, let these online booksellers know how you feel.
Amazon E-Mail: Click here.
Phone: 1-800-201-7575
Twitter: @Amazon
Facebook: Click here.

Barnes & Noble
E-Mail: Click here.
Phone: 1-800-THE-BOOK (1-800-843-2665)
Twitter: @BN_care (Customer service)
Facebook: Click here.

UPDATE:  Barnes & Noble has dropped this offensive trash from their catalog.  Amazon?  Not yet. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Robot Birds Flock Like the Real Thing

An amazing development in robotics and surveillance. 

Abilify - Side Effects with a Drug Attached?

I saw this commercial a few weeks ago and was astounded by the list of side effects, most of which include really nasty stuff including "death". It is used to treat schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, but I have to wonder if there aren't safer alternatives? This sounds like a new drug looking for a market more than anything, and I guess they figure patients who might use it just don't care about side effects.

Go figure.



Now, here is a clip from Andy Behrman, a former spokesperson for Bristol Myers Squibb who make the drug Abilify. This makes more sense than the drug makers video.

Ron Paul Thinks Everything is Unconstitutional

As I have said of Ron Paul before...he is very, very fringe material.

Estimated 14,000 US Deaths Related to Fukushima Meltdown

That headline is disturbing, since I assumed like nearly everyone that the Fukushima disaster was strictly a Japanese problem. Not so according to a scientific study published in the December edition of the International Journal of Health Services.

Six days after the reactor meltdown, scientists detected a toxic plume of radioactive fallout on American soil.  Measurements by the EPA showed levels of radioactive iodine in water and milk rose to hundreds of times the normal levels.  The results?  An estimated 14,000 deaths, mostly of infants.

Want proof?  Well the Centers for Disease control monitors deaths nationwide to spot trends and epidemics.  Normally the rate is about 2.34% per 100,000 people.  During the 14 weeks following Fukushima that total rose to 4.46%.  That makes an excess of deaths of about 14,000.  By the way, an estimated 16,500 Americans died from Chernobyl, another figure you might not have heard.

Now, next time someone tells you that nuclear power is a safe alternative, ask them how many Americans died from Nuclear accidents.  They will not have a number, but you will!

Monday, December 26, 2011

SFGMC Holiday Concert

My friend Tim Seelig conducting the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas - Santa Baby!

Merry Christmas and enjoy my favorite Christmas Song by Eartha! And a few "friends"!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gingrich Endorsed by American Family Association

Yet another reason to hope for the demise of the Gingrich campaign.  He has gained the endorsement of the hate group, the American Family Association.  No surprise since Gingrich's front group ReAL Action has helped fund the AFA through a shell organization called the American Family Association Action. 

So if you have any conservative friends let them know that Newt is a closet hater and is really not deserving of their support.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mississippi Family-Values Mayor Comes Out as Gay

As I have said before it's hardly news anymore when a politician who ran on a platform of "family values" (code for anti-gay) gets outed.  So here's the latest in the ongoing string of hypocrites who have hidden their sexual identity to further their political career.

Greg Davis, Mayor of Southaven, Mississippi, a man who ran on the old family values platform has been discovered with his hand in the cookie jar, or perhaps the lube jar.  He was already under investigation for spending city funds for things ranging from exorbitant liquor purchases to lavish dinners.  Seems this investigation turned up a recipt from a store in Toronto, Canada where the mayor was on a recruitment trip.  The store, Priape, is a first rate gay sex shop that I have visited on several occasions.  Lots of nifty toys, and tons of leather!

So now the mayor decides to come clean, so to speak.  He holds a news conference where he admits to being gay and then says he will continue to govern the city and spend time with his family.  I suspect that family time would be as interesting as an episode of "Real Housewives of Southaven". (although he is now divorced from his wife of 19 years) 

It is really sad that people like Greg decide to hide their sexuality to advance their political career, only to be embroiled in this kind of crap.  Had he been open about it, he might not have been mayor, but he would also have not deceived a town, his family and friends.  He might have had a happy life and maybe even been successful in politics...albeit in another state.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Billboard Encourages Violence Against Gays?

I am not sure how much more offensive I could make this billboard in North Carolina.  The message is clear, shooting makes you a "real man".  The subtext is also equally clear, violence against homosexuals is just fine in North Carolina.

Am I overreacting? I don't think so.  Subtle messages like this are the product of people who either have no idea they are being offensive, (which I doubt) or intentional, (which I suspect).  The advertiser is making a joke, and it is not very funny.  The term "pansy" is so blatantly homophobic that the "joke" won't work without it.

If you find this not so funny, why not write the group that underwrites the billboard, the National Sport Shooting Foundation. 


UPDATE:

I received this letter from the National Sport Shooting Foundation regarding the billboard;


Mr. Haberman,
This was not placed or approved by us.  It was taken down 2 hours after we were made aware of it

Mark E. Thomas APR
Managing Director,
Marketing Communications National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc.
11 Mile Hill Road
Newtown, CT  06470-2359

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rick Perry Ad Parody - Watch It!

All I can say is I wish I had done this first.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Durban Brings Nothing Substantial - Except Assured Disaster

The countries of the world got together to do something about climate change and decided to do essentially - NOTHING!  A toothless agreement to limit carbon emissions emerged after China and the US agreed to some controls and a regrettably lame pact.

What is the news I’m going to take home to my flooded country?” Claudia Salerno, the lead negotiator for Venezuela, asked angrily. “This is nothing compared to the level of ambition that we require.”

China and India are dancing around the fact that they are anything but developing nations, and they don't want to limit CO2 emissions to the levels needed to prevent the global disaster that is coming.  Meanwhile the US is driven by competing ideologies and can't seem to accept the fact that climate change is happening and will get worse.

The whole global warming is a controversial theory is bullshit.  It is completely agreed upon by real scientists and it is happening every year,  this year alone saw 12 billion dollar+ weather disasters in the US along, almost twice the expected amount. 

I guess our world leaders are accepting that there is no agreement hey can come to and the poorer nations and coastal regions will just have to be destroyed.  A one meter rise in sea level which is predicted by 2050 if nothing is done will inundate most coastal areas of the world including New Jersey and New York.  But who cares about that?

Friday, December 09, 2011

Rick Perry has Another Ooops Moment!

Perry is a frigging idiot.  He agreed to an interview with a newspaper and he looks remarkably like Herman Cain.  He stumbles around the issue of prayer in schools and then mentions the 8 Supreme Court judges.  (there are 9) and wants an end to lifetime appointments.  That is in the Constitution not some law recently passed by Congress you dolt!

With luck this will be his last interview for a good long while.  

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Jon Stewart Exposes the Phony War On Christmas

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tree Fighting Ceremony - War on Christmas
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

A Date That Will Live In Infamy

Just a scant 9 years before I was born, our country experienced a wake up call that changed the world.  The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 assured American involvement in World War II. 

Recently there has been a lot of speculation as to who knew what when and if the attack could have been prevented.  This Monday morning quarterbacking ignores the fact that the Japanese were in negotiations with the US just prior to the attack and that they intended to deliver a formal declaration of war 30 minutes prior to the attack, but failed to meet the timetable on the diplomatic front. 

No matter, the fact was that the surprise attack spurred the US public into action and we jumped into the war with a vigor rarely seen before or since.

The final outcome of the attack was debilitating to the Pacific Fleet, but could have been worse.  A proposed third wave attack on fuel and munition supplies was not carried out and arguably that would have had a far greater effect than the loss of ships.  In the end, the words attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto were prophetic .

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

Today, many people compare the attack on the World Trade Centers to Pearl Harbor.  Though they were both surprise attacks and resulted in a great loss of life, the comparison is imprecise. 9-11 was an action carried out by a very small determined group of fanatics designed to terrorize our country and Pearl Harbor was a concerted peremptory attack designed to prevent the US from entering a conflict.  Ultimately, Pearl Harbor failed, it only motivated us to join the war and eventually defeat the Japanese and Germans.  9-11 succeeded in wreaking terror on the US and ultimately change our way of life and freedom.

As we commemorate Pearl Harbor, it is well worth considering the resolve our country experienced just after the attack.  We shared the sacrifice needed to commit to the war effort.  Everyone in the country pulled together and did something to help.  Had that kind of resolve and shared sacrifice been the result of 9-11 instead of the political manipulations and jingoism that followed we would have been far better off today.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton's Groundbreaking Human Rights Speech - Transcript

This is taken from the live transcript, sorry about the formatting.

Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the united
nations. May I ask you to please turn off
your mobile phones. Thank you very much.
Ladies and gentlemen attention, please. We
have now closed the doors. May we ask you to
make available seats available by removing
your coats and bags so that people can scoot
to the inside of the rows. We have a few more
people coming in and there's a little delay
but we'll soon be starting. Thank you.
>> Ladies and gentlemen, now presenting the
United States Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton.
>> (Applause).
>> Good evening and let me express my deep
honor and pleasure at being here. I want to
thank director General Tokas and Ms. Widen
along with other ministers, ambassadors,
excellencies and UN partners. This weekend we
will celebrate Human Rights day. The
anniversary of one of the great
accomplishments of the last century.
Beginning in 1947 delegates from 6 continents
devoted themselves to drafting a declaration
that would enshrine the fundamental rights and
freedoms of people everywhere. In the
aftermath of World War II many nations pressed
for a statement of this kind to help ensure
that we would prevent future atrocities and
protect the inherent humanity and dignity of
all people. And so the delegates went to
work. They discussed, they wrote, very
revisited, revised, rewrote, for thousands of
hours. And they incorporated suggestions and
revisions from governments, organizations, and
individuals around the world. At 3:00 in the
morning on December 10, 1948 after nearly 2
years of drafting and one last long night of
debate the president of the UN General
Assembly called for a vote on the final text.
Forty-eight nations voted in favor, 8
abstained, none dissented and the universal
declaration of Human Rights was adopted. It
proclaims a simple powerful idea. All human
beings are born free and equal in dignity and
rights. And with the declaration it was made
clear that rights are not conferred by
government. They are the birth right of all
people. It does not matter what country we
live in, who our leaders are or even who we
are because we are human, we therefore have
rights. And because we have rights
governments are bound to protect them. In the
63 years since the declaration was adopted
many nations have made great progress in
making Human Rights a human reality. Step by
step, barriers that once prevented people from
enjoying the full measure of liberty, the full
experience of dignity and the full benefits of
humanity have fallen away. In many places
racist laws have been repealed. Legal and
social practices that relegated women to
second class status have been abolished. The
ability of religious minorities to practice
their faith freely has been secured. In most
cases this progress was not easily won.
People fought and organized and campaigned in
public squares and private spaces to change
not only laws but hearts and minds and thanks
to that work of generations for millions of
individuals whose lives were once narrowed by
injustice they are now able to live more
freely and participate more fully in the
political, economic and social lives of their
communities. Now there is still as you all
know much more to be done to secure that
commitment, that reality and progress for all
people. Today I want to talk about the work
we have left to do to protect one group of
people whose Human Rights are still denied in
too many parts of the world today. In many
ways they are an invisible minority. They are
arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed.
Many are treated with contempt and violence by
their fellow citizens while authorities
empowered to protect them look the other way
or too often even join in the abuse. They are
denied opportunities to work and learn, driven
from their homes and countries and forced to
suppress or deny who they are to protect
themselves from harm. I am talking about gay,
lesbian, bisexual and trance gender people.
Human beings born free and given bestowed
equality and dignity who have a right to claim
that which is now one of the remaining Human
Rights challenges of our time. I speak about
this subject knowing that my own country's
record on Human Rights for gay people is far
from perfect until 2003 it was still a crime
in parts of our country. Many Lateasha
Barbour Americans have endured violence and
harassment in their own lives and for some
including many young people bullying and
exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like
all nations, have more work to do to protect
Human Rights at home. Now raising this issue
I know is sensitive for many people and that
the obstacles rest on deeply held personal,
political, cultural and religious beliefs. So
I come here before you with respect,
understanding and humility. Even though
progress on this front is not easy we cannot
delay acting. So in that spirit I want to
talk about the difficult and important issues
we must address together to reach a global
consensus that recognizes the Human Rights of
LBGT. Some have suggested gay rights and
Human Rights are separate. But in fact they
are one in the same. Now of course 60 years
ago the governments that drafted and passed
the universal declaration of Human Rights were
not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT
community. They also weren't thinking about
how it applied to indigenous people or
children or people with disabilities or other
marginallized groups. In the past 6 years we
have come to recognize members of these groups
are entitled to the full measure of dignity
and rights because like all people they share
a common humanity. This recognition did not
occur all at once. It evolved over time and
as it did we understood that we were honoring
rights that people always had rather than
creating new or special rights for them. Like
being a woman, like being a racial religious
tribal or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not
make you less human. And that is why gay
rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are
gay rights. It is a violation of Human Rights
when people are beaten or killed because of
their sexual orientation or because they do
not conform to cultural norms about how men
and women should look or behave. It is a
violation of Human Rights when governments
declare it illegal to be gay or allow those
who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a
violation of Human Rights when lesbian or
transgendered women are subjected to so called
correctly rape or forcibly subjected to
hormone treatments or when people are murdered
after public calls for violence toward gays or
when they are forced to flee their nations and
seek asylum in other lands to save their
lives. And it is a violation of Human Rights
when life saving care is with held from people
because they are gay or equal access to
justice is denied to people because they are
gay or public spaces are out of bounds to
people because they are gay. No matter what
we look like, where we come from or who we
are, we are all equally entitled to our Human
Rights and dignity. The second issue is the
question of whether homosexuality arises from
a particular part of the world. Some seem to
believe it is a western phenomenon and
therefore people outside the West have grounds
to reject it. Well in reality gay people are
born into and belong to every society in the
world. They are all ages, all races, all
faiths, they are doctors and teachers, farmers
and bankers, soldiers and athletes and whether
we know it or whether we acknowledge it, they
are our family, our friends and our neighbors.
Being gay is not a western invention. It is a
human reality. And protecting the Human
Rights of all people gay or straight is not
something that only western governments do.
South Africa's constitution written in the
aftermath of apartheid protects the equality
of all citizens including gay people. In
Columbia in Argentina the rights of gays are
also legally protected. In Nepal the supreme
court has ruled that equal rights apply to
LGBT citizens. The government of Mongolia has
committed to pursue new legislation that will
tackle discrimination. A luxury only wealthy
nations can afford, in fact in all countries
there are costs to not protecting these
rights. In both gay and straight lives lost
to disease and violence and the silencing of
voices and views that would strengthen
communities and ideas never pursued by
entrepreneurs who happen to be gay. Costs are
incurred whenever any group is treated as
lesser or the other whether they are women,
racial or religious minorities or the LGBT.
Former president Mogi pointed out recently
that for as long as LGBT people are kept in
the shadows there cannot be an effective
public health program to tackle HIV and AIDS.
Well that holds true for other challenges as
well. The third and perhaps most challenging
issue arises when people site religious or
cultural values as a reason to violate or not
to protect the Human Rights of LGBT citizens.
This is not unlike the justification offered
for violent practices toward women like honor
killings, widow burning or female genital
mutilation. Some people still defend those
practices as part of our cultural tradition
but violence towards women isn't cultural,
it's criminal. Likewise with slavery, what
was once justified as sanctioned by God is now
properly revialed as an unconscionable
violation of Human Rights. In each of these
cases we came to learn that no practice or
tradition Trumps the Human Rights that belong
to all of us. And this holds true for
inflicting violence on LGBT people,
criminalizing their status or behavioral,
expelling them from their families and
communities or explicitly accepting their
killing. Of course it bares noting that
rarely our cultural and religious traditions
and teachings actually in conflict with the
protection of Human Rights. Indeed our
religion and culture are sources of compassion
and inspiration toward our fellow human
beings. It was not only those who justified
slavery who leaned on religion it was also
those who sought to abolish it and let us keep
in mind that our commitments to protect the
freedom of religion and to defend the dignity
of LGBT people emanate from a common source.
For many of us religious belief and practice
is a vital source of meaning and identity and
fundamental to who we are as people and
likewise for most of us the bonds of love and
family that we forge are also vital sources of
meaning and identity and caring for others is
an expression of what it means to be fully
human. It is because the human experience is
universal that Human Rights are universal and
cut across all religions and cultures. The
fourth issue is what history teaches us about
how we make progress toward rights for all.
Progress starts with honest discussion. Now
there are some who say and believe that all
gay people are pedophiles, that homosexuality
is a disease that can be caught or cured or
that gays recruit ourself to become gay. Well
these notions are simply not true. They're
also unlikely to disappear if those who
promote or accept them are dismissed out of
hand rather than invited to share their fears
and concerns. No one has ever abandoned a
belief because he was forced to do so.
Universal Human Rights include freedom of
expression and freedom of belief. Even if our
words or beliefs democrat great the humanity
of others. While we are each free to believe
whatever we choose we cannot do whatever we
choose, not in a world where we protect the
Human Rights of all. Reaching understanding
of these issues takes more than speech. It
does take a conversation. In fact it takes a
constellation of conversations in places big
and small and it takes a willingness to see
stark differences in belief as a reason to
begin the conversation, not to avoid it. But
progress comes from changes in-laws. In many
places including my own country legal
protections have preceded not followed broader
recognition of rights. Laws have a teaching
effect. Laws that discriminate, validate
other kinds of discrimination, laws that
require equal protections reinforce the moral
impairtive of equality and practically
speaking it is often the case that laws must
change before fears about change dissipate.
Many people Trumen, we saw how he strengthened
our social fabric in ways even supporters of
the policy could not foresee. Likewise some
worried in my country that the repeal of don't
ask, don't tell would have a negative effect
on our armed forces. Now the marine Corp.
says his concerns were unfounded and that the
marines have embraced the change. Finally
progress comes from being willing to walk a
mile in someone else's shoes. We need to ask
ourselves, how would it feel if it were a
crime to love the person I love? How would it
feel to be discriminated against for something
about myself that I cannot change? This
challenge applies to all of us as we reflect
upon deeply held beliefs. As we work to
embrace tolerance and respect for the dignity
of all persons and as we engage with those
with whom we disagree in the hope of creating
greater understanding. A fifth and final
question is how we do our part to bring the
world to embrace Human Rights for all people
including LGBT people. Yes LGBT people must
help lead this effort as so many of you are.
Their knowledge and experiences are invaluable
and their courage inspirational. We know the
names of brave LGBT activists who have
literally given their lives for this cause and
there are many more whose names we will never
know. But often those who are denied rights
are least empowered to bring about the changes
they seek. Acting alone minorities can never
achieve the majority's necessary for political
change. The rest of us cannot sit on the
sidelines. Every time a barrier to progress
has fallen it has taken a cooperative effort
from those on both sides of the barrier. The
fight for women's rights the support of men
remains crucial. The fight for racial
equality has relied on contributions from
people from all races. Combating or
antiSemitism is a task for people of all
faiths. And the same is true with this
struggle for equality. Conversely when we see
denials and abuses of Human Rights and fail to
act that sends the message to those deniers
and an abusers that they won't suffer for
their actions so they carry on. But when we
do act we send a powerful moral message.
Right here in Geneva the international
community acted this year to strengthen a
global consensus around the Human Rights of
LGBT people. At the Human Rights Council in
March 85 countries from regions called for an
end to criminalization and violence against
people because of their sexual orientation and
gender identity. At the following session of
the council in June South Africa took the lead
on a resolution about violence against LGBT
people. The delegation from South Africa
spoke eloquently about their own experience
and struggle for human equality and its
indifficult visibility. When the measure
passed it became the first ever UN resolution
recognizing the Human Rights of gay people
worldwide. In the organization of American
states this year the interAmerican commission
on Human Rights created a unit on the rights
of LGBT people, a step toward what we hope
will be the creation of a special Republican
tore. We must get more support for the Human
Rights of the LGBT community. To the leaders
of those countries where people are jailed,
beaten or executed for being gay I ask you to
consider this. Lip by definition means being
out in front of your people when it is called
for. It means standing up for the dignity of
all your citizens and persuading your people
to do the say. Leadership also means ensuring
that all citizens are treated as equals under
your laws because let me be clear. I am not
saying that gay people can't or don't commit
crimes. They can and they do. Just like
straight people. And when they do they should
be held accountable. But it should never be a
crime to be gay. And to people of all nations
I say supporting Human Rights is your
responsibility too. The lives of gay people
are shaped not only by laws but by the
treatment they receive every day from their
families, from their neighbors. Eleanor
Roosevelt said these rights start in the small
places close home. The streets where people
live, the schools they attend, the factories,
farms and offices where they work. These
places are your domain. The actions you take,
the ideals you advocate can determine whether
Human Rights flourish where you are. And
finally to LGBT men and women worldwide let me
say this. Wherever you live and whatever the
circumstances of your life whether you are
connected to a network of support or feel
isolated and vulnerable, please know that you
are not alone. People around the globe are
working hard to support you and to bring an
end to the injustices and dangers you face.
That is certainly true for my country and you
have an ally in the United States of America
and you have millions of friends among the
American people. The Obama administration
defend the Human Rights of LGBT people as part
of our comprehensive Human Rights policy and
as a priority of our foreign policy. In our
emphasis, our diplomats are raising concerns
about specific cases and laws and working with
a range of partners to strengthen Human Rights
protections for all. In Washington we have
created a task force at the state department
to support and coordinate this work and in the
coming months we will provide every embassy
with a tool kit to help improve their efforts
and we have created a program that offers
emergency support to defenders of Human Rights
for LGBT people. This morning back in
Washington president Obama put into place the
first U.S. government strategy dedicated to
combating Human Rights abuses against LGBT
persons abroad. Building on efforts already
under way at the state department and across
the government the president has directed all
U.S. government agencies engaged overseas to
combat the criminalization of LGBT status and
conduct to enhance efforts to protect
vulnerable, LGBT refugees and asylum seekers
to ensure Na our foreign assistance promotes
the protection of LGBT rights. To enlist
international organizations in the fight
against discrimination and to respond swiftly
to abuses against LGBT persons. We are
launching a global equality fund that will
support the work of civil society
organizations working on these issues around
the world. This fund will help them record
facts so they can target their advocacy, learn
how to use the law as a tool, manage their
budgets, train their staffs and forge
partnerships with women's organizations and
other Human Rights groups. We have committed
more than $3 million to start this fund and we
have hope that others will join us in
supporting it. The women and men who advocate
for Human Rights for the LGBT community in
hostile places, some of whom are here today
with us, are brave and dedicated and deserve
all the help we can give them. We know the
road ahead will not be easy. A great deal of
work lies before us. But many of us have seen
first hand how quickly change can come. In
our life times attitudes toward gay people in
many places have been transformed. Many
people including myself have experienced a
deepening of our own convictions on this topic
over the years as we have devoted more thought
to it, engaged in dialogues and debates and
established personal and professional
relationships with people who are gay. This
evolution is evident in many places to
highlight one example, the dell devilly high
court decriminalized in India. Writing ' if
there is one tenant that can be said to be an
underlying theme of the indian constitution it
is inclusiveness. There is little doubt in my
mind that support for LGBT Human Rights will
continue to climb. Because for many young
people this is simple. All people deserve to
be treated with dignity and have their Human
Rights respected no matter who they are or
whom they love. There is a phrase that people
in the United States invoke when urging
ourself to support Human Rights. Be on the
right side of history. The story of the
United States is the story of a nation that
has repeatedly grappled with intolerance and
inequality. We fought a brutal civil war over
slavery. People from coast to coast joined in
campaigns to recognize the rights of women,
indigenous peoples, racial minorities,
children, people with disabilities,
immigrants, workers, and on and on and the
March toward equality and justice has
continued. Those who advocate for expanding
the circle of Human Rights were and are on the
right side of history and history honors them.
Those who tried to constrict Human Rights were
wrong and history reflects that as well. I
know that the thoughts I've shared today
involve questions on which opinions are still
evolving as it has happened so many times
before, opinion will converge once again with
the truth, the immutable truth that all
persons are created free and equal in dignity
and rights. We are called once more to make
real the words of the universal declaration.
Let us answer that call. Let us be on the
right side of history for our people, our
nations and future generations whose lives
will be shaped by the work we do today. I
come before you with great hope and confidence
that no matter how long the road ahead we will
travel it successfully together. Thank you
very much. (Applause).

If Corporations Are People, Then Halliburton Needs to Be Locked Up

Evidence has come to light that Halliburton intentionally destroyed evidence in the BP spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  In a federal court Monday, BP accused Halliburton of erasing the evidence that they used sub standard procedures when cementing the well that blew out spilling millions of gallons of oil into the gulf.

The destroyed records include computer modeling of the project and cementing procedures. 

So my question is this, if the Supreme Court treats corporations like individuals, then if Halliburton is convicted of destroying evidence, shouldn't the CEO and President go to jail for the crimes they (Halliburton as an individual) committed?

Give me one reason this shouldn't apply, and if not then lets set things straight, corporations are legal constructs, not individuals.  Enough of this foolishness.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Newt Gingrich Reiterates That The Poor Are Lazy

My guess is Newt Gingrich has never known a genuinely poor person in his life.  I do, and all of the ones I know work their asses off.  Some hold down two jobs and work longer hours that I ever have, yet they are scraping by.

In Newt's imaginary world, the poor are poor because they are lazy and have bad work habits.  His answer, fire janitors and hire school kids to do janitorial work. Excuse me? 

First, there are Child Labor Laws, and secondly, does he thing training poor kids to be janitors is any kind of answer to the pressing problems of poverty in America?  Additionally, though we see little of a janitor's work, they do a whole lot of things needed to keep a school working, not just pushing a broom.

Why not fire the bank executives and hire school kids to do their job.  I suspect in some cases a bright teenager could do a better job of running a company than the Bozos that steer Bank of America and other mega-corps into financial hot water.

Newt's incredible ignorance is here on CBS.  Maybe his name is really his IQ?  The same as a newt!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Newt Gingrich - Not a Favorite of the Social Consrvatives

This video was produced by social conservatives who really don't like the Newt. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

School Kids Stymie Michelle Bachmann on LGBT Issues

Crazy Eyes gets stumped by school kids who will not let her gloss over her hypocrisy on LGBT issues. 

Frank Luntz Give GOP Hints on How To Talk About OWS

According to a post on Think Progress, GOP mastermind Frank Luntz has issued talking points on how to address the Occupy Wall Street movement.  First off, he is very concerned, in fact downright scared it is affecting opinions of capitalism.  Duh!

Here are his suggestions to blunt the effects:
  • Don’t Mention Capitalism: Luntz said that his polling research found that “The public…still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we’re seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we’ve got a problem.”
  • Empathize With The 99 Percent Protesters: Luntz instructed attendees to tell protesters that they “get it”: “First off, here are three words for you all: ‘I get it.’ … ‘I get that you’re. I get that you’ve seen inequality. I get that you want to fix the system.”
  • Don’t Say Bonus: Luntz told Republicans to re-frame the concept of the bonus payment — which bailed-out Wall Street doles out to its employees during holidays — as “pay for performance” instead.
  • Don’t Mention The Middle Class Because Americans Don’t Trust Republicans To Defend It: “They cannot win if the fight is on hardworking taxpayers,” Luntz instructed the audience. “We can say we defend the ‘middle class’ and the public will say, I’m not sure about that. But defending ‘hardworking taxpayers’ and Republicans have the advantage.”
  • Don’t Talk About Taxing The Rich: Luntz reminded Republicans that Americans actually do want to tax the rich, so he recommended they instead say that the government “takes from the rich.”

World AIDS Day - A Remembrance

(The following is a personal recollection, and in no way is intended to be historically precise or indicative of anyone's experience but my own.)

The rumor was that poppers caused something that was being called "gay cancer".   The strange lesions appearing on gay men's bodies were a gay man's worst nightmare.  They were disfiguring and made you an instant pariah.  No one wanted to be around someone who was so obviously infected with a very strange disease.

Kaposi Sarcoma was the first visible signs of what was later called HIV/AIDS.  Kaposi Sarcoma is an opportunistic disease, a virus, that attacked people with compromised immune systems but for me and my friends it was just "the pox".

The other outward sign of the nascent disease was the profound weight loss due to sustained diarrhea and intestinal problems.  People just wasted away, growing thinner and thinner until that looked like fragile old men hobbling along the street with the aid of walking sticks.  Combine this with the pneumonia that was also running rampant and everyone who looked the least bit thin, or sickly or frail was suspect and an object of fear.

Fear.  That was the dominate emotion that drove the community back in the early days of the disease.  We were afraid we could be next.  Every bump, every itch, every cough could be the first signs of what proved to be a fatal disease with no treatment or cure.

It didn't take long before the disease had a name, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS.  Soon research showed it was a blood borne pathogen and the culprit was exchange of body fluids.  Mainly sexual contact or transfusion with infected blood.  People with visible signs were no longer shunned and friends rallied to their side to provide comfort and assistance.

Long before the medical community figured that out, my friends and I had begun to ignore the warnings to avoid contact with people infected with the disease.  Our hearts drove us past the fear and we visited our friends in the hospitals and took care of them when nursing staffs would not.  Yes, some hospitals staff refused to have contact with AIDS patients in the early days.  They would wear masks, gowns and gloves and do only the bare necessities of care. 

I guess we figured we might end up infected anyway so what the heck?  How could we watch our friends die alone and shunned.  It was a soul searching time for me and most of the people I knew.

That was 29-30 years ago.  So much has changed, but not fast enough to save so many friends.  So many good men and women died in the early days and with them a little of my own soul died as well.  Facing mortality is a bitch!

Today, there are many treatments that extend the lives of people with HIV and full blown AIDS cases are not nearly as common as before.  Still there is no cure.  30 years and no cure!  Treatments that lengthen lives are great, but why no cure?  I am impatient and want to see this thing end before I do.

No, I don't have AIDS.  Why I do not know, just lucky I guess.  Still I have been scarred by the disease like all my friends who survived the 1980's.  We all still feel what it was like deep in our souls and will never forget.

Treatments are wonderful things, thought most are very expensive.  Cures are even better and I pray that research will work toward that cure so that someday we can look back on the epidemoc and say, that was a really bad time in our history, glad it's over.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Barney Frank and His Legacy

As I listened to Barney Frank announce that he will not seek reelection in 2012 I was both saddened and encouraged.  Saddened because one of the great liberal voices in the House of Representatives is going to retire but encouraged because he stated that he would continue to speak out on important issues even after retiring from the House.

Frank, as most of you know, is an openly gay elected official and as such he fulfills a vital role in Congress.  Having LGBT voices in the House and Senate are vitally important to keep moving forward on the road to full and equal rights for all Americans. His absence will leave a void that will be hard to fill.

He leaves a legacy of legislation that is truly historical including the repeal of DADT and numerous financial reform measures.  Now it is up to the rest of the Democrats in Congress to finish some of his most important work.

Think Progress has a great article on the unfinished work including ENDA and military spending cuts.  It is worth a read.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

 By the time you read this, I will be passed out on the sofa in a turkey  induced coma inexplicably in front of a TV with a football game playing on it.

Such is the Great American tradition for Thanksgiving.  Additionally, I suspect many of you will have had uncomfortable conversations with family members you only see once or twice a year as well as catching up with who lost their hair, who is pregnant and who has died in your biological family.   Again, its all part of tradition for many folks.

Oh yes, and then there is that whole "thanks-giving" thing.  That's the real reason for the holiday, not the celebration of gluttony and football.  So just what is there to be thankful for this year?

Well, I have a few things I am personally thankful for that I would like to share, so in the spirit of the holiday, indulge me.
First I am thankful for my family of choice.  My loving partner of 16 years and our mutual friends enrich my life more than they will ever know.  They endure hours of my ranting and raving, and they still find it in their hearts to love me anyway.  They only occasionally roll their eyes and almost always laugh when I have climbed too high on my soapbox.

I am thankful for my biological family, both those still alive and the ones who have long since passed out of my life.  They taught me some very important lessons and they gave me the most valuable gift I possess, the gift of acceptance.  They love me just as I am with all my flaws.  That gift never gets old, but only if you pass it on to the rest of your family, friends and even strangers.
I am thankful for the strides made in LGBT rights in the past year.  The repeal of DADT, more equal visitation rights for LGBT families in hospitals and the beginnings of the repeal of the misnamed Defense of Marriage Act.

I am thankful for the contributions of so many citizens to the "It Gets Better" campaign.  Those simple heart-felt videos make an amazing difference to LGBT youth at a critical time in their emotional development.  I am thankful to the attention paid to the problem of bullying, something that affected so many of us in school and beyond.

Lastly, at least in this column, I am thankful for the new spirit of activism that seems to have blossomed in this country.  The Occupy Wall Street movement, though slightly disorganized shows that young people in our country still value what matters.  I had almost lost hope of that in this age of greed-is-good philosophies.

The OCW movement has only started to bubble up through the American consciousness and it has a long way to go.  The media is looking for simple ways to describe it and find only a muddle of principals that don't make good sound-bites, therefore they go with the lowest common denominator, visuals.  Pictures of bearded neo-flower children in tent cities and the occasional trouble maker become the face, not the earnest frustration with the way money flows from poor to rich in America.

It reminds me of the fledgling gay rights movement around the time of Stonewall and the Compton's Cafeteria riot.  The LGBT  community was angry.  Angry at the years of oppression and discrimination and they wanted to do something about it, they just didn't really know what.  The riots were just the outward sign of that frustration and the first real stirrings of a broad movement for LGBT rights. (At that time, simply called "gay rights".)

The frustration and emotions of the OCW movement understandably boil over as well, and my hope this Thanksgiving is that they will coalesce into an easily grasped declaration of the problem and a proposed plan of action to solve it.
 
Thanksgiving comes during a season of change, a time when the days grow shorter and the weather colder.  We gather together and feast as a defense against the fading of the light but we do so knowing that Winter is only a season, and it will eventually change into a glorious spring.   So for all I have to be thankful for, and for all the troubles we might face, I still believe in the promise of Spring.  The promise of things getting better.  Getting better for our LGBT youth. Getting better for the 99%. Getting better for everyone.  But like Thanksgiving dinner, it doesn't happen without someone getting in the kitchen with a recipe and cooking up a storm.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bryan Fischer Warns of Muslim Turkeys this Thanksgiving!

Break out the industrial strength crazy, Bryan Fischer (of the American Family Association, a recognized hate group) is at it again.  He has decided that just because Butterball Turkeys are classified as Halal they must be secret sacrifices to Allah. They are also Kosher, does that make them secret Jews?

Try not to choke on your Thanksgiving turkey while you watch this idiot who is full of stuffing.

New Study Shows Fox News Viewers Know Less About News Than Those Who Don't Watch News.

According to a new poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University, people who watch Fox News know less about what is really going on that people who claim they don't watch news at all.  Why am I not surprised?

The fact that Fox News slickly packages Republican propaganda and sells it as news is well known, but the fact that Fox covers less real news than other outlets may be the reason.  For example, Fox Viewers were asked about the Egyptian uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak, and were 18 points less likely to know the outcome.  On other international topics they consistently scored lower than people who don't watch TV news at all.

Those viewers most informed watched the Sunday morning talk shows where news is discussed at length and usually without the fluff that comes with most Fox shows.

Read the rest of the depressing results here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pregnant Woman Pepper Sprayed and Punched by Seattle Police - Miscarriage.

The Occupy Seattle group witnessed a brutal attack on a pregnant woman by Seattle Police. The pepper-sprayed her and punched her in the stomach even as she was screaming she was pregnant. Now according to reports she has suffered a miscarriage.

The police response to the OCW movement has been completely over the top. Police need to stand down and consider just who they are protecting.

The video clip below was just after the attack and is kind of jumbled, but it is clear the pregnant woman is injured and in pain. Watch it if you have the stomach for it.

On The Road in Indiana

As I write this post I am sipping coffee in a coffee shop in Michigan City Indiana. The coffee is fine, but the surroundings are strange. I feel a whole lot more like I am sitting in Paradise, Nevada at one of the hotels on the famous Las Vegas Strip. You see casino gambling came to Indiana a few years ago and since then some things have changed. Apparently, what started as the idea of riverboat gambling gave way to full blown casinos along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Al Capone would be frowning. The very vices he sold have now been embraced and gone mainstream. No need for the wise guys, its all about politics and jobs now.

Weird.

Now, I am not complaining. The hotel is very nice and convenient to our friends who live here along the Indiana shore of Lake Michigan. I am just confused. I see a nice casino-hotel-spa worthy of Las Vegas plopped down in the midst of a shipyard, low income houses and docks. As far as I can tell there is no economic prosperity springing up around the casino, just a noticeable increase in pawn shops and check cashing joints.

Such is progress in modern America. We seem able to find so many ways to take money from the middle class and poor and redistribute it to the wealthy. The American Dream?

Some day, there will be no more money for the rich to gather and then they will move on to another more luxurious place. I hear Dubai is lovely this time of year.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bill Moyers on Plutonomy - Rule by the Rich

This was his sign off piece when he retired and it rings true today.  The Occupy Wall Street people need to take all these talking points to heart and use them to clarify their message.

Watch it now!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Latest Trend in Advertising - Cat Videos!

This clever parody comes from a really creative agency called John St.  Their stuff is very creative and sometimes outrageous and always memorable.  Yeah, good advertising!  Enjoy the silliness.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Karl Rove Gets "Mic Checked"

While speaking at John Hopkins University, Karl Rove, the infamous Bush Architect of the Iraq War got a taste of the 99% movement.  During his speech as he was trying to paint the current administration as the cause of all economic woes, the cry, "mic check" went out and the rest is history.  Amazingly, he tries to claim moral high-ground toward the end of the confrontation.   Silly man, moral high-ground is for people who actually have morals!

Clean Coal - Maybe Not So Much

With all the PR about the benefits of what the industry calls "clean coal" they are now stuck in a paradox. The EPA has a new set of mandates for cleaner power generation, something "Clean Coal" technology allegedly is all about. But now the coal industry is fighting against the new EPA regulations.  They have started a massive TV and Print campaign to terrify people.

Here's their argument in a nutshell:
Regulations = higher energy cost
Higher energy costs = lost jobs
Regulations = apocalypse
Where do they get these claims of higher energy costs?  From a report generate by their own association, National Economic Research Associates for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.  

Do you see the paradox?  The American Association for Clean Coal Energy is arguing against regulations making coal burning power plants CLEANER!   

So it seems the whole thing is really a smokescreen designed to keep the old dirty coal power plants in operation as long as possible to squeeze every penny of profit from them no matter what the cost is to the planet or inhabitants.  Sorry about the "smokescreen" pun.



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Video Interview With Herman Cain Shows Why He Is Unfit To Run For President

This is just part of an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentential. Rarely have I see a political figure look so clueless and try to obfuscate his ignorance as completely as Herman Cain. Cain may be ahead in the polls, but he is obviously unfit to be president or even a serious candidate.

Armenian Version of "Bad Romance"

Found this amazing version of "Bad Romance" performed on Armenian TV on Box Turtle Bulletin .  Begins with a haunting traditional dirge and then busts loose.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Amazing Time Lapse Video from Space

Stunning NASA footage form the International Space Station turned into time-lapse video.  I really can't say more, it is mesmerizing, especially the aurora borealis shimmering around the poles.  Enjoy!

A-List "Reality" Star Assaulted - (Update)

According to a British tabloid, Taylor Garret was attacked recently by what he describes as being a victim of "Democratic ideals". 

According to the Daily Mail:
Taylor Garrett, 27, a Republican consultant who appears on the Logo network's 'A-List Dallas,' said Saturday that he was at a party with some friends when he was accosted by an unknown male.

He claimed the person had scrawled 'F*ck Coulter' on his car, and when he asked what he was doing, the person attacked him.

Garrett said he was hit in the left eye and suffered scrapes on his body before the attacker ran away.
 So far only a blog, The Daily Caller has been shown pictures of the alleged attack and they haven't released them yet.

So here's my take.  Violence against anyone is unacceptable. If we attacked everyone who disagreed with us we would spend all our time fighting like the Hatfields and McCoys.  Frankly I am a bit skeptical about the first alleged attack on Taylor and remain equally skeptical about this.

Reality TV is rarely real, and the story lines are constantly manipulated by producers and stars alike.  It is entirely conceivable that the whole thing is a set up, it is also conceivable that it is real.  When you put yourself out there with what is seen by a lot of folks as paling around with people who oppress the LGBT community, it's not surprising to face some criticism but violence is way beyond criticism.

Do I think Garret is working against LGBT rights.  Not really, he is working to further himself and though it might be pretty un-altruistic, it's not a crime.  I just hope he one day realizes that money and privileged will not by equality.  And his comment that Liberals are hateful is about as far from the truth as I can imagine.  Maybe he can find the compassion he seeks from people like Ann Coulter.  She certainly seems to be a warm and loving person.  (let the flaming begin!)

UPDATE:  The Dallas Voice has the police report on the assault, so apparently it really happened.  The person who assaulted Garret is still in question.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy 11.11.11 Day


Las Vegas knows how to celebrate everything in style, or at least with lots of feathers and rhinestones!

And of course, giant dice.

The Real Outrage of Penn State

What would you do if you walked into a shower area of a team locker room and saw a coach having sex with a 10 year old boy?  If your answer does not include either, try to stop it, call the police or both, then this rant is not for you.

That horrifying scenario is exactly what happened at Penn State when Mike McQueary, grad student at the time, saw Jerry Sandusky, defensive coordinator, having sex with what appeared to be a 10 year old boy.  The only difference is, he didn't try to stop it, or report it to police.  He merely told Tim Curley, the athletic director who then told Joe Paterno.

And then they went to the police? 

Nope.  He just barred Sandusky from bringing children onto campus and that he advised school president of the matter.

And then they wnet to the police?

Nope.

So now years later when this whole thing has blown wide open, Joe Paterno has been booted, Sandusky finally charged and the whole cast of characters has been sidelined until the mess is sorted out in the courts.

Meanwhile, the students at Penn State are outraged.  Not by the allegations of child abuse, cover up or just plain lackadaisical response, but because their coach won't be at the big game.  Say what?

I guess child abuse just doesn't stack up to the great god-football.  Sad state of affairs indeed.

Happy Veteran's Day

Contrary to what a lot of folks think, I am not a veteran. I grew up in the Vietnam Era, but my draft number was too high, and I was an asthmatic out-of-shape kid in college at the time.  I did protest the war, and went to rallies against it.  I did speak out against what I considered and still consider American intervention in the politics of another country with no strategic or compelling reason to be there.

What I never did was disrespect the young men and women who were put in harms way by our government at the time.  I have a profound respect for our military and since several of my family members have served in the armed forces I understand how much courage and dedication it takes for both the soldiers and the families at home.

So on this Veteran's Day, I want to thank all the men and women who have fought or wars, defended our country and given so much when asked by our country.  Especially now, with an all volunteer Armed Forces, the dedication and patriotism of these people amazes me. I sincerely wish them all the best and hope you will remember them today and everyday. 

Just to help make this day more special , go up to the next man or woman in the military you see and thank them for their service to our country.  It will make them feel appreciated and will make you a little more humble in the presence of such sacrifice.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Police Beat Students at UC Berkley

This is happening in America, just 4.5 miles away from Occupy Oakland demonstrations. What the hell is going on with the police?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Rick Perry Screws Up Again!

If he isn't drunk he's just a clown and his political career is over.  Hard to watch he's so bad in the debate tonight.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Occupy Wall Street - TV Ad, Finally!

A group of film makers made this and it is designed to run on Fox News.  Not sure if that will happen but it deserves all the views it can get!

Enjoy!

Ellen DeGeneres named as a Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness.

From the White House PR Feed:

During a major address on November 8, 2011 on HIV/AIDS at the National Institutes of Health, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that Ellen DeGeneres has been named as a Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness.

In this role, Ms. DeGeneres will use her celebrity platform to raise awareness about the global fight against AIDS.  In a letter to Ms. DeGeneres, Secretary Clinton stated, “By lending us your energy, compassion, and star power to serve as our Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness, your words will encourage Americans in joining you to make their voices heard in our campaign to achieve an AIDS-free generation. The enormous platform of your television show and your social media channels will enable you to reach millions of people with the strong and hopeful message that we can win this fight.”

"I’m honored to have been chosen by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as Special Envoy for Global AIDS awareness.  The fight against AIDS is something that has always been close to my heart.  And I’m happy that I can use my platform to educate people and spread hope. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go look up what “envoy” means," said talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Ambassador Eric Goosby, head of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), said “At this historic moment in our global fight against AIDS, we are thrilled that we have someone like Ellen DeGeneres on our team to raise awareness that we are on the path to beating this devastating disease.  We at PEPFAR look forward to working with her to deliver a positive and hopeful message that we can work together to put an end to AIDS.”

Through “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Ms. DeGeneres reaches millions of people every day, including 8 million followers on Twitter and 5.8 million Facebook fans.  On and off screen, the Emmy award-winning entertainer is involved in several humanitarian causes including anti-bullying; animal rescue and rehabilitation; and breast cancer awareness.  Ellen has previously worked with the advocacy organization ONE to raise awareness about the fight against AIDS.

GOP Backed Measures Fall Flat

The good news about the very off-year electonthat happened yesterday was that not only did a lot of Democrats get elected or re-elected, but the ultra-conservative agenda of the GOP/Teaparty was soundly defeated nationwide in most cases. 

Most notable was the bat guano crazy "personhood" amendment in Mississippi.  It would have given fertilized eggs full rights as people.  I am pretty sure there were already lawyers booking flights to Mississippi for the tsunami of lawsuits that would be spawned by that lame-brained idea.

New York Times has lots more.

Wednesday Bible Verse - Amos 5:10 - 5:14

OK, I rarely haul out Bible verses, but while reading this morning I was struck by the words of the Prophet Amos who was writing about the sins of Israel. These words ended a long rebuke against them but they resonate with me today.
10 They hate the one who reproves in the gate,
and they abhor the one who speaks the truth.
11 Therefore, because you trample on the poor
and take from them levies of grain,
you have built houses of hewn stone,
but you shall not live in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards,
but you shall not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your transgressions,
and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe,
and push aside the needy in the gate.
13 Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time;
for it is an evil time.
14Seek good and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
just as you have said.
I have found that reading the Prophets can be very inspiring.  Their words, though meant for another time, still ring true to our present condition.  I remind myself that Prophets are not fortune tellers, predicting the future through supernatural means, they were truth-tellers, speaking truth to the power of the day. Because of that, I can still find truths in these words today.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Meet Your New Robot Overloads

This gets spookier every day.

Distribution of Wealth & the Imperial Society in the United States

Though we consider ourselves a democracy our country has fallen into a pattern of wealth distribution that more aptly resembles a monarchy.  The whole 1% vs. 99% protest which has it's most visible element as the Occupy Wall Street movement is nothing new.  This has been the critical mass that has tipped societies into major change for many centuries.  The most obvious example dates to Biblical stories.

Consider the whole Israel captive in Egypt story of Exodus.  The power structure in Egypt at the time was marked with three distinct characteristics.

1. Economic Exploitation - 66% of the wealth of the kingdom which was produced mainly from agriculture by peasants ended up in the hands of the ruling class.  Their wealth was acquired primarily through taxation and direct ownership of the land.

2. Political Oppression - The majority of the populate had no voice in the structuring of society.  They were servants of the elite.

3. Religious Legitimization - The religion of the time affirmed that the ruling elite were ordained by God.

Consider the structure of our society today.

1. Economic Exploitation - Here are the figures from the Federal Reserve report, "Changes in the Distribution of Wealth, 1989–2004" published in  2006. In the United States 20% of the population owns 84% of the wealth. The next 20 % holds 11%, the third 20 % 4 %.     When you get down to the 4th 20% (0.2%) and the bottom 20% (0.1%) the amounts are in the decimal points.

2. Political Oppression - As of the Supreme Court ruling "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission", corporations and big business have unlimited spending power to sway elections.  This means the folks with the most money can effectively install whoever they want in power. It was a landmark ruling and it fundamentally changed the way our government functions.    Add to this the continuous campaign to limit voter participation by the GOP and the problem becomes crystal clear.

3. Religious Legitimization - The growing "Prosperity Gospel" movement points to the idea that those who have wealth somehow deserve it, either through their own hard work or through God's reward.  The idea that our country is a meritocracy is a myth being continuously reenforced by politicians and more recently, fundamentalist church leadersThis is not to say the ruling elite believes this, but the doctrine does constantly remind it's followers that God blesses those who deserve it, and that works almost exactly like that infamous "opiate for the masses" noted by Karl Marx. 


Now before you go calling me a Marxist and dismissing my argument out of hand, consider this.  I will be the first to tell you that Marxism was a utopian ideal that does not work.  Communism is it's failed child and the evidence of it's failure is the whole Soviet Union collapse.  The vestigaes of communism that remaiin in China, are nothing more than the same thing we have in this country with the exception that the vast number of Chinese know that have no vote or political power.  We on the other hand still labor under that illusion that we are a democracy.

So how do we change this disturbing situation?  Good question.  Don't look to the Occupy Wall Street movement for answers, all they have done is raise the question.  They have brought to prominence the issue and now they are squandering their moment in the sun by failing to deliver a concise solution, or even a suggestion of a solution.  Because of this, I fear they will become footnotes to the 21st century.

The only way to stop the runaway greed that is gutting our economy is through re-establishing regulations that prevented it from happening before.  That will take political power and lots of detailed work to un-weave the tangle of laws and regulations that are rigged to benefit those who already have power and money.

That will take the 99% to band together and change the system politically at the polls and through the courts. For that to happen, we need to start spreading a clear simple message that everyone can understand.

The System Has Been Rigged!

It's time to un-rig it.  Fox News, the Right-Wing the Tea Party, Conservative Democrats are all tools of the Corporate owners of or country.  We the people have to demand that our elected officials actually do something to restore the real promise of democracy.  We cannot wait on another Moses to lead us to the promise land.