December 5, 2014

Lies and the lying liars who tell them:

Petroleum edition

I've kept my yap shut about this just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now that it has I'll point my finger at the hypocritical Dimocrats that ran away from the President and lost their elections anyway... especially the dumbass in Louisiana (is that oxymoronic?).

This is Bill Girling, CEO of that supposed job creator, the Keystone XL Pipeline. Just a few weeks ago this lying liar and primo Foxsucker was promoting 40,000 "enduring" jobs created by the pipeline. Now he admits only about 50. Oh how the mighty do crash and burn. Hope he takes a few score of those money grubbing, lying GOPers in Congress with him... and let's include the remaining few Dims that took the big money to lie.

One thing is certain. You cannot trust the multinationals or the politicians in their pockets. They don't care about you one iota.


December 3, 2014

The Anointed vs the Other Sheep

Or why the hell do you proselytize when you know the Inn is Full? 

Jehovah's Witnesses is a Christian sect that teaches much of the same afterlife via salvation as all of the hundreds of splinter sects, just with a few curious differences. They don’t accept that being saved once is a permanent thing, believing instead that the salvation has to be maintained by good works. And unlike most of their cousins, JWs aren’t believers in fate or predestination, believing that God gave man free will.

So far so good for an evangelical cult, but then they go and jump the rails. Here they come down my driveway knocking on my door, as they did just last week, asking the classic, “Brother, do you have a few minutes to speak with us about Jesus Christ?”

As I normally do I stepped out on the porch and invited them to go on with their snake oil pitch. It wasn’t long before they got to the salvations part and asked, “don’t you want to go to heaven?” 

When I responded that I figured by now that heaven was already full to the gills, both of the Witnesses first looked at me with a quizzical expression, and then to each other. Neither understood my reference. This is just another anecdote indicating that often it is the non-believers who know more about the religion then do the believers.

The JWs preach that there are varying levels of God’s grace, basing their beliefs on the biblical verse found in Revelation 14:1-4. According to their own literature, heaven is a limited playground that is capable of holding only 144,000 of the faithful. There is no mention of which I am aware of any criteria differentiating one convert from another, so I’m left to believe that only the first 144,000 to get in line get a ticket to the show, and I figure they sold out a long time ago. These lucky few are called, the anointed.

So what does God do with the overflow? According to the sect’s teachings, Revelation 12:17 says the unlucky riff raff will simply remain alive or be resurrected to reside on the earth, much as we have been doing all along. The difference, according to John 3:3, is that we will be able to “see” heaven. Seems to me that it would be quite the bitch if you happened to be number 144,000 and your spouse was 144,001. 

This band of not-quit-good-enough-for-prime-time-players are called the “other sheep”, from a term Jesus used in John 10:16. Nobody really know who is anointed or who is a sheep, other than a few of the Witnesses who are convinced that they are anointed. For the most part none of the others pay these egotists much attention. 

So I sent my would be saviors packing back down the driveway in the direction from whence they'd come. Given the options and understanding the odds, I think I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun… with apologies to Billy Joel.

[All references King James Version]


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October 6, 2014

LAND GRAB: The disenfranchisement of a people

A repost of a previous story.

LAND GRAB: The disenfranchisement of a people

“My heart is filled with joy when I see you here, as the brooks fill with water when the snows melt in the spring; and I feel glad, as the ponies do when the fresh grass starts in the beginning of the year. My people have never first drawn a bow or gun against whites. There has been trouble on the line between us, and my young men have danced the war dance. But it was not begun by us. It was you who sent out the first soldier and we who sent out the second. The blue dressed soldiers and the Utes came out from the night when it was dark and still, and for campfires they lit our lodges. Instead of hunting game, they killed my braves, and the warriors of the tribe cut their hair for the dead. So it was in Texas. They made sorrow come in our camps, and we went out like the buffalo bulls when the cows are attacked. When we found them we killed them and their scalps hang in our lodges.

The Comanche are not weak and blind, like pups or a dog when seven sleeps old. They are strong and farsighted, like grown horses. We took their road and we went on it. The white women cried and our women laughed. But there are things which you have said which I do not like. They are not sweet like sugar, but bitter like gourds. You said that you wanted to put us upon a reservation, to build us houses and make us medicine lodges. I do not want them. I was born upon the prairie, where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I lived like my fathers before me, and like them I lived happily.”

These words were spoken in 1867 by the Chief Paruasemena (Young Bear) of the Yamparikas Comanche at the Medicine Lodge Treaty negotiations. There were three treaties signed at Medicine Lodge, Kansas, and all were abysmal failures. [i]

Settlers, the United States military and the tribes all failed to honor a number of articles in the treaties. The agreements were caught up in a bitter dispute between the House of Representatives and the Senate over which body had control of treaty making with the Nations. Then as now, politics was the fly in the ointment. Unresolved acrimony and political posturing spelled an end to treaty attempts after 1870. It also disrupted promised appropriations and rations for reservations. This made a bad situation worse as the rations were wholly inadequate in the first place. The result was famine and sickness for the natives on the reservations. Discontented young men left the reservation with their families, returning to the old way of raiding settlements, both out of anger for the dishonesty of the government’s agents, and to alleviate their starving conditions. It wasn’t long before the wars reached fevered pitch.

The previous brief history describes the beginning of the end of the story. The origin of the story harkens from prehistoric times. Abundant evidence has been unearthed suggesting that primitive human society existed on the American continents for some 12 millennia, but with their origins remaining somewhat a mystery. [ii]

Evidence of these peoples has been found in scattered locations across the North American Great Plains. For several years we called these natives the Clovis people. The first and most abundant evidence was discovered near that New Mexico city. We have since determined that there were three separate and unrelated DNA lines that appeared on these continents within a few thousand years of each other. They were of different bloodlines, but all were foot nomads. It was the Clovis bloodline that was ancestor to the Shoshonean nations, from which the Comanche are descendant.

The early nomads were hunters who ventured onto the plains in search of large game. They hunted mammoth, musk ox, reindeer, elk, bear and primitive horses. After about 3,000 years the focus shifted to the early bison; predecessor of the buffalo. The people migrated in search of game, but returned every year to traditional, high ground locations to prepare for the coming winter. These traditional camps and the artifacts found there are where much of our knowledge originates.

This lifestyle continued in one form or another for centuries, but then along came the European invasion.

It started with the Spanish, followed soon afterwards with the French, Dutch and English. The western march of settlements brought strangers with strange customs into regular contact with native tribes. Many of the tribes and bands were friendly to the newcomers, receiving the new settlers with good grace and offering trade. Other resisted contact and simply moved further west. The Euro-Christian concept of Manifest Destiny and the Homestead Act of 1862 provided false justification for settlers to push further west, creating more competition for a finite lands and hunting, creating tension between the settlers and the Natives.

Many treaties were signed in futile efforts to assuage conflict, promising land, rations and peace, but the treaties were almost never honored. The Christian concept of manifest destiny manifested as bigotry in these situations, and the natives were treated as savages. The natives responded in kind.

The Comanche tribe provided one of the main sources of resistance. The Comanche were famous for their horsemanship and ferocity. The roving bands became notorious for raids on homesteads and towns, and for kidnapping settler women and children, the most famous of whom was Cynthia Parker; mother of Quanah Parker. This resistance served only to heighten tensions between the settlers and the natives.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, some Indian tribes attempted to align themselves with what they believed would be the winning side. In the case of the Comanche, that side was the Confederacy. When the war ended with the Greycoats losers, the Comanche were brought to Fort Smith in Arkansas and made to swear loyalty to the United States government.

The humiliation did not long last and soon came a resurgence of the Comanche as rulers of the plain. They spread out over large expanses of the southern plains, took what they had learned from the white man and began to expand both militarily and economically. They fought both diplomatically and violently to maintain power in their areas of control. In the Treaty of Little Arkansas in 1865, the tribe was awarded a large piece of land spanning parts of Oklahoma and Texas. Some parts of this region, known as Comancheria, later became part of the reservation system.

The tribe continued their raids and soon the United States government took action. The Comanche Campaign is a term used by the government to describe the organized effort to drive the Comanche off their land. The Comanche redoubled their resistance in a series of violent clashes with the settlers between 1867 and 1875.

The government was intent on taking the Comanche land. In 1871 Col. Ranald “Bad Hand” Mackenzie was given command of the Fourth Cavalry Regiment and sent to Texas to force the Comanche onto the reservation. Over the next few years, using large bodies of troops, Mackenzie engaged in dozens skirmishes with the Comanche in the area known as the Llano Estacado. Mackenzie was determined to force the tribe off its land. [iii]

In the early morning hours of Monday, September 28, 1874, in a deep Red River canyon in the Texas Panhandle, 400 troops led by Mackenzie attacked a still sleeping camp of Kiowa, Comanche and Cheyenne. The women and children not killed in the initial attack retreated up the canyon while the men engaged the soldiers allowing their families to escape. The engagement lasted hours, and by noon the surviving natives had escaped. They left lodges, horses and supplies gathered for the coming winter behind. Mackenzie ordered the lodges burned and the supplies destroyed. Next he slaughtered 1,048 horses and mules leaving the natives afoot. Without horses, shelter or food, the natives faced a killing winter. [iv]

The Palo Duro Canyon fight was the largest engagement in the Red River Wars. It marked the end of the Southern Plains Indians' military resistance. The once proud Comanche surrendered and were forcibly resettled onto the reservation. A proud people was dispossessed of land that had been their ancestral birthright for over 12,000 years. To this day locals visit the Palo Duro to collect meal from the decomposed bones of the horses, many of them oblivious to the history upon which they stand.




[i] Jacki Thompson Rand, “Medicine Lodge Treaty (1867),” Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, <http://digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia/entries/M/ME005.html> (Accessed 2014.04.27).

[ii] W. Fitzhugh, I. Goddard, S. Ousley, D. Owsley, D. Stanford. "Paleoamerican Origins." Encyclopedia Smithsonian, Science and Technology. Anthropology Outreach Office, Smithsonian Institution, 1999. <http://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_SI/nmnh/origin.htm> (Accessed 2014.04.27).

[iii]  Ernest Wallace, "MACKENZIE, RANALD SLIDELL," Handbook of Texas Online <http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fma07> (accessed 2014.04.27), Uploaded on 2010.06.15, Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

[iv] T. R. Fehrenbach, Comanches: The Destruction of a People”, 1974, LCCN 73-20761. Republished in 2003 as Comanches: The History of a People, ISBN 1-4000-3049-8, LCCN 2003-267713

September 14, 2014

Blasphemy laws in America

The Internet machine lit up last week when a Pennsylvania youth pulled a boner (pun intended) by posting a Facebook photo of himself in a rather tasteless pose with a praying jesus statue. This got our hapless 14-year-old miscreant charged with the crime of blasphemy and threatened with a two-year stretch in the Juvie pokey.

This law, which appears to be the product of somebody’s poop chute isn’t actually titled “blasphemy”, but the effect is the same. Our teenage Bozo is being charged with “desecration, theft or sale of a venerated object”, a second-degree misdemeanor from a statute enacted in 1972. The “venerated object” in question is that jesus statue. Jesus is on private property owned by a group named “Love in the Name of Christ”.

So the local constabulary wants to charge the boy with “desecration”, which Pennsylvania law describes as “defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise physically mistreating” an object “in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities” of anyone who learns about it. Out hapless fool’s Facebook photo provides ample evidence that the child mounted the statue, striking a pose that most folks would find tasteless, but does it “outrage”, and even if so, did the boy “know” this? That one is going to be tough to prosecute, I think. A more sensible charge might be trespassing, but jesus was not vandalized or damaged. He is still kneeling in prayer with eyes fixed skyward, so there is no theft. I’m not sure how one might pollute a statue but jesus appears sober to me so I don’t think that happened.

But apparently there are plenty of people in Pennsylvania wearing shorts that are twisted or maybe a few sizes too small, because they think jesus was desecrated. Ask Webster what that word means and try to apply it to these circumstances. Only in the mind of a dogmatist could it be stretched that far.

Now I would agree the boy’s behavior was crude and certainly immature… he is 14… how mature were you at age 14? On the surface this law appears designed to defend religious objects from ridicule… which is the textbook definition of blasphemy.  Any way it is applied this law violates the free speech rights of this boy, and tramples all over the establishment clause to boot. I call foul, and I truly hope the township is silly enough to press it because even the wingnut Roberts Court would find the law out of bounds on First Amendment grounds.


###

September 10, 2014

Pushing the reset button

We often hear folks saying inane things like “Those people have been killing each other for a thousand year” when referring to Middle Eastern conflicts. There is some truth to that, but it actually doesn’t go far enough. It would be more accurate to say 1,200 years; and it started with Christianity.

In 325, Roman Emperor Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus; better known as Constantine I or Constantine the Great, fell under the influence of the Nicean Council and affirmed a view of Christianity that evangelicals will recognize… that Jesus and the Father are one and the same. The term in Greek is homoousios. The council condemned all other factions as false beliefs.

Next comes Flavius Theodosius Augustus, better known as Theodosius the Great, who was emperor from 379 to 395 and was so enamored with Constantine’s pet religion that he decreed that it was the official religion of the empire. Like all good Christians of the time he persecuted pagans and splinter Christian groups, proscribed the death penalty for “pagan” practices, destroyed “pagan” temples and pretty much abolished their holidays except for the ones already usurped by his particular cult.

Makes me think of that Johnny Cash song, Along Comes John; although in this case it was along comes Muhammad. 

About 200 years of persecution by the Niceans caused a bunch of wrinkled shorts, so when this Muhammad dude comes along saying he was the last prophet of Allah, called for war and led the hoards in battle against their tormentors… they gave him a medal and a 9-year-old bride. Muhammad was the first effective political and military leader of the Islamic community; preaching that it was God's mission for him to convert and conquer for Islam. Sound noble enough, except that his edicts were no less harsh than were those of Theodosius. He raised and army and set about slaughtering Christians, pagans and polytheistic Arabs.

Round and round it goes… where it stops nobody knows. Pick a side and reach for the brass ring… and tell me again how it isn’t religion that is the problem.

Just to add a few more names to what has become a virtual rogue’s gallery, think about the crimes committed by Pope Urban II (the 1st Crusade), Pope Gregory IX (founder of the Papal Inquisition), the Arch Deacon Ferrand Martinez (responsible for the massacre of 10,000 Jews), Tom├ís de Torquemada (2nd Crusade), John Calvin (established bizarre moral laws and burned offenders at the stake), Hong Xiuquan (believed himself the brother of Jesus, started the longest war in the history of China, killing about 20 million people in the process). 

More recently we have Ayatollah Khomeini (established his version of Sharia law in Iran, banned alcohol, western movies, non-religious and non-martial music, gender segregated sports and beaches, forced women to cover their hair, and men were banned from wearing shorts). Then there was Osama bin Laden, Muhammad Amin al Huseini, Mullah Muhammad Omar, and the Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld triumvirate. Until just recently part of the training for U.S. Air Force nuclear missile launch officers included indoctrination into some officer's view of how Jesus would push the button. (look it up!)

Adolph Hitler fits in here somewhere and to a lesser degree there is Joseph Kony, Jim Jones and David Koresh. Now we have this ISIS, ISIL, IS… whatever you want to call the thing… every bit of it the fault of religious fundamentalism and the moderate sheep bleating along behind.

Respect... screw it. 

Don’t talk to me of respect. If you follow any splinter of any religion… or any philosophy requiring blind faith, then you are one of those bleating sheep. I do not respect that. No matter how much I may respect you as a fellow human, unless you are standing up and loudly protesting the sins of you elders, I cannot respect your belief. Regardless of how functional, creative, progressive or capable you are in every other aspect of your life, I will not and can never respect the blight that is religion. It is your religion and it is your disease. Like alcoholism, until you admit the disease you will never overcome it.

If this angers you... that is your problem and evidence in support of my point. If you have any shred of an open mine and I’ve mentioned anyone or anything unfamiliar to you, or if you doubt my facts (PLEASE doubt my facts), spend some time doing research. Prove me wrong if you think you can.

Our world is a far bigger place than our current petty feuding and the petty, greedy players would have you think. Step away from the trees and learn to love the forest. 

Do I really need to give credit for the author of these words?

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one


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August 31, 2014

Sunday Funnies