Saturday, June 27, 2015

If I Was A Gay Man

If I Was A Gay Man

If I was a gay man
Aiming to be me
Loving love as I do
From the 1970’s
Would I retreat to darkness
Sheltered in my fear
I contemplate a different me
Not a life sincere

If I loved a man
Transparent as I am
My preference sleeved and ready
Friends I would not have
On the field of dreams
My glove did not perform
Cast aside for less deserved
For living in my soul

I love a woman
What if I loved a man
Today I could be married
Take my lover’s hand
Me no longer hiding
Not meant to feel ashamed
My passion wholly granted
I am who I am

Monday, June 22, 2015

Tired of the Racism In Life

I am tired of being a part of a divided country. I am tired of being a country where we cannot even agree on simplistic terms because of beliefs and past perceived sleights. I am tired of fighting about things over and over, but I will be damned if I allow my country to go back to the age where different races and the different sexes are treated differently under the law because of hatred, fear, and prejudice. 

The definition of the word Terrorism according to Merriam-Webster:

The use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal

Well, according to the definition, Dyllan Roof fits it. He killed 9 African-Americans in a church. And he allowed one person to live, allegedly so she could tell everybody what he did: killing black people because of their skin color. So we have a violent act. It was intended to frighten black people with the threat of more violence. And what was the political goal? To have the political powers segregate the races again. That is the textbook definition of terrorism.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

From Denmark Vesey and back to Charleston

I really don't have much to articulate regarding what happened in Charleston, SC last night, believe it or not, because there is so much that needs to be said about guns in this country but more importantly the violent nature of this country and as equally importantly how that anger seems to be focused way to much on one segment of our society, those who already struggle with a certain level of oppression to this day -- but all I can seem to do in my head is just fucking scream.

Luckily there's Charlie Pierce, who is at his best when he's angry.  If you don't read Charlie (I see him on you are missing out.

Please read here his piece regarding what happened last night and hopefully he doesn't mind that the title of this post plagiarizes him to a certain extent.  Thank you, Charlie, for saying what needs to be said.

As you know, I'm an atheist but I find it abhorrent on top of abhorrent to hear about this act of butchery, savagery and complete cowardice.  Our nations needs to finally get off its collection FAT, apathetic asses and demand a real change in direction.  Thank you.

UPDATE:  It's a shame that before today we, at least in the white community, had not heard of this church and understood its importance in our country's history and continuing importance in the African American community.
And even though these first two terms are unfortunately overused these days, this was a hate crime and a terrorist act.  It was also an assassination in that a pastor and state senator was killed.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

White Delusion

This linked article by Tim Wise, adding a modern addendum to the words of James Baldwin, is fabulous and engrossing, true, true and true.
This being Mother's Day, I'm going to share it so that you can read it on your own time and I want the opportunity to be reminded to come back to it again.  Please read this, even if you've read it before.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Politics of Fear and Religion

For the past week and a half, the politics of religion has been at the forefront of the news because of the Religious Freedom Laws of Indiana and Arkansas. We all know that people believed those laws in those states would discriminate against gay and lesbian people in those states. And they raised such a stink that the Laws were changed to say that businesses and individuals could not discriminate against gays and lesbians. I applaud that people that can sway public opinion stepped up and fought these laws. I only ask one question: Where have you been in the past?

These laws are part of the politics of fear. You know them quite well from the past 6 years of demagoguery. I see that the "Death Panels" from the Affordable Care Act have not come to pass quite yet. Or that the "War on Christmas" hasn't put the word Christmas out to pasture. I am still waiting to see the United States declare that we are taking orders from the United Nations. (We are starting to see some of our congressmen decide that they want to take orders from Tel Aviv, but that is something else entirely.) I would still like to analyze the thought patterns of people that think that President Obama has decided that he will take his orders from the Chinese so that country can take over the United States. Or the fact that gays in this country are asking for Religion to be taken out of the public square. (That is laughable to me, because I live in a state that still has a Blue Law stating that only certain businesses can be open on Sundays before noon so people can attend their religious services.)  I am still waiting to see concrete proof that there are Muslim conclaves in America where nobody of another religion can go into without being fear for their life.

In the above paragraph, those are just a few of the things that have been coming from the right. There are others. But detailing them isn't important. The left has two major fear political platforms. Oil and major corporations. Detailing them is not important to this post. All the politics of fear do is try to divide people. This has been proven time and time again. If you can cause people to fear someone else because they are going to cause you harm or they are going to get further ahead in life than you are going to, then they become the enemy. The gay people in the Indiana and Arkansas were the people that we had to protect society from. Why? Because they are causing the erosion of society and religion. Proof of that? The American Family Association based out of Tupelo, Mississippi.

The AFA have produced a DVD called "They're Coming To Your Town" Here is the synopsis of the video from the AFA:

“For 40 years Eureka Springs has been known as a resort town for Christians. Their Passion Play has been attended by hundreds of thousands of Christians. But the activists are now in the process of turning Eureka Springs into a haven for homosexuals. ‘They're Coming To Your Town' shows how, using deceitfulness and lies, homosexuals maneuvered themselves into positions of power and then used those positions to promote their agenda. ‘They're Coming To Your Town' is an eye-opener to those who are not familiar with how homosexuals use the system to attain their goals. It is a 28-minute DVD, making it perfect for viewing during Sunday School.”

Sort of speaks volumes about what the footage is probably against.  Eureka Springs had a flare-up of religious disagreement earlier in April. From the -

EUREKA SPRINGS-- An annual Eureka Springs Easter parade, surrounded by controversy this weekend, after one church congregation was asked not to participate.

The Celebrate Jesus Easter Parade has been growing in Eureka Springs over the past three years. This year the Eureka Springs First Methodist Church applied to be in the parade, wanting to carry a sign saying "Jesus loves all." The church was denied, and now they're asking why.

Eureka Springs Celebrate Jesus Easter parade made its way through downtown Saturday afternoon, but one church was left on the sidelines.

First United Methodist of Eureka Springs applied to be in the parade, and was initially accepted. One week before the parade, however, they were told they were no longer welcome. Church member Suzie Bell believes it's because of their stance on the LGBT community.

"They wanted to know what our banner was going to say, and it said "Jesus loves all. They had decided that they did not want us in the parade, and that we weren't welcome." Bell said.

Bell says the Methodist Church has recently become a "reconciling congregation" meaning they are publicly welcoming of the LGBT community. Bell says that is the reason they weren't allowed in.

"It was based purely on our love and acceptance of the LGBT community." Bell said.

The sad thing is that during the past decade, we are seeing more and more politics of religion as those who do not subscribe to Christianity's tenets decide that they do not want to have to follow the majority religion of America. And that is their right according to the United States Constitution. But the majority of Christians here in America believe that this is trying to eliminate religion from America. And that is not right to them, but they support any law that says that Sharia Law is not valid here in the United States. Why? Because that defends Christianity and the laws that have been imposed on the society by Christians (like the North Dakota Blue Law stated earlier). So in a land that is supposed to be secular, we have laws based upon Christian religion. Not the perfect thing, but something we have to deal with.

And the thing that Christians point to about homosexuality being wrong is Leviticus. Of course, they don't follow the other laws set forth in Leviticus. Most Christians sin each and every day and go against God's laws each and every day. And you will hear the faithful say that the Old Testament is no longer followed because the son came down and gave us the New Testament. But even that statement is false. Why?

The Book of Matthew Chapter 5, Verse 17 - "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill."
The Book of Matthew Chapter 5, Verse 18 - "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished."

I can use Bible verses to support my opinions. So in the first book of the New Testament, Jesus says that he is not abolishing the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill what has come before. Tells me that the 10 Commandments are still in effect. And until everything is accomplished in the New Testament, that the Law still reigns. Sort of sounds like Christians are being hypocrites yet again in their way of life.

Finally, I am going to ask these Christians that believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible a couple of easy questions. Should be easy enough to answer these. Why do Christians now not believe that Slavery is correct? 200 years ago, Christians believed that slavery was supported by the Bible. Why is interracial marriage allowed in Christianity? 60 years ago, Christian Churches believed that the Bible said that the mixing of the races was against God's word. What teachings have come forth in the past 200 years that have been included in the Bible that were not there in the 1700's? None that I know of. But I do know of something that changed. Public opinion.

The politics of fear and religion combine to be a great force in America. Until this society advances enough to eliminate the politics of religion and overcome the stigma of not being Christian, we can expect to see more and more divisions in the people and some more stupid laws trying to be passed to cater to by the hypocrites that call themselves Christians. We all lose when that happens.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Keystone XL Pipeline Isn't What We Need

This post might not have a major impact to the West and East Coasts of the United States, but it does talk about the nightmare that the Republicans are trying to pass through congress and the ability to have the Keystone XL pipeline run from the Alberta Tar Pits down to the Louisiana Gulf. Now I am not above using fossil fuels to provide energy. But the pipeline has too many big promises that will not come true. It is become just another big lie that the GOP thinks they can push through.

The CEO of TransCANADA does say that the State Department report on the proposed pipeline will have about 50 permanent jobs. 50! Nothing like a major impact on the job market into the future. The state department does say that it will provide about 50,000 temporary jobs like waitresses and shopkeepers for about 2 years. Put in about 4,000 temporary construction workers into the mix. That is great for 2017 or 18 when you have 50,000 people moving away from the pipeline and the temporary camps that will be shutting up after the pipeline is done. Maybe we can find more part-time jobs for people since corporations can't seem to waste any penny of profit.

We understand here in North Dakota what cost an oil spill has on the economy and the environment. The economic impact is felt because the oil companies are fined a small amount, and the state government foots the bill if the oil company doesn't fulfill their requirement to clean the entire spill up. In fact, ask Alaskans or Floridians how easy it is to clean up oil spills and how short the time is that the oil is a minor hindrance to enjoying the environment. Here in the 2nd largest oil producing state in America, we have had oil companies flaunting their breaking of the rules. We have had radioactive socks that are supposed to be stored with Nuclear waste just thrown into dumpsters and stored en mass in abandoned buildings. We have had oil spills and leaks that the oil companies had to notice, but conveniently missed. Oil flow regulators have conveniently become broken and miss leaks on the pipelines. But I just know that wouldn't happen on the Keystone XL, would it? Oops, maybe I spoke too soon.

Alberta is known for it's gas and oil. Unfortunately, the canadian oil companies seem to know how to spill lots of crude like their American counterparts. The West Coast Native News has been compiling stats about oil spills in Alberta. And the thing is that spills are not uncommon. In October alone, Crude Oil and toxic produced water was spills in the amount of 600,000 Liters. 1 Liter is equal to .264 gallons. So what we have is approximately 158503 Gallons of toxic stuff being spilled in Alberta for 1 month. There are 42 gallons in a barrel of oil or 3774 barrels of crude or water mixed with crude that is spilled in Alberta in 1 month. Now let's ask this question. What makes us think that the companies that are spilling all of that sludge in Alberta will make the pipelines safer here in America? We know that the federal government regulation is a joke. We understand that the companies will not police itself. So the question still stands. Why do we think that the Keystone XL pipeline which is carrying oil through the heartland of the United States will not have the same problems?

Another thought came into my head. Remember when this was first proposed? Why was it that we needed to have this pipeline? Oh, I remember. It was for energy security and independence from the rest of the world. We needed this pipeline to produce crude so we can refine it and eliminate the importation of oil. Does anybody remember the arguments of the GOP back then? And why can't the GOP members of congress who have fought tooth and nail for this remember those arguments? And the reason I believe that this pipeline isn't being used for energy independence is also from the GOP. Remember when Iraq was hot and heavy with American casualties? The GOP was screaming that we needed energy independence and that government regulation had caused oil companies not to be building oil refineries for the past 20 years. And the reason that gas prices had risen so high is because of the lack of refining space. So where does this make sense outside GOP land? You have a lack of space to make the finished product, so you want to produce more raw materials. Where does the raw material go? To other countries so they can refine it and sell it back to us with a markup. That is what I call helping your donors, not solving the nations problems.

Finally, I will go back to a previous point. In all the reports of spills and leaks, there is nothing speaking about what damage the toxic substances do the environment or the wildlife. Why? I believe that it would cause major problems for the supporters of fossil fuels. It has been reported that it will take decades for the local wildlife and environment to revert back to the way it was for just a small spill. They are still finding that the oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico from the Gulfwater Horizon is affecting the wildlife. That it has caused medical problems with people and has killed the ability of people in certain industries to make a living.

This project has the potential to cause major problems for the country. Running pipeline through agricultural land can cause problems for our food. It can cause tainted food that gets into the distribution network and all of a sudden, we have a major catastrophe on our hands. And the reason that we are taking this chance? For money, nothing more, nothing less. Who says that elections don't mean anything. The people that elected the GOP into power knew what they wanted and are going to eventually get it. So if you voted for the GOP, I hope you get what you wanted. If you don't like what the GOP is doing and decided not to vote, stop your bitching. You voted with your non-action. Hope you like what you get.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

We Cannot Understand That The US Constitution Is Law Here In ND

On November 4th, the voters of North Dakota are ready to vote a constitutional amendment into their state constitution that contradicts the Supreme Court and their ruling in Roe v. Wade. Here is the Amendment that will pass here.

Constitutional Measure No. 1
(Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 4009, 2013 Session Laws, Ch. 519)
This constitutional measure would create and enact a new section to Article I of the North Dakota Constitution stating, “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

It seems to me that when the Supreme Court goes with a ruling, that the states should say hey this is the law of the land. We should follow it and put our efforts towards other things. But of course, we can't.

So the law here in North Dakota, (which doesn't matter because of the Supreme Court finding that there is a fundamental right for a woman to have an abortion until such time that the fetus is viable), means that the fetus that has been grown into existence two days ago has the same rights as every human walking the state.  And of course, we have over 2,000 children in Foster Care each and every year here. But we cannot figure out how to get them into homes where they will stay with grown ups that love them and set a good example for them when they get out on their own. Let's not worry about those kids, let's worry about those embryos that may or may not get to grow into children and may or may not be raised by caring parents. Because if you listen to the news around here lately, you would think that the majority of parents are only out for their own self-gratification, not to watch out for their children.

I am tired of the culture wars that spring up all the time. I am tired of the divisiveness that come with fighting over moral issues. What works for one person does not work for another. Why do you think that the language of the Constitution is so vague? It is because the framers figured out that putting strict guidelines would only alienate people, not bring them together. And this Constitutional Measure will cause more divisiveness.  But I can also tell you that I will keep fighting to have the laws of the land followed and not changed by some people that have the might of their morals and virtue to change things. Especially if they are close-minded. Here is looking at you, the North Dakota State Government.