The Cosmos Explained by the Easter Bunny Saturday, Apr 19 2014 

 

Sometimes one finds a series of photos on the net that explain everything — such is this series — which I freely admit are not mine and I can’t even remember where I found them on some blog and I doubt it belonged to them either — but whoever made these was a genius for um — for sarcasm.

And this about sums up the cosmos in many a person’s perspective — astoundingly so — sadly so.
And it certainly sums up the entire argument against gay guys — this is the logic of it … and well, being busy of late – having not much to say on divers matters — and yet still reading the mindless mush which is published by many left right and middle — each with an axe to grind — So you all have a happy Easter … said the bunny

 

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

tumblr_mm4m9moni41rc5hfyo9_1280

Jacques Le Goff on “The Evolution of Marriage” Monday, Apr 14 2014 

I’ve been reading a book on the Middle Ages – by internationally renowned scholar of the period Jacques Le Goff. Here’s his short bit on “The Evolution of Marriage” – as this section is called:

“In the evolution of sensibilities and customs that took place at the beginning of the feudal period, new attitudes to love hold a particularly important place. They were elaborated against the background of a decisive evolution in the concept of marriage. Marriage figured as an important element in the Gregorian reform (to which we shall be returning below) through which the Church bestowed upon it new characteristics that have remained for the most part constant throughout most of Europe, down to the present day. Marriage now became decidedly monogamous, where as the aristocracy had thitherto practiced a de facto polygamy; it also became dissoluble. It was now difficult to repudiate a wife. The Holy See endeavored to monopolize judgment on this matter. Virtually the only justification for it that it accepted was consanguinity, closely defined down to the fourth degree and over which it maintained a strict control. At the same time and no doubt in reaction to these stricter rules on marriage, adultery, which seemed to be on the increase, was punished extremely severely. No doubt the most important point here is that marriage, which until then had been a civil contract, now increasingly became aa religious matter controlled by the Church. The latter managed to reduce the number of arranged marriages by ruling that union must be by mutual consent, and thereby improved the status of women, even if the decisions made by families and men remained crucial. In the twelfth century, marriage was classed as one of the sacraments that only priests could administer. The Church’s method of controlling marriage and avoiding unions between blood relatives was essentially by getting the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) to make it obligatory to publish bans that were posted up in the church were the ceremony was planned to take place. All the same, the celebration of marriage took some to penetrate the actual edifice of the church. Right down to the sixteenth century, marriages usually took place outside the church rather than inside it.”

Pages 56 – 57 of Jacques Le Goff, “The Birth of Europe”; Blackwell Publishing, (c) 2005 Malden Massachusetts and Oxford England.

From the bio-blurb: Mr. Le Gooff is “professor of History at Ecole des Haute Etudes en Sciences Socialese in Paris. He is among France’s “great” historians, and is considered internationallyto be one of the foremost scholars of his generation. He has written widely on medieval history and his book include, “Medieval Civilization,” “Intellectuals and the Middle Ages” and “The Medieval World”

So – let us say that “marriage” has been changing and undergoing ‘redefinition’ for quite some time. And that incest – or within the fourth degree of consanguinity – or common blood – was quite common until the church put a stop to it. So was “de facto” polygamy. So was adultery. I dare say – all the fears that “gay marriage” will lead to any of this are so absurd I can’t imagine anyone holding that we are returning to the period of 1000 years ago. Not to mention that until the 1500s – marriages weren’t even performed in Churches – and at most on the steps outside.

So this whole nonsense about this historical marriage that has existed forever exactly as it always has is sort of nonsense.

And then, just as the Church was getting its clutches on the institution – another noted historian, John Boswell, noted that with the coming of the Black Death – the blessing of male-couples seems to have disappeared. Before then it seemed to be quite common for a small percentage of the male population. Mr. Boswell’s books “Same Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe” and others – are well researched and documented – but of course – since Boswell was gay – that would be bad to point to his books. You know, “Promoting Homosexuality” or something.

And it is mind numbing of late to hear politicians and many preachers too – be so historically illiterate that the spout mumbo-jumbo of their faith without any historical reference and proof. It’s unseemly. And shows that politicians and preachers aren’t really that smart, when you get down to it – but are more winners of the popularity contest, in the case of politicians, and the dweeb contest, in the case of preachers. In either case – they have their axes to grind – and so remain willfully ignorant of the reality of history.

Still, one finds interesting things in books. Perhaps if politicians and preachers didn’t spend so much time fundraising they might well find the time to educate themselves.  

Huckabee’s Theocracy versus our Republic Friday, Apr 11 2014 

I don’t think Mr. Huckabee quite understands the difference between the Republic we live in – and the Theocracy which he seems to wish for. And while I don’t care how he believes in the Bible, I do care that he seeks political power to enact or enshrine his beliefs into law. And that’s what he seems to wish to do. He’s not considering running for president for nothing. And no, I don’t think he’s “homophobic” or a “wacko” as he terms it – but he doesn’t seem to quite understand that gay folks don’t have to believe in the Bible the way he sees it. Indeed, there are many interpretations of the Bible and its many chapters and verses. So it’s not so much what he says about his beliefs, so much as what he doesn’t say. Let’s take a look.

I get the quotes from this source:

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/huckabee-gaymarriage-bible-Iowa/2014/04/09/id/564496/

Former Baptist minister and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he may be on “the wrong side of history,” but believing marriage should be between a man and a woman is “on the right side of the Bible.”

What he doesn’t say is a peep about divorce and adultery – and I dare say, both are quite more clearly mentioned in the Bible than gay folks. If he were to be so sure about the “right side of the Bible” then surely I would hear him say something about divorce and adultery, yes? Surely he’s met and spoken with Newt Gingrich, John McCain and Donald Trump, right? He’s never uttered a word about their shenanigans, has he? A freshman Republican congressman from Louisiana was caught in flagrant adultery just this week – is Mr. Huckabee going to speak up about that? Call for the man’s resignation based on Bible Commandments?

But he doesn’t, apparently, or not that I’ve ever seen or heard him, say a thing about these things. He’s not calling for banning divorce. He’s not calling for action against adultery. He’s only concerned with the Pursuit of Happiness of gay folks. And what exactly gay couples have to do with his beliefs is hard to say in a legal or logical sense. He, and many like him, are quite sure gay folks can’t be Christians – or not the sort they like to hear about. Good enough. There are many people in this nation who are not Christians. There are also many Christians who reassessed what the vague provisions supposedly against gayness are all about. Why are those Christians not able to believe as they do? The schisms amongst Christians on many things has a long history – 2000 years of it, actually. Surely he’s aware of this? There are some 1400 different denominations of Christianity as I recall – each with a different take on Scripture. In the past murderously against each other over it. There are dozens of 1,000 year old letters extant between Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux and Hugh, Abbot of Cluny over Biblical interpretation.

But since our government, which he rightly decries as too big, has made many things dependent on marriage and family law – without reference to any religion or religious text whatsoever – it seems hard to be against couples who just wish to make their lives easier under the laws we must live. And he spoke to a group styled as:

In a keynote speech to the conservative Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, the FOX News commentator insisted his belief doesn’t make him “homophobic,” however, CNN reported.

What does he think the people in this group believe? I’ve seen enough of their commentary here and there – I suppose I could go look it up to get the exactness of it. But they are quite against gayness in any form. I’m sure some among them are more rabid or adamant about it than others. A Robert Vanderplante or Vanderplatte, I believe his name is one or the other, is quite histrionic over gay folks. He’s part of this coalition in Iowa. Why, the man tried to remove Iowa’s gay marriage decision and all who made it from the judiciary. And have the gay couples of Iowa had one iota of impact on anything anyone else does? None that can be discerned. But the people against government recognition of gay couples are quite sure these couples will destroy or wreck something or other. They’re not sure. Some argue gayness itself will “Destroy” society. The hustings are filled with such people.

Huckabee says: “I’m not against anybody,” he said. “I’m really not. I’m not a hater. I’m not homophobic. I honestly don’t care what people do personally in their individual lives.”

But he does care – who is he kidding? He knows full and well that couples do all sorts of things that require law – insurance, owning a house, inheritance, joint bank accounts – and by using the government to refuse to recognize gay couples he makes life more difficult for those couples. Why would he wish to make life more difficult for other people? People he really doesn’t know. And surely, if he’s so sure about his Bible interpretation he knows full well and good what his version says about gay men – and it is certainly all about gay men – this little “debate” we’re all having. He’s spoken with the Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage and other sundry groups – surely he knows their position on “homosexuality” as they so love to call it. Those two groups simply wish gay men to disappear somehow – change, stop being gay – become celibate monks – certainly the Catholic Church thinks we should be celibate. That church is clear about their position. They are also clear that Mr. Huckabee is a heretic. The announced that centuries ago. Which leads us to this:

“But … when people say, ‘Why don’t you just kind of get on the right side of history?’ I said, ‘You’ve got to understand, this for me is not about the right side or the wrong side of history, this is the right side of the Bible, and unless God rewrites it, edits it, sends it down with his signature on it, it’s not my book to change.’ Folks, that’s why I stand where I stand,” he said.

I dare say – with so many different versions of the Bible to say that “unless God rewrites it, edits it …” is rather humorous. Why, the various Christians of this world have done exactly that. They’ve rewritten it many times. As early as the Council of Nicea in the 360s AD they’ve been diddling with the “word of God.” Threw entire books out – the Apocrypha, they’re called. The Council was called precisely because of the many rewritings, editing, translation and interpretation troubles that beset early Christianity. And indeed, I’ve often wondered what the ancient Hebrew or Aramaic of the Old Testament for “homosexual” is – and too of ancient Greek in which much of the New Testament was written in. And what of the provisions in the Bible against women in politics – does Mr. Huckabee stand foursquare against that? He sure loved Sarah Palin! And what of the prohibitions against pork and shrimp? Should we work on prohibiting those – to be pure of Bible and the “word of “God”?

King James I of England so famously rewrote and edited the Bible – and banned and burned dozens of versions he didn’t like – to consolidate his new found power. That James was gay is just one of the ironies of the whole situation. James is clearly on record, sitting in Parliament and Palace with his boyfriend as saying “Jesus had his John, I have my Robert.” Meanwhile, every Bible I ever looked at has a copyright stamped into the front matter – I dare say, cheeky to copyright the “word of God,” yes? There’s so many versions of the Bible they might well take up a bookcase – all of them “rewritten” and “edited” by the hand of man. What’s one more time at this point?

Huckabee – considering a bid for the White House in 2016 – used the speech to emphasize his socially conservative values, targeting big government and calling the IRS a “criminal enterprise,” CNN reported.

Well, I doubt he’ll make it – but good luck – but what would he do with the power? Oh, I’ve been complaining about the IRS for decades. I’m for getting rid of it and its confounded code lock, stock and barrel. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about a gay couple filing a joint tax return at all. But would Mr. Huckabee seek some law to make the government refuse to recognize gay marriage? The government doesn’t really “ban” the reality – they just stick their heads in the sand and scream lalala – they refuse to recognize that gay couples exist – and so make life more difficult and problematic. So, Huckabee is against government interfering in people’s lives – unless they’re gay, I guess. And surely he wanted to keep DOMA and DADT. He spoke loudly about the need to keep these laws.

Indeed, I recall him fighting any rights or decency towards gay men every step of the way over the past few decades. He didn’t even want to get rid of the sex laws. He was all for the right of government to stick their noses into people’s bedrooms. But, he now says he doesn’t care what people do in their personal lives. I don’t know what other sort of lives people have, actually. It’s all very personal. And when the laws against gay smooching were in effect the government was very much in our lives. And Mr. Huckabee was all for it. Perhaps he’s evolved, or done some rewriting or editing of his beliefs on these things. Still, he’s concerned, for some reason, with what a couple he doesn’t know, and says he doesn’t care about, does within the legal regime we all live in.

“Look, I’m not trying to be some whacko way out there, I’m talking about the basic, most fundamental rights we have as an American citizen, while those rights are being stripped from us by the IRS, the NSA, and the TSA,” he said.

Well, sure, I’m against these things too. He’s correct on this – the three agencies he references surely should be overhauled if not dismantled. I’m with him on this. But somehow I don’t think banning the recognition of gay couples and allowing a simple legal mechanism for inheritance or insurance and such is going to stop the IRS, NSA or TSA from doing a thing. Government refusal to recognize gay couples doesn’t impact anyone but gay couples. And government recognition of gay couples doesn’t do anything to anyone except gay couples. Heterosexuals – adulterers, divorced, married forever – aren’t affected one bit by any laws banning the recognition of gay couples. The only thing they might get out of it is their happiness that other people they don’t even want to know are inhibited from their Pursuit of Happiness.

But Huckabee isn’t arguing for laws banning the recognition of any heterosexuals getting unmarried remarried or shacking up. He’s not calling for laws against adulterers. He’s not up in arms too much over the single mothers of this land who so gravely impact the social welfare rolls. Nor the abandoning fathers. Both of which are far more serious problems than sissies smooching. He’s concerned that a gay couple might be recognized by the government to which we pay taxes.

Referring to Monday’s rejection by the Supreme Court of an appeal over a business owner’s right to deny services to gays and lesbians, Huckabee asked: “Why is it that Christians stand back and take it in the teeth time and time and time again?”

Well, Christians haven’t stood back and taken anything “time and time” again – for there seems to be this only one or two instances of this happening. There is not some huge numbers of lawsuits by gay couples against anyone. And none have surfaced in Iowa, where he spoke, in the years since Iowa recognized gay couples. And few gay couples have been denied anything. Personally, I’m not for gay couples seeking to do business with these adamant Christians, and if they can’t find a gay baker or photographer they’re not looking. But I’m also quite willing to allow a gay waiter at a conference center from serving Mr. Huckabee – how would that strike the man?

And the matter was decided under State law – not federal. He’s running for president, not governor. There already is a law protecting “Religious Freedom” at the Federal level – signed into law by Bill Clinton – another former Baptist and governor of Arkansas – and an adulterer of some fame. I’m sure Huckabee is all for state’s rights, doesn’t that state where he doesn’t live have the right to make their rules? Perhaps he seeks federal action against the states – while at the same time decrying federal action. Sort of a cake and eat it situation, yes?

But too – why should gay men have to “stand back and take it in the teeth time and time again”? Surely we have. There were many laws against us. There still are. Why must we take this? Just because Mr. Huckabee is sure of his interpretation of the Bible doesn’t mean gay men must believe similarly. And this “we’re the victim” thing he’s got going is sort of laughable given his happiness in the past with all the laws against gay men. He had no problem with them. He defended those laws. He was all for sticking it in our teeth.

Well, I don’t know how to solve the man’s problems. I do know, however, that I’ve never been against him and his fellow Christians as much as he’s been against me and mine. But perhaps the man should concentrate on what his fellow heterosexuals do which so gravely impact our society, rather than the tiny percentage of gay men and women who don’t.

 

 

Anne Lafferty’s “Pared to the Bone” Wednesday, Apr 9 2014 

I read a most intriguing book over the course of the past few days. It was written by a woman who with her family – that being husband and children – went as far off the grid as it probably is possible to do. It is not a “how to” book – but more a “I did this” book. That is, you won’t learn how to can foods for the winter – but you will learn that it takes an enormous amount of work that cannot be avoided if one wants to eat. Its set on a real farm called “Core Hollow” in Western Wisconsin. Apparently, the lady and her husband bought 50 acres and decided to set up a homestead with as little reliance on the modern world as possible.

There are actually many people who do this still in America – with the Amish and the Mennonites leading the way. There are many others with less a religious bent and more of a political-survivalist mentality doing the same thing. What does it take to do it? Ah, that’s what this engaging book can present – it is not the romantic notion of sitting on the front porch looking out at the pastures and woods – but one of endless toil. The book, “Pared to the Bone” is a recounting of Anne Lafferty’s roughly 15 years doing it. (Published by Tate Publishing, and I’m sure available on Amazon.)

Oh, it’s possible, of course, but it’s not easy. And it can’t really be done in the way that truly removes oneself from the grid. I hear often of people who think they are removing themselves from the alleged horrors of modern society by putting up some solar panels on their roof and thinking they are escaping electricity. The Laffertys did not do that – they used oil lamps and candles and a wood stove. People who think that solar panels removes them from the modern world seem to be clueless as to how much of the modern world is involved in the creation of solar panels. The metals must be mined, the rare earths metals dug out of the landscapes of far western China where God in his frolicking wisdom decided to put 95% of the world’s accessible supply. Supposedly Japan has discovered vast deposits of the stuff off their southern shores – but alas, at depths of a mile or more down – and thus inaccessible at the moment. Apparently to free us from drilling for oil at home we shall dig up dirt in China.

Wherever the panels are assembled, from many parts – all those parts have to be shipped to the assembly point – whether in a factory in Guangzhou or in Monterrey Mexico or Phoenix Arizona, somehow vast amounts of resources must be shipped and then the finished products shipped again. I can’t help but thinking about the fact that during Roman times about the only place Rome could get tin to make bronze was from Cornwall in what they called Britannia. Indeed – about the only reason Caesar took over Britannia was to get at the tin without paying the Tinman. Better to own the resources than buy them, went the economic theories of those times. Putin thinks along these lines still, hence is grab for Ukraine. But global trade it was, no matter small they thought the globe was. The Romans had Chinese silks too – brought all the way from China, with pepper from India. The Calif of Baghdad famously sent Charlemagne in France an elephant in the year 800 AD or so. Global trade is a long human tradition – now some are against it – they don’t know history.

I hear too of Localism – Locovores as they are called – “We shall only buy locally!” they crow. At a recent festival I was at there was such a group pushing the idea. Some group calling itself “Local First Arizona” with its own website. Oh, they so heartily recommend buying local “to keep the money here” – and then I wonder – do they realize that coffee, bananas and sugar don’t grow in Arizona, nor the trees for the paper on which their propaganda is published? In fact, modern localistas don’t seem to realize that the world has been into global trade for millennia. The Incas traded with the Mayas who traded with the Apache who traded with the Iroquois in a trade network over ten thousand miles. Surely there are goods of all four cultures found in the others. Somehow they got there. They didn’t fly in. Those people didn’t think locally whatsoever. The bronze Buddha from India found in a Scandinavian grave of the 700s AD didn’t fly there, that’s for sure. Kiev in Ukraine was founded by Vikings to keep the trade route open, after all.

Mrs. Lafferty seemed to drink coffee a lot – well, so do I – but it doesn’t grow in Wisconsin – and thus there’s no way to live so off the grid and still have coffee. Somehow someone far, far away toils to grow coffee so that it can be sent to Wisconsin. I don’t begrudge the coffee to the lady, I just point out that some creature comforts of the modern world require our trade with “neighbors” far, far away.

Then too objects of metal – saws, pails, tubing, pipes, buckets, troughs – the windmill they found for free, though in not good repair, at a farm not far from their place. Centuries ago, making metal was a rare thing. The Anglo-Saxons didn’t have much of it. Neither did the Romans. Nearly all they had went into weapons, and not farm implements and household goods. Glass, another not easily made thing – rare as recently as the 1700s. In a book I wrote about the Czechs & Slovaks of Louisiana it was noted by some people living near the Bohemian Colony in Libuse, Louisiana, that “The Czechs had glass windows in their barns before the locals had them in their houses.” That was the 1920s.

The Laffertys grew many vegetables and legumes, squashes and even utilized meat like beef, deer, chicken and turkey – all of which had to be “canned” – or really “bottled” – in that it was all done in glass jars with metal tops. For they had no true refrigerator. And while homemade goodies are always a joy – the reality is that the jars and caps were made in the modern world. I’m not sure it’s possible to truly remove oneself from the modern world, as many of the more political-survivalist types wish to do. These are the sort that feel the government is a behemoth they can and must get away from. Well, that’s not really possible to do completely – and surely it can be done in the city as well as the country.

There were cows on the farm – for milk, from which came the butter, cheese and yogurt consumed – but waking up at the crack of dawn or earlier to milk the cows is backbreaking work. It’s hard to haul five gallon jugs of milk and store them in a cold spring fed trough when one has no refrigeration. One of the cows had a medical problem – modern veterinarian skills were required to save it. Making cheese is really just using souring milk. One must hand it to this family for giving it a good try. I would think most people couldn’t have done it.

There is an element of political-survivalist in the book – not that that was the intent at the beginning, but that Mr. Lafferty apparently went a little too deep into believing the government and the modern world was simply so evil – as he perceived from a new found Bible-based belief – with perhaps a misguided push from Timothy McVeigh of Oklahoma bombing fame – that ultimately the marriage was untenable. He grew to despise bacon – against the Bible – Leviticus and all that – but it was lesbian veterinarians who saved the cow, much to the bemusement of Mrs. Lafferty.

A son required modern medical help – the father was opposed. Many people believe that modern medicine can cure every ill – as if no one should ever get sick and die. No, the son didn’t die, but well, a brain tumor set the guy on a different path than he had envisioned. That’s something that may have killed him if he didn’t get the operation. Maybe it wouldn’t have, but done something else. A tumor in the brain seems never to be a good thing – no matter how one deals with it. But I think too many people today are lulled into believing that all the ills of the human body can be fixed with the wave of doctor’s wand and a bureaucratic law stating “health care for all!” Ah, we still are clueless as to many things.

Then too, guns were required on the property – to both put down ill animals, as is considered “Humane” – and to protect against the wild beasts that still roam the forests and rural precincts of this land. In fact, seemingly unbeknown to most everyone is that North America has the second most dangerous collection of animals after Africa. Europe and Asia and South America are mere wusses in the drastic animals that can eat their way through livestock and possibly any humans wandering around. I read sometimes of people who build houses in the woods and then complain about coyotes, wolves and bears come to haunt their patios. They are shocked and demand action! Ah, but perhaps they shouldn’t have moved into the wilderness. My own sister has to be careful in her yard for bear do roam through from time to time, and she’s barely 75 miles from Manhattan.

But the guns have to be made somewhere – the modern world makes guns. And the gun lovers of this nation – with which I have no problems whatsoever – and I’m quite a proponent of respecting the 2nd Amendment – can’t at one and the same time want to “get away from it all” but still go buy a rifle. The rifles come from “it all” which can’t be gotten away from.

Just as I find it humorously thoughtless that many people who are in love with wind-power are quite sure it’s “Free!” and environmentally blissful – without any realization of the mining of metals to make the 300 foot tall towers that blot the landscape miles from their homes – and the apparently millions of birds that are killed by the spinning turbines. Nor are they aware that the electric lines must be strung from wind-farm as much from coal fired power plants. Somehow transmission wires hanging from 100 foot tall towers from a traditional power plant are evil – while those strung from wind-farms are just peachy keen. Digging for coal – bad – digging for metal for 300 foot tall towers – good. Yah. Environmentalists have always been long on happy-blissful thinking and short on practicality, for sure.

Mrs. Lafferty suggested that the windmill they had be rigged for power – but the gun loving Mr. Lafferty thought that too close to civilization – while the guns he loved seemed to be OK. He also had a truck he used to get to his day job and seemed not to do much on the property at all. He was against civilization but couldn’t get away from it – she wanted some modicum of modern comfort and it was too much for his Bible-based survivalist beliefs to allow. Something was askew. It apparently became clear enough for the book ends with her walking out of the place – and I know, since I met her, that there was divorce involved.

There was also apparently a son with a pregnant woman not his wife. That is part and parcel of humankind since time immemorial too – in “simpler times” as well as now. And it’s perhaps this belief that there were “Simpler Times” that is so bizarre. For the book so amply presents the reality that life was never simple “back then” – no matter how far back one looks. Indeed, we are living in the simple times. Never before have so many been so rich, so healthy and so long lived as in this current time when supposed we are all going to die of cancer. Well, better of cancer in our 60s or 70s or even older, than from a Saxon or Viking horde coming into to do the honors of head lopping. Longevity has now reached 70 and plus in most nations – and certainly 50 and plus in even the third world. Less than 150 years ago 50 was old – and 30 or 40 a more likely life span – but the belief is thick that we’re all dying of the ills of modernism. I’d say it’s just the opposite.

Ah, the book is charmingly written by a woman who surely enjoyed her time there, even if not 100% of the time. I’m sure she learned things I or most people could never do – like skin a deer and can the meet for the winter. It’s a moving book, funny in parts, some bits of terror here and there, and certainly poetic in the depiction of the difficulties and toil. Surely one wanders into the mind and fears and thoughts of the writer easy enough.

For those thinking of moving off the grid, and out into the countryside, and away from the modern world, and back to “simpler times,” and to survive if it all falls apart, and be independent as they wish – it’s an eyeopener of “Wow, not as easy or carefree as I had believed.” Most certainly not.

I was never into this sort of thing – I’m a city boy – and live in central Phoenix, within relative walking distance of all I require, like a modern supermarket where the vagaries of climate and location don’t inhibit my consumption of any food I require – and some that come from very far away indeed. But it is interesting to see how other people dealt with the trials of our times – which however terrible we feel they are – don’t even approach the times of just 150 years ago.

Ah, it was the great lament of Hammurabi 5000 years ago that people were leaving the farms and crowding the cities. Such is the reality of mankind – get off the land, and into the burgs – and I don’t see it much changing anytime soon. And after having met the author at a book signing, to which I took a bus I had to walk a half mile from my house to catch – I gladly took the ride home in their new Mercedes – I’m not willing to abandon modern comforts at all. But if you are, you should definitely read Mrs Lafferty’s “Pared to the Bone” before you head out to the wilds.

 

The Eich man affair Sunday, Apr 6 2014 

When Will Heterosexuals Apologize to Gay Men?

The “Eich man affair” goes on – every hetero in the land is still opining on it one way or the other. And looking at the whole thing backwards. It is not what was done to him – but what he did to gay men that matters. “Free Speech” was raised – and it’s simply not a free speech issue, or at least not the way it’s being discussed.

Mr. Eich is some heterosexual who decided to quit his job after his own employees and customers complained about his prior actions against gay folks. What Eich did doesn’t stand in a vacuum – he didn’t just donate money to a political campaign – but that donation came from a belief, from an attitude. No one writes a check for any amount without having an opinion on the matter. He was in some way or another against the Pursuit of Happiness of gay couples.

He simply wanted the Government to step into the lives of other citizens – people he doesn’t even know – and cause grief and trouble, to make things difficult. Because he has some “belief” about “homosexuality” – for some reason he doesn’t think gay couples should be recognized by law. Well, well – so – he’s for state action against gay couples. Simple as that – he’s a statist. He wanted the government to put into effect his beliefs against other citizens. It was Mr. Eich who was against Free Speech, Freedom of, for and from Religion, and Freedom of Association. He was the one against the rights of citizens through the use of government to enact his beliefs. No one is trying to get the government to do a thing against him. But he sure wanted the government to go against people he didn’t like. He’s the culprit.

While this was going on – I had a wonderfully grand time at Phoenix Gay Pride Festival — not Proud we’re gay — proud we have survived the outrageous Medieval Crusade this nation launched against decent taxpaying citizens.

And you know what I saw? I saw Liberty — I saw decent people being rugged individuals — no matter how weird they were or wished to be.

I saw hardworking, taxpaying, peaceful, courteous kind citizens of this land — still many fearful of the onslaught by virtually every quarter of the Heterosexual Behemoth in this nation — who all run to protect even the most cowardly and obnoxious among you heteros — for they have “strongly held beliefs” — they “believe in the Bible’ – who cares?

I believe in the Bible – “Treats others as you wish to be treated.”

And heterosexuals – one and all – have been lax and negligent in this simplest of commands. Only in the past decade have I seen a smidgen of remorse, of concern, of “evolving” as that asshat president of ours claimed he is doing. Meanwhile, there’s still people calling for government action against gay men – they insist on it daily. No one says a damn thing! Except gay men – then we’re “whiny” and “leftists” and some how a danger to society because we dare to speak up for ourselves. What mind numbing mush to hear these people complain.

Ah, it was wondrous, to be amongst my people – in gleeful separation from the hetero hordes — and finally able to walk in a public park hand in hand.

That’s what I want – to walk down a street hand in hand.

It’s something I’ve never done – as you heteros talk about “tolerance” and “acceptance” — and what you’re willing to put up with.

I pay for the roads I can’t stroll upon in peace.

And damn it – that’s what I wish to do before I die.

Get a goddamn life and go after your own kind. But no, barely a peep from heterosexuals about the heterosexual lifestyle – but a fixation on gays that’s astounding.

What will we do to you! Egad.

What did you do to us? Eh, no big deal, you say.

I have watched the nation evolve since being the target of my first (and not my last) bar raid in 1978 in NYC (around the corner from the Stonewall, even) — and what I want to see is EVERY SINGLE LAST hetero apologize to the nearest gay man (the main target of the Medieval treatment) for the Maltreatment – the nastiness – the arrogance, the insolence, the rudeness, the maliciousness and the abject obnoxious moronicness of the heterosexual mindset towards gay men.

I want to see some heteros finally say to others “You cant do that anymore” — instead of “Well, that’s their strongly held belief.”

I want every single last preacher in this land to head towards a gay bar, a gay event — and say “I’m sorry” – I want to see some propitiation for the horror and sin visited by every hetero for decades upon me and mine.

I want to see apologies from Congress — the President — the Supreme Court — the governors and states — the police and medical community — and every clergyman in the land — for the way they have treated me and mine over the decades.

Until then — it’s all more “evolving” bullshit.

The political groups and people who are against gay marriage are also quite clear that they are against gay existence — many of these groups — NOM, the FRC, AFA, for instance — are for incarcerating us for a forced change – few if any heterosexuals seem to be remotely concerned about the unholy assault.

The Catholic Church still insists we are “intrinsically disordered” and that we should deny and hide and be ashamed or our gayness – ergo, they are not “for” a “Biblical definition of marriage” – but against gay folks existing as we wish to.

Furthermore — not a one of these groups has been riled up about adultery or divorce — Indeed, Newt Gingrich is “against gay marriage” for what the Bible says (supposedly) — but is quite for adultery and divorce — I dare say hypocrisy on the subject is legion.

You cannot separate what these people say “against” gay marriage – and also what they say “against” gay existence. And the people who put forth Proposition 8 in California were certainly against gay existence. And Mr. Eich donated money to those groups. To rid the land of me and mine, as best they could try. Utter dismal failures, but still they try.

And aw, poor Mr. Eich. But he was NOT denied his free speech – and I’m tired of hearing people say it – they don’t know what the 1st Amendment means. No government body did a thing against him – as he sought government action against other citizens.

It was Mr. Eich who sought to quash the free speech of gay men – not us quashing him. Everyone seems to have this backwards.

Now he’s a political football – just like Phil Robertson was a few months ago. I’m sure others will surface – and we’ll go through this whole farce again – over and over – until there is legal recognition of gay couples in every state in the nation. Until gay men don’t have to listen to some preacher about how we are “sinners” for mere existence.

Frankly, if you are opposed to the Pursuit of Happiness of gay men to love each other and have that recognized in law so that the myriad of things couples must, can and wish to do be made easier – than you are the one for state action. You are the ones against Free Speech. You are the ones against Religious Freedom – you are the one’s abrogating the Constitution. But it is certainly not gay men and our newly evolved heterosexual friends who are against these things.

You know – that’s the funniest thing about this whole mess: Gay men have been the strongest proponents of getting government out of people’s lives this nation has ever seen.

Meanwhile, since it is perfectly legal to fire or deny a gay man a job in the majority of states for merely being gay – I really have no sympathy for a heterosexual who lost his over his actions against us. You don’t have a right to job.

But stop blathering about “free speech.” The Supreme Court has ruled 8-1 – in a case called Westboro – that anyone might yell “God Hates Fags” – and few decisions are handed down with such a majority. I dare say, Mr. Eich can yell it to his heart’s content. Or put it with more erudition, with a euphemism: “God hates homosexuality.” It’s the same phrase, really. But no gay man has a duty to just stand there and take the nonsense. We don’t.

The subject being more complex than a blog post allows – I wrote a book about it – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ENWA3PI

Image

Learn all about the matter before spouting off about “free speech” and gay men.  

Stinkburger Deluxe Friday, Apr 4 2014 

         Apparently the president has called Paul Ryan’s budget plan a “stinkburger” and a “meanwich” – and I’m thinking – how childish. Whatever one thinks about the Ryan plan – surely something more sage should spring from the president’s brain yes? Or is Washington such a joke now that in the immortal words of Hilary Clinton: “What difference does it make?”

          From what I can tell there’s been no “budget” that our federal government has followed in maybe 20 years. Surely thick documents were promulgated called “budgets,” yes. But then with supplemental appropriations, off budget items, lumping Social Security in the pot, and all the legerdemain of the political class in our capital city it seems silly to call it a “budget.” It’s more a “widget” – that imaginary thing that economists use to represent something which doesn’t exist but somehow supposedly has meaning.

        The Federal Reserve Board is printing billions a month – I hear numbers like 40, 60, 80 billion dollars a month being magically created and sent to banks which have no where to put it but into Treasure bills and bond and notes that are almost as fictitious as the Fed money. The “budget” of this nation long ago ceased to be real … but became an imaginary play thing to present to the public with the phrase: “the president’s budget plan …” and then spent willy-nilly as their silly hearts desired. When the actual appropriations are done in 13 blocks – all in a rush at one time – to give agencies money to spend – whenever more is requested it comes forthwith in a rush.

     Not just for the military – which is rightly complained about – but for new buildings, new junkets by politicians and bureaucracies to foreign lands, and often within our own borders. What is $3.9 trillion? Does this number make sense to anyone? The “budget” doesn’t even talk about little things anymore, you know a billion or two – those are rounding errors, or perhaps something that fell to the floor. If a project is slated to be “$1 billion” – then the minute it starts there is no limit – and all of them seem to become 2 and 3 and 4 times as high.

     It was Robert Moses, long time leader of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, who said, “Once the first shovelful is turned, no project is ever stopped.” Perhaps that’s so in our times of imaginary money. In ancient times – and even merely 100 years ago or so – governments actually had to actually have gold or silver to handover to someone to get things done … now they merely electronically zap a number into an account and all is well. I’m not sure that the Ryan plan is “good” or “bad” or does what it purports to do – I haven’t really taken a close look at it – I’m not even sure one can – since it too speaks of “5.1 Trillion cut from federal spending” – and then when some bureaucrat comes to the congressional committee supposedly in charge of the spending hears a horror story – all so readily crafted – then a supplemental appropriation is made or an off budget gift or a move in the fiscal date or a movement of the funds from one year’s budget to the next is done so that there’s ever more money.

        I’m not sure there’s a politician in the land who actually thinks in terms of what is being spent on salaries, or office supplies, or paper, or heat, electric, or really anything that costs money. Now they all seem to speak of “programs” and “policies.” Then too, the budget must include the loan guarantees – which is money guaranteed to be spent at some point in the future – but lost in yesteryears numbers. Entitlements or “mandatory spending” are such a huge amount of the “budget” that supposedly can’t be touched – why congress and the president and even the public have come to believe that there are some things that simply can never be discussed I don’t know.

         Farm price supports, for instance – supposedly they’re slated to be $8 billion a year or so – or $100 billion over a decade – but because no one can really tell what the prices will be – if more money is needed – then presto – more money it shall be. Start a high speed rail charade and say “It’ll cost $1 billion!” – and when that number is reached and the project not done (as they never are) it’s just “give them more money” and some more hundreds of millions are electronically zapped into the accounts of those who spend it. I don’t know that there’s a politician in the land who can be taken seriously anymore.

       Both parties have shown themselves to be inept at actually doing anything but making more spending. The Democrats surely think money is no object – while so many of the Republicans are more into worrying about “values” and “morality” than actual governing. When I look at the contenders for the White House in 2016 that are bandied about I see the usual clods who have been in the running for a decade – not a one of whom seems to have a clue.

       The public is constrained to talk about the two parties as if they are different – and yet there seems to be nothing but idiots running. Oh, they’re smart enough to get elected, for sure – mostly by promising more money for everyone’s favorite program. And so, the seriousness of purpose required to get government spending into some semblance of order gone – we are reduced to presidential bon mots like “stinkburger” – astounding, utterly astounding. About the only thing I can hope for at this time is that the whole doesn’t go kaflooey before I die. Perhaps the utter absurdity of the rest of the world’s governments is the only thing that is keeping us afloat.

    The latest example is the capital flight from Russia – as anyone with a few Roubles puts the money into our stock markets and treasury notes in an attempt to stave off the rupture. The French are leaving France in droves because of their budget nonsense. The Greeks, Spanish and Mexicans likewise – Venezuelans with means are putting their money into America too. And it’s this foreign wealth that’s about the only thing that is floating our leaky boat.

     Rome went out in a whimper – we are doing the same. Sad. But, well, there’s not much I can do except marvel at it all.

The Ukraine Situation Tuesday, Mar 25 2014 

There is apparently a war of some sort brewing between Ukraine and Russia. How hot it will get can’t be known. Perhaps cooler heads will prevail. Perhaps Russian President Putin and whomever is in charge of Ukraine at the moment will come to some accommodation. How dangerous it is to Europe or the United States is also hard to determine, though, perhaps easier to assess. Then too, there’s this idea that the United States must do something to prevent whatever it is that Russia wants to do, and in the parlance of our times, “stand with Ukraine.” So let’s take a look at what most Americans, including our government, seem to be unaware of, and what Putin’s and Ukraine’s, and even Europe’s, as embodied in the European Union, options are.

All of this is embroiled with history and pride, ethnicity and economics, power and position, of course. It’s a power play by Putin – partly to distract from his failing country. That Russia is failing is evident by the fact that nearly ever demographer is rather sure that Russia will have a decreasing population over the next several decades. There are now some 140,000,000 people living in Russia – and from what I’ve seen, demographers expect it to fall to 100,000,000 within 50 years. That a country can lose that many people is rough enough. But it’s not because they are leaving – though many are. It’s because the birthrate has simply collapsed. The Russian government actually is trying to pay people to have babies – and they’re not doing it. Why? Probably because of the way Russia is run – no one seems to want to bring a new child into the morass of the place.

Ah, history – this is the thing that so many ignore. Though I doubt Putin is complete unaware of it, I doubt he knows the whole story. For Russians have always played loose with history. But the reality is that the “Russian” nation started in Kiev. And Kiev happens to be the capital of Ukraine. And in a sense, current Russia wants to reincarnate ancient Russia. For there never really was an independent Ukraine. For more than 1000 years ago Kievan Rus was the name of a duchy, of a principality – but never a kingdom. And the reason that Kiev is the capital of ancient Rus. It’s much older than Moscow, for sure.

Ancient Kiev was founded by Norse traders – most specifically the “Ruriks.” They put the city where it is because they needed to guard the trade routes between the Norse, or Vikings, and Byzantium. It just so happens that it’s easy to go up the Dniester, Don and Volga rivers way to the north from the Black Sea – at whose sound end is the city of Istanbul, which used to be Constantinople – and then with a small portage, or land journey, get back into a handful of rivers and head to the Baltic. And the Norse were far ranging traders. Back before 1000 AD they set up Kiev to guard this route. These people were the Rus, from which the word “Russia” derives. They were not the Slavic masses, nor the Tarters, Huns, Avars and others who spread out across this endless flatness that is western Russia and Ukraine. They were a small group who were busy making money. They just wanted to protect their interests.

Ethnically, Russians and Ukrainians are really the same people. They are an amalgam of 1000 years of marauders, tribes, groups, and people passing through: Tartars, Mongols, Huns, Avars, Bulgars, Slavs and many other groups whose names are lost to history, or known only by the most intrepid of researchers. These peoples coagulated into what we call Russians and Ukrainians today. The “two” languages are pretty much the same. Probably akin to the difference between British English and American English. Anyone from one country can fairly easily converse with anyone from the other. The idea of “two” languages is more nation-state pride than reality. They are even both written in the same Cyrillic script, developed by Saints Constantine, Cyril and Method as they set out from Byzantium in the 900s AD to Christianize the peoples on the north side of the Black Sea.

Economically, Ukraine is a breadbasket – vast arable land that grow wheat, barley, oats, beets and other foodstuffs that Russia doesn’t grow in nearly such quantities. The climate and land is better for agriculture in the Ukraine than in Russia. On the other hand, Russia has oil, gas and minerals galore which Ukraine doesn’t have. They are dependent on each other in many ways.

Then too, Russian princes, for more than 1000 years, wanted a port on the Black Sea – for Russia, despite it’s coastline, is, in fact, a landlocked nation. The only ports that are ice free are in the Ukraine. Or so far east that they serve no point. And the little bit of coast they have on the Baltic is insufficient. Then too, for Russia to trade with Europe – to which it sells oil and gas especially – has to ship it across Ukraine – and something called “Belorussia” – another modern nation which is not really more than a strange mixture of Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians and Russians. It was never country until just the past 20 years or so. Yet, it never quite belonged to anyone as the various principalities and kingdoms of long ago moved the border this way and that – and settled their people there in a vain attempt to become the majority. It, too, speak Russian/Ukrainian and writes in Cyrillic. It is so dependent on Russia that it is more or less reabsorbed in all but name.

So Putin is faced with a declining country that is landlocked and without sufficient food to feed itself. And it must send its raw materials through places that were long part of its empire in one way or the other.

Without knowing this history – and not in the brief way I put it above – but in the details that are very real to all the people involved – it’s hard to understand why Russia wants Ukraine back in the fold. It’s simple economics – why bother to pay a “foreign” country transshipment costs and buy stuff from a “foreign” land, when one can just make it part of Greater Russia once more.

Of course, in our current times, the Ukraine is an independent nation – and thus its people wish to be left alone. The problem is that “Ethnic” Russians and Ukrainians are so mixed up within the place it’s hard to tell who is who. So Russia claims the entirety of the place as a long lost younger brother – or perhaps views it as the older brother prodigal, now returning. The politicians in Ukraine, of course, wish to keep their own power and separateness under the old adage “It’s good to be the king.”

Both countries are monumentally corrupt, and well, like any two corrupt warlords, they both want to keep their bailiwick intact – and perhaps bite off a bit of the other.

Does it make a difference to Europe or the USA if Ukraine and Russia reunite? Yes, and no. No, because they were united for centuries. Elizabeth I sent an ambassador to Moscow – not to Kiev. No one paid attention to the 2nd city of Russia. Oh, no longer #2 in population – St. Petersburg and maybe even Volgograd are larger – Kiev is still #2 in the hearts and minds of nearly everyone – precisely because it is the repository of the beginnings of Russia.

Does anyone in the government – or Romney, McCain and the other Republican bigwigs who are pontificating on the issue – have a clue of this history, language, ethnicity and 1000 year old emotional claptrap? Not really, apparently. I sincerely doubt that any but a small cadre of Russian experts in the State Department have an earthly clue as to what I outlined above. Most of this crop of politicians is stuck in perhaps the last 100 years of Cold War, WWII and maybe as far back as the Revolution of 1917. So the lingering fear of our politicians is that Russia will rise up as some great state and threaten our interests somehow.

Our only “interest” is, of course, to keep Russia “contained” as has been the policy of the USA since the late 1940s.

Of course, if a shooting war starts – and armies be on the move – then the flow of oil and gas to Europe is greatly imperiled – probably even stopped. Which means the Germans and Italians and Austrians and all of the former Soviet bloc nations of Eastern Europe will be on the market for other supplies. It’ll drive the price up for sure. For supply will be down – and demand continue apace. So, a shooting war will weaken Europe’s incessantly weakened economy even further – which will weaken our weak economy.

And the humanitarian issue looms large too. No one wants masses of refugees from Ukraine to be crossing the border into Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria or elsewhere. Plus, Russia just held the Olympics – such a modern progressive state – and now at war? Well, that weakens the whole “sports is good for peace” meme. Oddly, this time around, Russia’s war against gay folks is part of the mix – at least in the sense that the current administration is all about “loving the gays” at this point.

So, we threatened sanctions – not that they amount to much. Our trade with Russia is mostly one way – they buy stuff from us. Mostly wheat and corn and other food. So our farmer will be unhappy with a cut off in trade – and Iowa is a presidential primary state – and you can’t upset those people. Hilary Clinton certainly wants to keep Iowans happy on her desired march for the White House.

Europe doesn’t want sanctions because the Russia might cut of the oil and gas.

The restive people’s of the Caucasian mountains might welcome the war, for having attention turned away from those places means that they can revolt all the easier.

The Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuanian are panicked because they fear they are next.

Russia itself is an economic basket case surviving on natural resources and thus foreign reserves and thus probably isn’t up for a war too – but, well, the port of Sevastopol, which they rented from Ukraine is a good prize – and why pay rent for what you think is yours, anyway?

They threaten sanctions against us – which is rather funny – for there’s not a whole lot of trade. The Russians say they will stop using the dollar – except what they sell – natural resources, especially oil and gas – are only denominated in the dollar. No one is going to pay Euros for oil, not even the Eurozone does it. The Euro is collapsing too – slowly, inexorably, a weakening currency propped up by loans from the United States.

Can we do anything to stop Russia from taking over Ukraine? Probably not. We’re certainly not going to bomb them or something. We’re certainly not going to send troops or peace-keepers or something. The US, EU and UN will all issue endless light letters of “concern” and “warnings of further actions.”

Can the Ukraine stop Russia from taking it over? Probably not – and ½ the nation probably doesn’t want to. Maybe the eastern half will quit Ukraine and join Russia and then in a decade or two, the second half will make the move back into the glorious empire.

Does it make a difference to the average Ukrainian or Russia? Well, in one sense it doesn’t – who exactly is the corrupt oligarch ruling one’s nation is sort of unimportant. On the other hand, the economic stagnation, the inflation, the collapse of the currency and such matters of bread and butter will certainly adversely affect the people there. And that’s the funniest thing. Russia, but swallowing Ukraine, will weaken its economy no matter how one looks at it.

And that’s because poor Putin is still stuck in the command economy mentality, as evidenced by his policies for the past decade – he will decree wealth, and thinks it will be so. When it doesn’t happen he will blame anyone but himself.

Foreign investment, however, will dry up, and the rouble worth less, and well, Russia will continue the downward spiral it’s been on – only perhaps a little faster. Because sometime you really can bite of more than you can chew.

The average American won’t feel much of a difference – and won’t pay much attention to it after another few weeks unless it does turn to shooting.

The Religious Rights Laws Will Backfire Sunday, Feb 23 2014 

It is most funny to watch state legislatures scramble to pass “religious rights” laws – laws that in one way or the other purport to protect the rights of “good Christians” to not have to deal with or countenance that which they find go against their beliefs. They are worded differently in divers states, as legislation usually is, but they are cropping up here and there in so called “conservative states” like Kansas and Arizona and Oregon (wait a minute, I thought Oregon was a liberal state?) – makes no difference where they are frothing forth, for they are not thought through. They are of course couched in very general terms but are perceived as anti-gay. But they don’t mention gayness or Christianity as such – but as near as I can figure from the news reports, only that they give license to anyone to refuse service, goods, accommodations and even so much as a howdy-do to anyone someone deems is going against their religious beliefs.

Of course, gay groups are up in arms, for surely it seems aimed at gay folks and any gay couples which exist. Which is of course, funny in itself for when adults start to actively deny the reality in front of them it doesn’t bode well for anything. After all, the country now “recognizes” gay marriage and gay couples everywhere – by either saying “yes they exist” or “no they can’t.” And when something real is deemed fake by mere words and belief, well, that’s just lunacy. You can argue all day long that your religion says “gay couples don’t exist” but when Ted and Fred stand before you and say they are a couple what are you to do? Go “lalalalala!”? Apparently. Denial is not becoming a rational society. It’s intellectually dishonest and even moronic, but, well, I’ve been a realist for quite some time. I just can’t suspend the reality in front of me because I believe something else.

Then too, the laws don’t seem to say “Christian” in any form – it is merely “strongly held religious belief.” Seemingly of any kind. Any sort of religion of any denomination or sort – and that’s where the problem lies. This is where it will backfire in ways now well unforeseen, except perhaps here on this page. Right now it’s all about “good Christians” trying to preserve some Puritanical “we’re in charge here and only our beliefs count” mentality that perhaps even Cotton Mather couldn’t handle. But let us suppose these proposed laws become actual law. So far it seems this or that House or body or legislator has proposed them. I think, but I’m not sure, that Arizona’s is far enough along to go to the governor. Well, I now live in Phoenix. And so this law will affect me in one way or the other.

Now, Phoenix is the 5th largest city in America. It is very diverse – all liberal gaga diverse. From fundamentalists of Jewish, Muslim and Christian kind to liberal atheists and free wheeling wiccans and pagans and mainline denominations of every kind. A polity of some 4.5 million people has every sort of religious belief one could imagine. And the immigrant groups among the population, though heavily “Hispanic” – that is, Mexican – of course – is also made up of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis and who knows who. I’m sure there’s a Sunni and a Shiite, a Sufti and a Dervish mosque here and there. I’m sure all the sorts of Catholics are represented – from Latin mass lovers to agape New Age guitar masses. I’m sure there are Protestants of every sort imaginable. The Mormons are well represented in their various guises from polygamists to ‘we welcome anyone.’ There is no shortage of strongly held religious belief in the great mishmash of this city.

And now what? Well, now each shall have license by law to say “No, we shall not serve you.” “We shall not deign to accede to your existence by letting you have a coke in our establishment.” “No cake for you.” Oh, it’s not heteros against the gays anymore – no, it’ll pit each religion’s heterosexuals against the others. What the “good Christians” think they are doing is preserving the fundamentalist’s right to deny the reality of gay couples and tell them to take a hike.

But what will happen, and one day relatively soon, is that a Christian couple or person will go to do a thing or buy something or engage a plumber – and the Muslim behind the business will say – “For strongly held religious belief I will refuse to serve you.”

And one day soon I’m sure some Catholic of strong belief will refuse to serve a divorced Presbyterian. And perhaps a Mormon who runs a hotel will simply not let heathen Baptists come to stay the night. And so the religious will balkanize the place. And then what?

The litigation will start. The Baptist will take the Muslim to court and say “I was denied a taxi ride.” And the Muslim will say “My strongly held religious beliefs says I can’t let Baptists in my cab.” And interracial couples – not just black and white – but Asian-Hispanic, and European-South American – and who knows what combos wrought by the seething mass of love that is Phoenix will be denied a place at the restaurant run by fundies of this type or another. The endless permutations of people who will start to refuse to deal with each other will burgeon beyond belief. And gay couples, rather hysterically, will be hard to spot among the morass. And indeed, two heterosexual business friends out for dinner while their wives at canasta might well find themselves denied a burger because of perception that the meterosexuals are gay. My my, it will be mirthful as that case goes to court.

Then too, down at the pharmacy, a Catholic will refuse to fill the prescription of the Jew. And the Jew will not seat the Muslim. The pagan EMS man might well decide not to give succor in emergency to the Assembly of God member who just the other day made public announcement about the evils of not belonging to their church. Indeed, among the Protestants it might well be open season – sure the Assembly of God will lash out at the Holy Roller Redeemers. Black protestants might refuse service to White protestants not on race – oh so forbidden – but on religion’s hoary tales of “Our God is the Right God!”

And gay folks can join the fun too. For it so happens that many gays are in the service industries – from flowers to cakes to restaurants to hotels, airlines to tour guides – and they might well – And certainly at my strong urging should do, I assure you – refuse service to any cleric in garb. Indeed – under the law a gay man professing a strongly held religious belief might seemingly deny a Catholic priest a seat at Applebees. Oh, it’s a hornet’s nest opening up. Hornets nests are not good, as anyone can tell you.

Image

I can well imagine a Sunni taxi driver refusing a ride to the hospital for a Shiite mother with a sick child – and Christians and Gays not in the mix at all!

I can imagine all sorts of things that a novelist would be hard pressed to weave into a sordid tale of a society gone to religious war with each other. For instead of religion being private and diverse and oft not thought of at all – anyone may now use it to say “My belief says you are garbage.”

Why, even the illegal immigrant Mexican Catholics might say they don’t have to comply with this or that other law for their Catholic belief precludes them from doing so. Perhaps the Lutherans who run the water tanks for the illegals can use the law to bolster their strongly held religious beliefs to help those escaping Mexico. I can imagine Methodists at the throats of Lutherans even, over who knows what. Why, if a neighbor not like another, religion may now be brought to the fore and Calvinist say “I can’t let the Catholic neighbor have a shrine to Mary in the homeowners association.”

Oh, it’ll make for merry, as such ill thought out laws will do. And all because of “Good Christians” absolute refusal to recognize the reality of gayness. They insist it doesn’t exist, that it is sick and demented (but not covered by the American With Disabilities Act,) and that it should be eradicated from the land. And if more and more states and local jurisdictions pass such laws you will see a balkanization of the land as this and that forlorn group of religious refugees moves among their own kind. It will remind one of the Middle Ages – or even modern Iraq.

 And all because fine up standing decent gay Americans want what Barry Goldwater – long the very conservative senator of this state said: “You don’t have to like it, but gay Americans deserve full constitutional rights including marriage and military service.” Everyone ignored him in 1994, when he said it. And too he said “God forbid if the fundamentalists take hold of the Republican party. And lo they have. Just as die hard socialists have seized the Democratic party. The rational 80% in the middle are bereft of succor on the political stage at this point.

 But back in 1994, nearly everyone, all heterosexuals in gleeful congress, left, right and middle, Democrat and Republican went along with the Fundamentalist desire to have laws against gayness – namely DOMA and DADT – which were enshrined as law for decades – and still linger – and which are being contested in every jurisdiction in the land because the Supreme Court, the President and the Congress – heterosexuals all – still can’t get the gumption up to say “Gay Americans may exercise liberty like everyone else.”

 No, gay American’s liberty is eschewed – denied, denigrated. And mealy mouthed gay groups spout off about “equality” when no one is equal and gay Americans are better. And we’re about the only one who serve everyone – and now, oh, now we too shall have the right, for strongly held religious belief – our own – to not serve a legislator or clergyman in any restaurant in the state. As I said, I wholeheartedly endorse such an action. Let the denied take the gay man to court. Then we can say “you passed a bizarre law giving us this right.” And smile and tell them to take a hike.

 Sad that heterosexuals are really the cause of all social ills in this nation – but are still so fixated and wobbly about their own sexuality and what gay guys do (And they don’t give a damn about the LBT part, I assure you.) Such is the alleged power of gayness. And now the nation will further collapse into small fiefdoms and perhaps the Dark Ages will descend again upon the world. Sad, just so sad.

Will probably start up daily mush again. Saturday, Feb 22 2014 

After a long hiatus brought about by traveling and family and frankly, not giving a damn, there’s a good chance I shall get back to daily blogging — just for the fun of it. 

Not much of a post today — it’s Saturday — but, well, it’s time to get back into the fray. You know, sometimes I think the stupidity I read in the public press is so intense that I have to take a step back from it lest my head explodes. Can people really be this idiotic? Or are they all joking at this point? 

Well, I’m not sure — in any event – -look for more posts starting Monday — and that’s all I have to say today.

The Absurdity of “It can’t work!” Wednesday, Feb 19 2014 

In the last few weeks I’ve been using the LBGT center in Phoenix, which happens to be next door to my house — for info, for the library, for wifi — to hang some art — and meet people — and well, there you go — stuff — and then I found out the place is broke, and falling apart — so I attend board meetings — and listen to mush and piffle — and I’m appalled and amazed at what I heard. So, I send this list of things that could be done to the Board of Directors — a self-admitted failed group of folks — and then I get a response publicly that “It can’t work!” and I get it in writing too — so, here’s what I sent the board about my idea to resurrect something that never should have faltered in the first place, along with the response from the board-failure and my response to him — yeesh – -I hate “It can’t be done!” :

One Voice Community Center

A Preliminary Development Plan

 February 2014

 The One Voice Community Center has seen its ups and downs over the past number of years and is now facing yet a new threat to its existence. However, Phoenix, as the 5th largest city in America, deserves a world class Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgendered Center worthy of our city’s position in the nation.

Towards that end the new Board of Directors, with new leadership, would like to present this preliminary development plan. There are many things that need to be done, none of which are easy and none of which are impossible.

 Building a board of professionals and individuals with areas of expertise that would benefit the board – and also reflect the vast diversity of the LGBT community by age, race, sex, gender and other features that express our reality.

 Nothing in this preliminary plan should be construed as binding or permanent or definite, but merely as a starting point of discussion and planning for the forthcoming future.

 The ultimate goal of the plan is to create a Center it its own building, that it owns, that serves the LGBT community in every way possible.

 A recasting of the mission of the Center in an affirmative and growing manner.

 A new set of bylaws that strengthens the core mission of the Center that is clear and unambiguous.

 The election of a Vice-Chair, a Treasurer and a Secretary and an adherence to Robert’s Rules of Order and current standard practices of Non-Profit boards.

 The selection of Vice-chairs in charge of the Website, the Facebook Page, Fundraising, Press, Programs and Events.

 The development of the Board of Directors as an active hands on board that is dedicated to resurrecting the One Voice Community Center to the status it deserves.

 Either the resolution of the difficulties with the current landlord or to find some other amenable space within the area that would lower the operating costs of the center and enable us to look forward and build upon what we have.

 The website needs to be upgraded, updated, and a regular posting and maintenance schedule established.

 The Facebook page needs to be geared towards gaining new members and alerting people to events and happenings.

 Other social media need to be examined to see how they might foster the growth and development of the Center.

 The Center needs to establish permanent fundraising capabilities, including a paid membership, donations in cash and kind, sponsorships, paid events, and ultimately a LGBT trade show to showcase the LGBT community in Phoenix.

 The Center needs to establish monthly fundraising events at bars across the valley.

 Since the Center is in the antiques district it should establish a monthly sale of art and things that tie in with the local merchants at dates and times already well known.

 The Center will work to establish affinity programs with stores, restaurants, bars and other establishments that will donate a given percentage of sales to the center on a regular basis. That is, if people buy say, pizza from Harley’s restaurant then some portion of the receipts on a given night will accrue to the Center.

 An outreach to every LBGT organization, group, business, professional, individual and entity in the Valley such that the Center is seen as the center of the community, and not just another player within it.

 The selling of ad space within the center, and on our website and facebook pages and in any publications or promotion materials.

 The selling of sponsorships for our programs, events and spaces.

 The selling of naming rights for rooms and portions of the Center today and in the future as a fundraising tool.

 Seeking operating and development grants so that the Center can continue, and eventually occupy its own building.

 A regular press outreach so that the Center receives positive coverage in LGBT and heterosexual media in an attempt to reach all LBGT and allied people and organizations.

 Hosting an annual LGBT trade show that will showcase the Valley as a LGBT travel destination and business opportunity – as well as foster trade between the LBGT business and individual community living year round in the Valley.

 Reaching out to every major company in the Valley for financial support – through defining and delineating the power of the LGBT market and purchasing power.

 Increasing the number of events, offerings and programs at the Center to showcase its position as the voice of the diverse community we live in.

 Reaching out to other successful LGBT centers in both nearby cities and nationwide, to find out what works and what we can copy and implement in our own environment.

 Conduct surveys of the LGBT community to determine what you want and what would be best for the Center to serve your needs.

Conduct surveys of the LGBT community to determine the extent of our political and economic impact – and use that information to grow the Center to something worthy of the 5th largest city in America.

 Reaching out to all the LGBT groups, organizations and entities statewide to push for the statewide acceptance of the LGBT community based on Liberty and the American Dream – and not on “equality” and victimization.

 —————end

Then I get this mush: 

Jim:

 Thank you for your suggestions. Several of the actions cited have been undertaken by the board at different times. The discussion with Phoenix Pride does not mean the end of the Center, but represents its evolution and the possibility of a stronger footing within the community. Since 2005, the current business model has repeatedly failed which strongly suggests that it is not sustainable in this market.

 I appreciate your interest and passion for the Center.

 Richard Schultz

 The admitted failed Vice Chair of the place … egads.

So, I sent him this:

 Richard,

if you’ve tried the “current business model” since 2005 — and failed — continuously — then you should change your business model. The idea that a gay center can’t exist in Phoenix is patently absurd. Perhaps whatever you tried is unsustainable — ergo, something else should have been tried. Instead, you all — someone — I don’t know — with the best motives I’m sure – - continued to do the same thing — which didn’t work, you admit. Now your proposal is to continue the same course. Or somehow abandon it all.

 Perhaps then, new ideas are needed – and new people – and not a defeatist attitude that “it can’t be done.”

 I had no intention of getting involved in what i thought was a well run group — which provided me the information I needed — but in my use of the center the numbers of people who spoke to me about it all was rather amazing — just volunteering info left and right — and asking me to do something — for I am an energetic ideas man.

 All my life I was told it “can’t be done.” Then I went and did it. It’s rather amazing what can be done when one abandons failed business models hanging around for 10 years. :)

 Jim Hlavac

 ———–> and you know folks, I’m so tired of hearing from everyone “it can’t be done!” — I hear it so often I’m going to scream. It’s absurd. The idea that something can’t be done is based on the lack of thought by people who first insist it can’t be done – and then they warble on endlessly about how woe is near and naught may be done. I’m opposed to that idea.

Oh well, — let’s see what happens to the gay center in Phoenix — the 5th Largest city in America — where nothing can be done! yeesh, mush and piffle.

 

 

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: