Still wondering if this shit’s real? Here’s a clue by four…

Still wondering if this shit’s real? Here’s a clue by four…

Early this year, in the mad grab for Hamilton tickets, I decided to go ahead and get a full subscription to the Hippodrome in Baltimore. I invited a friend to join me, and we got a pair of tickets for the coming season. Continue reading “Still wondering if this shit’s real? Here’s a clue by four…”

Perspective…

Perspective…

Until today, If you looked up the word “Holocaust” on The Cassie Times, you only found the following posts, in reverse date order. I wrote these articles based on discoveries I made in the news, as they related to me or my views of current events. Continue reading “Perspective…”

Ancient history revisited (Part One)…

Ancient history revisited (Part One)…

On a separate blog, a very VERY long time ago, I posted this exploration into the foundation of Christianity and Jesus.

As I have no desire whatsoever to link this blog to that one, I will occasionally reproduce the content from one into the other.

Link to this? Dandy. Steal it? I will come after you. Ask questions? By all means. Rant? You can’t imagine how fast I will block you.

We begin…


January 7 & 8, 2006: I was just thinking about this…

In the middle of the funeral this morning (yes, I went, alone), I had an epiphany of my own, thanks to the references of the priest to the old testament and the Jewish thoughts on death.

How on earth did we go so far away from the original concept, that we had to be *led* by someone, deified or otherwise, to the right place? At what point did Hell get introduced and why? Is it a Greek thing? Roman? How odd… I’m open to discussion on this one.

Meanwhile, here’s the results of the latest quiz. I’m not shocked at all. And I’m actually looking forward to the visit to the UU congregation tomorrow. Spoke to another mother at my kid’s nursery school, and she’s been attending their services on and off for a while. Really likes them, too.

Anyway, I digress…

Mahavira
You two would probably really get along!
Founder of Jainism
“Non-violence and kindness to living beings is kindness to oneself. For
thereby one’s own self is saved from various kinds of sins and
resultant sufferings and is able to secure his own welfare.”
My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 38% on Intuitive
You scored higher than 66% on Structured
You scored higher than 84% on Mildness
You scored higher than 33% on Traditional
Link: The Religion Founder You Resemble Test written by Stinkbot

Major religion musings here. You’ve been warned…

The UU service was definitely the right choice.

I’ve already determined a couple of things: First, the minister seems to share my recent enlightenment in regards to the Bible. I could be wrong – it will likely take more than a single sermon to know for sure – but it is interesting that right after yesterday’s disturbing experience with the funeral (and right on the heels of the one I endured in November), I can finally put a solid finger on the disturbing elements of taking Jesus as a personal Savior.

I talked with DH about this last night on the way home from the party. It took me pretty much all night to unwind from the experience. I almost didn’t go – digestive system out of whack (and going to a real food party there was a real chance I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the feast), sleep way off, out of sorts and very shaky in emotional stability. The sheer volume of loss this last six months finally settled in. It wasn’t just Ms. M. It was: BG, KT, MW, LC’s mom, assorted loved pets, and…and… That isn’t all. Thursday, one of the moms I’ve been seeing at the bus stop told me her 38 year old brother was on life support because he let pneumonia get out of hand. I hope she got to Florida in time.

I always watch the memorial segment of the Oscars, too. We lost a bunch of people then as well.

But the key feature of the list above is that with the exception of BG and LC’s mom, none of the rest were older than 48, and all of them left with little or no warning at all.

And what bugged me ever so much at the funeral yesterday, which bothered me at the prior service, and at the one for DH’s “cousin” S, wasn’t just the whole hell thing. It’s this, and it’s a lot more inflammatory for those who believe in Christianity: Jesus, whether or not he intended to be, has become an undying cult leader. It wasn’t enough to think that last night, but I’m not the only one who thinks this is the case. It’s amazing. Well over a billion followers.

How presumptuous: Nobody can make it to heaven except by following Jesus – literally – he has taken the role of the leader from this world to the next. Believing in God isn’t enough.

Obviously I need to pick up a Bible. I’ve needed to read the old testament for a very long time, because it is literature and it’s important, since so many people are guided by it. But I need to figure out if I’m just imagining this or I really am seeing it. And then I need to figure out how to reconcile this so that the next time I have to go to a funeral at a Christian church, I can sit through the service and not simply steam in my own digestive juices.

Interestingly, I’m listening to the story the minister quoted, in a sermon discussing sacrifice, Eid, and Abraham. I know why they’re showing this on PBS – obviously it’s because of Eid on Tuesday. But what I didn’t realize was how closely tied Muslim, Jewish and Christian faith was. And how far the others have been controverted to the purposes of the Bible. And there is nothing more controverted than the conversion of the Jewish belief that there is simply a better place to go after one dies, then the belief that only through Jesus can one actually get there after death.

Yeah. I’m paraphrasing. I don’t have time to go to the book and look it up. (Errands to run and all that.) I want to get this idea out of my head and onto “paper” before I lose the thread. Some time soon, though, I think I’m going to add another actual essay to the “Writings” page on my site.

To those of my friends who have gotten this far, and who believe, I’ve determined that I am not agnostic. There is a description for what I believe, but there is no appropriate label for who I believe in. God is as close as it comes. And by setting anything in the way of God, as a mouthpiece or humanization of that “deep magic”, it somehow cheapens for me the value of the belief itself.

I’m going to spend more time on this over the next year. If this year is any indication, there are going to be a lot more of these ordeals to be survived in the coming years and I need to prepare myself for the onslaught.

Just saw the BE EMPOWERED commercial on PBS – the one about the fish who decides the bowl isn’t enough. It finds a way to swim with the salmon instead. I think that’s me.

Time for bookkeeping. More soon…

Comments:

DF:
You might look at some of the “mystical” Christian writings and the Sufis, who are the mystical sect of Islam. Mystical in this sense means seeking a direct experience with God. (Wikipedia article on Christian mysticism here) The Christians tend not to dwell on the whole “Christ as your personal savior” and “you must be SAVED” put focus on the “God in everyone” aspect, which is one of the central tenants of UU and Quakerism as well.

I tend to be more deist when you get right down to it. I believe that there is a higher power up there and he/she’s done a lot of cool things but we’re really cool too and shouldn’t use said higher power as a crutch. That and @#$! happens.

I’ve got a couple books on Christian mystics and Sufis if you want to borrow them sometime.

Me:
Yeah, maybe… When I have some more time and I’ve done the thing I really need to do – which is read the book itself, so I have a formal footing for my heresy… 😎

SC:
I’ve determined that I am not agnostic. There is a description for what I believe, but there is no appropriate label for who I believe in. God is as close as it comes.

Surely you’ve heard heard of “deism”?

Me:
Nope. Still too formal.

Checked Google under “define: deism”, and got this back (amongst others):

“Deism is a belief in God as revealed by nature and reason, not scripture and faith. Deism is a free-thought philosophy, much like Agnosticism, Atheism or Pantheism in that it rejects the dogmas and superstitions of religion in favor of individual reason and empirical observation of the universe. The Deist sees an order and architecture to the universe that indicates an Intelligent Creator or First Cause. …”

Like I said, God is the wrong term. Deep magic is closer, but still not right. I don’t think any”one” set about making the universe happen, but that force which makes things happen (perpetual motion, lifeforce, whatever) has to have some sort of name in my head, and for that I suppose God is a useful term. Might as well be Doll or Foo or Whatever, except that folks have a clue about the meaning of the word God in relation to the universe.

Just my muddled interpretation. Like I said, I need to think a little more about this before I write something profoundly stupid…

MB:
Donning my Skunk Suit for this Garden Party…
As Alan Moore so succinctly put it:

“Existance[sic] is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them nor destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us.”

Me:
Re: Donning my Skunk Suit for this Garden Party…
Thank you for that stunning visual of the reality that is what we ourselves do in the name of right.

And lest someone mistake my meaning, I agree with you on this.

Like I said, it isn’t called God. I’m a firm believer in conservation of energy, but that’s tough to describe in the metaphysical sense, when determining how we came to be. That we choose to do what we do with what we have is another, often sadder (though not always), story. And that some people need to be led like sheep is, in a way, sort of sad in and of itself.

I suppose it’s a search for ways to cope with existence, and why I’m ever so much less likely than someone who buys the whole “better place to be” thing to take my own life (or anyone else’s). It’s what we have here and now that matters most, not what’s coming afterwards. There’s a lot of folks who would do well to remember that in their daily lives.

SK:
Interestingly enough, there are even some Pentacostals who are having this aspect to their faith – reinterpreting, or perhaps interpreting for the first time, the idea of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. Would a loving God consign anyone who did not accept Jesus in that way as damned? Not all Christians think so.

Now I do believe in Christ as personal savior – but then, if I do that, I must accept that Christ will have different ways for each person. That’s the “personal” part.

Me:
Would a loving God consign anyone who did not accept Jesus in that way as damned? Not all Christians think so.

Interestingly enough, that’s almost an exact quote from the Reverend, and she came to roughly the same conclusion.

She, by the was, was Methodist before switching to UU.

JH:
the belief that only through Jesus can one actually get there after death.

I am very irked by the accepted translation of this. When Jesus was alive he (reportedly) said, “No one gets to the father except by me.” He then did this thing which supposedly allows sinners to go to Heaven. You’ll note by the weasel words that I don’t actually believe this, BUT…according to this story it sounds to me like what he meant was “I’m going to open that door” not “you have to follow me in order to get through it.” But I’m a baptist-raised ex-pagan Poohist, so what do I know :).

Me:
Ah-yup. All of which just goes to show that this stuff is WAY TOO open to interpretation to be taken as absolute *as written* in the book. Which I think is my biggest beef on the subject (and has been since high school, at least).

CS:
Yes. not only open to interpretation, but some interpretation is unavoidable. If the book says “blue” you may think of the sky on a clear, winter day and I may think of the ocean just before dawn. And we could both be wrong.

In my experience kindred spirits can be found in all faith traditions. One of the things I look for is a kind of openness. Open people admit that there is a lot they don’t know, much they can learn from others. Which leads to a tolerance for diversity.

Fanatics, of any belief system, have an answer for everything. And just one answer, at that.

But here’s a bit of antidote to that my-way-or-the-highway mentality:

“Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.”

That’s St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. Can’t stand by everything the old coot said, but this one can help encourage tolerance.

Hope you find a good place to rest.

LS:
Random thoughts
Lots of thoughts. In the opening words at our service, we say,

“Love is the doctrine of this church; the quest of truth is its sacrament,and service is its prayer. To dwell together in peace, to seek knowledge in freedom, to serve humankind in fellowship, to the end that all souls shall grow into harmony with the Divine. This is our great Covenant, one with another, and with our god.”

When I get caught up in god or goddess or no god or whatever, I really feel those words “the Divine.” Broad enough to be whatever I need it to be, and personal enough to carry me.

Someone else quoted the part about Jesus talking about being the way into his father’s house. I believe (and I’m not going to look it up, I’m too lazy to get off the couch) that right after this, Jesus also says something to the effect that there are many rooms in his father’s house.

There’s a fabulous book written by a UU minister called “Finding Your Religion.” The guy’s name is Scotty McLennan; he was the model for Rev. Scott Sloan in Doonesbury, and is just about as cool as the cartoon character. Rev. Scotty battled with just that question about whether you *have to* accept Jesus as your personal avatar before being saved; the minister with whom he was having a series of soul-searching debates at a crucial time in his life finally, in exasperation, told him, basically, you sound as looney as a UU–why don’t you go check them out? It’s a fun read and I highly recommend it for the soul-searching person. You can get it through amazon or through uua.org’s bookstore.

Glad your UU church worked out for you. Hope it continues to do so.

Ancient history revisited (Part Two)…

Ancient history revisited (Part Two)…

On a separate blog, a very VERY long time ago, I posted this exploration into the foundation of Christianity and Jesus.

As I have no desire whatsoever to link this blog to that one, I will occasionally reproduce the content from one into the other.

Link to this? Dandy. Steal it? I will come after you. Ask questions? By all means. Rant? You can’t imagine how fast I will block you.

We begin…


March 25, 2008: Ok. So I think I need to further this discussion…

Me:
As I understand it, his basic teaching was that you could find the kingdom of heaven within yourself and to mistreat others was to mistreat yourself. People have misinterpreted what Jesus was saying:”If you believe what I believe, you’ll get there, too.” Instead they heard “Only through me.” Believe in Jesus and you’d be saved. It should have been “Believe in what Jesus is saying and you’ll save yourself.”

DF:
Not to start a major debate but Jesus very clearly said that he was the path to salvation. Now I’d argue that there are many paths but the Bible is pretty clear on the path of Jesus.

See, now, here’s where I have a problem.

Jesus was Jewish. The Jewish belief that you get to heaven on your own, by believing that’s where you’ll go, is something he taught. The trouble with the bible is that it was written hundreds of years after Jesus died. In Greek. Translated any number of times. It’s terribly hard for me to believe that what is written in the book is the exact thing Jesus said. After all, how many games of Telephone lead to an exact retelling of the original phrase.

Couple that with a change in languages (ancient Hebrew, the original Aramaic (not as ancient as the version in the original Old Testament) of the bible and then Greek, Latin, and finally English (King James), plus other modern languages), and you really can’t say for absolutely sure that what is written is exactly what Jesus said.

One version has the onus of a single individual as a representation of the only way to get to heaven, and the other indicates a philosophy that, if followed, will get you there.

I don’t personally think he said that he was the path to salvation. I really believe he said his way was the way to salvation. That’s two very different meanings muddied by millennia of individuals, many of whom had their own personal agendas to carry forward.

Remember: For both the Greeks and the Romans, very few humans made it to Mount Olympus to live with the Gods. The Jewish faith was vastly different: One God and a heaven to which all people had access; where it wasn’t necessary to have Priests intervene on their behalf and where they wouldn’t simply be consigned to the Afterworld (Hades).

It was a radical departure from what the vast majority of people believed then, and put the Priests on such shaky ground (who feared what would happen if enough people believed in Jesus’ version of the truth), that the threat was sufficient to have Jesus executed. They didn’t expect that their execution plan would backfire, but then it’s rare that people in power consider the power of the martyr. Have a look in the general direction of the Middle East (where all this theology developed) and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

My problem all along (and the root of many a debate in high school and beyond with some of my more fundamentalist Christian friends) has been that the Bible is an interpretation of history, much of it verbal and only later written down in a way that could be interpreted by present day speakers. And don’t even get me started on the Old Testament (Hebrew version or otherwise).

Wikipedia (sometimes questionable source that it is) provides an example of what I’m talking about here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aramaic#Late_Old_Western_Aramaic

I note especially this comment about The Passion of the Christ:

“The 2004 film The Passion of the Christ is notable for its use of much dialogue in Aramaic only, specially reconstructed by a scholar, but not an Aramaic specialist, William Fulco. However, rather than basing his reconstruction on what is known of first-century Aramaic, he used the Aramaic of Daniel, fourth-century Syriac and Hebrew as the basis for his work.[10] Modern Aramaic speakers found the language stilted and unfamiliar.”

Just think for a moment: You’re familiar with Shakespeare. It’s written in English, right? But how many of the words and phrases he uses mean the same thing as today? Consider how many footnotes you find in the modern texts, and then think about this: We’re talking about a period of time that’s not even 500 years ago. Think how much language has changed and then think about a period of time 2,008 years ago, and you can get a better idea of my basic problem with the Bible.

Drifting way back to January 7th and 8th, 2006, where this current spiritual wandering of mine started, I see a lot of books that were recommended to me then that I didn’t have time to pull down and read. Most notable amongst these is the Bible itself. But which one? King James? Gideon? T. Jefferson?

I refer back to that dubious but handy fountain of information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible#Bible_versions_and_translations

The recent uncovering of the apocryphal Gospel of Judas calls into even larger question the validity and truth of what people have come to understand: That Judas was the epitome of a traitor and the foundation of all that is wrong with the Jews in history – a fitting example of why they must be exterminated. If, instead, he’s viewed as the key to taking Jesus’ message to the wider population (by sacrificing his leader and himself because he was asked to rather than simply because he’d lost faith in the lessons and the man), how then are we to know that he actually committed suicide. The Priests saw no benefit in a public execution, but would they be above a hanging that would look as though Judas was guilty and repentant? Suppose you consider the possibility that he didn’t hang himself? Can we know for sure, just because the Bible tells us he committed suicide? Who’s really saying that? It couldn’t have been Judas and only Judas would know for sure. The rest is heresay.

The first time I really investigated this topic, I was in my first year of college, taking a cultural anthropology course. Way before I considered theatre as a career, I was convinced that Anthropology was The Thing for me. One of the books we read, Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches had a different interpretation of Jesus and what he meant to the Jews.

I’m coming to realize, after over 20 years of additional experience since reading the book, that there might have been a grain of truth to the postulation of Jesus as a military figure whose inability to win freedom for the Jews proved that he was not the Messiah and therefore a target for death, but that this doesn’t take into consideration the things Jesus might have taught his followers as a Rabbi. I need to go back and reread this book with my additional experience, but not before I sit down to read the Bible itself. I’m tempted to read the Jefferson Bible, but I suspect that won’t get me an understanding of what the majority of Christians believe. A recommendation about the best version is welcome, though. I’m gathering that King James is the most widely used version today, but I can’t say for sure that it’s the best version.

I find it vastly interesting that at the same time I’m ruminating on this subject, scientists have located a Gamma Ray burst sufficiently bright to be seen by the naked eye. From the NASA web site:

Never before has anything so far away come even close to naked-eye visibility. The explosion was so far away that it took its light 7,500,000,000 (7.5 billion) years to reach Earth! In fact, the explosion took place so long ago that Earth had not yet come into existence.

I can’t reconcile the Bible as absolute truth with these sorts of things. The two don’t make sense to me. Either science is One. Big. Lie. or the Bible has it wrong on some level. It’s in my nature to fall on the side of science.

Now I can believe that a man named Jesus lived, taught people as a Rabbi, and died on the cross 2008 years ago, give or take a day. I simply can’t take as absolute truth most of what the Bible has to say, unless I can take it in context. There are simply too many contradictions to take it as a whole, and if not taken as a whole, then the whole document comes into question. And if you can’t take the gospel as gospel, then the book raises more questions than it answers.

This is what I believe. Your mileage may vary.

I do love, however, that the Gamma burst noted above happened within 24 hours of Arthur C. Clarke’s death. Makes for a neat juxtaposition. At any moment the monolith will visit us and everything will become clear.

Any day now.

Comments from way back then:

Me:
I think Jesus was an extremely wise man, and that he certainly had a deeper spiritual connection to earth and heart and things that matter than most people of his time and place. I also believe that he would be appalled at how many people have suffered and died, and at how many crimes have been committed, in his name.

DF:

The trouble with the bible is that it was written hundreds of years after Jesus died.

Actually, the earliest gospels were written around 65AD, about 30 or so years after Jesus’ death and when a lot of his original followers were still around. The oldest surviving copies are from around 200AD, a big difference between being written 200 years later. I wouldn’t consider it a perfect account of history but the message about Christ being the son of god and being the savior is consistent.

You mentioned the King James version to read. The original is a crap translation but the New King James keeps the original language but cleans up the translation considerably. I prefer the New American Standard myself. A fellow Quaker prefers to read several translations at once. He said that they might differ on little things but where they all agree is where you can be pretty sure that is what the original author intended.

About Jesus being a military figure, I doubt that completely. Rome had a nasty habit of making examples of the opposition. If Jesus was leading an anti-Rome movement, all of his followers would have been rounded up and crucified, not just Jesus.

The Jewish faith was vastly different: One God and a heaven to which all people had access; where it wasn’t necessary to have Priests intervene on their behalf and where they wouldn’t simply be consigned to the Afterworld (Hades).

All Jews had access to that god, not people in general. Despite the popularity of converting to Judiasm today, it wasn’t a religion into which you converted. Jews needed priests, hence the temples and the sacrificing. It wasn’t until after the Jewish rebellion in like 69AD when Rome destroyed all those temples that animal sacrifice and the pharases went away. That was the radical thing about Jesus – he was the one that said, “Hey, I’m the sacrifice. You don’t need the bulls any more.”

As for the comparison with Shakespere, while individual phrases have different meanings or have gone out of use, the overall characterization and plot of the plays is still there. Hamlet is still a prince of Denmark. Romeo and Juliette are still young lovers. MacBeth is still Scottish. Thus I find it hard to believe that even with translations and idioms, the central theme of Jesus being the son of god and a way to salvation is completely wrong.

Again, I don’t think that Jesus is the only way nor did he say that he was the ONLY way. But I think that he definitely is a way and said so himself.

(For the record, while I grew up in a fundamentalist church, I’m more deist these days as I can’t reconcile a “loving a forgiving” God condeming[sic] millions of people to death because they’ve done some honest soul searching and came up with a different answer than mainstream Christianity. I don’t believe that God is that petty about it.)

SC:
Um, all PEOPLE have access to G-d – Jews just have a specific path. You, as a non-Jew, have to find your own, as far as Judaism is concerned. I don’t know who told you what you believe, but s/he is dead wrong.

But if Jesus was Jewish, then he would have known that human sacrifice is one of the biggest non-nos in Judaism. We used to kill entire nations for that one.

CS:
There’s a pithy Dire Straits lyric: “Two men say they’re Jesus. One of them must be wrong.”

Yea. Like that. There’s a cacophany[sic] of voices out there. Who to listen to? There are a variety of Christian groups that would point to me and say that I’ve got it all wrong, and that I’ll likely burn in hell for it. Trouble is, if I sign up with any of them all the others will still condemn me. So you can’t win on those grounds. This is happening more and more even within my own denomination, heaven help us! My own brother-in-law has referred to those with the gall to disagree with him as “the apostate church.” Heh.

No, in the end we’re all left to our own devices. I suspect God wants it that way.

Me:
See, that’s the main reason why I like the folks in my congregation. The guy I was sitting next to on Sunday for the second service is a devout atheist, and he still got something good from the sermon. For us it’s far more about the community than the specific faith. Everyone has views and they might all be right. What I believe isn’t necessarily what you believe. Its that freedom to choose what you feel is right that’s so prized in UU faith.

As for me, I’m thoroughly enjoying this topic. Its rare to find a place where talking about religion is not taboo. I love this forum for just that reason.

JP:
For the best translations of the Bible (as opposed to The New Testament), your best choice would be an Artscroll version. There are some that have intralineal translations, so the translation is directly under the hebrew word(s) that are being translated.

Me:
The problem with that is that I believe the old testament even less than I do the new. Ironic, since I’m presently working on an opera that celebrates Noah’s ark…

JW:
As I’ve always said, the problem with conventional Christianity is that they’ve mistaken the messenger for the message.

I highly recommend the book “Misquoting Jesus” which is a great reference book of all the changes that scholars know got into the Bible along with when and how they got in. Some is translation error, some deliberate, and all of it is fascinating.

Me:
I’ve been meaning to pick that up, along with a copy of the Gospel of Judas. I think I need to make a book list out of this thread and make some real time to read the material.

SC:
One hole in your (&/or Xian) logic is that Jesus was NOT a threat to the priests. This is proven by the way the story has them disposing of him. If he were truly a threat, they could have simply tried/executed him on those grounds – thus destroying not only him, but his teaching. But he wasn’t, & they didn’t. If the story has any truth to it, it was that he was a threat to the Romans – who would never have executed anyone on behalf of a troublesome subjugated people – especially not Pilate, who had been sent to Jerusalem as a punishment. Rome used crucifixion for specific crimes – such as rebellion. But those writing the story had to throw blame from the Romans because they were the only realistic pool of converts for them, the Jews already having passed on the idea (& the circumstances of his supposed arrest/trial/etc. prove that the writers were completely unfamiliar w/Jewish law. Also, history has shown that we do not execute false messiahs – we’ve had them more times than just once).

Guns? No. Radical Islam? No. LGBTQ Rights? No. Insanity? Close…

Guns? No. Radical Islam? No. LGBTQ Rights? No. Insanity? Close…

UPDATED: 7:49pm

 

I didn’t want to go there, but I sure had a sneaking suspicion, and I’ve just been proven right.
According to Gawker Magazine, the shooter was a regular at Pulse. This was no random attack. It was cold blooded, premeditated murder. Daesh had nothing to do with it.

 

Orlando Shooter Was Reportedly a Regular at Pulse and Had a Profile on Gay Dating App

 


There are plenty of words for what happened in Orlando but I promised not to say any of them yesterday because the families and friends of the dead deserved that much.

It’s disgustingly typical of Conservative America that the 2nd Amendment remains more important than human life, but how will the deluded reconcile too many guns with radical Islam and manage to keep the dialogue from devolving into “more guns would fix this?”

Make the problem into a self-righteous rant that they must have deserved it because LGBTQ? (Nope. No cognitive dissonance there.)

No. Not quite.

Whether the lone wolf shooter, who will remain anonymous in this post, is or is not an actual member of DAESH is truly irrelevant here. He was born in New York City, was not even observing Ramadan (the holiest month in the Islamic year), and in the usual 20/20 hindsight that comes after these events, was unstable, violent, threatening, and still employed despite a co-worker’s warnings that he was dangerous. The shooter was licensed and fully able to acquire the firepower he needed to do roughly a third the amount of damage as took place November 13, 2015 at Le Bataclan in Paris.

The problem lies not in the shooter’s actual affiliation but in the dialogue that will come from this horrific event. It lies in this statement, posted by WTOP at 5:50 a.m.:

The Islamic State’s radio has called the Orlando mass shooter “one of the soldiers of the caliphate in America.”

Al-Bayan Radio, a media outlet for the IS extremist group, on Monday hailed the attack that left 50 people dead [including the shooter], saying it targeted a gathering of Christians and gays and that it’s the worst attack on U.S. soil since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Authorities say [the shooter] opened fire with an AR-15 rifle at a gay nightclub early Sunday before being killed in a shootout with police. Another 53 people were wounded in the shooting.

The broadcast is apparently an opportunistic statement as IS has not officially claimed responsibility for the Orlando attack.” [emphasis mine]

You want to see how this stacks up against reality?

Have you been reading my posts? I’ve explained this already. And I’m not alone.

As mass shootings plague US, survivors mourn lack of change

There can be no rational discussion ever again about common sense gun control, because GOD NRA FORBID we exercise control of our emotions long enough to realize we’re talking about human lives, of people with the same exact rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, whether it’s the brand of happiness we think is acceptable.

When single issue voters choose the Second Amendment over anything resembling sanity, this is what we get as a result: “The state of Gun Violence in the US, explained in 18 charts.”

In 2009, when there were still enough Democrats in Congress to make a difference, the House and Senate finally passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Obama later signed into law. It would never have passed today.

According to Vox.com, the bill, which added perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disabilities to the list of protected classes under existing federal hate crimes law, was passed as a rider to one of that year’s Defense Spending bills, no thanks to the following individuals, who voted against the bill.

[The names in RED are running for re-election this November. Remember that when you go to the polls this year. Again, emphasis mine.]

In the Senate:

Sen. John Barasso (R-WY)
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. James Risch (R-ID)
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

 

In the House

The following are ALL up for re-election, except where noted, and you can vote them out in November:

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Rep. John Boozman (R-AR), who’s now a US senator
Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA)
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Rep. Dan Camp (R-MI)
Rep. Shelley Capito (R-WV), who’s now a US senator
Rep. John Carter (R-TX)
Rep. John Chaffetz (R-CA)
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)
Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL)
Rep. John Culberson (R-TX)
Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), who’s now a US senator
Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-TN)
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who’s now a US senator
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA)
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO)
Rep. Steven Guthrie (R-KY)
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS)
Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV), who’s now a US senator
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX)
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)
Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
Rep. Pete King (R-NY)
Rep. John Kline (R-MN)
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX)
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Rep. John Mica (R-FL)
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI)
Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS), who’s now a US senator
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA)
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX)
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN)
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN)
Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA)
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL)
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)
Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY)
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL)
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE)
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH)
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)
Rep. Don Young (R-AK)

 

What are YOU doing on November 8, 2016?

And another thing…

And another thing…

I’m going to riff off the post I made earlier on FB, because it summarizes the problem we’re facing today. If you already read my post, feel free to share it. I’m following on from my last post, Connecting the Dots, Part 4, where you’ll find the current stats for the 2016 Primaries and Caucuses.


What did the GOP establishment think was going to happen when they kept comparing President Obama to Hitler, told their constituents they ALL had to have guns to protect themselves, that the country is in crisis and only the GOP will save them, and then put up a field of candidates who couldn’t actually deliver?

When the real deal–a pure fascist demagogue–comes along with actual authoritarian values, charismatic appeal to the basest senses of fear and loathing, and stirs up the spoon-fed population of fully armed racists, bigots, misogynists and zealots and tells them he’ll do everything their narrow-minded hearts desire, who are they going to follow?

Make no mistake here: The GOP establishment and their crony capitalist billionaire thugs built this, and they’ve intentionally rigged the system with deceptive voting machines, voter ID laws and outright fraudulent counting practices just to ensure their candidates can’t lose. When Trump sweeps in come November, it will be because of everything WE let them do in the last eight years in service to the government they’ve sworn to destroy.

What they’ve all failed to remember–every last one of them–is what Germany looked like for DECADES. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and the final reunification took place in 1992, almost 50 years AFTER the end of World War II in 1945.

Think about that for a while, as you chew on all the rhetoric that says it can’t happen here, that Trump isn’t electable, that somehow Bernie Sanders or Hillary Rodham Clinton will win and we’ll all be okay.

The Right doesn’t recognize fascism because they think it’s a 54 year-old black man from Kenya.

Think about it.


Addendum 1:

This just crossed my feed. It doesn’t name names or call the question of where ALEC derived, but everything I’ve been saying since 2012 is here. What we’re seeing is the natural progression of decades of hate and manipulation, coalescing around Trump and Cruz (recently compared elsewhere in my feed to Mussolini and Hitler).

They built this.

Vote Libertarian and you suck votes away from the GOP. Vote Green or Socialist and you suck votes away from the Dems. And if, as I suspect, Cruz moves forward and takes the nomination away from Trump, there will rise a third party, that will split the GOP straight down the middle. IF Cruz gets enough support.
Regardless, that is the ONLY WAY this election won’t produce a Republican for the White House. Your choice: Authoritarian Fascist or Christian Theocrat. Which is worse: Concentration camps or the Spanish Inquisition?
Take your pick.
If you can’t say it to my face…

If you can’t say it to my face…

I woke up this morning at 2:30am after a fitful night’s sleep. I was trying to concentrate on homework before I crashed, but there was an incident last night in my favorite restaurant/hang out that bothered me on a level I failed to interpret properly, and I woke up and realized I needed to unload before I could go back to sleep, so I turned on my computer.

That led to a variety of things, including more work on the homework and, more importantly, some solidifying of my thoughts on what happened.

A few days ago, I posted a link to a quote on FB that appears to have grown legs. The quote appears to be a paraphrase of this article on Examiner.com, written by William Hamby: What if gun laws were like abortion laws?

My post, with a paraphrased version of the comparison Hamby made, continues to generate likes and has also attracted a couple of trolls who would rather point their flamethrowers at anyone who thinks pregnancy choice is a problem (read: Pro-Birth) than discuss the actual issue: Gun control.

 

I could address an anti-choice rant and get involved in a days-long fight with someone who’s only interested in posting on FB to generate arguments and feed the hate, who’s largely impervious to reason, employing logical fallacies rather than discussing the actual problem and identifying solutions, or I could eliminate the source.


I’ve been told that one of the individuals in question is a “professional troll” and I’ve got a clearly stated policy against such behavior on my FB page. Posting inflammatory rants borne of logical fallacy for the sake of pissing off the liberals is reason enough to eject someone from my space. I don’t tolerate trolling behavior and I try not to derail the conversation with straw man arguments or false equivalency, but the simple summary that generated the latest response struck me as a concrete analogy and that’s why it was important to share. 

 

Too often, 2nd Amendment supports see their right to guns as trumping any other rights to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. The trouble is, with today’s all-too-often climate of “shoot first, ask later” and doxxing as a means to settle arguments, you actually can’t be too cautious about who you invite to the conversation.

 

Maybe that’s wrong, but I called the police tonight on a guy in my local favorite restaurant (which, by the way, is run by a Muslim family) because the ass wipe was behaving in a manner that threatened him and his family. So when I say I won’t tolerate behavior and I’ll say it to someone’s face, I back that 100%.

 

Why did I call the cops? He was harassing the chef’s daughter, who does not speak English and was wearing her hijab. She was sitting quietly at the end of a long day, and he wandered through, heaping verbal abuse on a guy he called a “f**king queer (who packed up and left in a justifiable huff) and attempting to start a conversation with the daughter. I was unable to keep working on the homework. I felt threatened, and he wasn’t addressing me at all.

 

Two days ago, an American shot up his workplace after leaving angrily. This guy was wearing a cammo coat and was clearly drunk. What was going to stop him from going to his car, hauling out a pistol and exercising his 2A rights, as he saw them through a haze of alcohol? So, I called the cops, because it was necessary. It’s sad that I had to go there at all, but it was clear from where I was sitting that he was unloading all that hate just because she was wearing something he could identify as a target for abuse.

 

It’s the same hate I’ve seen filling the arenas where Trump and Carson and the rest of the bigots in the GOP try to pander to their racist, homophobic, xenophobic base, out of fear they will become irrelevant if they can’t control all the branches of government.

 

It’s the same hate that made the GOP vote to repeal the ACA (Obamacare), and defund Planned Parenthood (even though the federal government is banned from financing abortions).

 

And now that we’ve finally seen Daesh on our own shores, maybe we’ll finally see some action regarding control of weapons, even though the vast majority of mass shootings occurred with a Christian or Atheist at the trigger. The irony hasn’t escaped me, but the question is: Why now? Why not back when Lanza shot all those children in Sandy Hook? Or when the kids shot up their classmates and teachers in Columbine?

 

You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to force me to risk my health for your firmly held belief. That includes your opinion of Planned Parenthood facilities, semi-automatic weapons, medical Mary Jane or anything else. And you sure as hell aren’t entitled to say whatever you want on my FB wall or here, with no consequences to your actions.

 

I’m not going to waste my time arguing with you. Deleting the hate-filled spew on my wall and blocking the source is as much a self-defense mechanism as anything else. If people can’t be civil, they can leave. I’ve said as much on FB, right here. And if they won’t leave, I’ll eject them. It’s really, truly, that simple.

Connecting the Dots, Part 3

Connecting the Dots, Part 3

When I wrote this post back in 2012, just before the 2012 election, I was doing everything in my power to get the word out that we couldn’t elect Mitt Romney because he was backed by American Fascists.

Theme: Elation by Kaira.