Thursday, November 19, 2009

Boycotting Christians

The title of this blog post is sort of a double entendre. The American Family Association sent out an "AFA Alert" today about a boycott they have called for against many retail establishments that do not specifically feature the word "Christmas" in their holday themed advertisements. This particular alert is a follow up from last weeks alert that posted the list of companies that the AFA claims should be putting "Christ back into Christmas". Apparently the Gap company - which runs a number of retail stores that heavily depend on holiday season sales - has responded with advertisements featuring a new jingle which does include the word "Christmas" - but the AFA is still angry. Here's a quote from their alert:

Dear George,

Gap has responded to AFA's call for a Christmas boycott of their Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic stores with a commercial that takes a cavalier approach towards Christmas.
The video entitled Ready for Holiday Cheer features a group of people dancing and chanting:
Two, Four, Six, Eight, now's the time to liberate
Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, Go Kwanza, Go Solstice.
Go classic tree, go plastic tree, go plant a tree, go add a tree,
You 86 the rules, you do what feels just right.
Happy do whatever you wanukkah, and to all a cheery night.

Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, go whatever holiday you wanukkah.
Did you notice it? Gap compares Christmas to the pagan holiday called "Solstice." Solstice is celebrated by Wiccans who practice witchcraft!
Gap also encourages you to "86" or "dismiss" traditions and "do what feels just right."
Take our Poll! Since Gap has now included the word "Christmas" in a television ad, should AFA call for an end to the boycott of their stores?

Oye Ve! What!?!?! I'm not even sure where to begin.... but oh well, first, that jingle doesn't "compare" anything! Second, the Solstice was (and is) celebrated by nearly every culture on earth, western or not. Third, Christianity co-opted the Solstice celebration by replacing it with a celebration of Christ's birth - who was really probably born sometime in September if you go by the clues given by when Mary traveled to her cousin's when she was pregnant.

The AFA are examples of people I collectively call "Religionistas". They are people who feel the need to impose their will on everyone who does not think the same way they do. They push for laws that punish those they consider "immoral" due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. They press for public displays of crosses, nativity scenes, and other monuments to Christ claiming that the United States was a nation founded on Christianity. (Apparently choosing to deny that most of the Founding Fathers were not Christians according to their definition).

They push for schools to quit teaching the theory of evolution, replacing it with their oddly rationalized "earth is not much more than 6000 years old" Creationism. (Although there are a few "Real True Christian" thinkers out there that are now calling for a variation of creationism called "Intelligent Design" to be taught - which is no less oddly rationalized, and no more scientific than creationism.)

But one of the most absurd efforts of theirs is this "Christ back into Christmas" campaign! Jeez! what can be more Christ-like than rushing from mall store to mall store, eagerly purchasing all the material crap that everyone on their "Christ"mas list has demanded - else they be let down by the holy spirit!

I urge all readers to go to the AFA's Action Alert site and vote for the AFA to stop boycotting the Gap! (I really don't care if Christan's buy their crap from the Gap company or not, I just want the AFA to publish poll results that go against their morals!).

Meanwhile, I'll be boycotting Christians this year - at least those of the "religionista" ilk!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Laissez-faire Fraud

Lots of people nowadays are looking at our troubled economy and are understandably confused as to what is the ultimate cause of the recession. Many reasons for the "economic collapse" have been put forward - mortgage lenders freely passing out low interest loans to folks who were never going to be able to repay, bankers and investment brokers repackaging collections of worthless loans and selling bits and pieces of them for commissions without any added value, worldwide growth expanding demand for a dwindling supply of oil, consumers financing their endless materialism on lines of credit they wouldn't be able to repay if they lived to be a hundred, etc. etc.

I'm sure that all of these are contributing factors. But what really concerns me is that the reasons listed above may add up to only a small portion of the real factors causing our current woes. Check out this article:

The writer points fingers at Goldman Sachs (and others) for manipulating the price of oil, and in doing so committing fraud at a never before imagined scale. I don't really know how accurate his accusations are, but he does quote the Congressional Research Service, reports from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and others. If he's only partly correct, then outright fraud would appear to be a major contributing factor to the current recession.

We already knew that fraud played the major role in bringing Enron and Worldcom down. Computer Associates (CA) and Qwest Telecommunications were involved in multi-billion dollar fraud scandals, and then of course there's Bernie Madoff's multi-billion dollar scam.

So, now here in the early years of the twenty-first century, we are seeing thievery at a scale that not only was never possible before, but literally unimaginable.

And, making it all worse, the government is basically paying the criminals off with YOUR money! Just about every thinking financial analyst out there understands that by sinking multi-trillions of dollars into the TARP funds, the value of a dollar will be reduced commensurately. The biggest accomplishment of  TARP is that the criminals no longer will lose any of their ill gotten gains!

Currently, congress is contemplating new legislation intended to address these schemes by the Financial Sector community. However, legislation has often had exactly the opposite effect of it's intention (ref: "The Communications Decency Act of 1996" gave pornography on the Internet its biggest boost. "No Child Left Behind" explicitly spells out how public education will leave some children behind. "Defense of Marriage Act" - Ha! Don't get me started on that one!). I have very little confidence that any laws we could possibly pass would stem the flow of wealth from the middle-class to the very rich.

I am not sure what can be done to solve the problem. I'm tempted to take everything I have in savings and purchase what little gold I can. I know that my dollars will not be worth much of anything in the near future.

What's your thoughts on the current state of affairs? Do you have any hope of ever being able to retire with any quality of life?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Victory for Evil in Maine

Yesterday voters in Maine repealed a law that would have allowed same-sex couples to marry in the state. The law was enacted in the spring of 2009 by the Maine legislature who had intended to "right a wrong". In other words, the Maine legislature recognized that the rights of GLBT people are meaningfully restricted by laws that do not allow their relationships to be recognized by society.

Organizers of the petition to repeal this law had waged a bitter battle that relied on lies, appeals to bigotry and scare tactics.

The people who campaigned in favor of the bill appealed to the Maine residents independent spirit and "live and let live" attitude.

Well, the liars, manipulators, and bigots won the day. The tactic that may have proved the most effective? Opponents of the law based many of its campaign ads on claims -- disputed by state officials -- that the new law would mean "homosexual marriage" would be taught in public schools.

The right wingers appealed to the fears that all parents have against their children being taught anything about sexuality - especially when done outside of their sphere of influence.

Well folks, school officials in Maine and everywhere else are not about to teach kids anything about homosexuality, just like they don't teach anything about heterosexuality - at least not beyond basic sex education timed to coincide with when the kids are encountering puberty. Of course religious fundamentalists are threatened even by that. They'd rather remove their children from "sex-ed" classes - which is their right.

However, religious fundamentalists needed a way to convince the voters of Maine that this law would endanger their children - because that was they only way they could come up with to overcome a rational person's lack of objection to allowing same-sex people who love each other the same rights as everyone else with respect to marriage.

This is basically no different, and just as morally reprehensible, as the far-right wing complaint about the "death panels" being created by the health care bill.

The "religionistas" don't see anything wrong with lying in order to get their way. Their end does not justify their means.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mr. Cuccinelli's bigotry

KENNETH CUCCINELLI, the Republican candidate for Virginia state attorney general, believes it's "appropriate" to formulate public policy on the premise that homosexuals engage in behavior that is "intrinsically wrong" and offensive to "natural law."   His comments  were made in an interview with the Virginian-Pilot, a newspaper in Norfolk, VA. Check out the story here:   Mr. Cuccinelli's bigotry.

Therefore if elected to Attorney General of Virginia, Ken will no longer abide by a "Non Discrimination Policy" put in place by Virginia's former Attorney General. 

Homosexual acts, said Mr. Cuccinelli, currently a state senator, are "intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law-based country it's appropriate to have policies that reflect that. . . . They don't comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society."

Well Mr. Cuccinelli, do you know what else "doesn't comport with natural law"? DIVORCE! Shouldn't you put in place a policy which demands your employees to be married, and never divorced? Heck, better make it a crime. We can't have emancipated ladies trying to duck out of an abusive relationship! I mean, they must deserve it right!? 

Oh and while we're at it, shouldn't Virginia become the first state to bring back SLAVERY? I mean, the Bible does not condemn slavery! It's mentioned a bunch of times! Surely it must "comport with natural law"! Just think of the benefits to Virginia's corporations! Cheap Labor! Woot!

Mr Cuccinelli, you might want to read a few of the documents so carefully prepared by this country's founding fathers. Beyond some nebulous concept of "natural law", they actually stated the concepts that this country was founded upon. Their concept of all people being created equal under the law, and that all people are granted by their creator a set of inalienable rights might seem foreign to you, but trust me Kenny, it's very American!