Posts Tagged Declaration of Independence

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!

Having no inhibitions to benefit from a tragedy, such as the shooting in Colorado last night that left 12 people dead and more than fifty wounded, Representative Louie Gohmert from Texas used this opportunity to push his agenda of gun wielding religiosity on everyone by stating that the shootings were a result of “ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs.” 

You know what really gets me, as a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs, and then some senseless crazy act of a derelict takes place,” Gohmert said.

He also questioned why nobody else in the theater had a gun to take down the shooter:

It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?”

He went on to say that “some of us happen to believe that when our founders talked about guarding our virtue and freedom, that that was important. Whether it’s John Adams saying our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people … Ben Franklin, only a virtuous people are capable of freedom, as nations become corrupt and vicious they have more need of masters. We have been at war with the very pillars, the very foundation of this country.”

He concluded that the shooting in Colorado was a “a terrorist act” that could have been avoided if the country placed a higher value on God.

Did I miss something? Was there a part omitted in the Bible that says “And the Christ did whippeth out his gat and did just righteously blow Judas awayeth”? 

If a loving, forgiving Christian with a gun would have stood up and blown him away with the all loving god guiding the bullet through his Kevlar, that would have been divine intervention? Really?

Religious people never fail to amaze me with their capacity for unsurpassed, shameless hypocrisy.  Especially in this country, I have never encountered such a truly callous group of cowards. In my opinion, evangelical Christians are just about the worst human kind has to offer.

The Founding Fathers did not say that we ought to protect our freedoms as laid out in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence with guns and violence. If they wanted people to walk around armed to the teeth, they didn’t need to write the Constitution of the people, by the people, for the people; they could have just declared martial law.

Secondly, one does not guarantee and secure the kinds of freedoms the Founders talked about with guns and violence. That was the whole point of the revolution and of walking away from the yokes of tyranny and oppression in Europe. America is an idea, a dream, a vision and it never included gun wielding jingoists with nervous trigger fingers running the country.

Moreover, Jesus never advocated violence: he was a peaceful man who believed in forgiveness and turning the other cheek. He did not believe or even preach in walking around with deadly weapons to take down opponents and threats. I am stunned this man claims to be a Christian since there is nothing Christ like in anything he utters.

Finally, does he or anyone really think that if everyone in that dark room had a gun, the outcome would have been better? It would have been a shoot-out of epic proportions with lots of innocents in the cross-fire, and the perpetrator probably would have been missed.

It is also ironic that he would say that more god in everyone’s life would have prevented such a tragedy, generally leading to a peaceful society, when in fact more people have died in the name of religion, with Judeo-Christianity taking a lead, than in the name of any other ideology. From the Crusades, to chasing of “heretics”, witch hunting and burning, religious wars for the past two thousand years, antisemitism, the killing of Native peoples, to various events in the twentieth and twenty first century, including the massacre in Rwanda, the occupation of Palestine, 9/11 and suicide bombers.  This is in addition to policies enacted (covert violence as opposed to overt violence) that are informed primarily by religious doctrine, such as halting stem cell research that could save millions of lives, to defunding of Planned Parenthood whose primary work consists of disease prevention and health screenings and not, as the religious Right has been telling, abortion. For Gohmert to say that more god and religion would be better for everyone is beyond ignorant and intellectually comatose.

America: A Culture Obsessed with Violence 

The truth is that America has an infatuation, an obsession, a fascination with violence, the culture of violence, the instruments of violence and war; all to to a degree that vastly exceeds that of any other developed country; actually any country. We love executing, we love going to wars, the DOD is overfunded, our gut reaction to any international incidence is bomb them to the ground, ask questions later.  That is why on one talks about guns being bad. This is something not even Obama dared to tackle. And why? Because it is off limits, a taboo. God forbid, pun not intended, anyone limits the ability of Americans to own an arsenal of weapons and ammu to defend “freedom.”

Ironically, those Americans who are the most vocal “Christians” are the ones who have the greatest infatuation and obsession with the aforementioned. And Louis Gohmert believes that embracing this American Christian culture of violence worship will prevent massacres like this?

I say, fuck you Representative Gohmert.  I’m not a Christian or religious so your comments mean absolutely nothing to me you political hack. Stop trying to profit from this tragedy by once again infesting the public with your backwards religious, “Judeo-Christian” beliefs – which you shouldn’t be doing anyway  because your bony, bigot ass is paid for by tax payer dollars.

And for those of you who are unfortunate enough to be religious or Christian, I say:  if you believe in a god, know that he’s telling you to stay the hell away from people like Gohmert. He supports guns, guns, and more guns. There is nothing intelligent, divine or Christ-like in what this guy says. He is part of the problem.  There always has been and will always be the mentally ill who will murderously go off the deep end with little or no warning. The question is why does this society make it easier for them to accumulate an assault weapon arsenal than to own a car and get a drivers license. If that’s the way we want it, then this is what will, from time to time, happen.

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Stupid Things People Do: Celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Thus the British Crown

There are a few things that truly irk the crap out of me: religion, greed, racism, trying to control people – be it economically, culturally, socially or emotionally, ignorance, misogyny – the Kuntrashians.

And then there is royalty, which is sort of like the overarching hub that encompasses all of the aforementioned. Yes royalty has got them all under one convenient umbrella for your oppression and bigotry pleasure.

As with anything detrimental for human kind, the concept of monarchy and royalty has its origins in religion. The appeal to a higher power has not only been used to justify the crown but to also oppress people.

Under feudalism, there were a few very powerful landowners who acquired large amounts of territory through military force (i..e kill the population and steal their land and call it their own) or purchase. These landowners became high-ranking lords, and one of them was crowned king. This probably happened through a show of military force or through political machinations, or some combination of the two.

The king or sovereign claimed divine rights, stating that it was subject only to God and not to the law. The king was thus not subject to the will of his people, the aristocracy, or any other estate of the realm, including (in the view of some, especially in Protestant countries) the Church. According to this doctrine, only God can judge an unjust king (which effectively means no one).  The doctrine also implies that any attempt to depose the king or to restrict his powers runs contrary to the will of God and may constitute a sacrilegious act.

The remote origins of this theory are rooted in the medieval idea that God had bestowed earthly power on the king, just as God had given spiritual power and authority to the church, centering on the pope.

As it is the case with all of religion, however, none of that had anything to do with the divine and god of course, it was about power and wealth and the monarchs of the time understood that religion could be conveniently used to get people to submit to their will and power. Dissidents, including questioning the royal’s power, was severely punished. If you are going to mass exploit people and usurp money out of them, as was done during Feudalism, you need to come up with some other justification beside “because I said so” or “because I have the power“. Not to say that those justifications weren’t used either. Christianity helped create a certain kind of society, world view and structure through which those in charge channeled their power and controlled people.

The king, therefore, was nothing but a powerful bully who took what he wanted and tried to justify his theft by appealing to a higher power.

When you trace back the origins of royals, including your “majesty” queen Elizabeth, you will find that  her only claim to that title and all the riches that followed it is forceful acquisition of land from someone else. There is nothing honorable about the Royal blood line – or any blood line for that matter.

When I walk into a house and take all the furniture and possessions, claiming they are mine and shoot anyone in my way, it is called stealing and murdering. There is nothing divine or majestic about that, especially when you remember how the royals acquired their title, rank, wealth and legitimacy.

It is, therefore, genuinely bizarre to me that in the 21st century, hundreds of years after Revolutions and the Enlightenment, not to mention after the very foundation of this country – which is fundamentally inspired by the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment and  a rejection of royalty – people still celebrate royalty as if it was no big deal.  Even in the US. I still remember the hype here about Prince Williams’ and Kate Middleton’s wedding last year.

Needless to say that when I found out that the Brits were going to embark on four days of pomp, pageantry and patriotism to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year on the throne, I was taken aback, to put it mildly.

I know there are a lot of Indians, for instance, living in the UK and I do wonder how they feel about celebrating a Crown that has caused so much blood-shed on their lands and almost cost them their independence. And that is just one nation of peoples that endured death and suffering at the hands of the British crown everyone was so diligently celebrating this weekend.

Am I the Only One Who Finds Celebrating Royalty and All it Stands For in Poor Taste and Just Inappropriate? 

It is the Queen’s Diamond jubilee and the Brits are so serious about this shit that they have actually turned it into a national holiday. Across the country, Britons celebrated with street parties and days off work. On Sunday, her “Majesty”  attended a luncheon and traveled down the Thames river on a barge. The British flag, the Union Jack, fluttered from buildings, shops and train stations across the country and with a crowd of rain-soaked spectators estimated by organizers at 1.25 million cheering from the riverbanks, the pageant was the largest public event in four days of celebrations of the monarch’s 60 years on the throne.

To royalists, the occasion is a chance to express their thanks and appreciation to the 86-year-old Elizabeth, head of state for 16 countries from Australia and Canada to tiny Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean, for her years of public service”. the Huffington Post reports.

Express their thanks? To Royalty? For what exactly? Centuries of authoritarian rule over people and exploitation, enslavement and blood shed of innocent people – overseas or at their own shores? Really?

Royal biographer Robert Lacey stated that “original jubilees were invented in the 19th century by the popular press as modes of national celebration for which the monarchy and monarch was almost incidental.” Lacey further stated that the jubilee was as much about society celebrating itself as it was about the head of state and the now largely symbolic institution of the monarchy. “They tend to work best in times of economic hardship. It provides a tonic for the country,” Lacey told Reuters.

A tonic for society? Watching a bunch of unemployed freeloaders who neither earned nor deserve any of the riches they have except for a long established tradition that says they do, is a tonic for the masses? And they are celebrating that like it was cool or something to be proud of? Have these people forgotten what the royalty in England is responsible for and what it did to the world up until 65 years ago?

Why Do We Still Care About These Monarchies in the 21st Century? 

The whole concept of royalty is pretty insulting as it operates from the fundamental assumption that some human beings are inherently better and more worthy than others.

That is problematic, especially in this day and age, because the idea that somehow a human being is superior or better than another one by virtue of birth and that as a result he is not only celebrated and worshiped but also wealthy and “entitled” to some reverence goes against everything our collective consciousness fought for over the past three to four hundred years to achieve freedom, which meant being liberated from the yokes of royalty.

There is absolutely no difference between Prince William and a child born to parents in Zimbabwe or a boy born to parents in Iran. They all deserve the same praise and respect, love and chances in life and I would most certainly not bow down (either literally or figuratively) before the former or give them special respect because some tradition of establishment by nothing more than powerful bullies who just took what they wanted, claims I should.

The concept of royalty is insulting just as the concept of slavery is insulting. They are two sides of the same coin and there is certainly nothing cute and romantic about either one of them.

It is also irrelevant that the monarchy in England is now symbolic and has no actual political power. I don’t even care all that much about holding the Queen accountable for the actions of her family and lineage, but I do care about, and I am stunned that not more people do,  what the crown stands for.

It is especially worrisome that people think they need to thank the Queen and be grateful to her.

Each human being posses an inalienabl­e value irrespective of heritage and lineage. After all, we don’t choose whom we are born to and what our heritage is so we should neither be rewarded or punished for it.   Royalty assumes some peoples’ blood is better and nobler than that of others by virtue of lineage or some other arbitrary reasons, thus indirectly devaluing everyone who isn’troyalty.

All such concepts are diametrically opposed to and antithetical to the very notion of freedom. The past of monarchs that had reign over everyone else, exploiting, enslaving and killing people is not something to romanticize and fondly remember. While it is important, of course, to remember and accurately retell history, celebrating the British crown directly like that as if it was something really cute and honorable is out of place and in poor taste, especially because the world today is still suffering from the aftermath of the actions of said royalty.

Worshiping the crown irrespective of what the crown stood for for hundreds of years and the lives it extinguished and destroyed is sort of like being an accomplice to the crimes committed. A lot of the mess the world is in today is as a direct result of British imperialist and expansionist efforts.

Moreover, the wealth and money the Queen and her kind have – and which they now allegedly flaunt around for good causes – was usurped at the back of slave laborers and poor exploited farmers.  This is really their wealth and thus their charity, not hers and that of her children.  She’s never done a hard days work in her life and other than being born into it, has done nothing to deserve the title and all the honor that goes with it.

At some point in the distant past some person decided that they are entitled to rule over everyone else and so the “tradition” that the Brits go out on the streets to celebrate now, i.e royalty, was established.

Nothing more to it. She isn’t an important and worthier human being.

Of course, there is nothing that can be done about the past but we can decide what to do now – and celebrating the British crown is as tactful as reenacting the US Civil War by special emphasis of the old South before end of slavery.

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Isolation, Poverty, Disease and Destitution: Native Americans and First Nations in the United States

It is really sad how Native Americans and First Nations are treated in this country. They had a conquering power take away their lands, ravage and decimate their race with disease and sickness, wash their mouths when they spoke their own language through government assimilation programs, forced adoptions, driven off to secluded Reservations in arid lands and now they have become invisible. Course: oblivion.

Pine Ridge Reservation. Family bathing an infant

The Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota – “home” to the Lakota Sioux – displays the kinds of statistics that make you think you are in a nightmare of an impoverished developing country, and not right in the middle of the United States, one of the world’s richest and most developed countries.

The numbers speak for themselves. Pine Ridge Reservation is the poorest county in the United States with an average family income of just $ 3,700 a year. The unemployment rate is at a mind-boggling 80%, alcoholism is at a four time higher rate than the national average; it has also the highest rates of cancer and heart disease as well as diabetes, with almost half the population over the age of forty suffeing from diabetes; infant mortality rate is five time higher than the national average and the average life expectancy for males is 48 and for women 52 years, lowest in the Western Hemisphere other than Haiti.

A staggering forty-nine percent of the residents live below the Federal poverty level according to US census data. Here are some of the truly scary facts about the Pine Ridge Reservation:

• Tuberculosis rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is approximately 800% higher than the U.S. national average Cervical • Cervical cancer is 500% higher than the U.S. national average
• At least 60% of the homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation are infested with Black Mold Stachybotrys.
•The school drop-out rate is over 70%
• “There is an estimated average of 17 people living in each family home( a home which may have two to three rooms).”
• 39% of homes on the Reservation have no electricity
• There are no public libraries except one at the Oglala Lakota College (in an area the size of Connecticut)
• Alcoholism affects eight out of ten families on the Reservation

Life on the Pine Ridge Reservation

These people have nothing: no hope, no prospects, no future. It is like they were thrown away and forgotten.

Everyone is focusing on the genocide committed against Jews or enslavement of Blacks – which are quite valid things to pay attention to – but no one talks about the continued genocide and atrocities, in the form of structural violence, committed against the Lakota in particular and all Native American tribes in general.

The Huffington Post reported that the Navajo have to drive 30 miles to just get internet connection. In fact, less than 10 percent of homes on tribal lands have broadband Internet service — a rate that is lower than in some developing countries. By contrast, more than half of African Americans and Hispanics and about three-fourths of whites have high-speed access at home, according to the Department of Commerce.

Without reliable access to the Internet, many Native Americans find themselves increasingly isolated, missing out on opportunities to secure jobs, gain degrees through online classes, reach health care practitioners, and even preserve native languages and rituals with new applications that exploit the advantages of the web.

On the Navajo Reservation

Sonny Clark, 59, who lives in the remote Navajo town of Crystal, N.M., must drive five miles up the Chuska Mountains to get a cellphone connection, and 30 miles to Window Rock — where he works for the tribal government — to get online. He goes to these lengths just to stay in touch with his children, who live out of state, trading emails and text messages.

In the case of the Lakota, the government took away the sacred Black Hills from them and carved the faces of a bunch of men in there, honorable men, who nearly annihilated them but in the same breath wrote the Declaration of Independence claiming that “all men are created equal.” Well all, except for the Natives of course and blacks and any other race deemed unworthy.

And now this. Isolation, poverty, disease and destitution.  I can see how history has rewarded them.

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