Sunday, July 22, 2018

I Hear the Sound

I hear the sound of mother crying
I feel the pain, the bitter sting
I hear the sound of a righteous warning
I hear the sound of a people sing

I hear the sound of old bones burning
I hear the sound of fallen kings
I hear the sound of thunder rolling
I hear the sound of a people sing
I hear the sound of songs of freedom I hear the sound that justice brings
I hear the sound of a new day coming I hear the sound of a people sing

I hear the sound of justice marching
I hear the sound of the rivers roll
I hear the sound of a new day coming
I hear the sound that cheers my soul


I hear the sound of dark skies rumbling
I hear black birds sound the call
I hear the sound of mountains tumbling
I hear the sound of the mighty fall


Monday, July 16, 2018

On The Nature of Crudity

There are some who take offense at the word, "Fuck,"

...but who don't flinch at the Bible where it seems to suggest God orders the forced marriage (i.e., rape) of the virgin girls of the enemy. "Well, of course, God commanded it, there it is in black and white!" they'll say. "So, of course, we can't really say that slavery or forced marriage or killing off children is ALWAYS wrong, because there are circumstances where it may be, indeed, good."

And they are offended by the word, "Fuck."

There are some who will say that "You are demonstrating a depth of depravity and vulgarity that is not to be tolerated and can't even be imagined!"

And they will continue whining,

"I'm telling you that God tells us that God is a Father, Jesus WANTS us to use that term and so, God must WANT us to use Father... and those who'd say otherwise are not even Christians. Why don't they start their own religion rather than interfering with OUR Christianity...?"

...and if someone responds,

"So, you think God's got a big God-dick and wants to be known as the Holy Dude?"

...they sputter and nearly faint at the great depravity in using the word "dick" in a sentence that mentions God.

...but who won't flinch at the depravity in presuming to speak for God something that God hasn't told them, or the arrogance in presuming that Christianity belongs to them.

There are some who think that the US is a Christian nation and that the "liberals" and "socialists/democrats" are evil and godless and who want to destroy the country because they want to let "the Muslims" come in and cut off the heads of infidels and others from shithole countries come in and rape our people and sell drugs and leech off the welfare system...

...but who don't speak out against a pussy-grabbing, daily-lying, disabled-folk-mocking, racists-encouraging, immigrant-demonizing, criminal greedy idiot who can only be called an awful, awful man, surrounded by criminals and liars...

but they won't speak out against this awful, awful man and his attacks on those seeking safety and those investigating truth and, to the degree they DO speak out against him, it's so milquetoast and watered-down and missing the actual points as to be irrelevant.

No, I think I recognize the true nature of Crudity very well and I know on which side I stand, as is demonstrated by demonstrable data.

"Fuck" is a rude word. "Dick" is a rude word. But they're nothing else. Just rude words. Fuck them.

Lying on a daily basis, attacking the free press, attacking those investigating crimes, throwing support to dictators and oppressors who are actually killing people, turning away those escaping danger, assaulting women... THIS is crudity, THIS is vulgar, THIS is evil.

There are good reasons to be upset and angry, these days. But be sure to be angry at the Real Things to be Angry about.

Hint: It's not rude words.


NOTE: Those words ARE rude words, to be sure. I don't use them, generally speaking. I have used them in the blogging world by way of object lessons, for just what I'm doing here, today. Yes! These are very rude words... but let's keep things in context.

Rude words are rude.

Saying "Sometimes God is okay with forced marriage, slavery, killing the children of our enemies..." is grotesque and horrifying and evil.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Land of the Free, Because of the Press!

We keep hearing all manner of attacks on the media (with the chief sinner being our current president, sadly), but it is important to keep a few things in mind:

1. We WILL NOT have a free republic without a strong, thriving free press. Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin, on and on and on... great thinkers and supporters of liberty always emphasize this point.

2. No free press made up of humans is perfect. Of course.

3. Nonetheless, the mainstream US free press does an amazing job, by and large. There are others who do it better, but not many. There are others who have a more free press, but not many.

4. Our ranking in Best Nations for a Free Press has taken a hit in the last two years, since this administration began its non-stop onslaught of attacks on our press.

5. When people accuse the mainstream press of being fatally flawed, or horrendously and hopelessly biased, don't believe them. They are not operating on facts or data.

6. Support our free press.

7. The status of our press, here in the US, where we're ranked #45 in the world for a Free Press...

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Questions From the Right, Answered


A conservative blogger recently asked the question that I hear a lot from the Right...

I, personally, am confused. If fictitious Bill, a husband and father of two, is caught robbing a liquor store, for instance, do they not separate him from his family? Why is no one protesting this injustice?

And I am glad to answer this question (and DID answer it for the blogger who asked it, but he's apparently ignoring the answer, or at least it goes unaddressed, as so many reasonable answers and questions raised do go unaddressed), but I feel compelled to raise the question again, as I have so often lately...


Really? You don't see the difference between...

A. a robber forcibly taking stuff that isn't his in a robbery from a store, and

B. a family moving their family away from death threats and/or starvation and/or severe deprivation

...? Really?

The reason that this has been so damaging to this administration (in every place EXCEPT amongst the 1/3 of the nation that are his supporters or at least defenders) and has raised such an outrage the world over is obvious. It should be obvious.

The robber is causing harm. His actions are causing harm to an innocent bystander who has done nothing to harm the robber.

The immigrant family, on the other hand, is doing NO harm and indeed, is only seeking safety and/or a better life for their children... and this amongst those who are struggling in poverty and are just wanting to be safe and/or to have a better life, especially for their children.

In case A, there is harm in their actions and so, they are punished.

In case B, they are seeking safety FROM harm, and so they ought NOT be punished.

It is what almost any of us would do if we were faced with a similar situation. Moving to a better place is just reasonable. Staying where you are, especially if it harms your children, is neither rational nor moral, in and of itself.

(I will say that there is something to be said for those who'd choose to remain in/move to a tough situation to strive to make it better... that is usually a great moral good... but leaving to protect one's children or self is also a moral good. It's certainly not a harm.)

And so, the world (minus ~1/3 of the US, who are increasingly sounding deplorable on several issues) is appalled not only at the harmful and immoral and irrational policies of this administration, but also that so many people don't even seem to see the difference between a robber causing harm and a family seeking safety.

There is the answer.



To the Left, I ask if it's wrong, wrong, wrong for a Christian baker to refuse to make a wedding cake for a couple of same-sex individuals because it violates the baker's constitutionally protected First Amendment rights, why is it not equally wrong for a restaurateur to refuse to serve someone because it violates her conscience? To the Right I ask if it's right for a Christian photographer to deny service to a same-sex couple because it violates her religious beliefs, why is not equally right for this restaurant owner to stand on principle and deny Sanders service?

It is wrong/an ugly discrimination to deny service to a group/class of people, especially/particularly an historically oppressed people.

It is NOT wrong to say to an individual/individuals who are embracing harmful/oppressive behaviors, "You are not welcome here... we will not help to normalize your harmful behaviors by treating you as if you were just a regular citizen..."

It is the difference between a restaurant saying to a group of black or Latino people, "We don't serve your kind here!" (that is evil discrimination and rightly not allowed) and a restaurant saying to a group of klansmen entering for dinner, "We do NOT agree with you or what you stand for... you're promoting oppressive, harmful behavior. We do not want YOU to eat here." (that is not a discrimination against a group/class of people, it is saying that those who cause harm/oppress are not welcome in polite society.

Now, those on the Left can debate whether or not that is the best way to handle oppressors (some may say it makes the oppressor seem sympathetic and in need of support), but it is not evil/wrong in and of itself. Those on the Right, as the person asking the question noted, can't really protest, without showing themselves to be hypocritical. The Right has no moral standing to protest against such a policy by a restaurant.

At any rate, there's the answer to that question.

Maybe more to come...

I'm not really looking for any commentary on this. If you want to speculate as to why so many on the Right don't understand the big difference between the two, feel free to do so. If you don't think there's a difference between the two, even though it's blindingly obvious (or should be), no need to try to make that case. It's a deplorable case to try to make and I don't want to see it here.

Monday, June 18, 2018

In Their Own Words...

On Facebook recently, I referenced the plight of immigrants, how they were leaving their beloved homelands because they literally were not safe there. There lives were at risk, their women and girls at risk of rape, their homes and their families at risk of destruction and death.

A conservative friend of mine offered some sympathy, saying it was  too bad that "some" of those people from these "shithole countries" (although he was sensitive enough - ? - to refer to them as "s%@t-hole countries...) were suffering so much. Some of these who were "legitimately" concerned for their safety should find a safe haven in the US or Mexico or another neighboring nation.

No doubt, this friend was being sincere and trying to be sympathetic. After all, I referred to very real threats in these nations.

But, good intentions...

Another of my FB friends saw the comment and responded to his comment. She is someone who lived in one of these Latin American nations disparaged by our president not long ago. She has family and loved ones there still, but she lives here now. Here she is (name removed for the safety of her family, who are still at risk) responding (posted here with her permission)...

Considering that my two children and my beloved spouse are from a so-called "shithole" country, it is indeed extremely offensive and just plain wrong for white privileged "Christian" people to use such pejorative language, especially when they do not actually know anything about the peoples or countries, or, and this is really important, about how US funding, training, and interventionist policies, along with a few CIA sponsored coups to oust democratic governments, have set up these countries to be the way they are.

I lived for over a decade in one of "those" countries, and the people are some of the most generous people ever, governed by extremely rich and corrupt leaders who were given support by the US. In fact, US banks laundered money for some of the ex presidents, and we also have let in, legally, men who led genocides- we provided them with asylum so that they would not face trials for war crimes and crimes against humanity. These ex-military from these countries, were protected by our country, and yet those who are intergenerational victims of their policies and wars, are now being prosecuted and separated from their own children. Some of the men we let in willingly practiced scorched earth policies to rid villages of all people, and US taught them how to do that.

Until and unless people know the histories, have listened to those who are fleeing, and have researched how the US policies and funding have also made many situations worse, then having a strong opinion about keeping people out is just not ok.
It is never okay to use disrespectful language to place judgement on someone. If I had not been in danger with my family, we never would have left Central America. And we have to worry and live with the news that friends of ours have since been killed. I have known many many people who have been killed. I have seen many others killed in front of us. 

No one is making up asylum claims.


She went on to clarify that she worked with a human rights organization, literally digging through mass graves, trying to identify people for the sake of their families, so they might have at least the small and painful peace of knowing their final fate. She had to leave her home that she loved because she and her whole family had their lives threatened and they would be dead if they stayed there.

She now provides counseling to immigrants here, assisting how she can those suffering the traumatizing effects of US terrorism towards immigrants. She often does this for free because the trauma is real, but the funds to support these neighbors is sadly lacking.

Warning: While I'm okay with comments on this post in support of the oppressed and providing sympathy and positive actions that might help (I could get money to this brave social worker should anyone want to give, for instance...), but I will NOT tolerate even the slightest criticism of these brave people and the noble people and wonderful immigrants they work alongside. 

Immigrants make our nation great. It's time to end the criminalization of immigration for people seeking safety.

Friday, June 15, 2018

What Does it Profit a Man if He Gains the Whole World?

RE: The suggestion that Trump has "lost money" as a result of becoming president (because his very shady numbers are reportedly less in 2017 than in 2016, says Forbes)...

That is one way of looking at it. Another - I think more accurate - way of looking at it is that ALL other presidents divested themselves from their businesses. Thus, all other presidents made $0 from their businesses while in office.

Trump, on the other hand, refused to divest from his businesses. As a result, he continues to make tens of millions of dollars - maybe more - from his businesses.

He does so largely in secret and with unnamed, offshore accounts so we don't even know who he is doing business with. He is the least transparent of presidents. And so we do not really know the state of his financial affairs... who is making money with him from him and who he's making money with and from.


Regardless, making FEWER tens of millions of dollars is not a sign that one has not profited from the presidency. His money is complex. It involves his income, but also his outgo (in settling lawsuits and paying off bribes and mistresses and other more shady dealings... also, how much of his supposed loss is due to his own damned incompetency, cheating, lying and payoffs? Becoming president may have nothing to do with any losses, other than the light was shining on his shady dealings more and people were maybe more likely to not cave to his bullying).

PROFITING LESS - even if it turned out to be true, and frankly, I'm dubious - is still profiting.

All other presidents' profit from their businesses? $0, because they divested.
Trump's profit? Tens(?) of millions of dollars.

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Class and Humility VS Greed and Crudity

"Woe to those who enact evil statutes
And to those who constantly record unjust decisions,
So as to deprive the needy of justice
And rob the poor of My people of their rights,
So that widows may be their spoil
And that they may plunder the orphans.

Now what will you do in the day of punishment,
And in the devastation which will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?

And where will you leave your wealth?"                                         

~Prophet Isaiah

"For the love of money is the root of ALL SORTS of evil."

~St Paul

"But woe to you who are rich,
    for you have already received your comfort.

Woe to you who are well fed now,
    for you will go hungry.

Woe to you who laugh now,
    for you will mourn and weep."


"Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 

Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 
Your gold and silver are corroded. 
Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. 

You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 

You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. 
You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter."

~St James

Because Character and Justice Matter.

Because Greed Harms, Sickens and Destroys.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Free Movement is a Basic Human Liberty

Damn it! THIS.…/teen-killed-after-ice-re…/index.html

This story is why our immigration policies are immoral, criminal and an affront to human rights!
It should not be treated as a crime to move from point A to point B, especially if point A is potentially dangerous. Of course, you should move away from one place if your life or the life of your family is threatened there!

The free movement of people is a basic human right. Seeking safety in moving away from danger or threat to a safe place is a basic human right.

Our US policies are killing people, tearing apart families, terrorizing innocent, decent, hard-working people. Our policies are an affront to human rights and basic human decency. When did we become such heartless thugs, willing to send people to their deaths and stirring up fear of these darker-skinned and poorer citizens from oppressed nations to enact these immoral policies?

And, if it makes a difference to you, this is NOT a problem unique to the current president. It has been our policy way too long, Obama was doing much the same thing. It has gotten much worse under the current president, but it's not unique to him.

Let's start a movement to embrace human rights and end our terrorism and sending innocent people to their deaths.

Wake up, US! We're on the side of oppression and that ought not be.

And may God Damn our current irrational and terrorist immigration policies to hell.

Word of warning: DON'T comment on this post unless you're prepared to offer helpful changes/an end to our current deadly and anti-liberty policies and this God damned president who is making it so much worse. I will delete any xenophobic, fear-mongering, hateful, terrorist-supporting, anti-immigrant comments that attempt to defend this home-grown terroristic policy.

Fuck that shit.

Friday, June 1, 2018

All the Weird Love

They were odd and
quirky and
maladjusted and
just plain

and they enjoyed
their own damned company

within the greater tribes of
Oddballs and Misfits.

They were the moon and
All the Stars in the night sky
to each other.

And love,
and love,
and love...

Happy Anniversary!

Love you, Donna!

Monday, May 14, 2018

All Things are Made, New

To step into an early spring forest
is to step into a new world

The old life has past

and all things are made new.
And yet, no.
The old remains
and all things are made new.

Saturday, May 5, 2018


The point of this post is simply to review what the Bible does (and doesn't) say about the people of Sodom, and why specifically they were known for their wickedness, at least as recorded in the Bible. There are many (myself included, once upon a time) who have it fixed like a stone in their head that the "sin of Sodom" was homosexuality.

By reviewing the Biblical accounts that touch on Sodom, we will see that the Bible itself literally, factually, demonstrably nowhere makes this case. Rather, it is the case that traditionalists have had this opinion of it and that is what they/we read into it... oftentimes so strongly that we can not see that it is literally not there.

I'm omitting the Biblical references that merely mention the name Sodom, without any context or commentary on the nature of the people there. Instead, I'm looking only at the passages that talk about why Sodom had its evil reputation.

From the Beginning, then...

[Gen 13, no mention of details, only that they were wicked...]

The two men parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.  Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.

[Gen 14 contains a story about a battle between various nations where Abram's nephew, Lot, was kidnapped by these other kingdoms as well as people and goods from Sodom. Abrams staged a raid and rescued Lot and others. Afterwards, the king of Sodom requested that Abram and he split the goods and people rescued. Abram responded that he'd only take what was his, that he didn't want anything from Sodom. But that's all that's stated.]

[Gen 18 is the story of Abram pleading for the sake of Sodom, because there are at least a few decent people living there... God reports that God is going to check out Sodom, to see if they're really as bad as rumored (interesting aside: the omnipotent God doesn't appear to know how bad they are, taken literally). Again, literally no specifics about the "sins of Sodom..."]

Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

[Gen 19, the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We find that Lot is living in Sodom and is visited by "messengers" who are supposed to be angels from God. In the story, the "men of Sodom" surround Lot's house...]

Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

[That passage above, Gen 19, is the one people cite when they think about Sodom being destroyed because of homosexuality, or "homosexual behavior," some people will distinguish. But look at it, there is literally NO mention of homosexuality. Instead, what you see is an attempted gang rape.

And indeed, gang rape is bad, wicked, wrong, no doubt. But, gang rape is not an indictment on sexuality itself. Consider (and, if you're going to comment here, answer this question): IF you read a text that talks about the evil of rape, male on female... do you recognize that as an indictment on heterosexuality? Would you say of that text, "Clearly then, we see that heterosexuality is being condemned in that passage..."?

No, of course you wouldn't. No one should, anyway. Recognizing the evil of rape is not at all to say that, "and thus, sexuality is itself evil..." That would be an exactly wrong and awful conclusion to reach.

So, no reasonable person can say, "Because this story contains a reference to an attempted male-on-male gang rape, that is clearly saying that Sodom was destroyed, at least in part, due to homosexuality." That conclusion simply can NOT rise out of that passage. That is an example of reading INTO the passage something that is literally not there.

So, so far, we have seen that Sodom was considered evil, but with no direct references to what they did there that made them evil. NOW, we can see that at least one thing that made them evil was that they were all ("all the men [and boys] of the city of Sodom") willing to engage in gang rape. The story so far does not SAY that is why Sodom was destroyed, but the destruction comes following that and, I think most reasonable people will agree that gang rape IS an evil thing.]

[The next few references to Sodom are all more or less like this passage from Isaiah 1, where it is a general comparison of bad nations to the evil nation of Sodom. These point out that Sodom was bad, but does not go into details...]

Unless the Lord Almighty
    had left us some survivors,
we would have become like Sodom...

[...or this one, in Isaiah 3, that alludes to arrogance and obviousness of their sin, but not to specifics...]

Jerusalem staggers,
    Judah is falling;
their words and deeds are against the Lord,
    defying his glorious presence.
The look on their faces testifies against them;
    they parade their sin like Sodom;
    they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
    They have brought disaster upon themselves.

[Then, in Ezekiel 16, we have something that is more specific that explains WHY Sodom was evil and destroyed...]

our older sister was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom. You not only followed their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they. As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.

“‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: 
She and her daughters were arrogant, 
overfed and 
they did not help the poor and needy. 
They were haughty and did detestable things before me. 

Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.

[And so, HERE we have some specifics and, lo and behold, not once is "homosexuality" or "homosexual behavior" mentioned. Not one time.

Now, there are vague references to doing "detestable things" and one could GUESS that MAYBE it was a reference to "homosexual behavior," but it is literally not there. That would be a guess from out of the blue. Like, "It says "detestable things..." that MUST be talking about twerking and doing the salsa!" would be a guess from out of the blue, not based upon the text, but, well, not based on anything, just a wild guess.

Clearly, the sins that lead that list are at least relatively clear: Being wealthy and, in that wealth, being overfed and unconcerned with the poor and needy. THAT is a pretty specific explanation of what brought about Sodom's downfall literally from the text.

Guesses about "maybe it's speaking of 'homosexual behaviors...'" are just that, wild guesses, NOT from the text, but from prejudice and traditions.]

[Beyond that, the rest of the Sodom references in the Bible are of the sort that were general warnings, "Be careful or you'll end up destroyed like Sodom..." with no specifics. There IS one verse in the NT that is in that vein, but offers something more specific. From Jude 1...]

 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns 
gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.

[Here, we have a reference to "sexual immorality and perversion," that at least COULD be referencing homosexual behavior, if you wanted to make that guess. But it could be referencing gang rapes (which we know had been attempted). It could be just general licentiousness. It could be using children for sexual purposes, which we know was a problem in these areas in these times. It could have been many things and there is literally NOTHING in the text that suggests it should be interpreted as "homosexual behaviors."

And that is the point of this post, that and no more. That the traditional hunches that 'the sin of Sodom" included - or were mainly - related to "gay behavior" is literally not found in the Bible. It just isn't there. At all. Not hinted at. Not alluded to. Certainly not clearly affirmed.

Those who embrace that human hunch do so because of tradition, NOT because of the text, because the text clearly, literally does not contain that suggestion.

I will just note that, as I have said in the past, it was THIS realization - that no matter how strongly I believed that "the sin of Sodom" was/included "homosexual behavior," it's simply not there in the text of the Bible - it was that realization that began me down the road to changing my position on homosexuality and Christianity, from the more traditional one to what I hold to now.]

Monday, April 30, 2018

There Will Be Teeth in the Grass

"And when you give me your clothes
And when we're lovers at last
Fresh air, perfume in your nose
There will be teeth in the grass

And when you give me your house
When we're all brothers at last
There will be food in our mouths
There will be teeth in the grass

And when there's nothing to want
When we're all brilliant and fast
When all tomorrows are gone
There will be teeth in the grass..."

~Sam Beam


"Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!
    Why would you have the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, and not light,
    as if a man fled from a lion,
    and a bear met him,

or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall,
    and a serpent bit him.

Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light,
    and gloom with no brightness in it?

I hate, I despise your feasts,
    and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.

Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
    I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
    I will not look upon them.

Take away from me the noise of your songs;
    to the melody of your harps I will not listen.

But let justice roll down like waters,
    and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

~The Prophet Amos