Christians are funny people. They believe in an unseen God and even agree among themselves that he answers them in their prayers to him. But let someone say that have a personal line to the man and, well … let this experience with a candidate for the North Miami mayor’s seat speak to this last part
It’s traditional in politics, especially in pockets of the South where the culture is steeped in religion to convey to the voters that they hold “traditional Christian values” – an expression that is often code, telling voters that they are not a liberal Muslim socialist and that a “higher authority” guides their policy decisions, not the reality of grounded facts.
But clearly this candidate running for North Miami mayor has taken this tradition to a new level. Claiming Jesus has endorsed her campaign is a game of one-upmanship that didn’t play out well with voters. In a field of seven candidates Anna Pierre came in dead last with only 56 votes cast for her. Think what would have happened had Jesus not been supporting her.
While bongos are seen supporting Anna Pierre here in an earlier photo, the support she claims she had from Jesus didn’t seem to help her candidacy for mayor
Ms. Pierre’s self-confidence is apparent in her on-line bio. She has claimed to have overcome many obstacles in her life. “I hate to hear ‘No’ she tells us. “I refuse to let people tell me you can‘t do this, you can‘t do that because I am a woman, because of where I come from, or because I have a French name. It’s like putting fuel in my tank. And full speed ahead.”
I think being a french-Haitian woman is the least of her worries. Everyone likes a rags-to-riches story, especially when achieved by minorities. But should she choose to run again in the next election cycle someone might suggest using a more realistic endorsement. It may have worked for Bush in 2000 but Anna Pierre didn’t have his great wealth and political connections in the Supreme Court.
I haven’t presented a good song on my blog in a while so here’s one for you. It’s a good one for Friday to start your weekend with. It’s got a simple message that’s been around for a while, at least since Judy Garland sang “Get Happy” in the 1950 musical, Summer Stock
Forget your troubles and just get happy
Ya better chase all your cares away
This song is so much like that too. More than just a feel good song, it’s one of those tunes that connects with the sensory apparatus in your body and gets your juices flowing. And what better time to feel a little reinvigoration than the end of the work week.
Even if you no longer go through the grind of a 40-hour work week, like myself, we all need that little stimulus that was more familiar to us when we were younger. If you’re not getting the itch to stomp your feet and clap your hands when this tune gets going, then you need to check yourself into the nearest mortuary.
Serena Ryder performing in 2009
The song is “Stompa” by Canadian musician Serena Ryder. The world weighs in on us everyday. Music like this helps us push back a little because “nothing’s gonna disappear.” So step away from it all for just a little while and let the music move you to clappa your hands and stompa your feet.
As of this morning, 5/6/2013, there have been 3,852 gun deaths since the Newtown massacre. SOURCE
In fiery rhetoric you would expect to see in a Thomas Paine pamphlet over 200 years ago or on the floor of St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia back in 1775 when convention delegate Patrick Henry gave his famous “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech, Wayne LaPierre has also stoked the emotional fires of NRA delegates in Houston, Texas this last weekend. The big difference is that LaPierre is rousing the crowds not for a threat to any real loss of personal liberty but for a straw man argument that protects the special interests and profits of the gun industry.
LaPierre and NRA president, David Keene along with other gun advocates were trying to appeal to a sense of patriotism that has been exploited over the yeas to ensure that facts about sane gun control measures don’t take root in the perceptive minds of most of their members. But this effort seems to be failing since recent polls show that 74% of NRA members are supportive of legislation that “requires a universal back-ground check for all gun sales”. Even in Secessionist Texas where the NRA has surprisingly only a slight edge of being trusted more than President Obama concerning gun issues – 47% vs. 43%, a clear majority of Texans – 49% to 41% - favor a ban on assault style weapons.
So the emotional appeals by LaPierre that affirm “We will never surrender our guns, never,” is a misleading affirmation that distorts what the public really wants following the senseless mass killings we’ve been experiencing in the last few years. The view that somehow any legislation currently being debated in Congress or in town hall-style meetings across the nation is a move to suppress gun owner’s rights or remove any firearm from their homes is a dishonest approach by an NRA leadership that serves more at the whims of the gun manufacturer industry than it does to its own membership.
How many more classrooms. How many more street corners.
How many more shopping malls. How many more movie theaters.
How many more college campuses. Enough!
As a dad. As a mom.
As a husband. As a wife.
As a family. As a friend.
As an American.
It’s time. We can’t back down.
It’s time for our leaders to act. Right now.
from the YouTube presentation of Cartoonists Demand Action to End Gun Violence
In his appeal at the Houston convention, LaPierre kept invoking the inclusive “we” as he attacked those who advocate reasonable restraints on the sell of certain assault-style weapons to those who have a criminal background or have proven to be mentally incompetent to handle firearms in a safe and responsible manner. By identifying all members of the NRA as targets of attack by gun control advocates, LaPierre is trying to insulate himself and other NRA administrators from the criticism that has been aimed solely at their incomprehensible rationale for opposing any and all legislation on any and all guns.
“Our feet are planted firmly in the foundation of freedom, unswayed by the winds of political and media insanity,” LaPierre said. “To the political and media elites who scorn us, we say let them be damned.” Even uber-conservative supreme court justice Anton Scalia has conceded that some forms of gun regulation are NOT unconstitutional.
What is important to highlight here is that LaPierre and the message machine out of the NRA and other lobbyists for the gun industry are invoking a method that exploits that unknown fear element which resides in the human DNA. The promotion of a slippery slope meme plays into the worst scene scenario fears that tend to exist in all of us. Stoking such fears with reference to Hitler’s Germany and Saddam Hussein’ Iraq allows people like Wayne LaPierre to remind the NRA membership of how tyranny can grow when we “let our guard down”. But these are exaggerations of the reality about gun ownership and omits certain facts about citizens in those cultures being too willing to surrender to the charismatic allures of ruthless leaders long before it was obvious their personal liberties were being taken from them.
The worst scene scenario being generated by LaPierre if gun control measures of any dimension are instituted is that it will lead to those conditions of tyranny we read about in history books. There is little to no basis for this zealous reaction in America today. There are numerous safeguards in place to prevent this within our judicial system and state legislatures along with the fierce support for the basic premises of the 2nd amendment that are well imbedded within even those who do not own a firearm. What seems odd to me here is that if it’s loss of freedom that motivates the NRA leadership, where were they when our privacy rights were being eroded under the gun-friendly Bush administration and GOP congressional majorities?
What will be lost here however if background checks on all gun sells is implemented is market share for many gun manufacturers. Outside of those periods similar to what we recently experienced when gun sells spiked out of fear following Obama’s election in 2008 and re-election in 2012, purchases will level off amongst “responsible” gun owners. But sells to those people we want to keep guns away from will start to dry up, since they will no longer be able to easily purchase their weapon of death. Society will benefit from this not because it prevents all murders and suicides but because it will likely effect a smaller toll on humans without the powerful impact of rapid fire bullets that can kill so many so quickly.
Wayne Lapierre confidently assures us that the Manchin-Toomey bill that failed to reach a 60-vote majority in the Senate last month would not have stopped the awful slaughter of 20 children and six of their teachers at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut last December. This sleight of hand comment has little to do with what Manchin-Toomey may have ultimately effected however if someone like Jared Loughner, James Holmes or Seung-Hui Cho were prevented easy access to powerful assault weapons with 30-round magazines.
For those of us who think Manchin-Toomey didn’t go far enough it is laughable to hear the NRA leadership describe it as “an assault on our 2nd amendment rights”. Other than trying to keep guns out of the wrong hands by expanding back ground checks the bill also wanted to increase penalties against gun trafficking and invest in school safety. There was nothing in it to represent a gun registry that was falsely alluded to by NRA spokesperson Cleta Mitchell in a recent NY Times debate. There was nothing in it to register existing guns owned by individuals. Nothing to validate the generated-fear of taking anyone’s gun away.
Imagine the lives that would have been saved had Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho been forced to use the weapon above for his insanity had laws been in place to prevent him from purchasing the one’s he chose below.
To listen to the rhetoric that piled up, one speech after the other, by dupes of the gun industry, you couldn’t help but walk away from the NRA’s convention in Houston thinking we were on the verge of being over run by jack-booted government thugs. American citizens, including those members of the NRA, have nothing to fear from implementing a measure of sanity to our out-of-control gun crime in this country. But gun manufacturer gun lobbyists like the NRA do stand to lose healthy financial benefits if they fail to deliver for their benefactors.
Some people choose to squander the advances we humans have made since we first crawled out of the cesspool of our evolutionary beginnings
The human animal. The one with the most developed brain, even if many still only use that portion they first had at the beginning of our evolution over 6 million years ago. We are both beast and angel; awe-inspiring and all confounding. We are at our best when we expand the limits of that organ contained within our skulls. But some see that space better serving lesser needs. For the right price, the outside of the cranium, not the inside, best serves their interests.
Sure, they may earn some revenue for providing a part of their anatomy as a commercial billboard but they’ve also demonstrated the value they’ve placed on the essence of their being. The tadpole they’ve evolved from has only served their need to provide more body space to give meaning to something of no redeeming value. But in a world where we value the human being in us less than the cash we trade ourselves in for, who can be surprised that the lowest common denominator has persuasive powers over some?
Though they can feel good that they’re not a Pol Pot or a Josef Mengele, will they ever have doubts about their ability to aspire to anything other than being someone else’s tool?
And for those who were thinking these are merely new age Christians promoting that place that waits for all who earned a spot in it after their death – you know, the one with the streets of gold – prepare yourself for a letdown when you type in goldenpalace.com in your search engine. On the other hand, this may give others something to look forward to after this life.
The notion that we are a free people or that “free-markets” work in all our best interests is a myth that is slowly eroding genuine personal liberties. No better example of this misguided concept can be better demonstrated than by how wealthy special interests determine what we eat.
I could have spent this past week researching a subject matter that is close to my heart. But then I would have gotten very little personal tasks done that needed to be done. So I consider myself fortunate to find a piece on the Organic Consumer Associations website that did an excellent job of conveying a timely topic that can’t be stressed enough
In their piece, Climate Chaos: Boycott Genetically Engineered and Factory-Farmed Foods, Will Allen and Ronnie Cummins have provided us with one of the most detailed assessments I have ever read that frankly spells out how industrialized crop production and factory farming impact global climate instability, even more so than the mere production of fossil fuels. I encourage everyone to read the entire article and absorb its wealth of information.
It hits virtually every aspect of the food we eat from the farm to the table and how the concentration of power to achieve this by those, motivated only for profits, has not only negatively impacted our health and economy, but threatens the sustainability of the planet itself To whet your appetite I’ve provided a few paragraphs below from their article to indicate just how rich the information is that Allen and Cummins’ efforts have produced here. Learn its message and share it with as many people as you can.
Traditionally conservative World Bank scientists estimated in 2009 that animal farming worldwide emits at least 51 percent of the world’s greenhouse gasses every year. (3) In spite of these truly alarming statistics, the focus on efforts to mitigate climate change have not been directed toward reversing or reforming unsustainable, climate-disrupting farming practices. In spite of the fact that industrial agriculture exceeds the combined U.S. green house gas emissions from transportation, energy production and industry, the farm and food emissions are ignored and trivialized, and thus unregulated.
A large share of factory farming’s greenhouse gasses in the U.S. come from using fossil fuels in 25 million tractors, and millions of combines, mowers, balers and other farm implements. Another large and increasing share of those gasses come from nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizer production and use, and the spraying of ever increasing amounts of insecticides and weed killers as pests develop a tolerance to all but the most deadly and polluting poisons.
The animals we raise, mainly on CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), and the feed we grow for these animals are responsible for a huge share of the excess greenhouse gas emissions and climate chaos we are experiencing. Currently 92.5 percent of U.S. farmland is devoted to grazing animals and grain production: corn, soybeans, wheat, rye, oats, barley and cottonseed for confined cows, hogs, chickens and turkeys. Consequently, most of our farmland produces food for meat- and milk-producing animals. This inefficient use of land produces a majority of the most destructive greenhouse gasses: methane and nitrous oxide. Only 7.5 percent of U.S. farmland produces vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts and berries for direct human consumption. (4)
We can survive indefinitely where all people have ample food supplies. But by allowing a small wealthy elite to control the vast amount of resources that are inherently all of ours, we are dooming not only ourselves but future generations as well. It is becoming more and more clear that our elected officials are working more for these special interests than they are for the rest of us. So how can we achieve the means to turn things in a direction that favors every man, woman and child? Will Allen and Ronnie Cummins offer this.
We need to change our food habits. We need to stop eating factory-farmed meat and milk products. Since over 90 percent of all non-organic meat, dairy and eggs in the U.S. come from factory farms, we need a nationwide boycott and marketplace pressure, in the form of a CAFO labeling campaign.
A drastic reduction in sales of products from CAFOs will lead to a major increase in the sales and consumption of organic, pasture-raised and grass-fed meat and animal products, which today account for only 5 percent of the market. As we boycott all CAFO products, which means choosing vegan menu options in most restaurants shopping more carefully in grocery stores and farmers markets, we need to eat more organic, climate-friendly vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and whole grains. If you eat meat and drink milk, make sure that is pasture-raised and not raised in an animal prisons, such as confinement feedlots, hog hotels and massive dairies. Ask your grocer or butcher where the food comes from and how it is raised. Stop eating meat that is glued together with pink slime.
If WE the people change our ways, by default we can change the system. The only thing we have to lose is the repression of the mega-corporations that currently hold our lives in their greedy little hands.
“This is not a futuristic vision that must await more research. The appropriate technology for a world-wide shift to sustainable, organic agriculture already exists, and each year it gets more efficient and sophisticated.” – Will Allen & Ronnie Cummins