Mni Wiconi- Water is Life: In Memory of Caine

A year ago today our community was devastated by the death of our beloved Caine. The team here at Affinity struggled with how to honor Caine on this day and we finally decided to carry forward her message to love and honor the planet. Caine stood with the tribe at Standing Rock in their struggle against the DAPL and today we’re passing on a few stories about the continuing struggle of Indigenous communities to protect the land and water. We are in no way qualified to speak about Indigenous culture or history, but we do so today with great respect.

First, a few reminders of the meaning of Mni Wiconi – Water is Life.

Mni Wiconi – The Stand at Standing Rock

Mni Wiconi – Water is Life

Hear the message of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Honor tribal sovereignty and the Earth we inhabit by telling President Obama to deny the easement by calling 202-456-1111. We need every person to call Obama this week before Dec. 5th. Please share. For more information visit standwithstandingrock.net#NoDAPL#StandwithStandingRock#standingrock#bankexit

Posted by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Also:

In an article on Indian Country Today, Woonspe—Education Gives Meaning to Mni Wiconi—Water Is Life they tell of the origin story behind the meaning of Mni Wiconi.

An origin story of the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires, which make up the Lakota, Nakoda, and Dakota people, tells us that the blood of First Creation, Inyan, covers Unci Maka, our grandmother earth, and this blood, which is blue is mni, water, and mahpiya, the sky. Mni Wiconi, water is life.

The entire article is worth reading and the above link will take you right there.

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Many Standing Rocks: Three Years and Still Fighting, by Tracy L. Barnett – The Esperanza Project)

LaDonna Allard, center, and Cheryl Angel at a march led by the women of Sacred Stone to the backwater bridge one week after a brutal attack there by law enforcement. (Photo from social media) – The Esperanza Project

 

So water is in danger, globally. Right now Indigenous communities are still at risk, and they are standing up, because they have to stand up.  When you finally realize — WATER IS LIFE — you understand why you can’t sit back down.

People keep saying “after” Standing Rock – but I’m still of the same state of mind, I still have the same passion for the water,  it has to be protected. It was when I was at Sicangu Wicoti Iyuksa that I learned about the aquifers that were in danger and when I was at Standing Rock I learned about the rivers that were in danger.

We encourage you to read the article. Cheryl Angel passes on wisdom from a lifetime spent in activism for the planet. Her reflections on the movement at Standing Rock are insightful, as is her take on the ongoing struggle to protect water and land resources.

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Next, we’re providing links to 2 reports on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s website.

SRST – No DAPL Remand Report Final, from February 5, 2019.

This first story is a damning and infuriating report on the deficient Corps of Engineers Analysis of the environmental impacts of the DAPL. The courts finally sided with the Standing Rock Tribe, but then decided that since the pipeline is already built they will let the oil flow.

Impacts of an Oil Spill from the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe from February 21, 2018, so that you can see just how much is at stake.
Both stories connect you to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s website and we encourage you to have a look around. The About Us section contains lots of information about the history of the tribe and the reservation, as does the section about environmental issues.
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Next, we’re going to point you toward the Indigenous Environmental Network.
IEN is an alliance of Indigenous peoples whose mission it is to protect the sacredness of Earth Mother from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining and respecting Indigenous teachings and natural laws. Adopted in 1994 by the IEN National Council, Denver, Colorado
The IEN website has a broad focus and they carry a variety of interesting stories about the ongoing fight to protect the land and water. It isn’t all just talk, though. The IEN runs several important environmental campaigns including the Keep It In The Ground Campaign run by Dallas Goldtooth. Dallas was born into an activist family and stood as a water protector at Standing Rock. He’s an accomplished activist, teacher, writer, poet and comedian who uses story and humor to tackle difficult subjects.
Here he is with his comedy troupe, The 1491’s, at Vasser College in 2018. His message is full of hope.

And finally, we leave you with a clip found on Twitter 2 days ago by rq. It’s a true message of hope from The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the it’s the perfect way to end this post.

 

Behind the Iron Curtain part 24 – LGBTQ rights

These are my recollections of a life behind the iron curtain. I do not aim to give perfect and objective evaluation of anything, but to share my personal experiences and memories. It will explain why I just cannot get misty eyed over some ideas on the political left and why I loathe many ideas on the right.


I do not actually remember how much I was informed about these issues as a child before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain, but what I do remember is that my first encounter was not with an actual (known) homosexual person, but with a homophobic slur. The sad reality is, that Czechs were and to great extent still are very homophobic, or at least “I am not a homophobe, but…”, which is a distinction without difference.

However from legal standpoint Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was actually relatively progressive, or at least not less progressive than many western countries. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1962, 5 years before the United Kingdom. And gender reassignment therapy and surgery, although with more than a few bureaucratic hurdles to jump through, were (and are) available and paid for from state health insurance.

Nevertheless, despite gay rights being on the left side of the political spectrum in current USA and most of western world, it was not so behind the Iron Curtain. As avid reader and a very curious child, I have read behind my parents’ back magazines for adults (as opposed to magazines for children), which even in the puritanical culture did contain some information about sex and sexuality. And on one such occasion I came across an article that mentioned a peculiar fact – whilst homosexual acts between consenting adults were decriminalized in ČSSR, this was not the case everywhere in the Eastern Bloc. In USSR, male homosexuality was still illegal and punishable by imprisonment. The rationale mentioned in the article was homophobic, patriarchal and misogynistic all at once, and I remember recognizing it as such even at the time, although of course I did not know those fancy words back then: “A woman’s weakness can be forgiven, but a soldier must control his urges.”

After the fall of the iron curtain this discrepancy between the two countries sadly progressed. Whilst Czech Republic slowly but steadily progresses towards more and more legal rights for LGBTQ people along with public opinion progressing as well, in Russian Federation the trend actually reversed after a brief period of attempted progress.

So to me this, together with before mentioned environmentalism, is another one of the issues that actually is not left or right and it is just a coincidence that it is considered so in current political climate in the west. But lets not forget that political left can be just as adept at finding rationalizations for the homophobia of their power base as political right currently is. Hate of the other can, unfortunately, be quite the unifying issue in all kinds of political context.

Maybe he should have grabbed her by the pussy instead?

By now you have probably heard of The Incident. Depending on whether you’re a decent human being or a Republican, the actual incident is that the White House tried to forcefully remove the mic of a journalist because they didn’t like what he said and then banned him from the White House, or the real incident is Jim Acosta “laying his hands” on a young intern (who is, by pure coincidence female, white, young and pretty).

Sarah Sanders has tweeted about it several times, stressing the “disrespect” towards the “young woman” and “young women” working in the administration, mimicking feminist language and concerns for the treatment of (young) (professional) women at the hands of older men.

She also shared a clip showing him making a “chopping motion” towards her arm. Only that the video came straight from Infowars (and we all know how much those people care about women) and has a few curious differences to the original:

The intern’s reach for the mic is slowed down, and the “chop” motion is accelerated. Here’s an annotated side by side comparison:

Further analysis: video is absolutely doctored. You can see the edit when the clips are side by side and slowed down to quarter speed. See for yourself:

 The dishonesty of the Trump Administration knows no limits, as shown again, but let me make one thing clear: Even if Acosta had made a “chopping motion” he wouldn’t be the one who’s wrong here. He was talking, she tried to physically remove the mic, very eager to please her betters. She was the one making aggressive moves towards him. And also: fuck you, white women who sell out on basically everybody to lick spittle and get the rewards of being the chill girls of the Trump Administration. You work hard to remove women’s* right to their own bodies. You work double time to disenfranchise black women. You work extra time to rip babies out of their mothers’ arms and lock them in cages. And you all work for a man who is proud of sexually assaulting women. You don’t get to talk about respectful treatment of women.
*and others capable of gestation.

Wackaloon

Liz Crokin, right wing “journalist” has recently lost the tips of two fingers in a surfing accident and is blaming Hilary Clinton as the cause.

While she realizes that it was probably “just a freak accident,” that didn’t stop her from also asserting that it may have been the result of a curse that had been placed on her by Hillary Clinton or artist Marina Abramović or some other “witch” that is targeting her due to her efforts to expose the secret satanic cannibalistic pedophile cult that supposedly runs the world.

Is it just me, or do other people think that the right wing of America have lost their minds. I can almost get past their belief in their God (almost, but not really), but what is up with the belief in witches and spells and curses. Do they really think we live in Harry Potter World full of magic, and if so why isn’t their all-powerful, all-seeing God doing something about it? It seems to me that it just highlights the impotence of their sky God. It all seems so totally illogical and totally ridiculous. The full story is at Right Wing Watch, if you can stomach it. Just a word of warning, if you click on the links inside the story be prepared for even more ridiculous right wing thinking.

 

Behind the Iron Curtain part 13 – Snitching

These are my recollections of a life behind the iron curtain. I do not aim to give perfect and objective evaluation of anything, but to share my personal experiences and memories. It will explain why I just cannot get misty eyed over some ideas on the political left and why I loathe many ideas on the right.


In medieval times, every village had to have its idiot. In totalitarian times, every village has its snitch.

Ours was a man in his fifties, whose common nickname was “Dědek bonzák” (Grampa Snitch). Of course nobody told this to his face, but everybody knew him and the nickname applies to him even now, twenty years after the regime changed.

I have only once seen him in “action” during one of our craft classes. For these we went out of school to a designated workshop where we would learn some basic knowledge about the use of tools – saws, files, drills etc. The room had a window that opened not in the street, but on a roof. And one day some of the more rowdy boys (the classes were gender segregated btw.) riled up each other until they dared to venture out on the roof when the teacher left the class for a moment to fetch some materials. They were seen from a nearby building by none other than Grampa Snitch, who a few minutes later barged in the class and screeched to the teacher about the miscreants. He actually pointed his finger on one of the boys, his own nephew, and screamed, “That is him, he is one of them, he was there on the roof!”.

After the class some of us expressed incredulity about how he so publicly ratted on his own nephew. We all could understand if the gave him a clip behind the ear later on and/or told his parents, but publicly accusing your own nephew? Unconscionable. His nephew summed it up in one simple phrase “He is just such an asshole.”.

I do not know whether it was malice that drove him, or overzealous adherence to rules. I do not think it was the latter though, because snitching has markedly some visible benefits to him.

There was in the country a longstanding tradition to burn old grass on the meadows and gardens in the spring. Stupid, damaging and dangerous tradition, which was therefore outlawed. Yet every spring Grampa Snitch could be seen burning the grass in his garden and on the meadow behind it. publicly, in broad daylight, and he was never fined. Yet had anyone else dared to break the law within his eyesight in even the minutest of minor ways, to this day his instinct is to call the police.

Everybody is guilty, we have already established that. Especially when the laws of the land are such, that they are impossible to not break, when even completely innocent remarks can be misconstrued as crimes against humanity. And in a system where everybody is guilty, there will be those who use the system to their advantage. Setting scores and disputes this way becomes second nature to some, and there will always be those who will not see it improper to let someone incarcerate for treason just because their dog barked all night.

There is also a flip side to this coin. With trivial or completely illegitimate grievances being commonly leveled amongst people, being a snitch was seen as the height of indecency. Which has of course made it difficult to officially address legitimate grievances as well. And there were people who used this to their advantage too. In the eyes of some it was seen as equally as bad to report someone who has a built a barbecue pit a few cm bigger than the law allows as it was to report that someone assaulted you. Literally.

As a sickly kid who had high marks I was of course bullied at school. The leader of the group of bullies eventually devised a type of torture that was life threatening – holding my nose and mouth tight shut until I started to turn blue in the face, and then watch the highly amusing confusion resulting from my oxygen deprivation. One day my mother managed to get this out of me, I do not know how she did it because I feared to tell anyone, but she did. She went berserk, told off the parents of the bullies and complained to school master. The bullies were held after school and they got some punishment at home too. But, you guessed it, the leader of the bullies felt that it was me who wronged him and when going home from the detention he shouted at me across the town square “You snitch!”. He did not dare to lay his hands on me again¹- and stick and stones can break your bones… and words can really hurt too..

It was only much later in life when I realised that all this is us (the populace) versus them (the officials) mentality that is common in prisons. And that is what it was – prison mentality. For we were in prison, really and truly – the Iron Curtain was just that, a barrier for keeping people in, not out.


1 – Bullying scars for life. He never realized that what he did to me was wrong, never had an epiphany and never apologized, yet when we grew up to be adults he thought we were “friends from school”. I never shook his hand when we met and when he died in a car crash a few years ago, I did not feel sorry in the least.

The Chains of Intolerance.

Andrew Ellis Johnson, “The ICEman Cometh” (2018, detail), ink, charcoal, wax, graphite.

Andrew Ellis Johnson, “The ICEman Cometh” (2018, detail), ink, charcoal, wax, graphite.

Art and artists most definitely have a place in answering wrongs, great or small, and everything in between. Andrew Ellis Johnson has a searing piece up at Hyperallergic. It’s well worth seeing and reading.

Behind the Iron Curtain part 11 – Ownership of the Means of Production

These are my recollections of a life behind the iron curtain. I do not aim to give perfect and objective evaluation of anything, but to share my personal experiences and memories. It will explain why I just cannot get misty eyed over some ideas on the political left and why I loathe many ideas on the right.


It can be argued that the regime in former Soviet bloc was never communist. I would agree with that and so did the regime itself. However to argue that it was not socialist or leftist would be false. The regime did try to provide for people and take care of them. And whilst it was agreed that the ideal of communism was not achieved yet, the means of production did belong to the people. Sort of.

The argument presented to us at school was a simple syllogism: Means of production belong to the state. The state consists of the people. Therefore the means of production belong to the people.

As it often is, it never is that simple and it did not work out. And the experience convinced me that ownership of the means of production by the people cannot work on grand scale. I think it might work on small-scale, on a scale of up to a few dozen or perhaps a few hundred people, not more. This is about the maximum where people can function as internally cohesive society (commune, if you wish), because at this small-scale people can manage to keep internal tabs of tits for tats. So cheaters and slackers can feel the negative consequences of their actions quickly either by being shunned by those they wronged, or by not getting their share of the produce etc. Thus people keep connection to each other and to the consequences of their actions, because those consequences – both social and economical – are nearby both in time and space.

I have already mentioned slacking at work, because nobody was motivated to work too much. What has thrived on the other hand was black market for labor. So for example if you wanted a house repaired, via official means it might take years and not be done properly. The only way to get things done was often to have “friends” help you to repair it in their free time. Such helps were paid cash without paper trail and artisans like plumbers, electricians etc. were highly sought after – and such illegal work was for them the only means to get extra money. So they skived off of work and often even stole materials from the state in order to make untaxed money on the side (immediate and personal reward – and also immediate and personal punishment if the word got around that one does a sloppy job).

Rarely anyone ever felt this is wrong. There was a great emotional disconnect between the State and its people. The above mentioned syllogism was not convincing enough. I mentioned the saying “who does not steal from the state, steals from their own family”. It was perceived by many people that since everything belongs to the state, it also belongs to ME and therefore I am entitled to help myself when the opportunity presents itself. One teacher tried to explain to us that such is not the case, that by stealing for example a sack of cement from the state of ten million people means one is only taking one tenth of one millionth of said sack that is their own, and the rest is stolen from the remaining 9.999.999 people, but I have noticed that none of my schoolmates was affected much by this logic. Those 9.999.999 people are a faceless crowd, an abstract concept too big to fit into human mind.

The problem here, as Terry Pratchett once brilliantly stated in Night Watch, was not the wrong kind of government, but the wrong kind of people. People on average are not kind-hearted, altruistic and rational. They are petty, selfish and short-sighted. Trying to make them connect with something as grand as a “state” or “nation” only works as long as they are personally and immediately affected. It cannot keep them motivated for long and for a reward that might only affect their grandchildren when the communism finally arrives and money is not needed anymore.

 

The Antichrist Will Be…

Detail from Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist, Luca Signorelli, San Brizio Chapel.

Detail from Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist, Luca Signorelli, San Brizio Chapel.

The antichrist will be…a homosexual Jew! So sayeth idiot Rick Wiles.

…Wiles said that this sort of “apostasy” is a sign that the End Times are near and warned that the Antichrist “will be a homosexual Jew.”

“What is the spirit of antichrist?” Wiles said. “It is anybody or anything that denies that Jesus Christ came to earth as God in human flesh. That is antichrist. If you deny it, then you are antichrist. And the Jews and Judaism is antichrist. Any Jew that denies that Jesus Christ is the son of God in human flesh, then he is antichrist. Judaism is antichrist. Islam is antichrist. Hinduism, Buddhism, all those isms [are] antichrist because they deny the virgin birth of the son of God.”

Yeah, yeah, only christianity is right, but you all can’t fucking figure out which christianity is right, you all think your particular flavour is right, and the rest are wrong. Nothing new to see here, although I am surprised to see atheism given a pass. I guess we don’t count against all those other isms.

“I personally believe that the Man of Perdition, the one that you call Antichrist, I personally believe he will be a homosexual Jew,” Wiles added. “Watch out for global Zionism taking over this planet through artificial intelligence. There are two things that you cannot publicly criticize now; you cannot criticize the homosexual agenda and you cannot criticize Zionism. Those two are together. They’re driven by the same spirit. And what is coming is a global entity that is going to be Zionism and homosexuality and it’s going to be operated through artificial intelligence and it’s going to be policed through the most high-tech surveillance society that you can imagine. It will be a nightmare.”

Sigh. Seems to me that I see a hell of a lot of public criticism of all things queer; and worse, much bigoted railing and open hatred. Same goes for any and all things and people Jewish. I haven’t noticed the nazis shutting the fuck up lately, or just your garden variety bigots, who are well known for their fear and hatred of Jewish people. So much for that declaration. The christian agenda of attempting to usher in the ‘end times’ is hardly a secret, and you have to have those pesky Jewish people around for that to happen, but it sure doesn’t mean you have to like them, right, Mr. Wiles? As for that ushering in, shouldn’t that really be the business of that lazy ass god of yours?

As for your pretend “global entity”, no, that’s not going to happen, anymore than the terminator showing up at your door. As for high-tech surveillance societies, well, that’s most of the major players, and has been for a very long time. No one loves tech more than governments. That’s not to say that most of them are very good at it, they aren’t. Mostly, they all spend time trying to shift blame and cover up all the mass fuck ups. Surveillance is a fact of life anymore. Well, unless you’re a cop.

“Israel embraces homosexuality,” he continued. “They need to be told, ‘You’re sinners, you’re going to go to Hell, you need to repent, you need to call upon the name of Jesus!’”

I’m pretty sure all of Israel is not a hotbed of queerness, and I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of bigotry and disapproval there too, just like everywhere else.

RWW has the full story.

On Bigoted Use of the Word Nazi.

A few weeks ago I had a visitor at my lab from our other plant in Germany. We did not have too much work to do at that time so after i have shown him around we had some time to chat about this and that.

One of the things that transpired was that he is married to a woman who is of US American / German descend.  He said her Texan grandfather took it rather badly and commented it along the lines “I was fighting against Nazis in war, and my daughter and granddaughter both married one.”.

I looked at him after this and asked the first question that popped in my mind: “Is your grandfather in law per chance a Republican and did he vote for Trump?” To which his answer was yes on both accounts.

I was astounded at this blatant display of a lack of self-awareness.

I mean, it is not uncommon to hear something similar in CZ. Even some of my close friends sometimes ask me – and only half-jokingly – if I still work “for Nazis” or in “Naziland”. Even I said such things.  The German nation will in minds of many Czechs never ever get rid of the black stain the horrors of the WW2 have made on its reputation, not to mention previous thousands of years of mutual enmity between Slavic and Germanic nations and the two hundreds years long attempts at Germanization of Czechs. History cannot be denied or ignored, and its consequences do and will reach far into the future.

There is still also a lot of anti-slavic prejudice (not only) in Germany to this day. When Czech Republic entered in the EU, there was a lot of people near the borders who feared the influx of uncouth Czechs that would lead to a massive rise in crime-rate and stealing of jobs from proper Germans. Which of course did not happen.

It is therefore understandable that some Czechs view Germans as a whole with distrust and dislike, even though not justifying the over broad use of the term “Nazi” for anyone from Germany.

The current rise in nationalism spurred by anti-muslim sentiments, both in EU and in USA, seems to have led to a peculiar situation demonstrated by the Texan grandfather in law of my colleague’s. A lot of people seem to be putting an unqualified equal sign between the words “Nazi” (or “fascist”) and “German” in their minds whilst completely forgetting – or perhaps never even knowing – what this originally was about. And so subsequently they are voting for de-facto Nazis, who spout nazi rhetoric and try to propagate nazi policies, the whole package – unbridled racism and white supremacy, yearning for a golden age that never was, scapegoating and dehumanizing whole ethnic groups, wishing for concentration camps, firing squads and wars to beat opponents into submission (even the “traditional family values” and homophobia are in that package). All the while saying that “Nazis are bad” and thinking themselves opposing Nazis and nazism.

Yes, I know, one could quibble about whether the term Nazi really does fit Trump and the Republican party. One could discuss the minutiae endlessly and talk over differences in definitions and perspectives. There are differences. However I would argue that the term does indeed fit Republicans in general and Trump in particular much, much better than it does a typical German in these days, who most likely would feel ashamed and sorry for what Nazis have done and would despise them.

Lets not forget that not all (not even most) Germans are Nazis and not all Nazis are German. Lets not forget that first victims of first Nazis were Germans – German Jews, German communists, German mentally ill and handicapped and many just ordinary decent Germans. Using the term Nazi as a generic sneer against Germans is morphing into a form of bigotry of its own, an a dangerous one at that. Because as it usually is with such things, it shifts the focus from bad things people do on people who are perceived as bad whatever they do*.


  • I have not heard this yet, but I wonder if there is someone somewhere who dislikes Angela Merkel and accuses her of being a Nazi for accepting refugees? I know for sure there are people who accuse her of giving power to Nazis by doing it.

Sunday Facepalm: Deep State, Witches & Warlocks, Oh My!

Frank Amedia and his Potus Shield clown circus are back at it, just praying their little red noses off. If you aren’t familiar with Mr. Amedia, you can pretty much find out all you care to know in his recounting a miracle he performed: the resurrection of an ant. Today, they are all trembling over the “deep state”, witches, warlocks, and the antichrist.

“I think we need to be wise to understand that this presidency is going to be taken to the edge of destruction by evil forces, by deep state forces, by a conspiracy that has already been named,” Amedia warned. “We know it’s coming. We need to withstand against that. We need to be the watchmen that say, ‘Don’t take your eyes off, the storm is coming.’”

“We prayed for the Lord to just stir up that storm,” he continued. “Stir up that storm of that president. We declare right now, in Jesus’ name, stir it up. Stir him up like a tornado, don’t let him stop. Let everything fly out that needs to fly out, let everything be exposed, don’t let anything be put back into a place that could come back and linger again.”

That’s a veritable treasure chest of filthy jokes, just waiting to be made. Speaking for myself, I don’t want to see anything flying out of the Tiny Tyrant, and I most emphatically don’t want to see anything exposed. :shudder: Okay, now that my mind has jumped out of the gutter, as far as exposure goes, the Tiny Tyrant and his crew of incompetent cronies are doing a fine job of that themselves. No assistance is required.

Amedia, Mark Gonzales of the U.S. Hispanic Action Network, and Bishop Harry Jackson then initiated a spiritual warfare prayer against Trump’s enemies and critics, with Jackson taking specific aim at the “witches and warlocks” who have cursed the president.

“We lift up witches and warlocks who have been a part of this assignment,” Jackson said, “as they have gathered in numbers almost immeasurable to curse this specific president. We cancel, we bind their authority, we bind their curses, we lift up your word that says you shall not revile the gods and neither shall you bring a curse upon the rule of God’s people. We declare those assignments null and void and we claim the souls of many of the witches and warlocks.”

The Gods? Hmmm. Anyroad, I think we need a serious rule here. This is the 21st century, and people with views that are the same as those prevalent during the inquisition and witch trials? They have no place in a modern society. What they do need is a nice re-created 13th century village, lots of land surrounding, where they could play at witch hunting all they liked, and they could leave the rest of us in the current century alone.

The whole regressive mess is at RWW.

The Inquisition Tentacles Are Spreading.

I’ve written about Ralph Drollinger before. He’s one scary lunatic christian, and he wields way too much influence in the current regime. He’s crowing again, over all the “progress” he’s making. It’s as well to remember that Drollinger’s idea of progress is to bring back the inquisition or something like.

Ralph Drollinger, who runs fundamentalist Bible studies for dozens of members of Congress and President Trump’s Cabinet every week, said in a fundraising letter this month that his group “has been blessed by God with extraordinary growth beyond our wildest imaginings in foreign nations across the globe and most notably in former Soviet Bloc countries.”

[…]

We noted last fall that Drollinger is aggressively expanding his operations both at the local government level in the U.S. and in national capitals around the world. His April 4 letter includes some details about the latter:

In the last few months discipleship Bible studies have been established to Parliamentarians in Romania; Ukraine; Fiji; Papua New Guinea; and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. A ministry is about to begin in Guatemala, and before fall, we expect work to be completed for ministries in the Central and South American nations of Peru; Ecuador; Brazil; Mexico; Uruguay; and Paraguay, as well as in the European city Riga, Latvia.

Work is current an ongoing with partners to establish discipleship Bible studies in Berlin and Bonne [sic]. We are enthusiastically pursuing an opportunity to plant a ministry in the European Union Parliament, a body of 600 Parliamentarians from 26 Western and Eastern European nations who meet two weeks every month in Brussels, Belgium and one week every month in Strasbourg, France.

We thought the Lord did not want us in the Middle East, but to our great surprise discussions are currently underway to establish a ministry in a Muslim majority nation in the Middle East.

[…]

Although Drollinger is quick to complain about news coverage he believes is unfair, his letter says a story published in a German newspaper helped attract new friends. And Capitol Ministries has been gushing about a recent BBC story that the group says “reached more than 1 million readers world-wide.”

I have no idea why people might find Drollinger favourable in any light, but even if you are one of the lucky people who lives in a happily secular nation, this should be worrying. Drollinger is naturally courting regressive governments, but there are always regressive asses in any government, and they are likely to listen to Drollinger. I fail to see the charm, and it’s beyond disturbing that Drollinger is not simply being dismissed. Just to give you an idea of what Drollinger wants to institute, as far as government is concerned:

Drollinger’s April 13 Bible study says it is a “disservice to the country” for public servants to “craft policy that is not somehow rooted in Scripture.” Here are some of the other theological and political positions Drollinger teaches public officials:

Drollinger likes to tell reporters that he doesn’t instruct public officials how to vote, but he makes it clear in his written Bible studies that, for example, Christian public servants are required to support the death penalty and oppose marriage equality.

Drollinger also has very specific views on the role of women: “there is a prohibition of female leadership in marriage, and female leadership in the church.” One of his Bible studies explains what he calls the “unambiguous” difference in responsibilities the Bible gives men and women, saying women’s “primary functions” include homemaking, home management, mothering, teaching younger women, displaying hospitality and dressing modestly.

There’s much more, RWW has the full story.

Does 18 Make For A Shithole?

 Esplanade Park in Helsinki. Finland, is the happiest country in the world, according to the newest World Happiness Report. Credit Martti Kainulainen/Lehtikuva, via Associated Press

Esplanade Park in Helsinki. Finland, is the happiest country in the world, according to the newest World Happiness Report. Credit Martti Kainulainen/Lehtikuva, via Associated Press.

According to The World Happiness Report, Ustates has plummeted to 18th on the list. If you really want to be happy and feel secure, you need to go Nordic. Finland made the top of the list.

Finland was ranked number one on the World Happiness Report, compiled by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The country was joined by other Scandinavian nations—Norway, Denmark, and Iceland—in the top four, followed by Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia.

All these nations are based on strong social welfare structures, and look, people are happy! Looks like that evil socialism has a lot going for it. Turns out that when people feel secure, they tend to be happier and much more laidback.

“I think there really is a deep and very unsettling signal coming through that U.S. society is in many ways under profound stress, even though the economy by traditional measures is doing fine,” Jeffrey D. Sachs, an editor of the report, told the New York Times. “The trends are not good, and the comparative position of the U.S. relative to other high-income countries is nothing short of alarming.”

The drop followed President Donald Trump’s first year in office, during which the majority of Americans reported disapproval of the country’s top elected official, and hundreds of thousands protested his regressive policies on immigration, women’s reproductive rights, and gun control—as well as widespread concerns that the president is blatantly profiting off his position in public office.

The past year also saw reports of America’s widening wealth gap, with the average upper middle-class household holding 75 times more wealth than low-income families.

While other countries have focused on social welfare of all their citizens, Ustates has been in the process of removing rights and the very last shreds of social programs. We’re in the middle of dismantling education, nazis are running rampant all over the place, and you never know when you might be walking into a nightmare massacre. Sounds like a shithole to me.

The World Happiness Report ranks countries according to per capita GDP, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and corruption levels.

Going by that alone, seems Ustates should be at the bottom of the list.

Life expectancy in the U.S. dropped for the second year in a row in 2017, with researchers suggesting that the opioid addiction epidemic and inequality are related to the decline.

I expect no health care has a lot to do with that one, along with a hefty percentage of the population living in food deserts and being unable to eat well.

Reigning political ideologies in the highest-ranking nations contrast sharply with that of the U.S., noted the researchers.

The countries in the top 10 tend to “believe that what makes people happy is solid social support systems, good public services, and even paying a significant amount in taxes for that,” said Sachs.

Yep. I’m more than happy to pay taxes, when they are used for the common good. That’s supposed to be the bloody point of taxes.

Every top-ranking country also ensures that every citizen has access to free or affordable healthcare, while millions of Americans remain uninsured despite the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Oh, there it is. Yep, other countries seem to have all figured out that having healthy citizens is to their benefit. That strikes me as simple common sense, but not here in Amerikka, no. I’m quite surprised we ended up as high as 18. Now I can’t get this song outta my head:

Via RawStory.

What Does A God Need With A Government?

Seems there’s a group, or organisation or something called Intercessors for America. So, a bunch of people praying, but praying apparently is not enough anymore, no. People need to vote, because Jehovah needs a government!

“You probably know the midterms are coming up,” Kubal said. “We believe God desires to align His watchmen alongside these candidates. Intercessory activism is not about mixing the role of the church with the role of government to create some form of spiritual nationalism, it is all about proper alignment between God’s people and government … God created government to punish the wrong and protect the right, [but] a government cannot know what is wrong or what is right without the church.”

Erm…so you’re not about mixing up church and government, you’re about mixing up people in the church and government, do I have that one right? Jehovah created government? Huh. Okay, just the Amerikkan version, or all governments? If it’s all governments, which one is best? Perhaps it’s just me, but I think you’re confusing the justice system with government.

“Intercessory activism is the correct alignment between God’s people bringing His values to our government,” Kubal added. “We are in a specific season where we can ask God to move greatly through the authority of our government. This is really important, this is kind of the crux of what I am talking about. In the past few years, we have prayed defensively for protection from our government, but now we are in a season to pray offensively to see great advances of the kingdom of God to be advanced through our government.”

I’ll give you credit for some grand bafflegab there, Mr. Kubal. So Jehovah has to work through the authority of the government? I guess bureaucratic red tape swallows everyone. Once again, I’m struck by the christian vision of a god, such a weak little critter, unable to do one damn thing on its own. From a christian point of view, there’s no fun at all in being a god, just another powerless being adrift on the seas of life. Tsk. I’ll be making offerings to all the art gods later this day, any one of which could whip Jehovah’s poor, powerless arse.

Kubal said that it is imperative that conservative Christians use the elections to connect with candidates with the goal of implementing “kingdom values through relationships to our government” and utilizing “the U.S. government to have His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Yeah, y’know, I’d think an all powerful god could push its agenda through without having to “utilize” anyone or anything. Interesting that you basically admit that all the intercessory crap is worthless.

The full mess is at RWW, with video.

And a bonus today, in the category of silliest damn prophecy ever: Prophecy: Paramedic Angels Dispatched.