Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Zionism, Christian Fundamentalism and the Apocalypse

Recently, members of the GOP presidential nomination field, with the exception of Ron Paul, have been falling all over themselves to talk about how much they "support" Israel. They blather on and promise the armchair warriors that they would bomb Iran into the Stone Age if they were given the chance as president.

Their so-called support for Israel isn't based on some sense of responsibility out of respect for the originations of their Judeo-Christian heritage. It is catering to the right-wing, neo-c0n, fundamentalist Christian coalition of their party which salivates at every chance we get to go to war in the Middle East. There has been a very powerful alliance with the chickenhawks and the likes of Ralph Reed/Christian Coalition, Pat Robertson and others who have a bizarre "End Times" fantasy involving the return of Christ which requires a massive conflict in the Middle East first.

If you believe in the omnipotent power of an Almighty Being, then it is presumptuous to think that you can somehow alter or expedite a master plan that has already been predetermined. Yet, that is what these people think. They cheer for every war that possibly brings us closer to WWIII and the return of their blond-haired, blue-eyed Jesus through this scenario which was never really outlined in the Bible. They believe in an Apocalypse which involves the rebuilding of the Temple and the formation of the Jewish state over 60 years ago plays into the script they've created.

The religious right supports the expansion of settlements in areas already deemed to belong to the Palestinians. They cheer at every clash between the IDF and stone-throwing youths or anything else that brings things closer to the boiling point. It is really a sick, sick little enabling/fantasy combination that keeps the conflict going. This isn't really a war over territorial rights, or a conflict between mainstream Judaism and Islam. It is a proxy war fought between radical Christianity and radical Islam, pitting the hardline Jews against hardline Muslims, in hopes of igniting a religious "Final Solution" in which Christ returns to Earth, but not before we Jews are slaughtered or converted to their religion.

I've had other Jews laughingly tell me that they think these Christians are idiots but they are more than happy to keep taking their money. If it wasn't responsible for years of war, and millions of deaths, this little fantasy would be one I would laugh at. Hell, if I had religious fanatics handing me money and support because of some bizarre dream they had, I'd gladly take their money also. This isn't a laughing matter though, especially when you have these folks being tricked into voting for candidates who support wars that will never actually bring back Christ, but quite possibly the end of the world as we know it. It could end in an Apocalypse, but not the one they want. Dear Jesus, I really like you but your followers scare the hell out of me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Tea Party "jumps the shark"

"Jumping the Shark" is when something has peaked, moved beyond it's original purpose and is on the downward spiral. This phrase comes from the episode in "Happy Days" when Fonzi jumps the shark tank, the point where the series was so far past the original intent and began to become irrelevant.

The refusal of the Tea Party controlled GOP House to continue the payroll tax cuts without getting all of their irrelevant amendments passed flies directly against the very acronym they touted for their movement, "Taxed Enough Already". This same slogan is on the vehicles of their supporters, most of whom will be directly affected by this tax increase. Yet, these members of Congress have shown with little attempt to hide it, that they don't care about the 99%, including the same suckers who voted for them. They screamed bloody murder at the thought of allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to expire, but now they vote to block an extension which would allow people like me to bring home more money on each paycheck.

They've shown that they don't have a problem with tax increases, so long as it isn't on the people who are the least likely to have to worry about if they'll have enough money to make it to the next payday. They have no qualms about letting taxes go up, just not on their donors, the folks who put them there. What they fail to realize is that when the middle class has less money to spend, that's less money to purchase goods and services, which will mean less of a demand and eventually translates into layoffs and further unemployment. Eventually this is all going to blow up in their face and they will have no one to blame but themselves. It is just a matter of time.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Blurring the lines - Occupy 2.0

The thing that angers the media the most, besides specific leaders they can target, is the non-partisan/bi-partisan/independent/I'mjustpissedthefuckoff demographic of the Occupy protests. The likes of Hannity, Limbaugh, you know, the usual folks who want to resort to character attacks instead of the message, they're baffled by this.

They were thrilled to find a convenient target in the "dirty, lazy hippies who don't want to work". Quickly though, it got confusing for them when that same "dirty hippie" was marching next to a priest or a minister, who was marching next to a veteran, who was marching next to a Ron Paul supporter.

"We need leaders to speak to" they clamored. Yeah, appoint a leader and then the media attacks that person, vilifies them and distracts from the message.

"Why are these people protesting when they could be looking for jobs?" they said in snarky sound clips. We either can't find jobs or we have jobs and protest on the weekends. Ever notice how big the protests are on Saturdays and Sundays?

"We need a clear set of demands or we can't take this seriously" they said. Gee, the name "Occupy Wall Street" wasn't obvious enough for you? There's many demands but the fixed, crony game of cards that is our economy is the main one.

They want to say that we're "jealous of success" and participating in "class warfare". When the bully who has run the playground for years suddenly finds himself confronted by all the other kids who he's victimized, he usually runs to the teacher for help. Same tactic.

We've transcended the lines between "conservative" and "liberal". We're beyond "left vs. right" and it is pissing the media off.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


The hypocrisy of hope

Thinking back to the Bush years, I remember the caustic attacks against anyone who dared to criticize anything he did. I thought the tax cuts for the wealthy were dumb, the Patriot Act was an assault on personal privacy, the war in Iraq completely unjustified, and I had no problem stating those facts. For my bluntness, I was assailed as a "traitor, a "terrorist-loving liberal commie fascist" and just about anything else in the pro-Bush playbook. Having my vehicle vandalized and threats of violence for stating my opinion were par for the course.

Fast-forward to present day. The Patriot Act is still being renewed with little debate, the Bush tax cuts are still in effect and we continue to slowly lose personal freedoms. The NDAA was, and could still be interpreted to mean the indefinite detention of people who are deemed a threat. The SOPA bill also extends the ability of the government to shut down websites it also deems as threats. Threats, threats to what? A threat to national security or a threat to the industries that depend on the government to be their muscle in shutting down dissent or forcing people to buy their products and services.

So I criticize President Obama for going along with some of these things, and I get attacked again. This time it is by the "professional left", who make a point of crucifying and spinning everything the GOP does while acting like a human shield for the President. In fact, if you just changed the things they took positions on, they'd sound similar to the "brown shirts" of the Bush era.

Guess what, I voted for Obama. I have the right to criticize him when he does things that are wrong in my eyes. I voted with the hope that he'd do better by the people than Bush did, and in some ways, he's done that. The repeal of DADT, saving the auto industry, killing Osama Bin Laden and other accomplishments are deserving of praise. Yet, when he does something I see as wrong, I have no problem coming out and saying it.

I will anger some readers by saying this. Undoubtedly I will lose a few fans, so be it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

If you can't lead, follow. If you can't follow, stay out of the way

Of course they're going to fight back. You didn't think was going to be easy did you? This isn't a Disney movie where you pull a sword out of a stone or kiss a princess and suddenly all is right with the Universe again. You have a status quo which relied on a generation to calmly accept whatever fate is assigned to them, thanks to a few pills and more MTV.

Instead of striving for true greatness, our new accomplishments are making it to the next payday, becoming the next "mayor" of some spot on Foursquare or getting some image of our cat or a sunset on Instagram to go viral. They want us to continue this cycle of false empowerment. As we rely more and more on social media and a false sense of reality, they encourage "reality" shows and hype the conversation of spray-tanned skanks from New Jersey that contribute absolutely nothing to society other than the taxes they pay. They want us to remain transfixed by steroid-ridden "ultimate fighters" and Oompa Loompa looking MTV celebrities to keep our attention off the real problems. They want the conversation to be about who wore what dress which costs more than many of us will make in one year to what awards show or what contrived confrontation on their ad-ridden musical tournament was more important.

To that I say, "fuck the rubbish". If you don't agree, if you can't pull the wool from over your eyes, just sit down and keep watching football or American Idol. If you can't lead, follow. If you can't follow, stay out of the way.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Peace IS an option

As a Jew, I find it disgusting and scary at the same time when I see the GOP candidates lining up to swear their allegiance to the state of Israel. If it was support of a Jewish state living in harmony with their neighbors, that would be different. Their support of Israel isn't a pro-Jewish agenda, it is a twisted, fucked-up little screenplay under construction which doesn't end happily forever after for those of us who are still waiting for the Messiah.

They are paying lip service to us while catering to the evangelical and fundamentalist Christians who believe that there is a final conflict involving the extermination of all Jews who do not convert to Christianity. It is an "End Times" scenario that is extremely popular in the circles of most right of moderate Christians. Both the Democrats, and Republicans, have courted the hard right with their "support" of Israel but it isn't to the peacemakers. Any politician that tries to bring real peace is demonized as a terrorist supporter or anti-Israel.

In my mind, there doesn't need to be a Jewish state any more than there needs to be a Muslim country or a Christian country or any country that is religious-centric. Yet, the old guard and the fanatics on both sides keep pushing the politics and spin to further their careers, goals and to keep the money flowing in.

My generation and those to follow are not taking the bait. We have started to realize that there's more than what our ancestors fought and died for in vain. In the age of world-wide social media, we've made acquaintances all around the world and found out we aren't that different. The powers that be have realized that the battle lines they have drawn for us have been bridged and neutralized by Twitter and Facebook, and they're very, very scared.

Monday, December 5, 2011

There is no "War on Christmas"

There isn't a "War on Christmas", despite what the self-appointed defenders of all things Christ-related on Fox who blather on and on have to say. You see, it is hard to even call it "Christmas" when it stopped being about Christ and his message so very long ago. These days, it is has become about convincing people that a holiday which is no longer about Christ but instead about massive consumption is under attack in order to get them to spend more time and money on it. Christmas throughout the ages was never the over the top production that it has become in this time.

I respect the people who keep it a simple celebration of the birth of probably the most influential man in history and mark it by going to church and/or doing charitable acts in honor of the day. I may not agree with them on the bullet points of their religious faith, but I do respect them.

I enjoy listening to the Christmas Eve celebration and service on NPR. I enjoy the time I get with the family members who have gone on with their own lives away from our respective childhoods, for the most part.

But, the whole "put Christ back in Christmas" mantra sounds so utterly hypocritical when the same people drive their SUVs down to Target, Best Buy, Walmart and the shitty mall stores to buy things on credit. Spending thousands of dollars on goods made in foreign countries off basically slave labor but dropping the leftover change from your grande peppermint mocha purchase into the Salvation Army bucket on your way out of Target doesn't make you a good Christian. It doesn't relieve you of your responsibility to the less fortunate, the beggar along the road. In fact, if Christ were to come back one day as you have repeatedly planned and fantasized about, he wouldn't be happy with you, not one bit. I believe he'd give you the "least of these" speech and then proceed to picket the local mall.

If you want to "put Christ back into Christmas", I'd suggest spending the money you would have used to purchase that new flatscreen on abandoned veterans and the less fortunate. If you want to end the "War on Christmas", I'd recommend starting with yourself.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me again, call me a GOP voter

They don't care about us. They just want us to do their bidding, march for their causes and die in their wars. Nothing could be more apparent with this propaganda campaign surrounding "Obamacare". They keep telling us it is about "personal freedom" and the individual mandate that requires people to have health insurance, something that was originally proposed by conservative thinktanks and isn't really an issue to them, although the opposite is what they want us to believe. What the issue really is to them is the part of the bill that requires them to spend between 80 and 85 percent of revenue on actually paying for the medical services their clients signed up for.

As it stood before, there was no reason for an insurance company to have any interest in paying out claims, especially when it came to medical bills. In 2006, I was a victim of a hit and run driver who totaled my vehicle and caused spinal and nerve damage which will haunt me for the rest of my life. The day after I made the report to my insurance company, an adjuster came out to my house, told me I looked OK and after looking at my vehicle, told me he would cut me a check for $2K on the spot if I just signed a waiver. Even after I involved an attorney, I still wasn't paid even a dime of the additional $25k insurance I had paid into above the basic $10k auto policy I purchased.

Same goes for health insurance, home insurance, etc. This law requires them to pay out a portion of revenues to instead of paying incentives to agents to deny or delay as many claims as possible. Yet, the people opposing the healthcare law want you to believe it is about personal liberty, but want you to forget they were the ones who originally proposed the idea of the individual mandate which forces people who may not need coverage to get it in order to pad the profits of the insurance corporations. This is a far more complex game than the average voter grasps but it continues to boil down to the old shell game where the working class person is once again tricked into voting for having money taken out of their wallets in the name of "liberty".