Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tax Day Fun: IRS Totally Bogus?

Truthseekers, dig this article that I found on the web in time for Tax day: 31 Questions and Answers about the IRS, Revision 3.3.

It contends that the IRS has no authority, and that is it a totally bogus, unconstitutional, fraudulent organization. Now, I believe in "pay-as-you-go" as much as any liberal. But as for the IRS as an entity, I found this information to be quite interesting. You might, too.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter Redux

Here is my third annual reprint of tidbits from 2003's easter post. Happy Oestre, Pagans!

Easter Origins
Many, perhaps most, Pagan religions in the Mediterranean area had a major seasonal day of religious celebration at or following the Spring Equinox. Cybele, the Phrygian fertility goddess, had a fictional consort who was believed to have been born via a virgin birth. He was Attis, who was believed to have died and been resurrected each year during the period March 22 to 25. "About 200 B.C. mystery cults began to appear in Rome just as they had earlier in Greece. Most notable was the Cybele cult centered on Vatican hill...Associated with the Cybele cult was that of her lover, Attis (the older Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, or Orpheus under a new name). He was a god of ever-reviving vegetation. Born of a virgin, he died and was reborn annually. The festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday and culminated after three days in a day of rejoicing over the resurrection."

Wherever Christian worship of Jesus and Pagan worship of Attis were active in the same geographical area in ancient times, Christians "used to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus on the same date; and pagans and Christians used to quarrel bitterly about which of their gods was the true prototype and which the imitation."

Many religious historians believe that the death and resurrection legends were first associated with Attis, many centuries before the birth of Jesus. They were simply grafted onto stories of Jesus' life in order to make Christian theology more acceptable to Pagans. Others suggest that many of the events in Jesus' life that were recorded in the gospels were lifted from the life of Krishna, the second person of the Hindu Trinity. Ancient Christians had an alternative explanation; they claimed that Satan had created counterfeit deities in advance of the coming of Christ in order to confuse humanity. 4 Modern-day Christians generally regard the Attis legend as being a Pagan myth of little value. They regard Jesus' death and resurrection account as being true, and unrelated to the earlier tradition.

Wiccans and other modern-day Neopagans continue to celebrate the Spring Equinox as one of their 8 yearly Sabbats (holy days of celebration). Near the Mediterranean, this is a time of sprouting of the summer's crop; farther north, it is the time for seeding. Their rituals at the Spring Equinox are related primarily to the fertility of the crops and to the balance of the day and night times. Where Wiccans can safely celebrate the Sabbat out of doors without threat of religious persecution, they often incorporate a bonfire into their rituals, jumping over the dying embers is believed to assure fertility of people and crops.
Oh, cool! My employer is encouraging us all to one of the 8 Wiccan Sabbats!

More about Easter
In Norway, in addition to skiing in the mountains and painting eggs for decorating, it is tradition to solve murders at Easter. All the major television channels show crime and detective stories (such as Poirot), magazines print stories where the readers can try to figure out who did it, and many new books are published. Even the milk cartons change to have murder stories on their sides. Another tradition is Yahtzee games.

In the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, a tradition of whipping is carried out on Easter Monday. In the morning, males whip females with a special handmade whip... [consisting] of eight, twelve or even twenty-four withies (willow rods) and is usually from half a meter to two meters long and decorated with coloured ribbons at the end. It must be mentioned that while whipping can be painful, the purpose is not to cause suffering. Rather, the purpose is for males to exhibit their attraction to females; unvisited females can even feel offended. The whipped female gives a coloured egg to the male as a sign of her thanks and forgiveness. A legend says that females should be whipped in order to keep their health and fertility during whole next year. In some regions the females can get revenge in the afternoon when they can pour a bucket of cold water on any male.
Whether it's Spring Solstice, Fertility, Jesus, Rabbits, or whatever... even the celebration of the marketing of hideous crap, there's room in the basket for eggs of every color.

And let's not forget what these guys said:
"The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine." - George Washington

"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion ..." - Treaty of Tripoli, 1797

"Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa." - The U.S. Supreme Court, 1947

"The national government ... will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality.” - Adolf Hitler
So, happy easter, everyone... another ancient ritual celebrating the natural order of things. Seasons change. New life appears, and old things pass away. Amazing, isn't it?

Friday, April 6, 2007

It's (not) my party and I'll cry if I want to...

Fresh on the heals of my last post, which was critical of current environmentalist icon Al Gore, I offer another post which shines a spotlight on the failings of some current leaders of the left.

Now, don't get me wrong: I am still a Progressive, I still abhor the Bush/Cheney neocon oil-nazis and the republican corporate plutocrats, fascists, xenophobe dupes, and perverted christopaths who support their criminal regime.

But I also hold a special kind of low opinion for those on the left who pretend to represent us, yet engage in the same vile hypocrisy and villainy as Republicans.

I mean, I expect republicans to do all the horrible things they do, so I don't lose any respect for them when they inevitably do them. Not anymore, anyway. How could I? They're so far beneath contempt as it is, they've plumbed depths of depravity that haven't been realized since antiquity. That's conservatism for you.

But, I hold liberals and, yes, Democrats, to a higher standard. I expect them to learn from their past mistakes and improve their behavior, not engage in the conservative ideal of repeating their mistakes over and over again until people accept them as the norm. In short, Democrats need to do more than proclaim their values, they need to live them.

Which leads us to things like this:

1. Nancy Pelosi would rather prolong the war in Iraq than impeach Bush/Cheney.

2. Diane Feinstein is a war profiteer.

Their is no room for hypocrisy in my progressive left. I expect my political representation to be above reproach, period. Lawmakers expect us to toe the line, so we have every reason to expect them to do the same.

Now, just so you know I have not given on the the Dems, dig this, truthseekers:

Cynthia McKinney's Speech at the March 17th Anti-War rally at the Pentagon

Cynthia McKinney
Remarks in front of the Pentagon
March 17, 2007

Well, it seems that George Bush and Democratic Leaders were right.

They confidently told us that not only would Democrats fund the surge, but that the Democrats would not stop action in Iran, too.

Now, we are not surprised when the unelected, illegitimate Administration of George Bush ignores us, but we are shocked that the Democratic majority in Congress chose war over us as we say Bring our troops home now!

The answer is clear: Our country has been hijacked.

What about a livable wage for America's workers?

What about the right of return for Katrina survivors?

What about repealing the Patriot Act, the Secret Evidence Act, and the Military Tribunals Act?

Why is impeachment "off the table"?

Our country is bankrupt yet this institution has "lost" 2.3 trillion dollars!

I want that money back . . .

For jobs . . . for health care . . . for education . . . for our veterans!

The Democrats have become so timid they won't even repeal the Bush tax cuts as a strategy to deal with a bankrupt nation.

Seems the story is the same: more money for war, but we can't feed the poor.

It's hard to believe, but now the Democrats are full partners in George Bush's wars.

And by funding his wars, the Democratic Congress is explicitly complicit.

Complicit in war crimes! Complicit in torture! Complicit in crimes against humanity! Complicit in crimes against peace!

The FBI spied on us; Condoleezza, Dick, and George lied to us.

In 1957, Dr. King observed that "Both political parties have betrayed the cause of justice."

And so it must be repeated today.

Our beloved America is dividing again into two Americas. Our struggle is for nothing less than the soul of our country.

We want an America that is respected in the commonwealth of man; we want our values to shine like a beacon throughout the world.

As an American of conscience, I hereby declare my independence from every bomb dropped, every threat leveled, every civil liberties rollback, every child killed, every veteran maimed, every man tortured.

And I sadly declare my independence from the leaders who let it happen.

We will not stop. We will win. We will get our country back!
Guess who I would like to see run for president?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Question Authority, Green Version

An article entitled The Green Imposter describes how environmentalist causes were trampled underfoot by... guess who? If you read my blog sometimes then you'd assume I was talking about Bush (1or2), or maybe Reagan. Nope. This article describes a betrayal of green values during the Clinton/Gore administration. Now, if this was just another rightwing character-assasination piece, I wouldn't give it much credence. But this is coming from a powerful progressive media voice, Counterpunch. They tend to pull no punches and announce their observations regarding the emperor's new clothes, no matter which emperor might be the topic at the time. And apparently Al Gore has some concrete-colored skeletons in his closet. You can read the article and see what you think. All I can say is that it serves to remind us all: Question authority. Trust no one.

The article doesn't alter my belief in the profound importance of environmentalist causes (or as they used to be called, "conservation"). What is does do is serve notice to keep a critical eye on whomever is employed to deliver the message.