Tag Archives: Love”

Marianne Williamson is my guilty pleasure (OK, so I don’t feel guilty)

Internet memes like this one aren’t accurate or fair, but in the age of Pussygrabber are to be expected, I suppose...

Marianne Williamson is not crazy.

Few books can I finish from cover to cover, but in the 1990s I ate up three of her books: A Woman’s Worth, A Return to Love and The Healing of America.

Williamson’s unabashed language only feels somewhat stilted and unicorn-and-rainbow-ish in an age in which we pee-ons have become as savage and loveless as are our overlords.

The word “love” need not be a hokey, gauzy concept that we ridicule. “Love” can be defined easily in quite straightforward, even logical and rational terms. To love is to consider everyone and everything as oneness, as a whole, to abandon the widespread (even “common-sense”) concept of rampant separation that puts us as individuals (and as groups of individuals) at perpetual war with everyone and with everything else.

To realize that we’re all connected — not greeting-card-sentiment connected, but even scientifically (biologically, ecologically, sociologically, etc.) connected — means that we stop to consider how our words and actions (and how our dereliction of our duty) affects other people, other life forms and the planet itself.

The opposite of all of this, the opposite of love, would be the likes of “President” Pussygrabber. Pussygrabber is all about himself. He is the exact opposite of love.*

Those millions of Americans who also have not a loving atom in their bodies thus resonate with Pussygrabber and think that he’s the greatest “president” ever. After all, does his hateful, loveless existence not somehow validate theirs?

Even if I’ve swayed you to some degree that love is not insane, but ultimately is sanity itself, you probably don’t think that Crazy Hippie Lady Marianne Williamson (really, has Pussygrabber not called her that yet in one of his tweets?**) could function at all as president.

I wholly disagree.

To me, an effective leader starts with an effective, sane — and yes, loving — worldview and vision. Lacking that, true leadership is impossible. (See: “President” Pussygrabber.)

The president sets the tone and provides the broad strokes of how the nation should proceed. It’s up to the rest of us who have voted for this tone and these broad strokes (except, of course, in cases where the loser of the popular vote actually becomes “president”), to help bring this vision to fruition.

If the president is wise, he or she will surround him- or herself with bright, eminently qualified advisers (entirely unlike “Pussygrabber’s” ever-changing Cabinet of grifters), and the nation’s business not only will get done, but the nation will improve and move forward, and the world will be better for it.

After the likes of George W. Bush and Pussygrabber (both who lost the popular vote and thus who never should have sat behind the big desk in the Oval Office), it’s easy to think that we never could have an enlightened president again, but yes, we can. It’s up to us.

One thing not to do is to fall into the we-can’t-do-that camp. As Elizabeth Warren quite correctly said of the center-right sellouts badgering her and her fellow progressive Bernie Sanders in last night’s Democratic presidential debate, “I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for.”

So you are running for president but have announced that you have put up the white flag before the fight has even begun — and I’m supposed to fucking trust you to fight for me? Um, yeah, fuck you.

Those who tell us that we can’t do anything at least are revealing themselves to us, which I suppose is nice. They’re telling us, loudly and clearly, that they only want the colossal ego trip of being president, but that they have no desire to truly fight for the people. (Hi, Barack! Hi, Hillary! Hi, Joe!)

My No. 1 choice for president remains Bernie Sanders. The fact that his progressive message doesn’t change, unlike that of the likes of Billary Clinton and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris (and yes, also Pete Buttigieg), who change their positions as they deem politically necessary, indicates to me that as president Bernie would fight to realize his vision, which is based upon rock, not upon shifting sands.

And that Bernie has been in D.C. since the early 1990s is a boon, I think. If you want the top job in D.C., it helps to actually know D.C. (Hi, Pussygrabber!)

My No. 2 choice for president remains Elizabeth Warren. I perpetually cringed at the idea of Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton being our first female president, but a President Warren would make us proud.

And my No. 3 choice is, yes, Marianne Williamson. She is a rare case of a D.C. outsider actually being good for D.C. (Hi again, Pussygrabber!)

Williamson starts with strong leadership qualities and with a sane — and yes, loving — vision. The rest can be built on top of that.

I’m not naive about Williamson’s chances of being even No. 2 on the 2020 Democratic Party presidential ticket, but her voice in the presidential debates and in the national discussion is an important one, and therefore I hope that her presidential campaign continues.

You can help that happen by giving her even a small donation here.

P.S. I am aware of things that Williamson has stated over the past many years that range from unscientific to fairly legitimately kooky-sounding. That said, it seems to me that she often speaks metaphorically, not always literally, and if she stated something many years ago, might she not have changed her mind on that since?

And while science is incredibly important, if Western scientific advancements were the be-all and end-all, then why are so many Westerners still so fucking miserable? Is something in the Western worldview and mindset not lacking?

Also, when Williamson is discussed, sexism, misogyny and patriarchy so often rear their ugly heads. We’re not allowed to talk about love, feelings, interconnectedness, relationships, etc. — especially if we are running for president! I mean, those are girly things!

I’d argue that feminism, the yin of things, not only is at least half of the picture — yet so often we are to ignore it altogether — but I’d argue that ultimately it is indeed, as they say, the better half.

*As comedian Ramy Youssef hilariously notes in his HBO stand-up special “Feelings,” some people have posited that we can’t have a female president because of what she might yet do when she is on her period, yet with Pussygrabber, “we elected a period.”

Well, Pussygrabber wasn’t elected, of course, but, indeed, he is a period, a never-ending period.

**If Pussygrabber hasn’t savaged Williamson via Twitter yet (I don’t know, since I don’t follow anyone on Twitter, and certainly wouldn’t follow him if I did), it would be only because he hasn’t gotten to it yet and/or because he doesn’t perceive her to pose any sort of threat to his “re”-“election.”

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Pussygrabber regime issues ‘biblical’ fatwa on the breaking up of families

Updated below (on Friday, June 15, 2018)

Because Jesus Christ was all about breaking up families.

It is ironic that the “Christians” among us are so fucking evil. It’s not what Jesus Christ would do; it’s what “President” Pussygrabber would do.

I can’t believe that we even have to discuss whether or not separating children from their parents is acceptable. Of course it’s not acceptable.

Yet Nazi elf Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III said today that the unelected Pussygrabber regime’s cruel policy of separating undocumented immigrant children from their undocumented immigrant parents is — wait for it — biblically sanctioned.

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” he said today. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”

Protecting the weak is the goal of the Pussygrabber regime’s constant attacks on undocumented immigrants — and even on U.S. citizens, such as the citizens of Puerto Rico who continue to be ignored because they aren’t white?

Pussygrabber regime spokesnake Sarah Huckabee Sanders backed the Nazi elf up; The Associated Press reports today that she “said [today] that she hadn’t seen Sessions’ comments but affirmed that the Bible did back up the administration’s actions.

“‘I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,’ she said. ‘It’s a moral policy to follow and enforce the law.'”

If a government’s laws are so fucking sacrosanct, then what about the ancient Roman Empire’s laws to persecute the early Christians? Were those laws OK? Or are we going to pick and choose among the laws that we use to justify our evil against others?

If you call yourself a Christian, there is only one law above all others that you should follow. This iteration of it comes from John 13:34-35: “‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’”

Another iteration of this supreme law — which, in a word, boils down to “love” — comes from Luke 6:31: “‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’”

If you call yourself a Christian, these aren’t helpful hints or suggestions. These are commands from Jesus Christ recorded in the New Testament.

You cannot call yourself a Christian if you refuse to obey the commands of Jesus Christ.

Trying to fall back on “orderliness” and “lawfulness” to justify knowingly causing pain and suffering to others that you would not want visited upon yourself is evil. It is anti-Christian. It is satanic.

Don’t get me wrong; I get it that U.S. citizens who are incarcerated for serious crimes are separated from their children, and that there is no general outcry against this practice, which widely is considered to be a part of the price that one pays for having been convicted of having committed a serious crime.

But undocumented immigrants’ “crime” is wanting a better life. For that “crime” alone, families should not be separated.

The Associated Press notes:

… Last month, [Sessions] announced a “zero tolerance” policy that any adult who enters the country illegally is criminally prosecuted. U.S. protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 650 children were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border during a two-week period in May. …

and

… In an unusually tense series of exchanges in the White House briefing room [today], [Sarah Huckabee] Sanders wrongly blamed Democrats for the policy separating children from parents and insisted the administration had made no changes in increasing the use.

[But] Until the policy was announced in April, such families were usually referred for civil deportation proceedings, not requiring separation.  [Emphasis mine.]

Again, only if an undocumented immigrant has been charged with having committed a serious crime — a felony — should he or she possibly be separated from his or her children. Simply being where you’re “not supposed” to be is not a serious crime.

Shame on us, the American people, if we continue to allow “our” government to continue to perpetrate pain and suffering on those who only want a better life for themselves and their families — and to claim ludicrously (and yes, satanically) that the Bible backs them up in their commission of their evil.

Update (Friday, June 15, 2018): I just wanted to add a few more points.

First, another quote — and commandment — of Jesus Christ: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That comes from Mark 12:31. Is Mexico and the rest of Latin America our neighbor? If so, shouldn’t we love those from Mexico and the rest of Latin America?

It’s quite rare that a right-wing “Christian” (such as Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III) quotes Jesus Christ himself. Instead, these “Christians” usually opt for the authoritarian, pro-institution-over-the-individual later books of the New Testament, the cold, detached, churchy ones that talk about so-called law and order, not about love from one human being to another.

Secondly, here is a wonderful editorial cartoon that was killed by editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers’ newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which apparently fired him because of his unflattering editorial cartoons about Der Pussygrabber:

More of his suppressed work is here, and I have to include this one, too:

OK, and this one:

I love a good editorial cartoon and I should include a lot more of them here…

Finally, today The Associated Press explains the scope of this family-separation bullshit:

Washington — Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the [southern] U.S. border over a six-week period during a crackdown on illegal entries, according to Department of Homeland Security figures obtained [today] by The Associated Press.

The figures show that 1,995 minors were separated from 1,940 adults from April 19 through May 31. The separations were not broken down by age, and included separations for illegal entry, immigration violations or possible criminal conduct by the adult.

Under a “zero tolerance” policy announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Department of Homeland Security officials are now referring all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution. U.S. protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.

Sessions announced the effort April 6, and Homeland Security began stepping up referrals in early May, effectively putting the policy into action.

Since then, stories of weeping children torn from the arms of their frightened parents have flooded the media and the policy has been widely criticized by church groups, politicians and children’s advocates who say it is inhumane. A battle in Congress is brewing in part over the issue.

Some immigrant advocates have said women were being separated from their infants — a charge Homeland Security and Justice officials flatly denied. They also said the children were being well cared for and disputed reports of disorder and mistreatment at the border. …

The International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid group, released a statement [today] saying, “A policy of willing cruelty to those people, and using young sons and daughters as pawns, shatters America’s strong foundation of humanitarian sensibility and family values.”

The new figures are for people who tried to enter the U.S. between official border crossings. Asylum seekers who go directly to official crossings are not separated from their families, except in specific circumstances — such as if officials can’t confirm the relationship between the minors and adults, if the safety of the children is in question, or if the adult is being prosecuted. …

Finally finally, today the pathologically lying “President” Pussygrabber repeated the fucking lie that the Democrats are the ones who put the separation policy into place. “I hate the children being taken away,” he huffed and puffed. “The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.”

“This is false,” counters The Washington Post, adding: “As part of its border crackdown, the Trump administration is separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents largely due to a ‘zero tolerance’ policy implemented by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. No law requires these separations. [Link is WaPo’s.] …”

That the unelected, fascistic, xenophobic, cruel Pussygrabber regime continues to lie blatantly that the Democrats are responsible for the separation of families at the southern border at least is an indirect acknowledgment that what the Pussygrabber regime is doing is evil.

But in the meantime, people are suffering because we, the American people, have not stopped “our” government from perpetrating evil — in this case, a form of ethnic cleansing — in our name.

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With Ireland, yet another pink domino topples; next up, the United States

. Dublin (Ireland), 23/05/2015.- People reacting to results coming in from constituencies around Ireland suggesting an overwhelming majority in favour of the referendum on same-sex marriage, in Dublin, Ireland, 23 May 2015. The first results were declared in Ireland's historic vote on same-sex marriage, with every indication that the Yes side has won, as opponents of the measure conceded defeat. Sligo-North Leitrim in the north-west was the first of 43 constituencies to declare with a 53.6-per-cent vote in favour, followed by Waterford in the south-east with 60.3 per cent voting Yes. (Irlanda) EFE/EPA/AIDAN CRAWLEY

EFE/EPA/Aidan Crawley photo

People in Dublin celebrate the passage of same-sex marriage in the widely-considered conservative nation of Ireland yesterday by more than 60 percent of the vote. Of course, this isn’t all about the Catholick church; it’s about human rights and freedom.

The news story headline from today “Church reels after Ireland’s huge ‘Yes’ to gay marriage” made me giddily happy, but the news story misses so much. It begins:

Dublin (AFP) — The once-dominant Catholic Church in Ireland was trying to come to terms [today] with an overwhelming vote in favour of gay marriage, saying it needed a “new language” with which to speak to people.

As jubilant “Yes” supporters nursed their hangovers after partying late into the night following [yesterday’s] referendum result, the faithful attended mass to hear their priests reflect on the new social landscape in Ireland.

“The Church has to find a new language which will be understood and heard by people,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, one of the Church’s most senior figures, told reporters after mass at the city’s St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral.

“We have to see how is it that the Church’s teaching on marriage and family is not being received even within its own flock.”

He added: “There’s a growing gap between Irish young people and the Church and there’s a growing gap between the culture of Ireland that’s developing and the Church.”

The majority of Irish people still identify themselves as Catholic but the Church’s influence has waned in recent years amid growing secularisation [gotta love the British spelling] and after a wave of clerical child sex abuse scandals.

During the campaign, bishops spoke against changing the law, while older and rural voters were thought to have accounted for much of the “No” vote.

Final results showed 62 percent in favour and 38 percent against introducing gay marriage in a country where being homosexual was a crime until 1993. …

Many things strike me. Where to begin?

As much as I’d love to celebrate the death of the Catholick church, it’s not dead yet. For decades Europeans, Americans, Latin Americans and others throughout the world have been calling themselves Catholicks but have doing what they want to do anyway. They disagree with the church on many issues, such as birth control, abortion and same-sex relationships, but go about living their lives as they wish to live them anyway, but still giving at least lip service to having some fealty to the Catholick church. They have been living compartmentalized lives, and this doesn’t seem to bother them much, if they even think about it much at all.

This phenomenon of compartmentalization (in order to avoid cognitive dissonance, apparently) is quite old, and while of course Ireland being the first nation in the world to establish same-sex marriage at the ballot box (rather via a legislature or court of law) is a milestone in equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals — probably especially because Ireland is considered to be a conservative nation — the Catholick church will continue to sputter on until its eventual demise.

Remember that 10 years ago in the heavily Catholick nation of  Spain, the parliament passed same-sex marriage, which was favored by more than 60 percent of the nation’s people10 years ago. (“The ratification of [same-sex marriage in Spain] was not devoid of conflict, despite support from 66 percent of the population,” notes Wikipedia, adding, “Roman Catholic authorities in particular were adamantly opposed, criticizing what they regarded as the weakening of the meaning of marriage.“)

Spain was the third nation to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands and Belgium, and was quickly followed by Canada, which became the fourth nation to adopt same-sex marriage.

Since Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and parts of the very heavily Catholic Mexico — Mexico City and the Mexican states of  of Quintana Roo and Coahuila — have followed with same-sex marriage. (And it’s important to note that any same-sex marriage that legally was performed anywhere in Mexico must be recognized throughout the nation’s 31 states.)

And following Mexico with same-sex marriage have been Denmark, Brazil, France, Uruguay, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Finland, England, Scotland and Wales, and now, Ireland.

A lot of Catholicks in the Western world live in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is legal. Wikipedia, for instance, puts the populations of Ireland, Mexico and Portugal all at more than 80 percent Catholick, Argentina at more than 75 percent, Spain and Luxembourg at around 70 percent, Brazil and France at more than 60 percent, Belgium approaching 60 percent, and Slovenia and Uruguay around 50 percent.

So Ireland’s having joined the same-sex marriage fold yesterday can’t have been a huge shock; it’s not like it was unprecedented.

But I’ll take this latest win for love and for freedom, the freedom to live one’s life the way he or she wishes to, as long as he or she does not harm others — and no, violating some tyrannical, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging theofascist’s backasswards beliefs on how we, the rest of us, may and may not live our lives (whether we even believe in a “God” or not) is not harming anyone else. Quite to the contrary, it’s the theofascists who always have been causing the harm (in the names of “God” and “Jesus” and “love”), to which the masses have been waking up and realizing, and thus the march of same-sex marriage rights continues throughout the globe. (A lot of work remains to be done, especially in the African, Middle Eastern, Asian and Muslim nations, as well as in Russia.)

Speaking of which, I find it interesting that it’s reported that the final tally from the vote in Ireland yesterday is expected to exceed 60 percent, since earlier this month the polling organization Gallup reported that a record number of Americans polled — 60 percent — now support same-sex marriage. That’s fairly fast growth, considering that Americans didn’t reach the 50-percent mark in Gallup’s polling on same-sex marriage until 2011.

True, not even a full quarter of Americans call themselves Catholick (thank God), and of course we can’t blame only the Catholicks for their opposition to same-sex marriage in the United States, since there are plenty of other hateful, ignorant, right-wing “Christian” churches in the United States, such as the Southern Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Methodists, and, of course, the Pentacostalists, who probably are the scariest of the theofascist “Christians” (whom I commonly call “Christofascists,” after “Islamofascists,” as though the fundamentalist Muslims had a monopoly on “God”-based fascism).

And, of course, the Catholicks aren’t monolithic; many if not even most of them personally are OK with same-sex marriage, despite the church’s official stance on the matter. Still, though, I can’t understand how anyone can support such an evil, harmful institution, even peripherally, such as by even still calling oneself a “Catholic,” knowing the damage that the Catholick Church has been wreaking upon humanity for centuries. (Ditto for the Protestant churches, too; even the more liberal Protestant churches still push a belief in “God,” which to me is only a Santa Claus on crack. [He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!] The opiate of the masses, indeed.)

Of course, of what the Catholick Church and other “Christian” churches are most terrified is continuing to lose their grip on the masses’ minds, genitalia and wallets and pocketbooks. Virtually all organized religions, small or huge, are all about those in the upper echelons of the hierarchy, be they the petty pastors of puny Pentecostal churches or Il Papa himself.

These theofascist tyrants never have cared about anyone’s true freedom — only about their own power and wealth, the sustenance of which requires that others be enthralled to them through ignorance and fear, via “God,” “Jesus,” “heaven,” “hell,” “sin,” “eternal damnation,” etc.

The gaining of equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals is only one front in the continuing throwing off of the theofascists’ centuries-long tyranny. Science, technology (including, of course, the communications revolution that the Internet has been), logic, reason, true democracy (which necessitates secularism) — in a word, modernity — is what poses the largest threat to the continued existence of the infantilezed organized religions that refuse to let go of their desire to infantilize and enthrall all of us.

Next up, I expect the U.S. Supreme Court to rule next month that no state in the U.S. may prohibit same-sex marriage, as such a prohibition violates the equal human and civil rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The about-40 percent of Americans who still oppose same-sex marriage will, of course, quite predictably whine that a pro-same-sex marriage ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court is an anti-democratic fiat by “activists” judges (of course, if the U.S. Supreme Court actually were to rule against same-sex marriage [which I find unlikely], to the wingnuts this would be wholly democratic and the judges would not be “activist” at all, but simply would have done their job to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, you see).

Of course, in the United States we never have had any national referenda, such as Ireland just did on the topic of same-sex marriage. In the U.S. there is no mechanism in place for the entire nation to vote on any matter other than who will be U.S. president and U.S. vice president, and given that the members of the U.S. Supreme Court are appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, we Americans, who elect the president and our U.S. senators, of course have some voice in the make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, so to call the court’s rulings (the ones that we disagree with, mostly) entirely anti-democratic is, of course, largely if not mostly bullshit.

And I’m quite confident that were same-sex marriage put to a national referendum in the U.S., it would pass.

Gallup polling this month found 60 percent support for same-sex marriage in the U.S., but a CBS News/New York Times poll taken just before the Gallup poll found 57 percent support, and an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken right before that one found 58 percent support. A Quinnipiac University poll taken right before that one also found 58 percent support, and an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken at the same time as the Quinnipiac University poll found 61 percent support.

So Gallup’s finding of 60 percent seems to be no more than within a percentage point of two of the actual level of support for same-sex marriage within the United States. (The average of the five nationwide polls cited above, which were taken this month and last month, is 58.8 percent.)

Again, were same-sex marriage put to a national referendum in the United States of America, it would pass. It’s safe for the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging haters to argue otherwise, since we never have national referenda here in the U.S., but the timid, behind-the-curve, right-of-center U.S. Supreme Court (which did, after all, decide the 2000 presidential election even though Al Gore had won more than a half-million more votes than did George W. Bush and decide that bazillionaires may have unlimited spending in elections) would not rule in favor of same-sex marriage if it weren’t confident that a solid majority of Americans are on board with it.

Because a solid majority of Americans are on board with same-sex marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court, perhaps further emboldened by the latest example of Ireland, most likely will rule in favor of same-sex marriage throughout the land.

And the land will not erupt in chaos and violent upheaval, as the theofascist terrorists warn us will happen (it’s just yet another terrorist threat meant to get them their way over the majority, even though they are in the solid minority), because where same-sex marriage is concerned, the U.S. democracy, such as it is, and as slow as it always has been to bring about equal human and civil rights for all, at least in the area of the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, is working.

Not quickly enough, but it is working, and next month we truly freedom-loving and love-loving Americans most likely will be celebrating in the streets like they have been celebrating in the streets of Ireland this weekend.

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Film review: ‘Interstellar’ is stellar

Interstellar, Big Hero 6 score more than $50M in opening weekend

Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway star in Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar,” which has hints of many other sci-fi films but has a rather unique message of its own. (No, it is not a rehash of “2001”… And it is better than “Gravity.”)

First, the criticisms that widely are being thrown at Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”: Real people don’t talk that way. The science often isn’t solid, to put it mildly. The plot twists are predictable.

I, for one, frequently pleasantly was surprised by the twists and turns and surprises that “Interstellar” presents us with, including even my not having known that a major star plays an important role in the film, which is filled with stars, both of the astronomical and the Hollywood type, and while I suppose that if you are an astronomer (and not many of us are), you will only be able to dissect the film against your knowledge base, in my eyes “Interstellar” delivers on the sense of awe of the vastness of the cosmos that we commoners see films like “Interstellar” for in the first place.

Sure, Matthew McConaughey has been overused a bit in the movies as of late, but he is a solid lead for “Interstellar,” and one could argue — and I do — that Anne Hathaway’s character actually is, in the end, the most important character in the film.

Tellingly, I think, the scene that I found the most poignant in “Interstellar” apparently is the scene, or at least one of the scenes, that Slate.com’s resident astronomy writer, who reviewed the film, hated the most. He writes:

In a conversation between [Matthew McConaughey’s character] and Anne Hathaway’s character about love, she says that love is an artifact of a higher dimension (what does that even mean?) and “transcends the limits of time and space,” as if it’s a physical force — an allusion to gravity, which, critically to the plot, does transcend dimensions, time, and space. The dialogue here was stilted to say the least, and it gets worse when [another] character talks about a parent’s love for his children, saying, “Our evolution has yet to transcend that simple barrier.” Who talks like that? The movie is riddled with attempts to be profound, but due in part to the clunky dialogue it just sounds silly.

Sure, there is some “clunky dialogue” in “Interstellar,” but it’s meant to be a grand, sweeping sci-fi epic, not a modern comedy whose dialogue never would stray from the vernacular. And the character who makes such a comment as “Our evolution has yet to transcend that simple barrier” obviously has some screws loose, so it’s not surprising, really, to hear him repeatedly speak that way.

Probably the biggest takeaway for me from “Interstellar” is the Mars vs. Venus worldview — and which of the two worldviews, at least in “Interstellar,” turns out to be the most critical to the continued survival of the human species. (I won’t elaborate on any of “Interstellar’s” plot points here, as no reviewer really could do such a summary justice, and as, in the end, “Interstellar” very much is about the effect of the whole, not the details of its parts.)

It’s interesting, I think, that just as McConaughey’s character rebuffs Hathaway’s soliloquy about love transcending the limits of space and time (a rebuff that, in the film’s plot, has some serious consequences and repercussions), so does Slate.com’s astronomy writer. Theirs is a worldview, the Martian worldview, that apparently is dyed in the wool.

It’s an important worldview (and don’t get me wrong; I read the aforementioned astronomy writer’s stuff all the time, and I like it, so I will continue to read it), but it’s only half of the story (at most).

Mars is nothing without Venus, and that, I think, is the central message of “Interstellar” that apparently only we Venusians, like only Anne Hathaway’s character (and the character of the daughter of Matthew McConaughey’s character) in “Insterstellar,” can see.

Even if my Mars-vs.-Venus analysis doesn’t do it for you, “Interstellar” is worth seeing for (again) the sense of awe that a good sci-fi film can instill in us earthbound folk, and I, for one, found its intricate, puzzle-like plot to be fascinating. I like the way that Nolan and his screenwriting brother fairly neatly tie up the loose ends, and I’m fine with “Interstellar” not having explained every little detail and phenomenon, because that not knowing — which is anathema to the Martian worldview — is the stuff on which we Venusians thrive.

My grade: A

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Bowe Bergdahl persecuted for his political beliefs in the ‘land of the free’

Taliban video shows Bergdahl release

U.S. Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl is shown in a still of a video of his handover from the Taliban to the U.S. military in eastern Afghanistan on May 31. Bergdahl, who now is 28 years old and was 23 years old at the time of his capture by the Taliban, has gone from being persecuted by the Taliban to being persecuted by the American Taliban, that is, the members of the American right wing who are strikingly similar to the members of the Taliban except that they call themselves “Christians.”

I find it astonishing (I shouldn’t, I suppose, but I still do) that in the reading that I’ve done thus far over the recovery of U.S. Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl, one obvious, overarching fact is not uttered: that his recovery from his five years of captivity by the Taliban in Afghanistan is “controversial” and largely nationally uncelebrated because Bergahl apparently has not been the “right” kind of American soldier — the wingnutty kind.

Since his capture by the Taliban in 2009 — which I wrote about at the time — to the present, bits and pieces of Bergdahl’s pre-captive life have slipped out into the public sphere, and overall the portrait of Bergdahl does not exactly look like that of Rambo: Bergdahl’s parents look like hippies. Bergdahl was home-schooled by his hippie-looking mother. Bergdahl never drove a car, but rode a bicycle everywhere. Bergdahl apparently spent time in a Buddhist monastery. Most damning of all, he apparently took ballet classes.

Perhaps even more damning than the ballet classes, Bergdahl reportedly stated in his final e-mail to his parents before he was captured by the Taliban:

… I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of U.S. soldier is just the lie of fools… I am sorry for everything here [in Afghanistan]. These people [the Afghans] need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live. We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks… We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them… I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting…

Well, yeah, it is disgusting. Fuck the hypocritical wingnuts, who condemn others’ evil while they freely and frequently commit equal or even worse evils of their own, under the lie that by definition, an American (and by the wingnuts’ definition, a real American is only a right-wing, “Christo”fascist American) can do no wrong, and who assert that the United States is morally perfect and is God’s Chosen Nation and therefore can do no wrong. The U.S. in fact can do wrong and does it every fucking day.

See, Bowe Bergdahl just wasn’t the right kind of American soldier. He displayed empathy for the plight of the Afghans when instead he should have been much more like his colleagues who premeditatedly brutally slaughtered Afghan civilians or the Marine who urinated on the bodies of Taliban fighters (just like Jesus Christ Himself would have done) — to give just two of many possible examples of how God’s Chosen Soldiers have behaved in Afghanistan. Even the U.S. Army soldier who raped and killed a 14-year-old Iraqi girl probably is held in higher esteem by the American right wing than is Bowe Bergdahl.

My guess, based upon what I know of Bergdahl — such as that the county where Bergdahl was raised “has gained a reputation as a Democratic Party enclave” in the deep-red state of Idaho — is that of course Bergdahl didn’t belong in the U.S. military, where sensitive, empathetic, thoughtful, intelligent individuals (you know, those who actually follow the teachings of Jesus Christ instead of just claiming to be God’s Chosen) of course are not welcome.

This is because the U.S. military — which is funded by all of us Americans who have to pay our taxes (myself included, of course), regardless of our own political and religious orientations — is a bastion of right-wing “Christo”fascists.

The “Christo”fascists have taken over our military, and we, the majority of the American people who in the past two presidential elections have soundly rejected the Repugnican Tea Party agenda (which includes jingoism, militarism and the total disregard for the humanity of the peoples of other nations), need to take back our military from the minority right wing.

So vicious — and yes, dangerous — is the American right wing (again, fucking fascists is what they are) that apparently Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey (the seat and the largest city of the aforementioned Blaine County) canceled a scheduled homecoming for Bergdahl later this month for safety reasons, with the primary concern apparently being not potential trouble coming from locals, but from those (i.e., wingnuts) coming from elsewhere to cause trouble, and, of course, Bergdahl’s hippie-looking father has received death threats.

This is what we can expect from the American wingnuts who claim to be followers of the peace-loving and hatred-and-violence-eschewing Jesus Christ. They are fascists (I cannot emphasize that point enough), and it’s just as important to fight the fascists here at home as it has been to fight the fascists abroad.

I do not assert that Bowe Bergdahl is perfect. Whether or not he deserted his unit in Afghanistan neither you nor I know for sure, because neither you nor I was there, and if he is formally accused of desertion, then he is entitled to the due process to which you and I also are entitled. He deserves not to be branded as a deserter without first having had the chance to defend himself in a formal and fair process.

If Bergdahl did desert his unit in Afghanistan, does that change my view of him?

No.

Bergdahl’s biggest “crime,” you see, is that he apparently actually followed the teachings of Jesus Christ — you know, such as to love one another as you love yourself, to love your “enemies,” to practice peace and love instead of war, etc.

To the “Christians” who fill the U.S. military, Bergdahl is a criminal for having refused to be blindly obedient to the anti-Christian, immoral “mission” in Afghanistan of subduing yet another nation of people who have committed the crime of not being just like us Americans.

The only thing that I am aware of for which I perhaps can fault Bergdahl is that he apparently knowingly joined an organization with which he very apparently was incompatible in his temperament, values, worldview and the like.*

But then again, the continued existence of such an evil, anti-Christian, pro-killing-for-plutocracy organization as the U.S. military is our collective fault, not his.

*As I noted in 2009, it’s quite possible that Bergdahl joined the U.S. military (in 2008, apparently) because he didn’t know what else to do with himself and his life.

It’s not like the United States of America has much to offer its young adults, whom for the most part the powers that be (most of them baby boomers or dinosaurs like textbook warhawk John McCainosaurus) don’t care about, except when they can be useful to the powers that be, such as wage slaves in dead-end minimum-wage jobs, the victims of student-loan sharks, and cannon fodder in bogus wars for the plutocrats’ profits (which both the Vietraq War and the way overlong war in Afghanistan have been).

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We need to talk about Elliot

Twenty-two-year-old Elliot Rodger, who apparently slaughtered six college students and injured 13 other people near Santa Barbara before he shot himself dead in the head a few days ago, eerily reminds me of the titular character of the 2011 film “We Need to Talk About Kevin.” Not only is there at least a passing physical resemblance — here is an image of Rodger sporting a Wolverine-like ’do from Facebook:

UCSB-shooting-elliot-rodgers-11

and here is an image of the 21-year-old actor Ezra Miller as the character of Kevin:

— but the fictional Kevin’s and the real-life Elliot’s biographies seem at least somewhat similar, both with parents concerned about their son’s mental health and then the inevitable (?) massacre of the young man’s peers. (The fictional Kevin uses arrows; Elliot Rodgers apparently used a knife to kill three young men at his apartment and then bullets to kill two young women and another young man near the University of California at Santa Barbara campus.)

Rodger’s selfie-video complaint seems pathetic, probably, to most (so-called) adults. It is stilted and awkward — written and rehearsed, probably, and reportedly Rodger was somewhere on the autistic spectrum, which, if true, might explain that in part or in whole — and Rodgers’ central complaint does indeed seem to boil down to his claim that he was a 22-year-old virgin. His video begins:

Hi. Elliot Rodger here.

Well, this is my last video, it has all had to come to this. Tomorrow is the day of retribution, the day in which I will have my revenge against humanity, against all of you. For the last eight years of my life, ever since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires all because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection, and sex and love to other men but never to me.

I’m 22 years old and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl. I’ve been through college for two and a half years, more than that actually, and I’m still a virgin. It has been very torturous. College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure. Within those years, I’ve had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair.

You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime, because … I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy and yet you throw yourselves at these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman. …

Supreme gentlemen probably don’t commit massacres, but we’re not exactly ladies and gentlemen, either.

If history is any guide — and history always is a reliable guide — we Americans won’t learn from this latest massacre, but we will put all of the blame on Rodger and go on with business as usual.

Rodger has been called all kinds of things, including “psycho virgin,” and, of course, “fag.”

And maybe he was gay. It’s certainly possible. It’s not awful to suggest that, unless by doing so you are implying (or even flat-out stating) other things, such as that the villain always, or at least almost always, is an evil gay person. (Which certainly isn’t true, of course; the clear majority of those who have gone on murderous rampages in the United States have been heterosexual males.)

Rodger was not physically unattractive, so, it seems to me, if none of his female cohorts had interest in him, possible reasons for that might have included that he was socially awkward (which, judging by his infamous YouTube video, anyway, he apparently was) and/or that they sensed that he was gay, if he was. (I wouldn’t blame a heterosexual woman for rejecting, as a sexual partner, a male who struck her as probably gay.)

Whatever Rodger’s sexual orientation was, it seems insane to most of us adults/adults” that a 22-year-old would find his persistent virginity to be cause to go on a murderous rampage, but one, I’m sure that there was a lot more than just Rodger’s virginity that was a problem for him, and two, we adults/adults” forget (or perhaps we’ve never known) how much high levels of the reproductive hormone in the bloodstream of the young person, coupled with youth and inexperience, affect his or her moods, thoughts and behaviors.

And we adults/adults” forget how strong can be a young person’s desire to couple — and how strong the social/peer pressure for a young person to couple can be — and how a breakup can make a still-quite-young person feel that his or her life is over.

Added to this mix is an overpopulated society in which for the most part, under the god of capitalism, it’s every individual out for him- or herself, in which human relationships are much more like business transactions than they are anything like actual human relationships, and under the god of war, weapons* are seen as the solution (perhaps the ultimate solution), to our conflicts and our problems. Might makes right — right?

The only way to prevent another Elliot Rodger from doing what Elliot Rodger did is to try on another Elliot Rodger’s shoes, and try to understand, instead of to judge. (And to try to understand is not necessarily to agree with or to condone.)

Indeed, the common reaction to Rodger in the aftermath of Rodger’s massacre only demonstrates the mean-spirited environment in which he was immersed that very apparently pushed him over the edge. Rodger killed because he felt no love. He felt no love because in the United States of America, for the most part, there is no love anywhere to be had.

Perhaps especially if you are somewhere on the autistic spectrum and/or have some type of mental illness to some degree, and/or if you are not heterosexual or if, regardless of your sexual orientation you come off to heterosexuals as perhaps not being heterosexual — if you are different or even just perceived as different — you most likely will not feel the warmth of the love that the majority of Americans steadfastly claim is there, despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary.

*The father of one of Rodger’s victims, 20-year-old Christopher Michael-Martinez, whom Rodger apparently shot to death, according to Reuterssaid his son died because Congress had failed to act after a mentally ill gunman killed 26 people in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.”

Reuters quotes Michael-Martinez’s father, Richard Martinez, as having stated on CNN, “We’re all proud to be Americans. But what kind of message does it send to the world when we have such a rudderless bunch of idiots in government?”

Reuters notes that “[Federal legislation] after Sandy Hook to extend background checks for gun sales, ban assault weapons and limit magazines’ capacities failed to clear the [U.S.] Senate in April 2013. Gun-rights advocates strongly opposed the measures.”

Reuters further quotes Richard Martinez as having said, “These people are getting rich sitting in Congress. And what do they do? They don’t take care of our kids.”

That’s absolutely true — that we need stricter gun control and that the U.S. Congress has not been representative of us, the majority of the American people, for a long, long time now — but these things are only pieces of the larger puzzle.

Our larger, overarching national problems are our lovelessness, our selfishness, and our moral, ethical and intellectual laziness that allow such things as grotesque socioeconomic inequality, an unrepresentative federal government (including, of course, not just the worthless U.S. Congress but also the do-nothing, hopey-changey Barack Obama), and our national fetishization of weapons and of the military (I will note on this Memorial Day) to flourish at our own mass peril.

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Yes, Virginia, loving is a civil right

I am happy to have read, on Valentine’s Day, that a federal judge, in declaring the state of Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional (because all states’ bans on same-sex marriage violate the U.S. Constitution), evoked the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, in which the nation’s highest court ruled that it is unconstitutional for any state to prohibit mixed-race (heterosexual, of course!) marriage.

Many if not most are hesitant to compare same-sex marriage to mixed-race marriage, since this makes the non-white homophobes go apeshit. (You don’t choose your race, but you choose to be non-heterosexual, they [for the most part incorrectly*] assert, and they believe, of course, that being non-hetrosexual is bad. [You aren’t born with your religious beliefs, but people’s religious beliefs are protected against discrimination, so that whole “choice” “argument” is actually pretty fucking moot where equal human and civil rights are concerned.])

Mildred Loving, the black woman whose marriage to a white man was the subject of Loving v. Virginia, wrote this in 2007 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the court case bearing her name:

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, D.C., in 1958, it wasn’t to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married. 

We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the “crime” of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed.

The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

 We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men,” a “basic civil right.”

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving [v. Virginia], and loving, are all about.

Kinda knocks the wind out of the sails of the black homophobes, doesn’t it, that the black woman who was involved in Loving v. Virginia herself proclaimed — seven years ago! — such things as that “Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights” and that “black or white, young or old, gay or straight,” she “support[s] the freedom to marry for all”?

I am struck by how “God” routinely was used as a defense of the prohibition of mixed-raced marriages, with the judge in Virginia having proclaimed that “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

Similar “arguments” by the “Christo”fascist homophobes abound today.

I also am struck by how Mildred and Richard Loving faced what same-sex couples in the United States face today: having your marriage performed and recognized in one state but flatly and wholly rejected in another state.

This kind of bullshit cannot stand. A house divided will fall.

But I have no doubt that one day soon, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule, as it did in Loving v. Virginia the year before I was born (it was not nearly long ago enough!), that “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men [and women],” a “basic civil right.”**

*My observation is that some non-heterosexuals clearly are born non-heterosexual, that they had no choice in it whatsoever, but that it might more or less be a choice for some other non-heterosexuals.

However, the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, guarantee all of us Americans such things as the right and the freedom to associate with whomever we wish, the right to privacy, and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Therefore, it doesn’t fucking matter whether an individual’s non-majority sexual orientation is his or her (or “their”?) choice or not; he or she (or “they”?) still is entitled to the same civil rights as is everyone else.

(I can’t say that I’m on board with “they,” “them” and “their” — plural pronouns — being used as gender-neutral pronouns. The plural pronouns exist to indicate number, not gender status. I’m fine with gender-neutral pronouns being used, but I don’t think that we’ve found the best ones yet, and therefore we might have to invent them…)

**Slate.com has a pretty good piece today titled: “It’s Over: Gay Marriage Can’t Win in the Courts.” The piece notes:

… Insofar as there was confusion about what [United States v.] Windsor [2013] meant at the time it was decided, the lower courts across the country have now effectively settled it. A survey of publicly available opinions shows that in the eight months since Windsor, 18 court decisions have addressed an issue of equality based on sexual orientation. And in those 18 cases, equality has won every single time. In other words, not a single court has agreed with Chief Justice [John] Roberts that Windsor is merely about state versus federal power. Instead, each has used Windsor exactly as Justice [Antonin] Scalia “warned”—as a powerful precedent for equality. …

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