Thursday, June 15, 2017

FGM (Take the Knife Away)

Inspiration for songs can come from many places; it's nice when inspiration comes from a loving or some other uplifting source but often it comes from a place of sadness or outrage.  A story in the news last week reminded me of a song I wrote a few years back that is as relevant as ever.

The song is FGM (Take the Knife Away) and was on our "Out of Many, One" CD.  You can hear this song here streaming on YouTube: .   It is also on my band's (UniversalDice) web site and on Spotify and many other sites.

The story that arose last week was the first potential prosecution in the U.S. for the practice of Female Genital Mutilation.  Rather than go into details, you can read the story at  .

This case involves a Muslim community but this practice is far from universal among Muslims. In fact it is also prevalent in Ethiopia which has a large Christian population and even existed among Christians in pre-revolution America but the most common thread is religiously or ideologically inspired repression of women.  Since the surgery is typically performed on minors unable to give informed consent, it is a form of abuse, indoctrination and assault.  Instead of being a form of religious freedom, forcing this surgery on a minor is the opposite of freedom for that minor.  I would argue that performing unnecessary surgery of any type, especially one where the intent is to limit or destroy the ability to enjoy sexual relations as an adult, is perverse and should be illegal around the world.  Instead, in some communities, it is the expectation.

I would hope that most who read this would never condone such an act but I think there is an additional thing to consider; the idea that it is a form of religious freedom for adults, even parents, to force a religious practice on minors or to indoctrinate them into a religion.  That is not religious freedom; instead, children should be exposed to the evidence and their ability to reason should be nurtured so that when they become adults, they can make good choices.  That is the lesson we can all take from this.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ideology again

I have written a number of times on Facebook and on my blog about the dangers of ideology (and religion, a type of ideology).  Included in the dangerous forms of ideology that I cited were - ALL ideologies, left, right, middle, up and down, religious and secular.

Today an ideologue shot up a number of Republican congresspersons and staff practicing for a charity baseball game and police.  He was an ardent supporter of Bernie Sanders and progressive left wing politics.  His problem was that he was an ideologue to the point where ideological purity became more important to him that the actual results.  It was more important to this shooter that he remain ideologically pure than do the right thing.  Here is a clue: he complained incessantly about the so-called President - yet did not vote for the only candidate in the election who could have beat him: he refused to vote for Clinton.

According to the website Heavy, "In August 2016, after Sanders had lost the Democratic nomination, he posted on Facebook, “I want Bernie to Win the White House,” along with a petition calling for Sanders to join the Green Party.  He was anti-Hillary Clinton, according to his Facebook posts.  “Bernie is a Progressive, while Hillary is Republican Lite,” he wrote... In another post he wrote, “#ScreamAsOne #NeverVotingHill,” and “You’ve been warned DNC. I will NEVER vote Hillary. A nomination for Hillary equals a win for Trump. #NOTWithHer.”

Now I have no issue with those who think that Mr. Sanders was the better candidate or that he had a better chance to beat the so-called President.  This may be true.  But it is pure ideological insanity to NOT vote for Clinton then go on a murderous tirade against the victorious Republicans.  If he and other ideologues had voted for the only other viable alternative, we would not be in this situation.  Thanks for nothing. 

If anything, this shooter's actions, besides being despicable, will only serve to strengthen the hand of the very people he opposed.  But I'm sure he is now in his ideological heaven and would not care.  I hope he rots.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Comey & Trump

The so-called President and his surrogates are trying to make a big deal that Comey has confirmed in his just released statement (6/7/17) to Congress that he indeed told  the so-called President 3 times in private that he was not under investigation.  Of course, this is irrelevant info that the Administration knows the base will think is important.  They, of course, WILL think it's important because the so-called President believes, according to his own stated opinion, they have no ethics or moral grounding.  More on that later.

Here is what Comey said to Congress back on March 20, 2017:  "I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the TRUMP CAMPAIGN and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed."

As you can see, Comey said the investigation was directed at the Trump Campaign.  Duh.  Why did he not announce publicly that Trump was or was not the target?  Comey wrote in his statement today that he "did not tell the President that the FBI and the Department of Justice had been reluctant to make public statements that we did not have an open case on President Trump for a number of reasons, most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change."

In other words, if something were to change, Comey did not want to have to announce that the so-called President was now under investigation.

So the point of the so-called President not being the announced target is not all that important.  His CAMPAIGN has been the target and has always been the target and no one has said otherwise.  To make a big deal out of this is to make a big deal out of nothing.

The so-called President's attorney has said "The President feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda.”  Here's how we will know this is a lie; when the so-called President and his surrogate do not behave as if they were totally vindicated when Comey testifies.

Finally, the so-called President's supporters will be unfazed by all of this.  They will claim he is vindicated, the victim of a witch hunt and that this is all fake news.  It does not matter what they say because, as the so-called President has pointed out, they have no ethics or moral grounding: "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, ok? It’s, like, incredible.” 

Why would he think this would be the case?  Why would he think that he could commit murder (if it were self-defense this would hardly be an "incredible" assertion) and his supporters would not care?  Stupidity might work but more likely it is because the so-called President believes his supporters have no ethics or morals; what they have is blind faith.  And that's just fine for an egomaniac and narcissist.  Those are HIS words.