MARCH 2012, $5.95
Margaret Cho Doing It Her Way WALL STREET President Obama
What Have You Done For Me Lately?
Publisher: Novanlord, Inc. d/b/a Moot Magazine | Editor-in-Chief: D.E. Lord Contributing (Poorly Paid Yet Amazing) Writers: Garrett Houchin, Leena Ouijalla, Nives Covnik, Thomas Thyros, Lane Buckman, Scott Patrick Humphrey, Donovan Lord, D G Mattichak Jr. Art Direction/Design: 8square | Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions: email@example.com | Digital PDF/Tablet Version: $12.95/year (includes online subscription) Single Issue Digital Price: $5.95 | Single Issue Printed Price: $9.95 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cover Photo: AUSTIN YOUNG - Thanks Austin! ISSN 2162-6219 (PRINT) | ISSN 2162-6235 (Online)
MOOT (ISSN 2162-6219) is published monthly, by Novanlord, Inc. 5500 Preston Road, Suite 390, Dallas, TX 75205. ÂŠ2012 Novanlord, Inc. All subscription orders and customer service inquiries should be directed to subscriptions@ mootmagazine.com. Digital subscription rates: $12.95 per year.
contents Volume 1. Issue 2.
7 President Obama: What Have You Done For Me Lately? by Scott Patrick Humphrey
President Obama made a lot of promises during his campaign for the Presidency. Writer, Scott Patrick Humphrey gives him a good talking to.
14 Margaret Choby Donovan Lord
This is one comedienne who is much deeper than the local Yuk Yuk Shack. Sheâ€™s insightful, intelligent, spiritual, and has lives life on her own terms. Read the insightful interview.
18 Conspiring To Find A Policy by D.G. Mattichak, Jr.
A growing discontent with the corruptions of government and the unrestrained corporate greed that has led to the destruction of our common prosperity has given rise to a growing culture that yearns to stand against our illuminati overlords; to expose their secret cabals and to overthrow their plans for world domination.
36 Safeguard Your Hot Sauce
by Leena Ouijalla Most of us buy our hot sauce in the jar at the store. Why not make your own organic hot sauce? See why you may not always be getting what you thought from the store and why making your own is an easy process.
40 Social Responsibility Act w Nives P. Covnik
Socially responsible corporate practices are still not part of business culture. Out of some 80,000 multinational corporations around the world, only a small percentage embraced corporate sustainability, the UN says.
44 Are You Stupid? By Thomas Thyros
Voting against their own self-interest seems to be a hallmark of Republican voters today. Are they simply stupid?
48 Evangeliculled By Lane Buckman
46 The President Who Doesnâ€™t Pray by G.K. Houchin
What would having an Atheist President look like? Would it be any different than having a Christian or religious President? G.K. Houchin examines.
CONTRIBUTORS Lane Buckman Lane Buckman is a writer from the biggest rhinestone on the shiny buckle of the Bible belt, Texas. As a recovering Republican Evangelical, she enjoys starting blasphemous rumors and working lyrics from 80s music into text at every opportunity.
Nives P. Covnik is a syndicated writer and her work has appeared in numerous online venues. Formerly a delegate to the United Nations, she now dedicates her writing to international relations, foreign policy, economics, international trade, environment, human rights and womenâ€™s rights.
Garrett Houchin is a citizen of the great red state of Indiana, He confidently confronts the cavalcade of conservative chatter characterizing a cringe worthy and chaotic Kafkaesque Christian credo. Aside from Moot he works as a freelance writer and writes fiction.
Scott Patrick Humphrey is an up and coming journalist with an edgy, sophisticated voice bent on tearing down the contrived mainstream media narratives that have been carefully concocted by the elite power brokers. He is an activist and atavistic advocate for social justice, political truth, and environmental sustainability.
D G Mattichak Jr is an American expat living at the antipodes in Melbourne Australia. After a long career as an al a carte chef he now writes freelance and is the author of two books. He has written extensively on contemporary occultism and also likes to write pop fiction.
Leena Ouijalla, A California-born Scandinavian living in the middle of the Oregon woods, Leena is not your typical hippie considering how much she loves leather shorts and Beyonce. It was actually on leave from fashion school in London that she realized the kind of life she really wanted: sifting llama dung, transplanting baby tomato plants, and skinning a deer for more leather garments(!) on a sustainable farm. With the help of modern technology, she is nudging in her view and experiences of life from the ground up. Thomas Thyros is a full time freelance writer hailing from the American Midwest. Liberal in his politics, he is opinionated, controversial, and outspoken on many issues. His talent is sought after for many ghostwriting assignments and his political writings can be found online.
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EDITOR’S LETTER I have received amazing feedback from readers and others about how refreshing Moot Magazine is to read. Many people have commented that the “Liberal Left” needed a magazine that reflected truly liberal beliefs and not simply watered-down conservatism. I couldn’t be happier to hear the wonderful feedback and I invite you all to email me at email@example.com with any comments (good or bad) and general feedback as well as ideas for articles. This, our 2nd issue, features an interview I did with Margaret Cho for our Iconoclast department. Each month, we feature a person we feel is a true individual as well as a reflection of liberalism and freedom of thought. Margaret Cho is an excellent example of a true liberal. I invite you to read the interview and discover her to be the really insightful, intelligent, and multi-talented individual she is. We also feature an article on President Obama’s performance so far, and what promises he has and has not kept. I understand that being President of the United States is not an easy job, one that you could not pay me enough to do. However, he has broken many promises he made to the GLBT community, for healthcare, and other major issues. Athough he has a very difficult congress and Republican party to deal with when trying pass certain legislation, I feel that he had the opportunity right of out the gate really to do whatever he wanted. He had the entire nation behind him, coming out of the Bushwhacked era. America wanted the change that he promised, I guess we should have been a little more specific. Be sure to read Scott Patrick Humphrey’s article, “President Obama: What Have You Done For Me Lately”. Finally, I would really like to thank the writers who do really great work for Moot Magazine. Our contributing writers are wonderful and they produce great work even though they don’t get paid enough! Support Moot Magazine and our writers (so we can pay them better) by subscribing to the online version, digital version, or even the print version at mootmagazine.com/subscribe. This is the first issue that is not completely free. Most of our articles will be readable online but you will need to subscribe to read some of our featured articles. Thank you for your continued support and tell your friends about Moot Magazine! The more readers we have, the more people our work will reach. Donovan Lord Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
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President OBAMA What Have You Done For Me Lately? by Scott Patrick Humphrey
According to the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential approval tracking poll, as of Monday February 20th 2012 26% of voters strongly approve of the Presidents performance, while 39% strongly disapprove. That seems like quite a large margin, but the total approval rating is 49% and the total disapproval rating is 48%. Still, this isnâ€™t a good sign for the President going into full campaign mode in the next few months. 7 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
Barack Obama certainly has a credibility problem with voters of every political affiliation; however, the reasons “why?” vary greatly; the depth of thought required to truly understand the scope of issues we face is quite substantial. T h e m a i n s t re a m c o r p o r a t e political discourse is only put there to further confuse the issues for the and provide as much distraction for the average person as is required to appear credible yet still confuse the modern American consumer organism. There is a distinct separation between what progressive people wanted to happen, and what has been performed by President Obama. The promises made by candidate Obama were very specific and delivered with righteous passion. Yet he has gone against some of his biggest promises to Americans, and has even forged ahead and expanded on policies left over from the Bush Administration. By far, his biggest promise has been to bring affordable health care to us all; health care that also cannot discriminate against people for having a pre-existing condition. The law we have now is a watered down version of what many of us expected; so let’s start here. Single Payer health care was what candidate Obama was selling during the campaign, even saying that it made the most sense to him. The public option was meant to be a counter balance to the money siphoning insurance system we currently have. This is around the time the chants of Socialism starting ringing in the halls of Congress, as well as in the corporate media. 8 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
Single Payer health care does rely on the government to provide the issuance of health care service approvals, much like the insurance companies do now. The Right-Wing always trumpets the argument that big government is bad and needs to stay out of our lives, and cannot be allowed to determine what health services we can and can’t have. Let’s examine what both systems do and see how much clout this premise holds. Before we get into the value propositions of each system, let’s focus on the Right’s line of bullshit about big government invading our lives by running the delivery of health care services. First of all, if they were truly opposed to big government making decisions that affect our lives in such monumental ways they would end the Patriot Act, stop wiretapping and monitoring all citizen electronic communication immediately. They don’t seem to have too much of a problem with invading our privacy and stripping us of our civil liberties; do they? The most sweeping loss of our civil liberties came under the Bush Administration and has subsequently been continued and in some cases expanded by President Obama; more on that later. A single payer system would have been simply an option, not a mandate, and it would have done much to level the playing field in the for profit health care industry. The single payer option would present the opportunity to have the money we spend on health care go towards the actual health services that we receive and not the salaries of C.E.O’s. To
his credit, President Obama and his administration had managed to get a provision included in the Affordable Care Act that mandates 80% of premiums paid into the insurance program you are a part of must be used to cover actual health care services, and not administrative overhead costs like salaries. This provision is an important part of giving Americans a system that works hard to provide them with all the best care, yet so much more could have been accomplished by including the public option. Including it would have been a fundamental change in the way health care is provided in this country; unfortunately we never had a chance for an honest debate over its advantages. Instead, the mainstream media on the political Right were creating monstrous lies about the bill that were created by the insurance industry to combat the potential monetary losses they would incur. The so called “liberal media” was performing their consistent innocuous exploration of the issue relying on softball questions and keeping the narrative afloat that bill was “controversial”. When Fox News starts throwing around the word “Socialism”, things start going to shit in the debate department. A careful examination and well informed discourse could have been a good thing. But what inevitably happens is the one sided coin of mainstream corporate media makes the argument circular and does not seek to make sense of the issue. It is my opi nion tha t Obama let the country down by
instituting a mandate on buying health care coverage and taking out the public option early on in the arguments, He showed absolutely no conviction on something he campaigned on as a part of his “Hope and Change” platform; this was to give people the health care system they deserve. In a way this was a blow-job for the insurance industry by mandating the every American to join the insurance consumer pool; which is quite like telling everyone to jump into a pool that someone has just shat in. The medical loss ratio provision does make insurance companies spend a higher percentage on actual care, yet I have a feeling the way they will handle this is to raise rates to insure their salaries remain intact; because of course wealth = health
in this country, and if you don’t have it, chances are you don’t have it. So essentially it may not decrease premiums all that much; the public option would have done just that, and it would have been, in terms of a real “free market” system, a formidable competitor. Who remembers the promise to create a more transparent government in response to the Bush Administration’s combative relationship with Congress and the public regarding the passage of laws that were highly degrading to our way of life. Consider 2005 energy policy guided by Dick Cheney that eliminated his former company, Haliburton from being beholden to the clean air and safe drinking water acts; which they were clearly in violation of. This allowed companies to start pin-
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cushioning the countryside looking for natural gas. Candidate Obama promised unfettered transparency, saying the public would have at least 72 hours to review a bill before it would be voted on. We saw the health care bill before it was passed, but the corporate media made damn sure the public had almost no real information concerning its actual contents. Yet the real issue of this false notion of transparency in the Obama Administration lies with the request to alter the Freedom of Information Act, by allowing the Federal government to lie to American citizens concerning the information that it holds. Call me kooky, but this seems to put him to the right of George W. Bush. The back door dealings of his administration
have expanded under President Obama. This request to openly lie about information that the public has a right to know about is unprecedented. Not that lying isn’t a part of the everyday business of a politician; it’s the outright slap in the face of telling us, yeah we’re going to lie to you, deal with it, you don’t deserve the truth. Before I get off on one here let me say this: President Obama is a mixed bag of good and bad policies. There are some promises he made that have not come to fruition because of legislative grid-lock in Congress. Nonetheless, the list of broken promises continues. A major issue since the rise of the Tea Party has been the Right’s seeming obsession with breaking up unions. The now infamous, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has set the bar for outright corporate prostitution. Worker’s rights need protection from abuse at the hands of corporate management. Candidate Obama was a staunch supporter during his campaign of organized labor saying: “And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States.” Unfortunately, during the fiasco in Wisconsin President Obama did not voice his passionate support of public sector workers keeping their right to collectively bargain. The right-wing corporate media saturated the airwaves with piles 10 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
of steaming information about the lofty salaries and benefit packages public workers enjoy; they painted the picture of an entitled public workforce that is living off the tit of our collective tax dollars. If President Obama had spoken as strongly as he had during his campaign there would be a resounding defense of the rights of workers, instead he chose to make a few partially supportive statements in favor of the right to bargain, yet he also called for some “adjustments” to the labor agreements held by unions. This was a far cry from the previous, impassioned remarks of his campaign. This issue needed the booming voice of the candidate, with the rising crescendo that stirred some “hope” in your heart; we got none of that, only some limp, flaccid, low key support. Public workers unions are one of the last vestiges of solidarity that exists in our society; Occupy has stirred resurgence in organized protest, which was heavily attended by union workers. This is of national importance, because if workers are left unprotected they will suffer further losses in health care benefits, sick pay, guaranteed pensions, and salaries that match productivity. Unions can take a look at some of the unintended consequences that end up protecting bad employees; if the unions can handle this issue in an effective manner it would strengthen the case for increases in my previous list. Closing Guantanamo Bay seems like a one and done issue; he said he would close it, and he didn’t. But this seemingly
singular broken promise bleeds into the overall promise of restoring America’s rule of law and adherence to the Constitution. Torture of detainees in U.S. military custody is at the center of this issue. The Bush Regime had its Justice Department draft the documents necessary to legalize the torture of human beings. Extraordinary rendition is the is the policy that was implemented to allow the C.I.A. to capture a “suspected” enemy combatant and transport them to another country with little or no laws barring torture and have their particular intelligence agency conduct the interrogations with directions coming from the C.I.A. field agents. The rule of law has taken a beating under Obama; to get around the PR complications of continuing the practice o f e x t r a o rd i n a r y re n d i t i o n President Obama has chosen to kill suspected terrorists, not to brutally interrogate them in foreign countries. He chose to keep all of the emergency powers put in place by Bush and even extends them by making things like indefinite detention legal here in America. Are we out of our fucking minds? T h e re c e n t N a t i o n a l Defense Authorization Act is the scariest thing to come out of Congress since the Patriot Act. The fact that the vague war on terror is now being brought to our own soil by our own government is warning shot across our bow. The speedy progression of authoritarian laws is shredding the ultimate rule of law, the Constitution. What are being restored are elements of soft fascism,
like we saw with the detainment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. Now any American who is suspected of doing something “threatening” against the U.S. government is subject to indefinite detention. It is not clear who or how these d e t e r m i n a t i o n s a re m a d e ; combine that with the refusal to tell the truth regarding issues that may be compromising to the Federal government in these scenarios, and we’ve got ourselves a party. The video all over progressive social media a while back was that of Rachel Maddow criticizing President Obama for giving an historic speech on the rule of law in front of the original Constitution. It was historic for its monumental and gross contradictions concerning the right of our government to detain people, deemed by some unknown person within the government to be an imminent threat to the U.S. anywhere in the world, because it is now considered one giant battlefield The purpose of “prolonged detention” is to prevent the suspect from committing a crime, not for having actually committed one. As I said before, the recent NDAA law is a drastic extension of these powers right here at home; we are all now considered suspicious. This shreds the writ of Habeas Corpus, leaving no due process, no right to an attorney, no innocent until proven guilty, nothing. Even with all that, I find his lies about what he would do regarding corporate corruption and corporate money in politics are perhaps the most 11 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
egregious. He promised us that lobbyists would not be a part of his administration and what do you know it they were. In fact he took it to another level and appointed executives from Monsanto and G.E. to be the Deputy Commissioner of Foods, which puts him in charge of public policy for food safety, and the Jobs Czar respectively. Not one person in the financial industry has been investigated or prosecuted outside of Bernie Madoff. His scandal took center stage as the public scrutiny of Wall St. slunk off like some pervert who just touched you inappropriately. Of course Occupy has re-ignited that movement and NYS Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, will be now be heading up an investigation in light of the attempt by Obama to quietly assist a settlement without anyone being looked at. This is proof positive corporate prostitution; given everything that has happened to the average man, woman, and child in this country this is a giant slap in the face. He has done nothing to combat special interest’s influence peddling in Washington; in 2008, according to Politico.com, lobbyists spent close to 3 billion dollars buying Congressmen, and that was Obama’s first year in the White House. Since then, with the Citizens United Supreme Court decision the influence peddling, palm greasing and back scratching has reached the stratosphere. American democracy is now as cheap and poorly constructed as our foreign made Wal-Mart products. Lobbyists facilitate the ability of corporate CEO’s to
swing back and forth from their executive position in the corporate world to the high level positions in agencies like the Department of Agriculture, and the FDA, the latter having acquired former Monsanto Vice President, Michael Taylor as its Commissioner of Foods. His record of food safety proposals are all geared towards stifling the small family farmer. They are making the policies that benefit their companies and no one else, the rest of us, including the planet are dealing with the consequences of these Presidential derelictions of duty. As observed by OMB Watch, a government watchdog, Obama issued an executive order to mitigate the influence of lobbyists in Washington: The law stated any registered lobbyist organization cannot participate in the area that they previously lobbied on behalf of for two years. This law hurts non-profit organizations in that they are often times lobbying for social issues that help people, and they seek to work within the administration; corporate lobbyists are doing just fine, they do not seek to work within government themselves, yet grease the runways for their bosses to be the one to go in. Obama has essentially made that easier by clearing out those pesky non-profits to make more room for Goldman Sachs. The man may not be all bad, but has certainly got some shit on his face. OK, not to get off track here, but it would only be fair and factual to talk about some of things he has done. He did make a gesture towards the working class by putting together a jobs bill that has
no chance in passing the two chambers, and he has taken down don’t ask don’t tell, yet inequality is still rampant. Overall he is disappointing from a progressive pragmatist’s point of view. But hopefully Obama will slide so far to the Right that he’ll come straight back around. I honestly have no idea what he has planned for the 2nd term; I just hope we get our civil liberties restored (Not likely), our government clear of corporate influence (Yeah right), and we see a return to sanity by upholding environmental protections, passing stiff consumer protection legislation, prosecuting the financial sector for its fraudulent activities and completely restructure our tax code to benefit the middle and working class in a progressive manner increasing the burden the more one’s income increases, and once and for all BAN the influence of corporate influence in our government.
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The Occupy Movement
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Civil Liberties Violations
The truth behind the Republican party today.
Doing It Her Way
The meaning and the effect.
Department of Homeland Security & Your Rights
The new religion for the new age.
How Evangelical Christians are taking over our government.
A former Evangelical turns away from her faith.
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Doing it Her Way by Donovan Lord
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Margaret Cho is the ultimate iconoclast. Without her, the comedy world, and the World at large would be a much more boring and far less insightful place. Not to mention the inroads she forged for so many female comedians, Asian comedians, and other “outsider” entertainers whom came after her. I first interviewed Margaret in 2001 and because of that interview have the perspective of the passage of time to understand how this incredible comedian has grown in so many ways. Although she has always been hilarious and talented, now, 11 years later, she has a solid sense of self, peace, real joy and perspective that has come with surviving many obstacles and doing things her own way. I find Margaret to be an incredibly underrated entertainer. As Margaret speaks about in our interview, Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general has typically tried to change her into something she isn’t rather than recognizing the beautiful, intelligent, and incredibly talented entertainer she is, just as she is. I came away from this interview recognizing how fortunate the World is to have such an awesome, and seemingly enlightened human being in the World. Not to mention her never ending efforts towards equality among the GLBT population, women’s rights, and even financial equality through her support of the Occupy movement. Can she run for President please? Where many people have failed at their endeavors in the entertainment industry, Margaret has endured. Not only has she been successful in stand-up and film, but she’s a talented singer with a beautiful voice. Like she said in our interview, she just does what she wants. She’s done it her way and not many people can say that and mean it.
Photography By Lindsey Byrnes 15 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
Moot: Do you have a nickname or anything like that that your friends call you? Margaret Cho: Well, you know Kathy [Griffin] calls me Maggie. Moot: Really? Margaret Cho: Yeah! She’s probably the only person who does. It never really stuck. Moot: Maggie. M a r g a r e t C h o : Ye a h . Sometimes people have called me “Peg” once in a while. But you know, in general, people have always… Moot: Called you Margaret. Margaret Cho: Called me Margaret, yeah. It’s kind of formal, I’m a little bit of a formal person. Moot: Really? For a very informal person, which is very interesting. Margaret Cho: Yeah, so there’s a kind of formality that the name is sort of, even like the whole thing, Margaret Cho, it has kind of always been one name, instead of a first name or a last name. Moot: Cool. You know, I have been reading your blog for months now. You’re a really good writer. Margaret Cho: Thank you! Moot: You’re welcome! Do you write a lot and is it something you’ve done for a while? 16 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
Margaret Cho: Yeah! I’ve been blogging for at least a good 10 years. Although, you know it’s pretty sporadic sometimes too, you know I’ll go for long periods without writing. Lately, since I guess like September or so, I’ve been trying to realize my writery potential and also, you know the way that writing has changed a lot, the way that we read. Most people are reading blogs, they’re not really reading books in the same way and so I thought I’d like to write a book but I think it’s more effective to keep blogging every day and then you can my blog from Kindle and then go back and read. I kind of started off in obituaries, I still think that’s kind of one of my best things, but in general I like writing about just stuff that happens. Like in pop culture and helps me write jokes but a lot of the writing isn’t so much funny but serious social commentary. Moot: Right Margaret Cho: So I like having that venue. It helps me to organize my thoughts about issues. It’s a good tool for me. Usually when I go to write jokes about something in depth and then pick out what are the jokes. That’s what the writing is for. I do it every day and it’s pretty effortless. Sometimes, it takes me about five minutes. I’m pretty sure if I keep at it I’ll win a Pulitzer Prize. I think they give one for like online journalism but they don’t necessarily have one for blogging but I want them to create one!
Moot: They should totally! And you should win!! Margaret Cho: Yeah, I think they will. Moot: Well you know today is Valentine’s Day and I read your blog and your feelings about Valentines Day in the past and your “monster” as you called it. What are you feelings about Valentine’s Day today? Margaret Cho: Well, I mean, I think it’s, again it’s one of those created holidays that unfortunately makes people feel really bad! A lot of people have a lot of negativity around the day because it focuses on what you don’t have. And for people who do have that, for a relationship they want to celebrate, it kind of forces this obligation to spend a lot of money and spend a lot of time celebrating that when really your relationship should be celebrated everyday. Moot: Absolutely. Margaret Cho: It’s sort of like Christmas in the way you sort of have all these expectations around the day to spend money and it’s kind of like a consumerist holiday but I really really resent being a child and kind of being forced to be involved in this holiday when I think it’s inappropriate for children to have to participate. So that’s what that was about, in writing that. I don’t think they do that today for kids. I just think it’s really inappropriate. Moot: Yeah, it’s a really horrible experience for a lot people when they’re kids!
“...We have total connection and commitment and that’s why we last and that’s why we’re happy but that doesn’t include sexual monogamy because I don’t think that’s an appropriate thing to ask of anyone. ”
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“...the most important thing is that you’re doing what you want. That’s what I have always done with my life, doing things that I want, and I don’t let things hold me back.” Margaret Cho: Well also I think growing up gay, and like growing up bullied and then now I want to take all of those experiences and kind of put them out there. You never get over it. And I feel as an adult I need to get over it and I have the perfect platform to call out and blame people that were mean and just really really lash out now as an adult in full force. Because, I have no concept of forgiveness or rising above anything. Like, I think it’s really funny to stay childish and be mad still and that’s a good way to heal. Moot: Absolutely. I think even as an adult, people who have been bullied or are an outcast as a child, as I was as well, I think you grow up and you still harbor that resentment to some extent and I think if you have somewhere to express it it’s great. And you do have this great platform. Do you think now, when you see some sort of injustice now, whether it’s something small or big, do you think that’s what kind of drives you now to speak out about it?
sharing my own experiences on that type of injustice and let people know you can survive it and there is no need to rise above it. That there is no need to feel like you have to be the better person, in any way. I totally advocate like harboring anger, and I totally advocate lashing out in anger. I think that these things are very powerful cause a lot of times we’re told, “Oh you shouldn’t be angry, it hurts you more than it hurts them”, and I’m like, no it doesn’t, it hurts them! It’s very fun to be the opposite of what I’ve been taught in what I’ve been taught in kind of a new age way what anger is and I just think it’s another force that we can use.
Moot: Yeah, and I think if it works for somebody why question it. I think a lot of people, especially conservative, or conventional people, certainly question people’s relationships that don’t coincide with the “norm”, and you are certainly someone I would consider an “iconoclast” and someone who’s an outsider or something? Would you consider yourself an outsider or an outcast and if you do, what makes you such?
Margaret Cho: Definitely, I guess I do consider myself an outsider but then also I’m able to kind of move in circles where I am Moot: I couldn’t agree with you definitely listened to and my more! Are you still married by opinions are definitely projected and they’re valuable to people so the way? there is an outsider perspective that’s very insider also because I Margaret Cho: Yeah! do have a platform to be heard. Moot: So what’s your relationship with your husband like today? I Moot: Right. And I think in your know you guys have had an open entire career so far, what would relationship, tell me about that. you say, if you had to put in a sentence of phrase, what has Margaret Cho: Well it is! It’s great! been the message of the career?
Margaret Cho: Yeah! And also We are really happy, and I think 18 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
we have the ideal relationship. We have total connection and commitment and that’s why we last and that’s why we’re happy but that doesn’t include sexual monogamy because I don’t think that’s appropriate thing to ask of anyone. And people don’t understand what that means and I can’t illustrate it any further than that I am totally committed and totally in this marriage. We’ve been married since 2003 but we’ve been together since 1999, so I feel like I know what works. It works for me, and we’ll stay together. It’s a good thing.
Margaret Cho: Um, I think it’s just that everybody can do it, that if you have the desire to be an idol you can be, and that the most important thing is that you’re doing what you want. That’s what I have always done with my life, doing things that I want, and I don’t let things hold me back. I mean like when I started there were no people who looked like me in the industry that I am in, but I didn’t let that hinder my enthusiasm or my auditions. So, I think especially a lot of immigrant families, especially Asian Americans in particular, they expect a lot from their children and they don’t let their children go into professions that are like music or comedy. So a lot of people abandon their plans to please their family and then are
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way back in their 40’s and think I’ve lived a life that I never wanted for myself and I don’t know what to do now. So, I try to get people to reject that and be what they want with their life ‘cause I always did what I wanted with my life and because I did, I got what I wanted. Moot: I think that’s very insightful and I think that’s a great lesson. Margaret Cho: Yeah. Moot. We’re coming up on an election season. What do you feel about Obama and his performance over the past 4 years, and him, and moving forward? Margaret Cho: I’m really happy with Obama! I’ve been at the
White House and I’ve talked with him and I have friends in the administration and I helped get him elected. I was part of the whole campaign trail, I was there. I feel like he’s going to go another term and it’s going to be great. I mean, it’s like there’s no contest. I don’t know why the GOP even tries because everyone they put in front of us is terrible! I think, it’s like, people have a lot of frustrations with Obama, but he had a lot of things to clean up and a lot of things and a lot of things to take care of and the thing about Obama is I want him to be more vocal towards marriage equality. Moot: Yes! Margaret Cho: And in general
be better at passing legislation to help people with hate crimes, help people be prosecuted more for hate crimes, including the language that will protect LGBT people. It’s a very important thing, we also need to have marriage equality. But I’ve seen some positive things, there are things like overturning Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, that’s a big deal. He should really pay more attention to the Occupy movement, which are not gone away. The press seems to feel that Occupy is over but it’s not, it’s still happening in a lot places. So there are things that Obama can do but I feel like he’s done a great job and I look forward to another term and I’ve definitely going to be there to help in any way that I can. This is an administration that a lot of us have a lot invested in, like a lot of personal dreams and hope, so I feel strongly that it’s going to be
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another four years and it’ll be really, really good. Moot: I hope you’re right! Do you think the people like the Republican party, the right wing, homophobic people, evangelical Christians, but do you think that they have mental issues or is it seriously just a difference of opinion? Because it seems to me that when you present them with the facts, they ignore them. What do you think? Margaret Cho: Yeah. It’s both! Having, like, mental issues and having a difference of opinion but it’s also the fact that they are disappearing. The fact that when your beliefs and your people and your way of life is becoming extinct and is already in danger, it’s a terrifying place to be, so
they’re trying to hang on to their family values, hang on to what have traditionally been the ideology of their family so that they don’t disappear. They’re starting to experience what gays and people of color and women have experienced for a lifetime. I’m thinking about, like when I was really really young, I was with this girl and we were at a nightclub and this old man was trying to hit on his and we were making fun of him and basically making him feel like he didn’t exist, like he was invisible, and when we went outside of the club, it was totally deserted, and he was waiting for us with a tire iron and trying to attack us. I realized, he felt for a moment what I had felt for a lifetime and like he could not take it, he could not take non-existent, he could not take not being taken seriously, the only thing he could do was like… Moot:
Lash out, mm,hmm.
Margaret Cho: Lash out, right. I think that’s a good comparison t o conservatives when they feel like what we’ve felt forever, they c a n ’t t a k e i t ! ! (Laughs) We have taken it for so long we’re used to it! So, I think that is what is going on, I think that’s why they lash out so
violently with their language, that’s why they are so crazy. I have compassion for them, because it’s like, I know what it’s like, I’ve been there, and I don’t want to be this way anymore and that’s why they’re feeling that way too. That’s the thing, I think about because I was raised with a lot of compassion but I know what it’s like to feel extinct. Well, extinct isn’t the right word, because it’s like we never even existed which isn’t true.
“...he was waiting for us with a tire iron and trying to attack us.”
which I’m talking a lot about on stage with the whole Adele and Karl Largerfeld thing, like I got so upset when he said “she’s a little bit fat” because it reminded me of all the times where people say you’re beautiful, but you’re fat. Like, I guess that was a Moot: Invisible, maybe? compliment? So you have this groundswell of people saying, Margaret Cho: Yeah, invisible. yes I can’t stand it when people That’s what they feel. say that. So when people say stuff like that in the press it really Moot: That’s a brilliant observation affects everybody and it reminds yeah, and I completely agree with you of all the things that have you. I think that’s absolutely true, happened to you and it makes that’s why they are so against us, me doubly angry because I’m a gays, or lesbians, people of color, fan of Karl’s. or whatever the case may be. I think, that you have been sort of Moot: Yes, so it kind of hurt in a, well not sort of, you’ve been a way. a champion for people like me and for people are like yourself, Margaret Cho: I was hurt, yes. or whatever. I think you’ve been I was really hurt by it, but you an incredible beacon of light in have the ability to get really the cesspool of Hollywood or angry and put your words into whatever you want to call it. So a kind of a poetic jumble that whenever people watch you they makes sense to people but it’s feel like they know you of course really empowering. So, I’m really and they love you and etc. So do happy that, if I get to represent you realize the affect you have on people, or whatever, I’m mostly your audience and the people just trying to represent myself who, really, adore you? and make myself feel better but if that can help others that’s Margaret Cho: Well it’s wonderful, phenomenal. I think it’s really magical. I feel really good about it and I feel Moot: Yeah, and I know that like if I can help people feel you’ve said many times in the positively, I get a lot of joy from it. past about how when you were I don’t really know the extent of on All American Girl about how a it, like I just try to do good work producer or a friend or something because it makes me feel good on the show said that your head and if I can work things out in was too big to fit the screen? I my head. Like even on my blog, remember that from your book, 21 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
I’m The One That I Want, I think and you talked about that, and I recently saw an episode of All American Girl that I caught on tv, and you said well my head is just too big, or something like that. Is that something that you remember at all, that you yourself put in to be self-deprecating or was that something they put in or do you even remember? Margaret Cho: Hmm. God, I don’t remember a lot of stuff. I have no recollection of it, I don’t know what it is. I honestly don’t remember stuff and I think it had to do with the fact that I was dieting so much during that whole period that even after, I mean I really was not eating and I had to be hospitalized and stuff and even after that I really never quite got over it and I wasn’t eating and I was taking a lot of diet pills and I think because of all of my drug use then, I lost quite a lot of my memory. And I have a really, really, laser like memory where it’s almost like a time machine, and there’s huggggge chunks of between ‘94 and ’95 that I really have recollection of and I think that’s drugs and not even good drugs, it was like diet pills. Moot: Wow! That’s horrible. Margaret Cho: Yeah, it’s sad because I could write and actually be a lot more articulate about some of those things but there’s really blank spots when I try to
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go back and think and I know it’s part, about weight? from drug use. It’s sad. Margaret Cho: About weight? Moot: Yeah, it’s very sad. Do you Oh no, it’s not changed. I think think you’ve made peace now with what has happened is it’s been your weight, whatever that may like, there’s an understanding, oh be, or do you still struggle with we can make money by showing some sort of arbitrary standard of people who are larger. Or, we can beauty of what do you feel about make money by….or the thing is that now? there is undeniable talent. Like Adele is an undeniable talent. Margaret Cho: Oh yeah! I still The thing about it is she’s so definitely struggle with it, I think assertive that she can’t be pushed what I have is a disease. I have a to the background like Carnie disease of anorexia and bulimia, Wilson. Like Wilson Phillips was and um, you know you really great and a part of that greatness don’t, there is no cure, you always was Carnie Wilson and Carnie have the disease. It’s just sort of Wilson was never allowed to, like whether you’re in remission or they would do those video where not, I guess I kind of sort of in a there were the girls… place where I’m not affected daily by it and I’m also older and if Moot: Yes! (Laughing) you’re older you’re getting more comfortable in your skin, and I’m Margaret Cho: Like they would at that point I think. But whenever be totally with boys and they’d it’s called to be discussed, I get have Carnie with like a dog. It was really upset, like with the Adele like why can’t you show Carnie thing. Like whenever I am talking with a boy like you do with the about it I get just as upset as if it’s other two, and Carnie is like the happening to me right then. But prettiest one and the one that is I have a relative peace with it but like the real legend. She’s Brian that only comes with the fact that Wilson’s daughter and she’s like I am older and I have to kind of the legend in the group and you deal with the age thing which is focus on the untalented other another thing that doesn’t really two and they don’t matter and affect me the way it affects other Carnie’s the voice. women my age, they get really scared. And my peers are very, Moot: Yeah and they’ve have a very, into plastic surgery, which I video on the beach and they’d can’t really get into which is why have the front two, the skinny I get tattooed, it’s my own way of ones, in front and she’s way in getting plastic surgery, my own the back almost off of the beach. way of staying younger without It’s so true! actually going into an area of plastic surgery. Margaret Cho: SHE was the voice! So I would watch that Moot: And do you think the and feel like even though I’m industry has changed at all in the talented one I’m going to be terms of that or do you think it’s the one behind the tree. Even exactly the same, for the most though I’m the talented one, 23 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
they’re not going to show me with a boy, they’re going to show me with the puppy. Which I love dogs, I mean that’s fine (laughs). I mean,I just feel like now the people who make the decisions are just now realizing they can make money off of somebody that looks real. Moot: Yeah, and do you think Drop Dead Diva, may be a good indication of that? Margaret Cho: Right. Yeah. And I love Brooke and I love the show for those reasons. Moot: Do you film that in Atlanta? Margaret Cho: Mmmhmm. Moot: And do you fly out there, do you live there during the filming? Margaret Cho: Yeah, I have an apartment there. I have a really great place to live there I have a bunch of wonderful friends and it’s my 4th year of living there. I moved from Peachtree City, and Peachtree City is like the capital of the Tea Party. Moot:
Oh really?? Lovely.
Margaret Cho: Yeah, but it’s weird, Peachtree City, you’ll see bumper stickers on the cars but they don’t put them on bumper they put them on the inside of the windows so they’re not actually stuck to the car. And there’s stuff like “Pitbull in Lipstick”, you know like Sara Palin quotes, and that kind of stuff, it’s all over the place. But they don’t put them on the cars, they put them on the inside of the cars so they don’t
have to commit to their feelings. just call me up and ask, you know. But I never have been around. Moot: Or maybe they’re just I really want to. I was trying to afraid someone’s going to tear do like Three Stooges and all of them off or something because these other things that I want to they’re so ridiculously stupid. do but it’s busy when you’re in a series and also trying to manage Margaret Cho: Well, I did live in the other, which is my main job, Peachtree for two years, but it was which is doing stand-up comedy, too stifling, and conservative. and my other underneath job which is doing music, which I still Moot: Yeah, of course. am doing a lot of, guesting on people’s albums and stuff. So Margaret Cho: So I live in Atlanta things kind of get lost because and it’s really gay and fun and you’re trying to do so many awesome. things. Moot: Hotlanta! Awesome!
voice….it would take, for me to really have the kind of voice that I have the potential for having, it would take a huge lifestyle change. Like not drinking, and not smoking, and I don’t do a lot of that anyway, but you know the purity of a voice reflects the purity of a life. That’s why I feel so bad about Whitney Houston because the great responsibility of being the custodian of a voice like that is almost like it’s not worth it because it takes so much. Your physical health, in regards to your instrument, you pay such a high tax and a high tariff to maintain that voice. Even if she had never smoked or drank, whatever, I don’t think she could have sustained that voice for all of these years anyway.
Moot: Yeah, but I think, you know, that’s just a testament to how Margaret Cho: Yeah really talented you are. You can do hotlanta! all of these different things and people want you so that’s good. Moot: Well, we haven’t seen you The one song, “I’m Sorry” you in like a big movie or anything did with the video, oh my God it Moot: It’s a lot of pressure too. in a long time. I’ve seen you in a cracks me up, I love it. The song couple of smaller films but I am is hilarious. Margaret Cho: It’s a lot of just curious if you have anything pressure to do it and people on the horizon in that arena? Margaret Cho: Thank you! don’t appreciate the value of a voice that ages and her voice Margaret Cho: No, I’d love to do Moot: Yeah and you have a great would have aged beautifully, but big movies. I would really love it. voice! How did you even get into it would still have been criticized, Like in the last 4 years, I’m touring doing that? because it would have changed. so much because, I’m like on the Like the great divas, those women show for 6 months a year and the Margaret Cho: Well, I come from with the great voices, they age in rest of the time I’m on tour. So that a church family. There’s a lot of a way that is so powerful but she doesn’t like leave me any time to singing in my house, my mother’s wasn’t or able to endure what all pursue these films, which I’m a singer and also a really good that it would have taken. So I totally up for, totally would love guitarist and my father’s a pianist. totally understand her struggle, to do. But the way my years have from the beginning to have that been structured it’s been hard for Moot: Wow. kind of success and feel like you the past 4 years. Also, I’ve been have to maintain it. touring a lot internationally and Margaret Cho: So I grew up spending a lot of time in Europe around a lot of music. That’s Moot: Yeah, it’s sad. Especially for and in England and Australia so sort of what happens when you someone who had an addiction. that has taken a lot of the year grow up in a church family. So It was a lot of pressure for her. for me. But yeah, it’s something I I always knew that I could sing would love to do. I haven’t done and I always loved it but stand-up Margaret Cho: Yeah. a really big movie since 17 Again comedy was really what drove or something and that was a really me. I felt like, I have a decent Moot: How would you say you long time ago. Usually people voice, but I don’t have the kind of think you have evolved over the 24 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
past 20 or 30 years, whatever it’s been, since you started your career? Margaret Cho: Oh, well, yeah, 30. (Laughing) Well I think I’m much more able to put my feelings into words now. I know more words, so that’s been helpful. Moot: (Laughing) Yes. Margaret Cho: I’m better at mastering certain kinds of storytelling and singing and better at learning things and becoming them and better able to utilize them in my work. I think I’m more joyful, overall and I allow unhappiness to kind of be, and not freak out about it. I think people get really upset and feel like unhappiness is an unwelcome part of life, but it’s just a part of life so if you can accept it as a part of life you can actually learn
depression! Like if you go, oh I’m bummed about something, then people go oh I’ve got to go on meds and I’ve got to go to therapy, and actually that’s just a natural occurring state. Of course there’s people that have depression that’s real, but I don’t think I have that, I realized it’s just part of the way that things are. I just take it kind of in stride and I really enjoy my career and I enjoy my life. There’s always this idea, like people I find around me, are so ambitious they want to do so much and they can’t understand why anybody wouldn’t want more, like to be on top, and if they’re not on top, and I don’t understand what they define success is. I feel successful all the time. So, I’m not sure what people around me are chasing all the time. Like when people around me succeed, it makes me so joyous it makes me cry.
“I think people get really upset and feel like unhappiness is an unwelcome part of life, but it’s just a part of life so if you can accept it as a part of life you can actually learn to deal with it.”
successful. I know a lot of other people in my profession that when they see other people succeed, they’re jealous and like mad. I’m like how could you be jealous or mad and I’m like so happy for people that I’ve grown up with. So I just have a lot of joy. Moot: That’s very zen of you! Margaret Cho: Well, I am mad that Kathy [Griffin], didn’t win the Grammy again because she got nominated 3 years in a row! M o o t : I k n o w ! T h a t ’s a n accomplishment! Margaret Cho: She should get a Grammy just for being nominated 3 years in a row! That’s like a miracle! Nobody’s done that! Not even in music has that ever happened and comedy’s so much harder to have been nominated for a different album 3 years in a row, is huge. I think maybe because she’s so critical of the industry that they get mad. I’m going to make her an award in my metal shop. I have my motorcycle metal shop so I’m going to weld her a grammy! Moot: (Laughing) You should totally do that! Well, last question. I’d like to know where you see yourself at 60? Where is Margaret Cho at 60 years old?
Margaret Cho: Oh God, you know what’s scary is that it’s not to deal with it. The one example is Kurt Sutter, that far off!! I mean it’s a stone’s he writes that show, Sons of throw, I mean it’s down the block. Moot: How wise and sage of you! Anarchy, which I love because I I mean you’re talking about ride motorcycles and I’m totally next week! (Laughing). I feel Margaret Cho: (Laughing) super into bikes. So I’ve known like, I’m going to be doing the Well, now I realize that when him forever and I have so much same thing, which is like I think I I’m unhappy it’s not clinical joy when I see people are really might have a Moto Guzzi for my 25 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
motorcycle by then. I’m trying to go from a smaller engine to a larger engine, that sort of thing. I may buy a Harley or I may buy a Moto Guzzi. I think at 60, I’m not sure because I feel like it’s going to be the same thing, I might, at that point, really consider putting a pool on my property! (Laughs) You know, for aqua-aerobics, I’ll need some sort of cushion for my joints. 60, I really plan on doing more of the same thing, maybe acting more, certainly writing more. I’m trying to do different types of writing, I’d like to write a television series, like write scripts, because you know, I love writing, so I want to take my talent in that and use it in different formats, and I definitely feel like that’s the a good thing to do. I’d like to write more songs and sing more and I just recorded a duet with Ken Stringfellow from The Posies and we’re singing a lot of country which is really oddly somehow best suited for my voice. So, and maybe doing a lot more in Nashville where I have a lot of friends. Moot: How many Asian chicks do country music? Margaret Cho: (Pause) I don’t think there’s any! Moot: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying, you’re always breaking barriers, and that’s awesome. Margaret Cho: Yeah, dude, I’m like the Jeremy Lynn of Country music. I’m really weirdly good at it to where people are freaking out and, (laughing) they’re like, WHY, WHY are you good at this? There’s no reason for me to be good at this and I do think that I am, and it’s kind of undeniable to where people can’t figure out, to where it’s a voice that’s pretty good. It’s on the level of like Emmylou Harris or Patsy Cline but it’s so unexpected to where people are like I don’t know what to do with it. Moot: But that’s the beauty of life, that’s the beauty of your career. It’s unexpected. Everything about you is unexpected. And that’s what makes you so awesome. Margaret Cho: Oh thank you!! Moot: And you know, your fans, we all love you! Margaret Cho: I love you too!
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Fascism & Conspiring to Fin Republicanism by Thomas Thyros
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POLITICS In the rational days of the 1950s red blooded Americans trusted their government and believed that their democratically elected representatives were doing what was right for the U. S. of A. The threats of the Cold War had galvanized America, already brimming with the patriotic self importance of a newly emerged Super Power, into the champion of freedom and democracy; the torch bearer of liberty in a dark world that was being enslaved by godless socialists. Of course this was all just an illusion and while the scales fell from our eyes as America lost its innocence in the second half of the 20th Century a growing discontent with the corruptions of government and the unrestrained corporate greed that has led to the destruction of our common prosperity has given rise to a growing culture that yearns to stand against our illuminati overlords; to expose their secret cabals and to overthrow their plans for world domination. As this innocence evaporated with the enlightenment of discovering the truth about what our leaders and the captains of industry had been up to a plethora of conspiracy theories were spawned in the fertile imaginations of the drug addled counter culture revolutionaries so that everything from the assassination of JFK to the moon landings became fodder for nutters who saw shadows in everything and mistrusted so thoroughly that they really didn›t know what to believe in the end. Contingencies for a Spontaneous Outbreak of Peace
nd a Policy by D G Mattichak Jr
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Probably the most quintessential of all government conspiracy theories revolves around a document called The Report from Iron Mountain in which a panel of experts presented their findings on the socioeconomic impact of a ‹spontaneous and persistent outbreak of peace›. Dating to 1967 the anti-
war protestors of the day seized on the document with fervor and it was soon relegated to the fringe territory of the conspiracy theorists. The Vietnam War was a tough lesson for America and the many parallels between the handling of that conflict and the management of the current wars against terror have given the short document a second life. In the forty-five years since the publication of the Report from Iron Mountain many of the things that it recommended have become legislated reality as successive governments climbed further into bed with the armaments manufacturers and their subsidiaries via the thinly veiled façade of monetized politics. The main thrust of this controversial document was that the stability and perhaps even the survival of Western society depended upon running some sort of war economy. The report showed that due to modern production methods that everyone would very rapidly acquire the material goods that they needed and that the wastefulness of war was a way of creating the need to continue to manufacture. It was postulated that a state of persistent peace would be deleterious to the economy and if the government was intending to shift to a peace economy that it would need to find some substitute for war to generate an artificial need for mass manufacturing. Obviously the United States Government chose to stick to the time honored traditions of the war economy as Vietnam was replaced by the massive escalations of the late Cold War that destroyed the Soviet economy in the 1980s. 30 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
With the end of Reagan›s ‹Evil Empire› the United States was in need of a new adversary and we began the long and costly series of wars in the Middle East and Africa. Weapons manufacturers have never had it better. In this light whether the Report from Iron Mountain was a fraud or not (I tend to think not) it was right and so it has returned to relevance as American›s look more critically at their leadership and the decisions that have been made on our behalf. Newt and the Warmongers i n W a s h i n g t o n In his pitch to become the next President of the United States Newt Gingrich is promising to reveal the truth about America›s foreign policy but as an old war horse on Capitol Hill it hardly seems likely that he is suddenly going to become a beacon of light for world peace. The constant evasion of the Bush government, in which Gingrich was a major player, means that he probably really does know what motivated Bush to attack Iraq, especially in light of the discovery that there were no real WMD at all and the motives for a new war would have been driven from within the GOP ruling junta of the day. The real result of the Iraq War hasn›t been to stabilize the region, in fact the war has, of course, made things worse. The conflict that Obama inherited was already a losing proposition and the best that he ever could have done with it was minimize US losses as he withdrew; another embarrassing and futile military engagement that the US didn›t and probably couldn›t ever win. Newt has been on board for the whole time and so he probably
really does know what the real goals of Bush›s foreign policy actually were but what will he tell us that we don›t already know? Will he really tell us that the United States has been propping up totalitarian states in order to maintain a profitable marketplace for the armaments manufacturers? That Bush took America to war because it would generate trillions in US government spending and create thousands of jobs? That in exchange the weapons industry has funded the political aspirations of sympathetic candidates to make sure that the gravy train keeps rolling? While these naked facts about the way that our elected official have all jumped into bed with the wealthiest corporations in the world aren›t really surprising, the fact that these issues are actually included in the GOP candidate›s election platforms is. Gingrich himself is adding fuel to the crazy fringe conspiracy theorists by saying that the Palestinians aren›t a real people anyway and that the good old U. S. of A is engaged in a struggle for its existence with radical Islamists who want to destroy the West and establish a world wide Caliphate. When Glenn Beck rolls out the war maps and makes sweeping generalizations about the Muslim world it is entertainment but when a potential President of the most powerful nation on the planet says it then it becomes just downright frightening. While Muslims make up a meager 4.7% of the US population they are being portrayed by a small number of radical activists like Robert Spencer on his Jihad Watch website as being an ever present evil that should be stamped out of western society. Even Glenn
The 99% Occupy No Man’s Land AP
Beck who quotes Jefferson with one breath and disseminates anti-Muslim religiously intolerant ranting about the Arab Spring with the next doesn›t seem to see that the religious freedoms that America has been admired for across centuries is being threatened by their drivel. It is only a small number of people that are proselytizing against the evils of Islam but they have a loud and compelling voice that has been heard by the middle classes and so has put religion firmly in the 2012 election spotlight. Meanwhile Gingrich continues to change his position on most issues with an Orwellian regularity and as a well practiced master of the double-speak that goes with re-writing the present for mass consumption is never likely to tell the truth about anything anyway. Mitt Romney›s Corporate Buddies 31 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
and Christian Right Wing Fascism Homeland Security mandarins and their lickspittles in the CIA While the Christian Right and FBI. But out of all of this who have been busily demonizing really stands to gain the most? Islam with dire prophecies of the Mitt Romney›s pals in Arab Spring sweeping across the corporate America will certainly developed world and plunging continue to do alright out of a us all into a new dark age the long and protracted war against real action is in fighting the an enemy that can›t quite be War on Terror. When Bush›s defined and may or may not be Republican caucus came up with operating within the borders of an enemy that was incapable of the United States itself. And who being defined or even located better to lead America through they had invented an ultimate the modern Crusade against threat to America›s security and radical Islam than a devoted sovereignty that would last and fundamentalist Christian. After all, last in a way that even George Obama might even be one of the Orwell couldn›t have conceived. Saracen hordes, he certainly isn›t As America poured untold a poster boy for real Christians trillions into a largely secret war who want the controlling voice conducted furtively under the in running the country even cover of national security we though the number of practicing also slowly and incrementally Christians in America is rapidly had our constitutional rights dwindling to a minority status. Of stripped away until now the ones course the religious beliefs of any terrorizing the people are the American are no one›s business
but their own but a President that sits in the Oval Office talking to God about the decisions that he is making while he is supposed to be rationally running the country for all Americans is a dangerous dichotomy. Romney has backed away from the fundamentalist Right over the course of his campaign but his supporters have not and the call for America to become a Christian state have continued to grow from those sectors of society that desire to control the beliefs of the masses with their creationist revisionism and fear driven bible thumping. Romney is so firmly associated with the fundamentalist Christians that recently Nobel Prize winning author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel publicly asked him to personally intervene in the practice by his Mormon church of baptizing deceased Jews by proxy in their services. Can a Mormon, whose religious doctrines have condoned 650,000 of these proxy baptisms and who has admitted to having participated in such intolerant and abusive practices be trusted to maintain the constitutional separation of church and state? As popular as quoting the Founding Fathers has become with the GOP candidates in recent years they are selective in their quotations and elastic in their interpretations of the words of wisdom left to us by the brightest of minds that America has ever produced. In the land of the free the words of Thomas Jefferson now go unheeded“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach 32 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‹make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,› thus building a wall of separation between church and State.” Can we ever afford to bring that wall down? In his bestselling book The Creature from Jekyll Island, Edward G. Griffin puts forward a (conspiracy) theory that the wealthiest elite, the banks of the world and the giant international corporations have colluded in the enslavement of the people of the world by destroying the value of their currency, imposing taxes and degenerating their standard of living. While the Fabian Society and its Keynesian strategies for concentrating the wealth of the world into the hands of the few may just really be the extreme imaginings of the eccentric fringe dwellers that see shadows in everything the pandering to the banks and corporations that has bankrupted what was once the
wealthiest nation in the world runs very close to the picture that Griffin painted in 1994. While previous Presidential candidates› relationships with corporate America were seen as potential assets to a sitting President, in the current race the press has hounded Romney about his connections so continuously that they have exasperated him, causing his most famous gaffe when he declared that ‹Corporations are people too.› In the days after he said that there was a popular meme going around Facebook that said: ‹I will believe that corporations are people when Texas executes one›. The internet is perhaps the one place where the freedom of speech actually exists in practice and so it is fitting that Romney should get the people›s answer from their most democratic place. Rick Santorum, Gay Rights and Muslim Socialism Santorum›s campaign has had to deal with the former Senator›s long held and well known stance against same
sex marriages which has made him especially unpopular with younger voters that may have been expected to support such a young candidate. Although he has tried in the past to hose down the bad press that his statements about gay rights on the campaign trail his views have continued to dominate many of his encounters with the voting public and as recently as January 5 while speaking at the College Convention in Concord New Hampshire he was booed off of the rostrum after comparing gay marriage to unrestrained polygamy. In answer to a question from the audience asking why he opposed gay unions he made the rhetorical reply, “Are we saying that everyone should have the right to marry?” When members of the crowd answered in an emphatic voice for the affirmative he made a stellar leap in logical thinking and replied, “So anyone can marry can marry anybody else, so, if that’s the case, then everyone can marry several people.” How he had arrived at this conclusion from a simple question about whether any two people that wanted to should be allowed to marry is for anybody to guess but the wisdom of choosing to become the standard bearer of traditional American family values by extolling the virtues of marriage in the modern world is somewhat questionable with almost half of all marriages ending in divorce and first marriages lasting for a median of just eight years. He mustn›t have made himself familiar with the modern statistics on marriage in America that shows that the traditional institution upon which he places so much value is seriously in 33 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
decline. If things continue in their current direction it may be that the only ones that want to get married into the future are gay couples. If Santorum has been unable to fathom even these obvious facts about the society that he lives in how can he hope to understand the complexity of America›s foreign relations, especially in the culturally alien Arab world? On February 12 while addressing a rally at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa he said, “… we have to re-brand the war, is because we need to be accurate as to who we’re fighting. Are we fighting all terrorists? And the answer to that is clearly no. There are terrorists in other parts of the world that we are not engaged in, and have no interest from national security point of view from engaging in. The other issue is, is this a war on terrorism? Well what is terrorism? Terrorism is a military tactic. Can you be at war against a military tactic? … You go to war against what we’ve always gone to war against. You go to war against a virulent ideology that seeks to harm and destroy America” When did America›s pursuit of the people that were responsible for the attacks of 9/11 turn into a Crusade against the age old Saracen foe? What happened to defending the traditional American value of the freedom of religious belief? The really disturbing thing about all of this comes when you examine exactly who and what Santorum thinks that we are fighting. A larger part of his campaign in recent weeks has tried to paint Santorum as an expert on Iran and the man with the answers for our relationship
with the Iranians. At the core of his ‹understanding› of Iran is his fixation on the idea that the Iranians are committed to causing chaos across the Middle East in order to hasten the return of the 12th Imam, Mohammed al-Mahdi whose reappearance in the world will usher in a new era of peace with Shi’a Islam as the ruling power in the world. While it is well known that Iranian President Ahmadinijad is a believer in the Mahdi, mostly because of the incessant ranting of the court jester of the extreme right wing Christian lobby Glenn Beck, it is also well known that the belief isn›t embraced by Iran›s religious leaders nor is it widespread in the Islamic world as a whole. Just as Beck has beaten up the 12th Imam to fever pitch so too has he pushed the Islamic-socialist drive for world domination that is supposed to be behind the Arab Spring. When OWS protestors received messages of encouragement and support from Egypt›s Arab Spring democracy movement the right wing press made the same sort of intuitive illogical leap that Santorum made from gay marriages to polygamy when they drew the instant conclusion that the Islamic revolutionaries were now targeting America›s youth. All of this is made even more frightening when Santorum›s quoted stand on how he would handle Iran, and by proxy the rest of the Middle East is considered. When asked if he would declare war on Iran if they didn›t comply with US demands to dismantle their nuclear research facilities (which they are entitled to have under current International Law) Santorum said,“Declare war? No.
But take it out, with tactical strikes to take out this facility.” And his justification for such an unprecedented act of aggression? Iran has already declared war on the United States in 1979 when the embassy staff in Tehran were held for ransom and so there would be no need to consult with either the Congress of the American people before taking such a momentous decision. In fact his understanding of Iran is actually so poor that when the Obama administration failed to back anti-government protests in Tehran in 2009 he attacked the President for not supporting the ‹genuine Arab Spring› that was starting there, apparently ignorant of the fact that Iran isn›t an Arab country. Even after his misapprehension of the reality of Iran›s non-involvement in any Arab Spring uprisings was pointed out he still persists with making the connection between Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood simply because they are both adherents of the Shi’a sect of Islam. His blanket policy for dealing with the Muslim world seems to be to demonize them in such a way as to make an unprovoked American attack on them more palatable to the voting public and statements like, “The only difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida is that al-Qaida is more up front about the violence they’ll use to conquer and accomplish their purpose. But the Muslim Brotherhood is a very dangerous organization, and no one we should be dealing with.” make it clear that if he makes it to the Oval Office that sending more US military to the Middle East to conduct more unwinnable wars is firmly on his “to do” list. Dr No, the Fed and Fiat Money The biggest issue facing America in the coming years is the deficit which will be closing in on $16 trillion by the time that the polls open to elect the next President and yet the only GOP candidate
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that even examines the issue with anything even resembling a financial plan to turn it around is Ron Paul. His campaign web page resembles an accounting textbook and most of it will be beyond most people›s patience to read through but the bottom line is that he promises to cut $1 trillion in spending in his first year and to only accept the median American salary of $39,336 which sets him apart from the other Republican candidates and, for the most part, from the rest of the Republican Party. Dr Paul has been taking a stand against excessive government spending and has voted against all such increases so often and for so long that he has come to be known as Dr. No by his colleagues in the Congress but what is most notable about Ron Paul›s stand on economics is what he considers to be the source of all of America›s financial woes- the Federal Reserve. Once firmly in the realm of the most dedicated conspiracy theorists, the subject of fiat money has, in recent years, come to be a serious subject in the up coming elections largely due to Dr. Paul›s efforts to explain why debt based currency is a bad thing to the middle classes who are mostly ignorant of the mechanisms of money and the ways in which the banks manipulate it to maximize their wealth- led by the granddaddy of all
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banks, the Fed. According to Paul the source of all evil is the Federal Reserve and in his book End the Fed he explains in minute detail how the currency has been constantly inflated to raise the cost and lower the quality of living in the United States. In his Ayn Rand inspired political philosophy the world is divisible into two classes of being, Producers and Looters and in his opinion the government has been given over to the looters who have stripped Americans of the wealth that they had in the middle of the last century. The cure for this, according to Dr. Paul, is to let the too big to fail banks go under, stop propping up the American auto industry and let America›s entrepreneurial spirit have full reign and in time all will be right with the world again. At a time when the nation needs clear leadership the Republicans are offering only more of the same with a side of weird. Some of the more frightening aspects of their skewed world view and of America›s place in it are genuinely disturbing. That someone who may one day be President would truly believe that we should go to war with a religion, however radical or fundamentalist it may be, is not only the height of ignorance and hypocrisy but also does irreparable damage to the way that the rest of the world views the United States.
Safeguard Your Hot Sauce Leenha Oijala
Photography by: David A. Christian 36 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
When it comes to the topic of condiments, I almost never cease to assert that my favorite for spicing up any dish is Tamari sauce (a thicker and less salty version of soy sauce). It is far superior to salt in practically all foods, except for baked goods maybe. However, the general consensus on the condiment of choice in almost any situation, and as observed in many of the various places I have lived or visited, is hot sauce. Hailed by many as the magic ingredient that can cover up the culinary horrors of even the most disgusting foods (airplane meals anyone?), hot sauce has become a staple in every restaurant and nearly every home. The main ingredient in hot sauce is any kind of hot pepper belonging to the capsicum family, which is the latin term for the genus of peppers and chilis. The capsicum family originates from the Americas, with evidence of its earliest existence obtained from the current regions of Puebla and Oaxaca in Mexico. From these regions the fruit (yes, it is a fruit, not a vegetable) spread from South to North America and on across the globe. Its use in the cuisine and medicine of many cultures is due to the presence of capsacin, a chemical that causes a burning sensation when it comes in contact with mucous membranes. Thus its purpose in activating our inner organs; it is a circulatory stimulant, an analgesic, and even a mild preservative. As has rather unfortunately become a habit in this country, we 37 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
have taken a beautiful and simple idea like consuming capsicum in pure form and turned it into a brandished, sugared, and effectively marketed “sauce” that is now consumed all over the country. Barbecue sauce has become the most popular form of injecting any kind of heat into our palettes, and mostly only because of the proprietary lucrative beef industry. Salsas, which often contain some form of capsicum, can be purchased from “mild” to “very hot” (which usually isn’t) and are almost always full of preservatives as well as the star of the American food industry - high fructose corn syrup. This sweetener is evident in many forms of our country’s interpretation of hot sauce, such as in the tomato-heavy Heinz Chili Sauce and Taco Bell’s Pepper Jack Sauce. Many of the companies producing hot sauce in the US have resorted to preservation with lots of highly processed vinegar and sodium benzoate (counted as one of the many “E” numbers/chemicals used in food manufacturing), which
creates the carcinogen benzene when it comes in contact with ascorbic acid (another common preservative) and potassium benzoate. The original Tabasco sauce is the most widely recognized US owned, pure hot sauce. Established in 1868, the McIlhenny family still produces the condiment in a fairly respectable manner, although much of their pepper growing and sauce production has moved from its native Avery Island, Louisiana to South America. With so many questionable factors associated amid this spicy essence, what really is the hot sauce of choice? Our food industry has been built on maximizing profit by injecting chemicals into the majority of commercially available foods, leading us to become on of the most obese nations on the planet. As has become increasingly prominent, this is due to the tricks of advertising and corporate greed that is choking this country in its stranglehold. Even hot sauce, not unhealthy in itself, can become harmful to health when prepared with
the chemicals so often used in it. So, in the name of the “Occupy Food” movement, calling for the end of Wall Street’s control of the food industry and agricultural markets, why not make your own? Here at my Northwestern home of Myrtle Glen (myrtleglenfarm.com), we all love a bit of spice on our breakfast eggs, in soups and salsas, and have to come to realize that the majority of our guests also do. With a leftover bunch of dried jalapenos and cayennes, and a typically rainy day in late winter, we decided to make our own batch of hot sauce. We take pride in growing nearly all ingredients for the vegetable-based foods we eat (as well as most of our meat and dairy), creating a safety net of self-sufficiency. In these times where the likes of Monsanto are gaining a frightening amount of authority over agricultural practices, the ability to grown your own food, and eventually your own seeds, is increasingly recognized. Almost one in every five Americans is currently on food stamps, a system that could be used for creating our own, small scale and local food networks. In the case of homemade hot sauce, each of those one in five people could use their stamps to provide ingredients that are harder to come by in bulk, such as vinegar and salt, while the capsicum, tomatoes, onions, garlic and other desired vegetables can be grown in one’s backyard, patio area, or even windowsill. All you really then need is either a canner (along with the equipment) or a bit of freezer space. Making your own hot sauce is perfect for fighting off an early 38 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
spring cold or simply bringing some tongue sizzling pride to your next edible creation. Not to mention, spending time on indoor projects by a hot stove can be more comfortable at this time of year. You can follow the guidelines below, but feel free to add your own touch, such as a pinch of lime zest, cocoa powder or honey to punch up your salsa picante. We’ve found that dried peppers work best, as the starches in the fruit partially convert to sugar once dehydrated; they are sweeter and the consistency of your sauce can be controlled by adding water as opposed to cooking your raw ingredients down. Fresh peppers can also be used, but keep in mind that whilst living in North America, fresh peppers wont be available from local growers until at least July or August. Many ethnic food markets sell a variety of dried peppers for good prices year-round. For future reference, and if you decide to grow a crop of peppers for preserving, or know someone who has extra to spare, peppers are extremely easy to dry by just stringing them on a strong line and hanging in the warmest, driest place in your house. They should be dry within a matter of weeks, and keep good flavor for up to a year. So go on, snag one of those tiny Tabasco bottles on a restaurant visit (or you should really pay for it) to refill with your own concoction. That way you can keep yourself stocked with a personal stash of hot sauce to take along on any trip, or to dinner parties where you know your spicy delight will be admired. In the long run, your taste buds, and your best buds, will thank you.
Here you see a portion (about 10 cups worth) of this years Cayenne crop in dehydrated form, about to be processed into delectable, homemade hot sauce.
Here on the wood stove, they are being re-hydrated with tomato juice, vinegar and water. Once cooked up, dried garlic, dried onions, a few Serrano, and Jalapeno peppers(all from this years garden as well) some salt, citric acid, paprika and a couple tablespoons of molasses are stirred in. After about an hour of simmering, it is removed to cool enough for the blender.
Organic Hot Sauce 3
Blended and then sieved to remove seeds, the sauce is returned to the stove to re-heat while some half-pint jars are washed and sterilized in boiling water along with their rings and lids for canning.
Once the jars are ready, the sauce is scooped in and then sealed and returned to the hot water bath. We love our Elmira woodstove, she can do at least 10 jobs at once! If youâ€™re new to canning, make sure youâ€™ve really read up on it or have someone with experience show you the ropes.
Ta-da! Perfectly sealed pints of our own spicy goodness. Remember, you can also freeze your sauce in jars, plastic containers or Ziplocs. Leave some headspace as liquids expand when frozen. Pop one open and say Caliente!!
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Social Responsib by Nives P. Covnik
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Socially responsible corporate practices are still not part of business culture. Out of some 80,000 multinational corporations around the world, only a small percentage embraced corporate sustainability, UN says. In spite of several UN-backed initiatives to foster greater involvement of companies to advance sustainable development around the world, businesses so far have been slow to align their operations with universally accepted values and principles in the areas of labor, human rights, environment and anti-corruption. Worse, the majority have yet to make any commitment to these universal principles. 41 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
Embracing socially responsible corporate practices makes good business sense, says George Kell, the Executive Director of UN Global Compact, the UN initiative for promotion of socially responsible corporate practices. During press conference in New York this week, Mr. Kell talked about progress that had been made after a decade of UN efforts to mobilize businesses all over the world to adopt universal UN principles and values. Even so, a total of 3,123 companies, out of more than 7,000 from 140 countries that had joined the UN initiative, were expelled since 2005 for non-compliance and for failure to implement the Compact’s sustainability principles. Furthermore, many participants of UN initiative continuously fail, says Global Compact. Having become the masters of the actual economy rather than its public servants, financial markets are now a threat to economic stability; they distort investment and trade and heighten levels of inequality, says Supachai Panitchpakdi, the Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in his most recent report on development-led globalization. The casualties of the economic crisis are numerous. There are 200 million unemployed worldwide; the Millennium Development Goals will also not be achieved by 2015, as Governments 42 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
worldwide had pledged; and further progress on greenhouse gas emissions reductions has stalled as well, UNCTAD report reveals. World economy needs to create over the next ten years 400 million new jobs for the new entrants to the labor market, says International Labor Organization (ILO). Some 75 million of young people are currently unemployed, with youth unemployment rate standing at 12.7 percent worldwide, ILO also reports. Worse, the rate does not even reflect some of the young people who had altogether dropped out of the labor market. The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) brought together this week representatives of governments, private s e c t o r a n d y o u t h f ro m around the world to discuss youth unemployment. Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, underscored while addressing the gathering in New York that monetary and fiscal policies must be redesigned to boost youth employment. Ms.
Migiro pointed out that youth unemployment rate rose to 18 percent in the developed economies at the beginning of 2011 and in North Africa and in Western Asia to 40 percent. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, in his introduction to the most recent World Youth Report that was released by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), talks about the “largest generation of young people the world has ever known.” The UN system needs to be pulled together “like never before to support a new social contract of jobrich economic growth,” Mr. Ban Ki-moon argues before he concludes: “Let us start with young people.” In spite of the ongoing worldwide calls for corporate sustainability on broader scale, the question if the world’s corporations are ready for more sustainable course of doing business persists. The notion that we can reconcile corporate responsibility and speculative market is still alive and well. According to Executive Director of Global Compact, less than 10 percent of the corporate participants had joined their movement and initiatives. Similarly, the Secretary General of UNCTAD stated that it was revealing that even a fraction of the resources used to save ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions could never be allocated in times of economic prosperity for social welfare, economic
and social development, infrastructure-building or to tackle environmental and other challenges. The UN Secretary General during the February corporate sustainability summit in New York called on global businesses and the United States companies in particular to support more strongly UN initiatives saying: “We need corporate sustainability to be in the DNA of business culture and operations.” But will business leaders a ro u n d t h e g l o b e j o i n forces with Global Compact in advancing sustainable development and the green growth agenda? Rio+20, the upcoming June UN Conference on Sustainable Development, and the Corporate Sustainability Forum present an opportunity for the international community to demand more from global businesses and convince them once and for all that stable development is incompatible with the speculative market. Although it is encouraging that some 400 business schools around the world began to integrate the Global Compact into their curriculum, more needs to be done. A shift in the global political and economic landscape is evident. New political alliances have emerged, says the Secretary General of UNCTAD Mr. Supachai in his report and the share of developing economies in the world income increased in 43 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
to 30 percent with trade and global development model is investment patterns shifting unsustainable accordingly. and it warns that we risk Market economies condemning up to 3 billion can operate within a wide people to endemic poverty spectrum of political as well by failing resolve the as social arrangements, with sustainable development. no single model of statemarket relations for others Executive Director of UN to follow, Mr. Supachai further states. However, Global Compact George Kell the interdependent world also calls for international says that Panel’s work confirms leadership and collective that a lasting transformation responsibility. Mr. Supachai talks in his of the global market requires report about “underlying weaknesses” ignored prior a significant shift in the to the current economic crisis way we look at the cost of and the pronounced risks when the financial markets externalities. Considering disconnect themselves from the real economy, and the distance before reaching tie wealth creation to the a final destination, our fast accumulation of debt and rising asset prices, and tipping point in corporate channel innovation to financial engineering instead of to sustainability, it is time “to technological progress. But take business to task,” Kell is corporate world listening? At the end of January, concludes. the UN High-level panel on Global Sustainability also We need to break the released Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A future pattern of economic thought worth choosing, a report that that led to international calls for a transformation of the global economy with more financial crisis if we want to than 50 recommendations for successful launching of find a new way forward, many sustainable development. The argue. Maybe, the head of panel recommends among other the incorporation of UNCTAD said it best when he environmental and social costs in “regulating and pricing of declared that the world was in goods and services.” need of “a global new deal.” The Panel writes its report that the current Source: UN
Are You Stupid? By Thomas Thyros
Spiritualit The New Religion for the New Age 44 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
Let us start this article with a controversial statement at the forefront. If you are in the poor or working class, and vote Republican, you are less intelligent, and thus vote against your own interests as well as the interests of your family. Because of this, you are also irresponsible and lazy. You are somewhat prejudiced toward those of different races, classes, orientations, or religions, as well as supportive of those persons or corporations that would and have enslaved people here in America as well as abroad. You tend to be involved in archaic religions preached by denominations that have misinterpreted the bible, and thus tend to be hypocritical. You have missed the point of voting altogether, and have no supporting arguments. However, if you are in the poor or workingclass, and vote Democrat, you tend to be more intelligent, responsible, and compassionate towards the welfare of your fellow humans. This not only makes you a better human being, but also more valuable to the political system, and thus services a far better purpose on issues that affect everyone. You tend to understand religion for exactly what it is and what it means. You tend to be more open minded, study issues more readily, thus understanding the causative effects of your decisions. You also tend to understand that betterment of the individual means betterment of the whole of society. You understand that equal rights means equality for everyone, regardless of race, religion, station, or sexual orientation. After all--equal means equal. The only problem that I have with the Democrats is their constant mentioning of the “middle-class” when they should be saying “working-class.” They alienate many voters each and every time they make this statement, and it is simplistic pandering and somewhat classist. I know that you Republicans out there will feel insulted, and you will jump at this article with great anger, trying to debate or debunk the above definition. Nevertheless, (and so obviously) your Republican candidates and their pundits have preceded you in your arguments, defeating them, and clouding your logic beforehand. 45 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
Below, I have assembled a short list of statements made by the obtuse and witless “mouth pieces” of the Right. These statements alone firmly back up my aforementioned definition of those who would vote for a Republican. They speak for themselves, and I have directly quoted each one as they were said by the person who said them. Additionally, just because I have singled out Republicans, does not mean that Democrats have not said some rather less than intelligent things as well. However, Democrats do prove to be much less inclined to such stupidity. Also, before all of you Republicans out there decide to parrot the old, stale, and useless lines of usual propaganda, (because you are insulted by this article) remember that this rhetoric is your own--spoken by those that support the very same ideologies that you yourself support. The Republican statements below insult many poor and working-class people and these people are going to vote against those who speak, what is tantamount, to simpleton hate speech.
Did You Really Say That?
This list is admittedly short; however, one can easily draw their own conclusions as to just how askew some politicians and media figures have become in these trying times. They speak as though they are a desperate lot, garbled of thought, and show a whopping disconnection from those they are supposed to be representing. I will answer each of these statements with intelligent rebuttal; however, I would not expect you Republicans to understand those answers. Also, because we all know that you Republican supporters are lacking in brain function, might I suggest that you retrieve a dictionary, (or purchase one) before you read the article before you. I say this because I use words that will surely be beyond your mental grasp, and because you are already confused, I would rather you understand the depth of my logic. Let us start with the backward and mentally incapable Sharron Angle, Republican Senate candidate in Nevada, and opponent of Sen. Harry Reid. She said: “[We] have put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry and said you don’t want the jobs that are available.” Do you mean that Americans do not want to be under-employed while your cronies get rich because they wish not to pay a proper working wage to the worker? If this is your point comrade, then yes, you are indeed correct. American’s would rather have the industrial jobs back that our grand parents and parents had, not the minimum-wage fast-food jobs that you seem to tout as “jobs” that drive multitudes onto these “entitlements” that you speak of. Former Representative Tom DeLay, the Texas Republican was quoted as saying: “You know there is an argument to be made that these extensions of unemployment benefits keep people from going 46 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
and finding jobs. In fact, there are some studies that have been done that show people stay on unemployment compensation, and they don’t look for a job until two or three weeks before they know the benefits are going to run out.” Moreover, let us not forget that since there are no jobs, (because of Republicans) that these unfortunate folks could not find work, and ended up becoming homeless. However, you support the “people, “right Mr. DeLay? Additionally, how much corporate welfare have you received? You have set on your backside and taken handouts so long that that ass of yours is as calloused as your opinions of the people that you are supposed to be representing! Sarah Palin is perhaps, one of the dumbest people to ever hold an office. She is responsible for this humdinger of a response when she was asked about Paul Revere. “He who warned uh, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh by ringing those bells, and um, makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.” Did you get that? It seems rather obvious that poor Sarah was overcome with exhaust fumes while traveling around the country in her “Battymobile.” I find no need to rebut this one further, it speaks for itself. Ann Coulter is one of the most repugnant human beings to 47 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
ever walk the face of the earth. She is a would-be despot, and given half a chance, would rival Hitler for top dictator. She is responsible for some of the most vile statements ever unleashed on anyone that isn‘t of her degraded intellect. Just after the attacks of Sept. 11, Coulter wrote, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” It was this statement that got her fired from The National Review, where she was employed as a columnist. Her statement is reflective of what Christianity has become in America: Hate, delivered through sexism, classism, anti-Semitism, and gay-hate. Her hate-filled statements about Muslims, saying they, “shouldn’t be allowed on airplanes,” but instead should take “flying carpets,” is just another example of her ardent prejudice. She verbally attacked a seventeen year old student, Fatima Al-Dhaher, during a visit to Western Ontario University. Al-Dhaher put this question to her antagonist; “As a 17-year-old student of this university, Muslim, should I be converted to Christianity? Second of all, since I don’t have a magic carpet, what other modes do you suggest?” Coulter’s reply? “What mode of transportation? Take a camel.”
(R-Louisiana): “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans [Hurricane Katrina]. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” If this does not say exactly what most Republicans believe then nothing does. The implied “God hates the poor,” is not only insulting, but also shows the stunted intelligence of what I have termed, “the Republicanminded.” It also shows just how corrupted organized religion has become. Preachers preaching hate, twisting scripture into classist diatribes rife with stale and errant belief, pandering to mammon, and whoring religion for monetary gain. This one from Bill Cunningham, a right wing zealot and darling of the Republican crowd: “You know people are poor in America... not because they lack money; they’re poor because they lack values, morals and ethics. And if government can’t teach and instill that, we’re wasting our time simply giving poor people money.”
Let us hope that Mr. Cunningham should never reach a high threshold of power. A statement like this is tantamount to a “Ron Paulism.” It indicates that the people must be dictated too, and thus should be taught that the government is omnipotent. It also smacks of government somehow Anne Coulter, is a demagogue, knowing what is best for its supportive and supported by people, and that its omnipresence the racist-Right, and should should be an edict of edification. be considered a danger to all It is simply--despotic. American ideals. And this one from FOX News This one is a real beauty! It is from host Bill O’Reilly: “You gotta look former Rep. Richard H. Baker people in the eye and tell ‘em
they’re irresponsible and lazy.... Because that’s what poverty is, ladies and gentlemen. In this country, you can succeed if you get educated and work hard. Period. Period.” You know, the more Bill opens his mouth the more one begins to realize that his parents must have been close cousins that couldn’t control their sexual urges. However, it does say something about “the Republican-minded” that should be plaudit; they are sometimes compassionate enough to give the mentally challenged a job. However, much of this is nullified by Bill’s “irresponsible and lazy” reporting. You just can’t seem to help some people. Admittedly, this is a short list of hateful statements by Republican troglodytes, but as stated earlier, I’m sure it will suffice for the purpose. I want this article to start a dialog between the Republicans and the Democrats. The Republicans--as aforementioned--will no doubt be offended. However, there are plenty of Democrats, and poor, working class people who are equally insulted by the hateful and defamatory statements made by Republicans and their ilk. Is this article divisive? You bet it is. I otherwise do not support divisiveness, as I think it tends to remove attention from the importance of the issues. However, hateful speech should not be tolerated or ignored regardless of who says it, or from which political realm it comes. The individual Republican may not feel they are themselves, hateful. However, a vote for a Republican is all the same supportive of such.
Like Talking to a Brick Wall By Lane Buckman In the very early days of my religious zealotry, I invited a Southern Baptist friend to visit one of the charismatic services at my Word of Faith church. Like every baby Christian I was red hot for Jesus and out to save the world. We were on our way home, and I asked Theresa what she thought of the pastor’s sermon, and nearly swerved the car off the road when she answered with, “You know, I’m not even sure the Bible is true anymore. I mean, who says it is? How many different people wrote it? We don’t even know who wrote bits of it.” Blasphemy! Those are words that strike fear into the heart of the Christian because they hit at the very root of their religious faith. If the Bible isn’t true, then what is? I was very proud of my reply. “Theresa,” I said, “If God
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is powerful enough to set the earth in motion, I’m pretty sure he is powerful enough to get a book written.” And that sad little argument against reason was powerful enough to keep me from considering her questions for another ten years. That is why I was such an excellent Evangelical. That is why politicians like Rick Santorum terrify me. In order to have a conversation with an Evangelical, you must understand that the root of every argument will return to one point: The veracity of the Bible. No matter how well stated, logical, or factual your stand, and no matter how much he may agree intellectually, if it is at odds with either jot or tittle , the Evangelical will have no option but to disagree. It is the fault upon which the entire house of cards is built. Christians in general show a remarkable capacity for belief. Basic tenants of the
Christian faith in the New Testament alone include virgin birth, laying on of hands to heal sickness, resurrection of the dead, and ascension from earth in a physical body, into an astral plane. Those tropes are X-Files enough on their own, but mean nothing without the firm, dogmatic belief that some 40-plus authors of 66 separate books, written in three different languages, over the course of 1600 years did so under the direction of God’s Holy Spirit, and were then translated into multiple variations without the first error in transcription or tone. From the origins of Adam and Eve in Genesis, to the reign of the Alpha and Omega in Revelations, the Christian religion requires unquestioning faith in every word written. Apologists like Josh McDowell, author of the Evidence That Demands a Verdict series, use a mix of citation, reason, and religious fervor in their efforts
to prove that the Bible is a divinely inspired book of facts. McDowell frequently cites 2 Timothy 3:16,17 which reads, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” In his book with Don Douglas, Reasons Skeptics Should Consider Christianity, he says of that scripture, “The word inspired is a translation of the Greek word theopneustos, meaning Godbreathed. Thus, the origin of Scripture is God, not man; it is God-breathed.” Well that explains everything! If the source itself tells you it is divine, then it must be. McDowell also frequently points to his own conversion (achieved while he was on a quest to disprove the existence of God) as evidence of El Shaddai. At least he is consistent. It is rather ridiculous, but when you are talking to an Evangelical, you must understand that this is at the heart of every issue. The man Moses did not write that men should not lie with men as they do with women , God did. The man Peter did not write that women should be considered the weaker vessel , God did. The man Moses did not command you not to kill , which is a good thing, since the god he was quoting turned around and sent Israel into Midian with the command to kill every male and every woman who was no longer a virgin . If you are going to be inconsistent, it is very important that you be Divinely inconsistent, so that your shadow of turning might be explained away with the question of who has ever known the unsearchable mind of the lord, or been his counselor ? As long as it is God inspiring the writing, who are we mere mortals to question? So how do you talk to an Evangelical about the Bible? Well, that all depends on your Evangelical. If your Evangelical is open-minded (yes, those do exist)
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then you might start by asking them what they think of how all arguments for the divinity of the work fold back in on the work itself. You might ask what outside sources also claim its divinity. You might, if you’re feeling particularly puckish, ask which of the modern translations best captures the essence of the original languages, and find out what they think of the modern paraphrases. You might begin to see a chink in the armor. Don’t expect an immediate conversion. Studied Evangelicals know that it statistically takes seven individual exposures to the message of Christ before a nonbeliever comes to a point of conversion. For some sow, some water, and some reap. If you are the Evangelical’s first exposure to reason after a lifetime of indoctrination, it is highly likely you will do little more than stir up dust in the Damascus Road of their thinking. Be gentle. They honestly don’t know better. In fact, your Evangelical is going to think he is on the road to converting you. Evangelicals, and many Christians, predicate their faith on feelings. The hymnal refrain “my God is real, for I can feel him in my soul (and I’ve always particularly enjoyed Jerry Lee Lewis’s version of that one),” is good enough for most, satisfying the Bible’s requirement for blind faith. In Romans 10:17, Paul says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the word of God. Asking for proof beyond God’s word is coming close to sin, verging on saying you require the physical to believe. Requirement of proof is proof of lack of faith, and lack of faith is proof of godlessness. You see the conundrum? This is true, unless you are dealing with evangelism. If you are out there evangelizing, lack of faith is exciting because it means you’re doing something right! Pamela Dean, author of Tam Lin, a masterful retelling of the Scottish ballad of the same name uses a main character to write of Romeo and Juliet. Her character describes them as believing their love
is true because the course of true love never runs smooth. Because their love is star-crossed, it must be real. Evangelicals fall prey to this when it comes to dealing with non-believers. Because Paul said that the message of Christ crucified is a stumbling block to the Jews, who demanded signs in order to believe, and foolishness to the Greeks, who demanded logic in order to believe , Evangelicals are cow-eyed with delight at your request for proof or reason of their faith. If you are confused or slow to commit, they are properly preaching Christ crucified—just as Paul did. They will continue to pray for your eyes to be opened, and for you to convert, or they will pray that God let Satan have his way with you until you are forced to admit defeat and accept Jesus as your lord. All of the above is why any politician with an evangelical agenda frightens me. You cannot reason with an Evangelical because reason is the antithesis of faith. An Evangelical cannot reconcile gay marriage, women’s rights, or a foreign policy other than Zionism with his conscience. He may see your point about civil rights, or understand your desire for contraceptives, or feel a little sorry for Palestine, but he will just shake his head at you because you don’t understand that God’s Law is above man’s law, and contraceptives are gateway drugs to sin, and that Israel is God’s Chosen People. And, that Evangelical will do everything within his power to force you to conform to his world view, all the while sleeping soundly at night, knowing he is working toward the greater good and the salvation of your soul. Sources: McDowell, Josh, and Don Douglas. Stewart. “Introduction.” Reasons Skeptics Should Consider Christianity. San Bernardino, CA: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1981. 15. Print. Matthew 5:18 King James Version (KJV) Leviticus 18:22 | 1 Peter 3:7 | Exodus 20:13 | Numbers 31:17 Romans 11:33-35 | 1I Corinthians 1:22—24
The President Doesn’t Pray
Imagining America’s First A
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Atheist Leader by G.K. Houchin
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The lights are hot and bright on the stage as the contenders for the Republican nominee line up behind their podiums for another debate, perhaps the final one before a candidate is chosen to take on Barack Obama this November. The back drop is the usual conglomeration of patriotic blues, reds and whites to an extent that would make Betsy Rossâ€™s head spin as the debate opens with more fiery attacks against opponents and pronouncements of dominant political skill. Though each potential nominee pushed hard to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack with their opinions on illegal immigration and bailouts, and how their comrades in the limelight are inadequate or simply wrong, there is one underlying theme that binds the three front-runners and continually rears its head among topics of moral ambiguity: religion.
Romney, Santorum and Gingrich all profess themselves to be devout Christians, and though these words are not spoken verbatim, they all insinuate that their Christian values will be an important factor in their policy making as president. Although each sits upon a different branch of the Christian tree: Romney as a Mormon, Santorum the Catholic and Gingrich the soup of the day (that is, Lutheran, then Southern Baptist and currently a Catholic) they all try to remain consistent and agree on certain hot-button topics that are of great importance to their Christian voting base. We’re all familiar with the two issues that are most regularly discussed and debated within the political side-shows, that of the rights of abortion and gay-marriage. The Republican candidates might say otherwise but the reason for the debate behind these two topics, the only reason they happen to be such a thoroughly discussed issue in modern America, is because of the religious morality of the conservative right. Saying that you are a Christian is synonymous in the U.S. with saying you have good values, and few would openly contradict this statement. There has been increasing focus on the idea of a ‘right morality’ which has all but overshadowed actual relevant political issues (how much talk do you hear about the devaluation of the U.S. dollar? Those are the values that should be taking precedence), and though it has not displaced important American concerns like the weak economy and unemployment, 52 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
it has taken a fair amount of precious time masquerading as a truly essential subject. They may flout their religious dogma as a reason for their election to the highest office in the land, but they still refuse to go as far as openly opposing the Constitution which clearly demands there be a separation between church and state. God help them if they imply the U.S. Constitution is faulty, that is akin to doubting the word of the Holy Bible; political blasphemy. So it is no surprise that Mitt Romney, a former missionary for the Mormon Church, would uphold the idea of a separation between church and state – at least in words. We have become complacent to certain ideas, one of them being that a presidential hopeful interposing his or her religious beliefs into their policies is not in defiance of the Constitutions creed. So when Romney says on his website that “he will […] champion a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman,” many, but not all, of the American people fail to see the irony. Here is a proposed Constitutional amendment that is flagrantly unconstitutional, designed not to protect the rights of the people, which is its purpose, but to legally limit their freedom to live the life the Constitution is supposed to uphold. As Romney has been quoted, “Freedom requires religion,” it does not oppose it, it is inseparable. These values are set before the American people as ‘good values,’ that is ‘Christian values,’
as if there were no other kind. As Romney said, without religion there is no freedom, which is the same as saying atheism is tyrannical and immoral. Atheism has long been associated with hedonistic ambivalence and moral bankruptcy. How can a person claiming to have no belief in God or religion be a moral person? The concept of morality in Republican politics has essentially become inseparable from Christian values, even when two of the key topics they habitually return to are by definition contradictory to the American belief and worship of freedom. The person who sides with biblical scripture and decides that two people of the same sex entering wedlock should not only be seen as immoral but illegal is said to have good family values, while one who openly denies having faith in Christianity would be much more likely to allow people the freedom to marry whomever they wish. This is the true irony behind atheist morality vs. Christian morality; while one is open and unrestricted the other is narrow and subject to ancient and outdated beliefs, yet the latter is the one a large portion of American citizens claim to believe as the height of righteousness. U n l i k e re l i g i o u s d o c t r i n e s atheism has no set rules. The Christian right sees this as a gapping target to fire upon. If atheism has no set of moral rules to live by, how are they not going to disintegrate into a tribe of self-servicing brutes? Yet the attacks never match what simple observation will show. The religious go forth with this attack teetering on the illogical hope
that no one will question it. Yet long before Jesus of Nazareth was born in his manger, or Moses walked down the mountain with his Ten Commandments, the world, and people, were fairly similar to the way they are today. There is something called ‘rational morality;’ what is bad for the species is considered immoral on an evolutionary level, so something like cold-blooded murder isn’t going to make it onto anyone’s ethical rights list. Morality does not need the threat of punishment behind it in the form of eternal retribution. A person raised without religion is just as capable of learning right from wrong as anyone else, and what is considered right and wrong doesn’t have to be standardized by scripture. Imagine an America where the president was not bogged down by ideas of Christian or other religious morality. When you get down to the nitty-gritty the foundation of religious ethics are formed by one simple concept: do whatever God, or a god, tells you and do not make him angry or there will be some kind of sanctions involved, usually severe punishment, i.e. eternal damnation. This means that if a god tells you that sexual intercourse between two men is wrong, there is no questioning it or you will suffer the consequences of a wrathful deity. Instead of being prolife, a popular Christian maxim, Christian morality is antilife because it does not deal with topics in a rational way, but already has their ethical to-do list engraved (literally in some cases) in stone. It is focused on 53 MOOT MAGAZINE - March 2012
the afterlife of the soul, not on the reality of living human beings in the world today. Atheism does not necessarily mean a higher level of relevant ethical behavior, there are good and bad Christians and there are good and bad atheists, that is simply human behavior, but being an atheist does remove a great deal of baggage that allows for abstract reasoning and flexibility to an ever changing world. An atheist president would have a wider and less cluttered view when it comes to these topics that the media and conservative politicians continue to have issue against. Homosexuality would no longer be an issue at all, nor what we currently refer to as, victimless crimes. Imagine a president that need not waste time worrying about actions or activities that have no rational reason to be considered amoral and can instead focus all of his time and energy into the important functions of balancing a federal budget, lowering unemployment and raising the value of the dollar. In other words, effectively running a country. Atheism does not guarantee competence, but it certainly clears the path of befuddling debris. In our current society anyone running as a presidential hopeful who openly admitted they are an atheist would not get far in the race, and certainly wouldn’t win any nominations let alone the actual presidency. That is not to say certain presidents in the past weren’t in fact atheists, like Thomas Jefferson who edited the New Testament to remove all the religious aspects
in favor of a streamlined version of the basic moral preaching’s of Jesus. He, and potentially others, simply knew better than to openly flout their skepticism. To do so then, as today, could potentially be political suicide. In spite of the arguments that an atheist president would not have the ethical foundation that something like religion s u p p o s e d l y p ro v i d e s , t h e opposite appears to be much truer. Rick Santorum states in one breath that “my passion for protecting and preserving freedom is a gift,” while one paragraph later he begins an attack on gay marriage. How can this opposing view be justified? How can a purported love of freedom mesh with the blatant statement that one is opposing the freedom of certain individuals? And that based on a superstition that goes under the heavy name of religion. Atheism and unethical behavior have no correlation, while religious persecution is a definable fact of history. Human beings have a natural and learned morality that is apart from anything religion has to offer, not to mention much more open in its acceptance of certain behaviors that are of no harm to anyone. What the religious views of the conservative candidates shows is not that they have greater values than non-religious persons, but that it seems time that a true and open atheist steps forward to oppose them and their immaterial prejudiced views that have no more relevance or necessity in the modern world than the regular animal sacrifices that were so important in the Old Testament.
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