Category Archives: Politics

Getting Elemental

Published by:

June 15, 2012

When things get a little out of hand in my life, as I’m sure things do in yours, I have a tendency to “Get Elemental”, as I call it. Another way of putting it is in a concept a wise young friend of mine said to me in my youth. “When you shake a tree vigorously, some of the leaves will fall off. The ones that remain are the ones that really matter to the tree”. While watching the Republican Party absolutely and positively lose their frigging minds like they are right now, I have a tendency to want to get elemental about what a Republican is,,, or more like, what a Republican SHOULD be.

A definition, if you will, to try and figure out what has gone all cattywampus. (I’ll give you a moment to look that up.)

Republicans are conservative. Let’s examine that term for a moment. Dictionary.Com defines the word thus:

“Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc. or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change”. The World English Dictionary says: “Favoring the preservation of existing customs, values etc., and opposing innovation”.

I don’t find any of those things threatening. I think “Opposing Innovation” to be a bit sluggish if you have a vision of something better, but there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the viewpoint. That doesn’t mean that Republicans favor standing still for all eternity. It means that they favor change in slow incremental steps that preserve what we have, while gently and carefully reaching for what we imagine we could have. A sense of building on what exists as a foundation, to make the big picture more, or better. I find no fault with that reasoning.

But that’s not what Conservatism is today. Here’s a few quotes from a few famous Republicans from decades ago:

“We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver, or less?” — President Ronald Reagan, June 1985

When I first read that quote it was in an article in Rolling Stone Magazine that was brought to my attention earlier this year by a co-worker who was surfing the net. I was truly shocked when I got to the part where the person quoted was identified. I thought it was a democrat or a progressive, like President Obama or Senator Bernie Sanders or something. A few years ago I read another quote that shocked me as well. Here’s what I read and I had the same reaction when learning who said it:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.“ — President Dwight Eisenhower, 1961

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. — President Abraham Lincoln

In all fairness, Lincoln, though a Republican, was considered a liberal. In his day, the attitudes of the two political Parties were reversed. Democrats were thought of as the stodgy business oriented folks and Republicans were the wild radical bleeding hearts on the political landscape of the United States.

My point here is to draw a comparison between the Conservatism of the first half of the last century and what a frightening and deranged thing Republican Ideology  have morphed into, today. The Republican Conservative mindset used to have some sort of integrity, some deep thought and introspection about what could make the United States a stronger, more powerful force in the world that carried with it a sense of moral character.

Contrast those quotes with what passes for Conservatism today:

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one term President.”– Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

“This president I think has exposed himself over and over again as a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture….I\’m not saying he doesn’t like white people, I’m saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist. — Radio and Television Spokes-model Glen Beck

“Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans; The House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.“ — Republican Political Operative Grover Norquist 2102

Of course, these aren’t the deepest thoughts or loftiest ideals that Conservative Republicans hold today and you and I both know it. But, they ARE indicative of what the Republican Party has been reduced to by money and radical fear of change. In the 2012 election, they have chosen as their champion, a compulsive liar with a demonstrated lack of moral compass. Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney has been accurately described as a “Well Oiled Weather Vane” by members of his own Party.

Republicans appear to have given up all hope of developing an attractive message or any sense of moral character that might attract voters to a vision of the future. They have instead become angry bullies bent on destroying anything that isn’t Republican, including the very country they claim to love.

2 years ago they created a fiscal crisis by refusing to allow the debt ceiling to be raised as it has traditionally been done, for as long as we can remember, in order to stimulate the economy into some meaningful form of recovery from the worst financial disaster in our lifetimes. As a direct result, for the first time in our history, the world’s faith in our ability to govern ourselves appropriately was called into question and our nation’s credit rating was damaged. That is not principled behavior. That’s juvenile schoolyard bullying!

I believe that Conservatism and what used to be the Republican Party is a much needed “Check and Balance” of the more esoteric excesses of liberalism. But, at present, that balance is dysfunctional as the Republican Party races radically and irresponsibly further and further to the right, causing the political landscape to change so rapidly and so dramatically that these quotes from Republicans as recently as 1985 (the Reagan Quote) now sound like the radical socialism they are accusing Democrats of.

We are in trouble in the United States as I write this and I am clear that blame and accountability can be assigned for it. It is only our fear that prevents us from recognizing that the Republican Party has most certainly lost their frigging minds and are terrorizing the citizenry of the United States and damaging our good name across the globe. Blame can also be assigned to the media for not calling a lie a lie, and for not exercising a sense of duty to the American People, to tell the truth, because of their fear of retribution from their employers; Conservative Republicans, nearly to a person. They have slowly and carefully orchestrated the infiltration of conservative political action into the Supreme Court of the United States to the point where over 100 years of Constitutional Law has recently been ignored in order to allow elections to be sold to the highest bidders; also Conservative Republicans nearly to a person!

Though to a lesser degree, the Democratic Party is not blameless either. Beholden to the same financial interests for their very electoral survival, they have, in a large part, abdicated their own integrity and responsibility to the American People to stand for the truth they know. This is not principled behavior either. It is cowardice.

The good people of the United States ARE better than this and we deserve better from our leaders. It is clearly up to us, you and I, to restore the principled behavior, that guides our own lives, back upward into the political landscape of our country because it will certainly not come trickling down from above!

Much Love,

Gregory

What’s Old is New Again

Published by:

May 23, 2012 – by Gregory Franklyn

I’m thinking about the assassination of President John Fitzjerald Kennedy tonight for a couple of reasons. One is probably due to recently watching Oliver Stone’s JFK in which Lead actor Kevin Costner, as Louisiana District Attorney Jim Garrison, tries to prove that the Kennedy Assassination was a conspiracy by the Mafia, the CIA, The FBI and some high ranking military officials. I was 11, well, closer to 12, when the Assassination took place. I was in Grade School in a one room rural school house near Memphis Michigan when we got the news.

I wasn’t old enough to understand the intricacies of a conspiracy but I was old enough to know who the President was and that he was generally well liked everywhere in my, admittedly small, world at the time. I remember seeing Walter Kronkite on TV announcing that the President was dead and seeing footage of what was happening in Dallas. The entire nation was glued to these primitive boxes for the next 4 days through the swearing in of Vice President Lyndon Johnson standing next to a weeping Jacqueline Kennedy, still wearing the blood stained dress from tragic assassination earlier that day, to the funeral procession with the finicky rider-less horse and John Jr., then about 3 or 4 years old, stepping forward saluting the passing casket.

I was also old enough to understand how no one seemed to believe the lone gunman and the magic bullet stories we were being told. Even on November 22, 1963 reporters were commenting on things that didn’t make sense. Things that seemed odd. Something was clearly going wrong and our thirst for information was being frustrated by what seemed like clashes between law enforcement agencies trying to take control of the investigation and messing up the crime scene to the degree that nothing could ever be conclusively proven about who might have been responsible for the killing of President John F Kennedy. So much so that 50 years later, we are still asking questions because what we do know still doesn ‘t make sense.

A few days later we watched as Lee Harvey Oswald was led through the underground garage at the Dallas Police department and was suddenly shot dead right there on TV by Jack Ruby, a local strip club owner and a man well know to the police. It was then that we learned that Oswald had been interrogated for several hours there at the Dallas Police Department by competing agencies and not one of them emerged from these interrogations with so much as a single sentence written down about what was said. Reports of the interrogation were later filed, but at the time, the whole thing looked kind of fishy. There were even more questions about normal procedures not being followed and the resulting mess being confusing enough that nothing could ever be conclusively proven.

This was 1963 and the 60s were just getting started. The decade had LOTS more in store to think about for a young teenager like me. Not quite 2 years later Malcolm X was murdered in a theater in Manhattan while fulfilling a speaking engagement. Again, standard crime scene procedures were not followed, confusion reigned in the hours and minutes after the shooting and police allowed the crime scene to be compromised enough that nothing could ever be proven about who was responsible. Three men were eventually convicted of the murder, but all three, now out of prison, continue to maintain their innocence.

There was more to come in the radically turbulent 60s. Later that year, the Watts riots erupted in Los Angeles bringing long simmering tensions between police and African-Americans to a head ignited by a single traffic stop of a man suspected of driving while under the influence. The next year a similar riot erupted in Detroit, again a long simmering race-centered tension had existed for decades between police and African-Americans. This time, it was ignited by police raiding a nightclub in the inner-city.

Which brings us to 1968. The pace of violence was accelerating and the preceding decade’s frustrations were coming to a head. Dr Martin Luther King was killed on a hotel balcony in Memphis Tennessee while fulfilling speaking engagements in favor of a sanitation worker’s strike for safety and wage issues. For the third time in the decade, police allowed the crime scene to be compromised to the point that nothing could ever be conclusively proven about who was responsible for the murder. In this instance, there were fewer irregularities than in the previous two assassinations. There were questions, but if there was a conspiracy, the conspirators were getting better at covering it up. Again, the story was a lone gunman, this time James Earl Ray, a fugitive.

Shortly thereafter, Robert Kennedy, brother of slain President John F Kennedy, was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles while running for President. Once again, police allowed the crime scene to become so compromised that nothing could ever be conclusively proven about who was responsible for the shooting. And, once again the official story focused on a single lone gunman, in this case a young Palestinian named Sirhan Sirhan. Several witnesses in the room where the shooting took place reported hearing a series of gunshots, one describing it as “A hail of gunfire”. Again, the sanity of anyone who disagreed with the lone gunman theory was called into question by authorities and the media.

A few months after that, Riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago erupted as Chicago Police began brutalizing thousands of protesters from all over the country who had gathered to voice their opposition to the war in Viet Nam. Senator Hubert Humphrey was nominated and favored Lyndon Johnson’s escalation of the war, which the nation had grown generally weary of.

Another reason why I ‘m thinking about these events tonight is because of the Occupy Movement we are witnessing today and the fact that we are still fighting about the same things we were frustrated about 50 years ago. War, both at home and abroad, and equality!

There are a number of things that these 4 men had in common. Not the least of which was opposition to war. Remember that it was not quite 2 years before all of this violence began that Republican President Dwight Eisenhower delivered his “Military Industrial Complex” speech as he was leaving office. I think these things are all closely tied together, one following the other in a manner that doesn’t feel organic to me. It is also why I continue to believe that a Coup de Etate of the United States took place during that decade. A prominent theme in the Oliver Stone movie that got me thinking about all this.

All 4 of these men where hugely influential, hugely powerful and had the attention of most of the nation. They were all simultaneously coming to the realization that humanity in general, and the people of the United States in particular, had more in common with one another than we had, things that divided us. They all espoused a kinder gentler nation that cared for it’s more vulnerable members and worked tirelessly for a more equal and balanced playing field that could provide opportunity for everyone, not just the wealthiest and most powerful among us. And, yes, I guess you might call it a little more socialist than the Darwinist ideals held by most Republicans.

They were all, also, deeply hated and feared by the Republican Party of their day because of it. Not so much for who they were, but more because of what they were beginning to accomplish in the hearts and minds of most Americans. It was a threat to the   Survival of the Fittest theology of rugged individualists, admired and imitated by Conservatives.

The parallels between these 4 heroes and President Barack Obama are striking to me tonight as I tie all these things together in my mind. I’ve always liked the President as a person despite my criticism of some of his inaction at critical moments. I trust him despite my frustration with him at times because it’s clear to me that he’s a smart guy with a good heart and a vision that I can appreciate. I appreciate him for the same reasons I appreciated John, Robert, Malcolm and Martin in my teens. Beneath that cool, calm, disciplined, intelligent and poised exterior, beats the heart of a hippy like me!

Republicans clearly HATE and FEAR this man. They hate and fear him even more than they love their own country and it’s because they see him working to awaken a spirit in us that they believed they had nearly extinguished altogether. The spirit of peace and fair-play that I have always believed is integral to what it means to Americans to be an American.

I’ll tell my little microcosmic story about that spirit again. In 1993 we, here in Portland, were threatened by a major flood. The downtown area was in real danger of flooding from the unusual rising of the Willamette River. The last time we were threatened by this perfect storm of precipitation and runoff from snow melting on the mountains around us was 60 years ago and it wiped out an entire town that has since been annexed into the north of Portland.

Then Mayor Vera Katz went on TV at about 8:00AM to ask for people to come downtown and help fill sandbags to guard against large scale flooding of the downtown area that was expected. About 5 hours later she was back on TV asking the good people of Portland to stay home because city workers were overwhelmed with well meaning volunteers who had responded to her call for help.

That, dear reader, is what Americans feel about what it means to be an American. We have been given a LOT as a nation and we have never been shy about the realization that much is expected of us. We have an inherited drive to be of help because we know that when we come together in a spirit of love and fair-play, we ALL benefit from it. It is a concept of governance that I don ‘t believe Republicans understand.

It feels like the 60s to me today as I watch Occupiers all over the world stand up for justice, for truth and for a common future that includes everyone and benefits everyone. My own spirit is lifted when I see these brave men and women occupying their cities and countries all over the world in the face of the brutality they face from the power structure that intends to maintain a Status Quo that favors and respects wealth and power over people. I am in hopes that that fire, that spirit, that drive, doesn’t get squashed again like it did when we took a good run at it last time. Go forward proudly my brothers and sisters. You are on the right side of history!

Much Love,

Gregory

If it Matters to Oregonians

Published by:

September 29, 2011 – by Gregory Franklyn

Am I the only one who is noticing how fossil fuel company advertising on TV has changed? In the past most advertising for fossil fuel producers focused on how their product is better for your car, or costs less, or has additives that the other guy’s fuel doesn’t. You still see such ads, but a lot fewer of them. Now what you’re seeing most is commercials trying to convince you that the product is safe for the environment and has so many wonderful benefits for the quality of your life as well as the economy. To hear them talk about it you’d think fossil fuels are the best possible energy option for the future.

EnergyTomorrow.org is one you see several times a day if you watch more than an hour of TV. The beautiful woman with the soothing voice is reminding you that if you have a 401K retirement account, you own interest in oil companies. She also presents modern technology for offshore drilling as both safe and environmentally sound. Plus, since they can now drill in several locations from a single off-shore platform, fossil fuel drilling is now even more appealing to the eye.

She welcomes you to visit the propaganda site paid for by fossil fuel producers for more information about how responsible producers have become over the years. Except, of course, the Gulf Oil Disaster last summer and the oil tanker spill in Sweden a few months ago, and the other one in San Francisco about the same time, to name a few. You won’t be reading about those at Energytomorrow.org.

Exxon-Mobile’s fracking commercials are another. Fraking, for those of you who may still be unfamiliar with the term, is not deviant sexual practice as much as it may sound like one, but a method of extracting natural gas from rock formations underground. The kind of procedure that has been known to cause the water coming out of nearby kitchen faucets to literally burst into flames!

The other type of advertizing you’re seeing a lot more of these days is financial services and insurance ads. Sam Waterston, Jack McCoy from Law & Order, is telling you how TD Ameritrade can help you retire like a king. That cute and snarky little talking baby makes investing with E*Trade seem like child’s play. And, of course, Fidelity’s flashing arrow on that magical green line directing you to your wildest dreams makes the idea of a secure future seem inevitable. All that advertising costs money,,, LOTS of it!

The reason why I mention this is because all of this affects what you see on the evening news, read in a newspaper or magazine and hear on your car radio.

WHAT? What on earth does any of those advertisements have to do with the content of the evening news?

I’m glad you asked. Years ago here in Portland, there was a scandal about the corporation that owns Fred Meyer stores. They’re a big deal here in Portland. Probably the biggest retailer in the region. In other parts of the country you would know these stores as Kroger Foods. Well, it turns out that Fred Meyer is the biggest advertiser in our local newspaper called “The Oregonian”. The Oregonian didn’t report on the scandal, but it broke anyway,,, In the Washington Post! The advertising slogan for The Oregonian was, and still is, “If it matters to Oregon, you’ll find it in The Oregonian”. I began seeing bumper-stickers on cars here in Portland that read, “If it matters to Oregon, You’ll find it in the Washington Post!” Cute joke, but it isn’t really very funny when you think about it.

The point is that advertisers are what drives the news. No advertisers = No News. If the news is an embarrassment or potential business hazard to advertisers, news gets altered or under reported. If it’s good for business, it gets high profile features or over reporting.

A good example is your morning news shows. They’re usually 1 and a half to 3 hours long and along with weather, top stories and traffic reports you will have at least one person whose entire job it is to broadcast live segments from local businesses trying to make the most mundane little boutique sound interesting.

These segments are what are called “loss leaders” and they are done to try and show businesses of all types how much their bottom line can benefit from advertizing on that particular TV Station. The exposure gets them noticed, gets them more business and likely inspires them to do more of it. The first one’s free! The bigger the advertiser, the less likely there will be anything on the news that may adversely affect whatever business they may be involved in.

TV stations live and operate in the same economic world that you do. Things are tight for them too! That’s why many of their staff are actually interns who work for that station for free for an entire year and what they get for it is experience and an item on their resume that they hope will one day turn into an actual paying job in television. It rarely does, but hope springs eternal. I did it for a radio station in Arizona right after I graduated from Broadcasting school. It didn’t take me a year to figure out what was going on, though. It took about a month.

Producing a half hour of television is a lot of work even at the local level. Staffing, even with interns is pretty thin. TV stations rely on pre-packaged video segments that companies and the government send them for free to help fill up all that time they have set aside to sell advertising for. They welcome those free segments with open arms because they take up air time, are usually somewhat interesting, and cost them nothing! You can identify those segments by noticing that there are none of the local reporters or personalities you know who appear in them. They may provide a voice over here and there at most, but that’s it.

The point is that local stations don’t have the time, staff, or money to produce enough segments on their own to fill 3 hours of airtime every morning. It gets even worse when they’re in a “Helicopter War” with a competing station. Helicopters are EXPENSIVE and that money has to come from somewhere. It comes from cutbacks to staff.

Why are you seeing so many advertisements about trading on the stock market, commodities and foreign currencies? The most powerful businesses on earth are investment banking concerns. The idea behind all those ads is to entice more an more people to make the bulk of their income from investing. Which, of course, benefits these firms more than any other businesses.

As manufacturing is more and more being shipped offshore where labor is cheap and environmental regulations are weak or non existent, it makes sense to migrate one’s income to something else. Like investing! Investment banking firms would like nothing more that to have the bulk of the US economy to be an investment economy, providing funding for foreign businesses to make things that will be purchased by the investment class.

The more people who become wealthy investors the lower wages for the remaining working people will become. In an investment economy, as opposed to a manufacturing one, the jobs that will remain in the US are the ones that cannot be migrated to other countries. Businesses like restaurants, lodging, farming, entertainment, grocery stores, retail shops and medicine. With the exception of medicine, all of the jobs in the remaining service industry are traditionally lower paying positions. Basically service jobs satisfying or supporting the needs of the wealthy investor class. Which is why I’m not impressed with statistics about job creation. It would take 3-4 minimum wage jobs to equal one good paying manufacturing job. More jobs don’t mean much to an economy if they do not pay wages that allow disposable income. Service industry jobs generally do not.

Which brings me back to Fossil Fuel Producers who spend BILLIONS of dollars every year  advertising on nearly every one of those 500 channels available to you on your cable system and producing those fill pieces for local stations all over the country. That is a significant chunk of that $4 for every gallon of gas you put in your car to get to work. It also reduces your exposure to news about such things as global warming and the destruction of rainforests in South America. And, because of the video segments they hand out for free, you’re likely to see a lot more stories questioning science principles regarding how bad these things really are. That’s the state of television journalism today. It’s about money and there really isn’t time or resources for anything else!

It also reduces your exposure to things like the occupation of Wall Street that has been going on in New York for nearly two weeks now? Did you know that that protest has sparked similar local protests in well over two dozen cities in America? How about the XL Pipeline protest at the White House a few weeks ago. Did you know there were over a thousand protesters in front of the White House decrying the destructive impact of a “Tar Sands Pipeline” running across the heartland of your country? How much coverage do you think these actions would get if the protesters were “Tea-Baggers” railing against taxing corporate America?

If I were to say, “Benton Harbor Michigan”, to you right now, what would that bring to mind? If I told you that over 17 states so far this year alone, have enacted voting regulations that would make it more difficult, and often impossible, for low income or marginalized populations, like minorities, to cast a vote in an election, would that surprise you?

If it matters to Oregon, I’ll find it on the War and Peace Report at Democracy Now, Indy-Media.org or maybe MSNBC or in The Nation Magazine. I won’t find it on the evening news and I certainly won’t find it on EnergyTomorrow.org or FOX Views!

 

Much Love,

Gregory

 

Corporations, Free Speech & Avocados

Published by:

January 24, 2010 – By Gregory Franklyn

This week the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision that removes any restrictions on the amount of money a corporation can expend in a political campaign. I was able to get through a small portion of the 183 page dissertation but had read enough to understand its fundamental flaw. As Supreme Court decisions are supposed to be, it was limited to very narrow considerations of intricately limited facts at issue based on an existing premise. The case involves a Documentary by Citizens United that is relentlessly critical of the Presidential Candidacy of then Senator Hillary Clinton.

The court ruled that previous restrictions on contributions to political elections by corporations were constitutionally faulted and made corrections to “Clean House” of conflicting rulings from the past as regards the First Amendment Right to free speech. They, in essence, threw out select decided law by choosing one, of two or more, conflicting decisions they preferred and overturning the ones that contradicted them. The decisions were subjective as evidenced by the split between conservatives and liberals on the court. There are more conservatives on the Court than liberals so the conservative subjective won. This is what is called Judicial Activism.

My argument with this decision is even more fundamental than anything the Court considered. The Court relied on a premise that a corporation, in the same way as a person, has first amendment protection of free speech. The Court appears to approach the First Amendment from the ethereal position that free speech is protected regardless of the identity of the speaker. Placing the protection before the protected. Another way of putting it would be that the Court sees the right as applying universally to all. Under this reasoning, if an avocado could communicate in a way that could be processed or understood, that avocado’s right to free speech would be protected by the Constitution. This is really good news for robots and droids and artificial life forms like corporations.

My disagreement with the Court is this. I approach the First Amendment from the position that the speaker, must have the capacity, of his or her own volition, to speak (or communicate in the case of someone who is differently abled) independently. The intent of the First Amendment is to allow and protect dissent. Dissent requires reasoning. The “protected” is the direct cause of the “protection”. In short, an avocado’s speech is not protected because an avocado cannot communicate in a manner that can be processed or understood.

I cannot conceptualize how an avocado has the capacity to dissent. It could be argued that an avocado dying because of global warming is a form of speech, of protest, if you will. But I argue that the avocado dies as a result of global warming and not out of reasoning to dissent against the forces causing global warming.

A corporation is a legal entity. It is created by law. It cannot vote, it cannot be arrested or put in jail, it cannot be counted in a census so as to be represented by a senator or representative. It is, at its core, ethereal. Its only existence is dependent upon our thoughts about it and, outside our thoughts, has no existence what-so-ever! Although a corporation IS a being, it is a purely artificial one, created out of nothing, that exists only because we say it exists. It does not have the capacity to reason or dissent independently.

I also disagree with the ruling that money is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment, but that’s a whole other discussion for another day and probably wouldn’t matter much if corporations were not protected by the First Amendment right to free speech. The Court has acknowledged the corruptive influence of money in politics. They limited the amount of money an individual can contribute to a political campaign to $2,500. That is unless you ‘re a corporation, in which case there is now, no limit. Although a legitimate tool of communication and advocacy, money should be considered different from other communication tools under the law because of that influence. Money impacts the affairs of state in a different manner than any other communication tool and should be considered differently under the law for that reason.

Here’s where this ruling gets REALLY crazy for me. The Court holds that a corporation, which is an artificial being, has the same rights as an individual, but I, who can vote, who can be arrested and put in jail, who can be counted in a census so as to be represented by a Senator and a Representative, who is, in fact a living breathing being that can reason and dissent independently, do not!

I ‘m a gay man and the Court still holds that I do not have the right or the freedom to marry whom I choose based solely upon my gender. If I’m not mistaken, gender is specifically spelled out in the Constitution as a protected class being singled out so there won’t be any gray area about the fact that I should be included in all rights and freedoms granted by our Constitution! WTF?

According to this Court, not only do I lack the same rights and freedoms as an ethereal concept, like a corporation, I don ‘t even have the same constitutional protection that this Court, by its own reasoning, gives to a frigging avocado!

Much Love,

Gregory

Sarah Who?

Published by:

8/31/2008 By Gregory Franklyn

The dust hasn’t even settled on a remarkable DNC mini-series in Denver when John McCain set off his media distraction bomb. I was at work when a client came rushing in to announce that John McCain had selected Freshman Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential Running mate. Sarah Who? McCain s bomb worked!

The mainstream media has spent precious little airtime working over what happened this week in Denver because every one of their reporters and commentators are frantically busy trying to figure out who Sarah Palin is and why John McCain might think she could be a good Vice President.

McCain told us, “Once you get to know her, you’re going to love her!” I’m at a loss for how he would know that, given the fact that he had only met her once before signing her up as the person that will be a 72 year old heartbeat away from the Presidency of the United States. I’ve already seen a video clip, recorded about a week ago, of this strikingly beautiful woman asking, “Exactly what does a Vice President do?”, and I sincerely hope, with all my heart, that quote was taken out of some specifically relevant context! Otherwise, I think I’m going to need a bit more than a Bourbon and Coke!

My theme today is going to be about prayer! Sarah Palin is a very conservative Republican Freshmen Governor from Alaska. What little credentials she has, politically, include being a sports reporter for a local station, a school board member, the mayor of a small town, and then a little bit shy of 2 years as Governor. Oh Yeah, she came in second in a pretty significant beauty pageant in Alaska!

It appears that Alaska is in love with this woman and she has a reputation as a reformer. She’s an evangelical Christian, a mother of 5, a dramatically anti-abortion crusader, a card-carrying member of the NRA, likes hunting and fishing, wants Christian Creationism taught in science class, and, it would appear, has shown little interest in foreign affairs.

One commentator on FOX News says she has plenty of International Political experience because she is Governor of Alaska, right there just a stone’s throw away from Russia! I m not kidding, he actually said that out loud! While trying to imagine what this striking lapse in judgment on John McCain s part is intended to accomplish, I can only guess that he wants Hillary Clinton’s disaffected voters to come to the Republican Ticket and to soothe the troubled waters of the radical Christian right.

If that’s the case, he’s going to need those prayer groups. I just don’t see died-in-the-wool Clinton feminists flocking to the Republican tent over this particular choice. However, the fundamental Christians will like her because she’s all about each and every one of their hot button issues that have relatively little impact on the problems discussed around the kitchen table every night.

Or, perhaps this is a feeble, last ditch “Hail Mary Play” to get the Christian Right vote and the woman vote in one fell swoop! The Republican Party is going to need those Fundamental Christians for more than a vote, come November, they’re going to need some serious prayer group action as well!

If, and I’m going on record as hoping this NEVER happens, John McCain were to win this election and the unthinkable should happen to him while in office, Sarah Palin would become the leader of the free world! Let that sink in for a minute.

Let Us Pray,

Gregory

We Got It Right This Time

Published by:

October 28, 2007 – by Gregory Franklyn

 

I’m feeling a little better about justice in America today while watching the Genarlow Wilson case in Georgia unfold. You’ll remember that Genarlow Wilson was the 17 year old who had consensual oral sex with a 15 year old a few years ago and got sentenced to 10 YEARS in prison for it. It appears that while Genarlow was incarcerated, the law was changed because his case made it clear that 10 years was cruel and unusual punishment for a teenage indiscretion. Well, I guess so!

First of all, the sex was consensual AND no one in the scenario was over 18 and no one is suggesting that either party was forced against their will to participate. In addition, young Wilson isn’t a thug or a criminal type (we don ‘t know who the young woman is and I can understand that). The young man is an Honor Student and Football Hero at his High School. Of course being a Football Player or good student shouldn’t excuse anyone from accountability for criminal activity, but in this case I don ‘t understand what the crime is. Shouldn’t this have been an issue for both sets of parents or maybe a Pastor or two rather than the police, much less the Georgia Supreme Court?

I’m delighted that our legal system recognized how utterly insane this whole thing is and I sincerely hope that young Wilson doesn’t have to live with what goes with having to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, for this youthful indiscretion. Since the statute of limitations on my own indiscretions is long since expired I can admit to having sex before I was 18. Can I have a show of hands here?

Not only was I not traumatized by it, I believe I may be a better, more balanced, person for having had the experience. In my case it was consensual too, and it was with another boy who was also not 18 yet. Looking back, if I had to make the same decision under the same circumstances, I would!

But our “Mature Adult” response to this incident is pointing up an issue that we, in the US, steadfastly refuse to have an informed, intelligent and rational discussion about. The idea of young people having sex is a discussion we seem to ONLY have with a knee-jerk emotionally charged sense of fear, loathing and often even shame.

Let me say, for the record, right here that I believe pedophilia is a bad thing! It’s predatory and almost universally results in serious damage on a number of levels for the victims and predators alike. I’m not talking about 30 year old people coercing 12 year olds into sexual situations.

I feel that we disrespect our young people when it comes to the subject of sex and, because of our own fear and shame about sex, refuse to equip them to make informed decisions about sex at a time when they are called upon, by nature, to make them.

If we educate our young people about sex at all it rarely begins before the onset of puberty when it would be of the most use. Most school districts that have any sex education at all start Sex education with 15-17 year olds. That s about 2, and sometimes as many as 3, years after young boys are already having very natural sensations and feelings of a sexual nature.

In those few school districts where sex education IS part of the curriculum, the education is sorely incomplete because of the things teachers are NOT allowed to talk about! A perfect example is “Abstinence Only” sex education models.

You might remember what happened to US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders when she suggested that masturbation should be part of a balanced sex education model and so should the use of condoms. You and I know that the use of condoms can prevent unwanted pregnancy and can prevent sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS!

Right Wing Morality Thugs had a textbook MELTDOWN at the very suggestion. They claim that by teaching them about the use of condoms we encourage teenagers to have sex rather than wait until they’re married.

Jocelyn Elders was humiliated out of a job for suggesting that we equip our young people with what they’ll need for their very survival should they decide to disagree with us and have sex anyway! Teenagers truly aren’t ready to have sex, but not because all young people are too irresponsible at that age to make such a decision, but rather because we are too twisted up and polarized about sex to equip them with what they need at a time when it could make the most difference.

Here’s a little shocker for you in case you didn’t already know. Check my facts with any well-respected biblical scholar about this one. You might want to sit down for a minute! …Ready?

The Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, the teenager chosen by God Himself, to deliver His only Son was a mere 14 years old when she gave birth to Jesus! God Almighty chose a 14 year-old girl!

Exactly who do we think we are by disrespecting young women’s choices when God Himself felt a 14 year-old girl was ready to be the mother of his only child. She could have said no, but she made the decision to do so and GOD respected her decision!

I m not suggesting that we lower the age of consent to 14 because God thinks it s appropriate, notwithstanding the fact that he clearly does! I’m suggesting that some young people are going to make that decision one way or another whether we like it or not. I just don’t think they should have to die from AIDS for making a choice that you and I wish they wouldn’t.

So far, all studies that I m aware of say that “Abstinence Only” sex education has the opposite effect to what is intended; increased teen pregnancy and increased sexually transmitted diseases including HIV! When we teach our youth that abstinence is the ONLY option, when they make ANY other choice, we have left them hanging out there twisting in the wind. That simply does not make sense and disrespects them as people!

Which brings me back to young Genarlow Wilson. He got his sexual education the hard way because we didn’t give him the proper options to make informed decisions when he was called upon to make one. Whose fault is that?

So, God Bless America, our system of Justice got it right this time. young Genarlow Wilson is not going to spend the next 10 years behind bars because someone in our system of justice did their job with courage, with honesty and WITHOUT political partisanship! And, God Bless young Genarlow Wilson for helping us open a RATIONAL discussion about our responsibilities to the education of our young people. Let’s continue on this roll of getting it right for once. Let’s talk about this and have a little faith in how we have raised our children and respect their choices a little more.

It has always puzzled me that it’s technically a FELONY SEX OFFENSE, carrying a life sentence of registering as a sex offender and all that goes with it, when a person who is 18 years and one minute old has consensual sex with another person who is 17 years, 11 months, thirty days, 23 hours and 59 minutes old! Yet it’s completely legal if they do the very same thing 61 seconds later! Maybe we can start to look at this issue on a case-by-case basis and make decisions in the same way we expect our kids to!

Much Love,

Gregory