The Worst of Iowa

Wife and son at his bedside

Benton Mackenzie, 48, was convicted in Iowa district court jury of marijuana manufacturing and conspiracy, along with his wife, Loretta, 43, the Quad-City Times’ Brian Wellner first reported. Their son Cody, 22, was found guilty of misdemeanor possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. Benton Mackenzie, who had been barred by Judge Henry Latham from a defense that explains he grew cannabis to relieve his aggressive and rare cancer of the blood vessels, faces a minimum of three years in prison when he is sentenced later. His family said they intend to appeal the verdicts. Mackenzie said prison may kill him as his health worsens.

Benton Mackenzie is dead.

He should forever be remembered for the way he chose to live, pushing against Iowa’s ancient marijuana laws and a local prosecutor’s unyielding pursuit of a conviction, certainly not justice. Mackenzie chose to use his final days to force Iowans – and all Americans – to stare down hypocrisy and discover how Iowa and Scott County squandered taxpayer money to assure he left this world convicted and impoverished. (qctimes)

Iowa prosecutors hounded and convicted a suffering cancer patient right to the end of his life for the diabolical ‘crime’ of trying to treat his painful tumors with home grown marijuana.  

Show of Farce

About those tumors: 

Benton Mackenzies Tumors

What kind of barbarians have the people in Iowa become since I left there in 1976?

Why would any rational person go out of their way to commit an act of inhumanity this great against a sick and dying man?  When I visited Iowa late last year, I noted that there were so many meth heads roaming the streets it looked like a casting call for Breaking Bad and yet the police and prosecutors are wasting time and tax dollars chasing after terminally ill pot smokers. Not all the pigs in Iowa are in hog containment facilities.  Some of them are running roughshod through the halls of their government offices.

Facebook memorial

Previous Huffpo article.

Enjoy..

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Why Walmart Failed in Germany

Far and away the most heavily trafficked blogpost of mine in recent history. Might be approaching my Nasa Moon Hoax post from the late 20th century. (Max on the Moon) The German Walmart disaster story is still number one daily in my stats even after nearly TWO years from the original posting. Enjoy.

The Tim Channel

Walmart, the most successful retail operation in the US, failed to make even a dent in the largest and most vibrant European economy (Germany) after losing a billion dollars in the process of bungling their German market experiment with so much failure it is now the stuff of local urban legend..  Let’s examine the reasons.

Cultural Hubris

“The problem was the company’s business philosophy, which had always worked so well,” wrote Frankfurt’s Börsenzeitung in what pretty much amounted to an obituary. “It’s people-centered – but that doesn’t actually work when the people aren’t American.

The company gave the job of masterminding Wal-Mart Germany to an American who didn’t speak a word of German.

The Germans weren’t fond of the Walmart practice of hiring old people to accost greet them at the door, nor were the German workers impressed with morning warm-up sessions (“Higher Profits Uber Alles! — Can I get…

View original post 463 more words

Monday Morality Mashup

Oh  God

Congratulations on surviving the weekend, but if you find yourself taking a bit too much pride in that singular accomplishment you probably fall into one of these three categories.

Number One

Commode Hugging Drunk

You’ve finally collected yourself off the bathroom floor, and are overjoyed that God took your vow of future abstinence as a reason not to kill you outright (as you clung to the commode for dear life).  Good thing that God doesn’t seem to take that promise very seriously or the college death rates in the US would skyrocket.  Don’t worry if you made that promise yourself last weekend. You’ve absolutely nothing to fear.  Drink up.

Number Two

You’re a murderous death row inmate who just got a stay of execution.

Lego Stay of ExecutionNumber Three

Hell on EarthYou are deeply religious, and therefore so scared of dying and going to Heaven you’re overjoyed with every extra day that your savior allows you to exist here in the Devil’s Playground (aka Earth, not just Las Vegas).

Keeping You Accountable

There are all kinds of things that “God” can be credited with keeping you accountable for and not just murder, inebriation or your secret desire to wear women’s lingerie.

It really doesn’t matter which God you pick from.  One God may favor women in burlap, while another yearns for virgin sacrifice.  Some Gods are really into cows, while others deify rats.  The rules of accountability (morality), as outlined in many conflicting ancient texts, are themselves obtuse enough that internecine fractionalization of the major religions is geopolitically destabilizing.  But this isn’t a post about politics, it’s a post about morality and what constitutes the bedrock we should be building our moral foundations upon.

Lottery in June, Corn be heavy soon

The Lottery

What God holds you personally accountable for varies according to your time and place in history. but since this is now in history, and my readership is mainly American, I’ll focus on Christianity.  There’s little sense in deconstructing the lunacy of an Aztec priest ripping the heart out of a heavily drugged virgin for the greater good of society.  Most of us are already pretty sure that form of faith doesn’t really keep the crops from failing, though the stigma of such belief is still apparent in our English literature.

Christian Morality

What the hell is Christian morality these days?  For folks who ground their moral lives around beliefs supposedly written in stone, the shifting sands of Christian morality are changing so rapidly it’s hard to keep them in focus for one lifetime, let alone a millennia.

Shotgun Jeebus

Shotgun Jeebus – Hommie Don’t Play That.

It is nearly impossible to witness species emerge through physical evolution in the short span of a couple human lifetimes.  It is equally impossible to miss the evolution of Christian morality over a similar timeframe.  Not that long ago a good Christian man was one who properly cared for his slaves, and as recently as last week (in archaeological time) the gays were still being vilified and lambasted by our Christian society, whereas now they’re being wed by US Supreme Court justices.  Next thing you know, Jeebus is going to be back to hitting the bong at the Seattle Hempfest like he was blazing it up back at Woodstock.

The Good Old Days

Hippie Jeebus

When I was a kid, God’s hippie son preached peace, forgiveness and charity to the poor.  He was often photographed with an acoustic guitar slung over his shoulder, surrounded by braless, misshapen girls in tie-dyed sundresses.. Don’t act like he never even existed!  If you’re over fifty you can’t deny it.  That imaginary Jeebus got kicked to the side of the road long ago, in lieu of a more strident militaristic Onward Christian Soldier version.   Today, there are high level Christians leading the charge to help the poor by starving them to death and they often get together to vainly pray that the worldwide violence they spread won’t end up right back on their doorstep.

Jeebus Wars

The verdict is still out over which imaginary Jeebus will return to the throne in America.  Will the rightwing militant Jeebus retain the throne or has his time passed?  To make things more interesting, there is a growing movement to throw all the imaginary Jeebus’ into the dustbin of history and let them party with the many lost and abandoned Gods before them.

In the meantime, your so-called bedrock Christian morality had better be as flexible as a yoga masters spine because depending on which outlaw territory of America you happen to find yourself in, you’re going to be heavily dependent on currying favor with whatever local warlord happens to run your neighborhood.  It pays to “open minded” and malleable to change in times like these.

Kindness without God's Interference

Tomorrow:  How in the name of Goodness will we ground our human morality without some form of imaginary Jeebus?   Science can’t possibly project from “what is” to “what ought to be”,  or can it?

Enjoy.

Mormon Blues 2

Mormon Sadness

Dissecting the Document Dump

The other day, I retrieved and posted a PDF document so embarrasing to the Mormon Church, that the errant Mormon apologist who originally posted it on his blog, “disappeared” it from the web the day after the New York Times hyperlinked to his Mormon Stories website.

It’s a long and tedious document, and one of my lazier readers (h/t Americablog) has requested that I break it down and highlight “the good parts”, something that I had planned to do in the near future anyway. Turns out the near future is today.  I still encourage everyone to read it in it’s entirety, if only to experience first-hand, the long and tedious banality of Mormon religious sophistry and rhetorical apologetics in general.

The PDF transcribes the conversation between high ranking Swedish Mormons and a couple church “historians” (Seal Team Slicks) air-dropped into Sweden from Utah to answer the growing concerns of the Swedes over the origins, history and practices of the Mormon church.  The uninitiated may want to read the first part of my expose’ for more background as well as the original New York Times piece that sent me down this rabbit hole.

For purposes of brevity, I will refer to the Mormon historians as “the Church” and the insolent Swedish parishoners as “the Doubters” or “the Swedes”.  The stage is set:

Event: Special Fireside (marshmallows?) for Disaffected (Uninfected?) Swedish LDS Saints
Speakers: Elder Marlin K. Jensen (LDS Church Historian) and Richard E. Turley Jr. (Assistant Church Historian)
Date: November 28, 2010
Location: Västerhaninge Chapel; Stockholm, Sweden

Opening Remarks – The Church (Information Daze)

It is a day of information, but with that comes the challenge of deciding what information is reliable, what information is true, what information is worthy of basing our life on it. And hopefully tonight we can at least offer some information in a reliable and loving way that will be responsive to some of the questions that you have. 

The bar has been set pretty high IMHO.  Using this standard of historical filtering, we’d never have heard of the Holocaust no matter how many reliable reports we got because it’s definitely not “loving” even if we all agree it’s reliable.  Information that is accurate, yet not worthy of basing our lives on, has also been set aside as suspect.  Now that we have the “rules” on how the Mormon Church defines filters information, let us proceed.

Inconvenient Facts = Work of the Devil

In a rather brazen attempt to inhibit and shame the curious, we get scripture quoted from (argh!) The Book of Mormon (Moroni 7, Verse 16) by the Church historians:

“But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves to him.” 

This verse forms the bedrock on which the Church builds their rationalization for their moral imperative to shut down debate at all levels, as well as lie to doubters, lest the truth somehow moves them closer to the devil.  In standard Christianity it’s often referred to as “lying for Christ“.  In the secular world the expression, “The end justifes the means” can stand in for the religious verses when it is inappropriate to invoke religion in support of an immoral argument (justifying torture e.g.).  Brainwashed believers, even if they have serious doubts about what they witness with their own lying eyes, are routinely shut down with the not so subtle threat that they are risking their place in the Mormon version of Heaven by even asking pondering about it in the first place.

I should know because unlike the memories of the Mormon historical apologists, I have nearly perfect knowledge.  Under Mormon rules, I’d be in contention for serious Devilhood, except  I’m actually encouraging everyone to try to be as good as is humanly possible, not that I think it’ll be an effective defense against pissed-off Mormons whatsoever.

Questions of the Doubters

Six pages in, the Church historians having finally finished with the reading of their formal terms, conditions and disclaimers, I am ready to declare that the details of Facebook’s privacy policy are the only thing in contemporary society as Byzantine as the ground rules laid out by these Mormon apologists.  It is also the place in the PDF where the doubters finally get to ask a question, the first of which is a lobbed softball, left hanging arm’s length in the middle of the strike zone, begging to be belted out of the park by the quick reflexes of the ringers assembled by the Mormon Church Rapid Response Team.

Doubter Question: Will you have very good answers?

Church: You’ll see in a moment. We’ll have what answers we have.….(ed. full answer is 592 words)

Six hundred words to answer to a simple question? Mormon hierarchy is so accustomed to pissing down the leg of their parishioners while simultaneously proclaiming a rainstorm, I’m shocked they didn’t think to just answer with one word, “Absolutely”.

Fast Forward

There are many questions over the veracity of stories of the magic golden plates and their translations portrayed in Church doctrine (and Mormon Sunday School) that, suffice to say, clearly don’t mesh with undisputed historical facts of the era.

I’m going to focus less on the questions pointing out the obvious bogusness of the “translation” of these imaginary golden plates and more on the doubters questions concerning implementation and operations of the early church, and in particular, the licentous behavior of Joseph Smith.  In order to do so it is not enough to just be familiar with the definition of polygamy.  If only it were that easy I could just refer to Big Love and be done with it.

Invoking Editorial Privilege

From here on out, the questions come from the Swedes faster than the Church can cobble together consistent responses.  Often one questioner will toss several out at once and the Church will pounce on the low hanging fruit of the one they think is most easy to placate, ignoring the more controversial of the mix.  There may be several pages between an original (ignored) question and it’s reappearance by another questioner later in the discussion.

Therefore, I shall remix (in no particular order) from the bevy of scrambled questions and answers, being careful to “cut n’ paste” the relevant bits while attempting to keep the integrity of the overall analysis intact. After all, I’m not hiding the original document from anybody that wants to see it (I’m not Mormon after all…lol), so if someone wants to challenge me from the original text, have at it in the comments.

Enter Polyandry

Question: According to information I have read a number of times which has been published in books, etc., and which I think seem to be very firm and correct, how the wives were forced into marriage. It wasn’t so that they fell in love with Joseph and say, now I would like to be a wife. It was so that they were put under tremendous pressure to accept the marriage and they were told that the church will go under and their family will go under, you have only until, let’s say, tomorrow to decide and to marry me but it will have terrible consequences if you don’t accept the marriage.

Church response to questions about polyandry:

Church: So the question of Polyandry. Polygamy is when a man has multiple wives. . Joseph did both, so your question is about polyandry.

Let that sink in for a minute.  Undisputed polyandry. Not only was Joseph Smith snatching up every available fourteen year old girl like a latter day Warren Jeffs, he was also coercing married women into affairs.  For the record, Ann Eliza Young made the charges in a book she wrote (in 1876!) after escaping bondage from Mormonism by hightailing it out of Utah under cover of darkness.  She was Brigham Young’s 27th wife.  Her book is freely available online (copyrights have long ago expired).

Church Apologetics on Coerced Sexual Relations

Church: In the 1800’s being fourteen years old was like being thirty years old today.  On the issue of coercion, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and it’s widely accepted that prophets get to bone as many chicks as they are able.  Plus, nobody was worried about overpopulating Utah at the time. (Ok, I added the last bit, but the other stuff is accurately paraphrased).  In conclusion, the Church wants to remind everyone that polygamy is bad, bad, bad, and in our advanced society it’s an aberration to ever considering adopting the practice.

The Swedes:  Does this mean I don’t get my multiple wives in Heaven?

Church:  Don’t talk crazy.  Of course you still get to party like the Sultan of Brunei after you’re dead.  Whatever else you might think of Mormonism, we’re not barbarians.  Ferchrissakes.

There are questions about why the Mormon Church hates Black people as well as all kinds of other juicy gobbledygook for folks who enjoy the “inside baseball” aspects of the whackaloon religious world of Mormonism.  I honestly don’t have the patience to wade back through the muck and the mire to mine any more nuggets out of the cesspool.  It’s not nearly as fun as bobbing for apples.

Enjoy.

Lady and the Scamp

20130411-130958.jpg
I have been asked to reflect on my experiences dealing with a young lady named Julia Rose, who first caught my attention on Facebook a couple years ago. She has a Facebook tribute page dedicated to preserving and distributing the works, and highlighting the memories, of Peter McWilliams.

The Lady

Here is Julia speaking about Peter in a public YouTube video taken at one of the many rallies, conventions or speaking (and singing!) venues she attends.

The Scamp

The many uplifting stories of Peter, as well as his accompanying trials and tribulations, are too broad to relate here. I know I would feel blessed to have my own wikipedia page, let alone a youthful cheerleader like Julia, so long after my ashes are scattered. FWIW, I have chosen to honor my personal memories of Peter by ending all my correspondences with Enjoy. But I digress. Let us move on to my personal account of this energetic young lady.

Getting to Know Her

The first time I spoke with Juila was when she contacted me thru Facebook after seeing my New Year’s tribute to Peter here in this blog. She indicated that she was in contact with Peter’s mother who had inherited a great deal of Peter’s literary memorabilia, some of which she was letting Julia share on the web.

We chatted on Skype a couple times times after that. We communed over the ghost of Peter, his legacy and his works. She probed my calcifying neurons for first person recollections and stories from my calls and correspondence with Peter, the majority of which (sadly) came during the hectic months of his arrest and deprivations under the thumb of America’s fascist drug warriors.

Julia shared with me that Peter’s mom was reluctant to publicize the more risqué or controversial aspects of Peter’s political life. Julia’s main interest in honoring Peter was his poetry and self-help writings.

All that touchy-feely emotional hoodoo is just fine by me (and the 32.4% of me that is gay), but the rest of me negotiated stridently with Julia for a much more prominent emphasis on the politics of the subject that cost Peter his life. She agreed and promised to discuss the issue with Peter’s mom.

She seemed a rather shy and reluctant spokesperson at first, but as the last couple years have shown, her message and music have bounced to one event or the other all over the planet (or at least a tri-country area).

She’s some kind of a hippie-chick rock goddess guru within the medical marijuana community these days now that she’s embraced my early mentoring. I’m too old to even keep up with her frenetic pace on Facebook, but I proudly point her out as a protege and someone I knew before they got famous.

Enjoy.