Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Daddy on the Edge of a Rebuttal

Daddy on the Edge doesn't get a whole lot of feedback.

It happens, and I've come to accept that.  While I know there are a pretty fair amount of people that come by and read the posts here, the comments section remains fairly bare (which I gotta tell you, can sometimes feel like having sex with a mime - in the dark.  You think you're doing pretty good, but it's always hard to know if you have truly "satisfied" with your "content".  Was she thrashing in pleasure, or pretending to be assaulted by the wind, holding on to an invisible rope so she wouldn't be blown away?).

But today, Daddy got a comment; here's a bit of it  -

"I read your most recent blog post from the 9th...you speak of charity and then deride conservatives for not giving to charity.

I find this humorous and uninformed since study after study (including Pew Research, whom I am sure you find more palatable than say Breitbart) have all concurred that conservatives consistently give more to charity than liberals."

I have not found a study that supports this idea - not exactly, anyway - I have found studies that suggest that "Red States" give more to charity than "Blue States", but I know lots of Democrats who live in Red States and vice versa for the Republicans, so it's not so easy for me to buy into that argument.  And besides, that's not the argument I was making.

While I did use the word "Charity" in my last blog post, what I was driving at was the idea that we should care for each other, that whatever we do for the least of us, we do for Christ; that helping the least fortunate among us is a major theme in many, many different religions. The idea of "giving to charity", while it should be synonymous with what I'm saying, can often times...not be.  It's easy to say that Republicans give more to charity, (and my critic did indeed provide me with articles - one from 2006 and one from 2008) but what are we really talking about?

From Wiki charitable organization is a type of non-profit organization (NPO). It differs from other types of NPOs in that it centers on non-profit and philanthropic goals as well as social well-being ( e.g. charitable, educational, religious or other activities serving the public interest or common good)

Like these guys - The American Family Association (AFA) is a United States non profit organization that promotes conservative fundamentalist Christian values. It opposes same-sex marriage, pornography, and abortion.  It also takes a position on a variety of other public policy goals and has lobbied against the Employee Free Choice Act. The AFA defined itself as "a Christian organization promoting the biblical ethic of decency in American society with primary emphasis on television and other media," later switching their stated emphasis to "moral issues that impact the family." It engages in activism efforts, including boycotts, buycotts, action alert emails, publications on the AFA's web sites or in the AFA Journal, broadcasts on American Family Radio, and lobbying The organization is accredited by the Evengelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and posted a 2011 budget of over US$16 million.  AFA owns 200 American Family Radio stations in 33 states, seven affiliate stations in seven states, and one affiliate TV station KAZQ TV) in New Mexico.
AFA has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center as of November 2010 for the "propagation of known falsehoods" and the use of "demonizing propaganda" against LGBT people.  AFA has been criticized for its opposition to LGBT rights.

Annnnnd... it's a Charity.

The AFA is but one example - the Southern Poverty Law Center lists 18 Anti-Gay Hate Groups and their Propaganda that all claim non-profit, tax free status, and any donation you make to them can be claimed as a charitable contribution on your 1040's.

Then there are the environmental charities.  Nope, not Greenpeace - these non profit organizations are "sock puppet groups" put together by the Koch Heads and their ilk to counter rational, scientific conclusions regarding climate change with their own brand of...methane.
In February of this year, The Guardian posted a story that talks about these organizations, which you can read in it's entirety here - the following is a snippet of that article...

" As the Guardian revealed last week, two secretive organisations working for US billionaires have spent $118m to ensure that no action is taken to prevent man made climate change.  
The two organisations – the Donors' Trust and the Donors' Capital Fund have financed 102 organisations which either dismiss climate science or downplay the need to take action.
Among them are the American Enterprise Institute, American Legislative Exchange Council, Hudson Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Reason Foundation, Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, Mont Pelerin Society and Discovery Institute. All pose as learned societies, earnestly trying to determine the best interests of the public. The exposure of this funding reinforces the claim by David Frum, formerly a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, that such groups "increasingly function as public relations agencies"".

The Westboro Baptist Church is a charity.    The Ku Klux Klan has enjoyed tax free, non profit status.  Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network is a charitable organization, (despite the fact that Roberston used CBN money and equipment to aid his diamond mining operation in Zaire).  There are volumes of  charities, 501c3s, non profit organizations - countless groups, (all tax exempt, mind you) that, while charities in name and filing status, are in no way charitable.  Now, if you want to tell me that Republicans lead the way in giving to those types of organizations, well then I'll have no trouble believing that.

But again, what I was referring to were actual works - things that you do that directly help or hurt the poorest and weakest among us.  When sequestration was put on the table, the cuts were designed to be so unpalatable that no decent person could actually let such a thing happen, and that Republicans and Democrats would do whatever was necessary to avoid them.  Now that obstructionist Republicans have blocked every attempt at actual progress, this is what will happen to the poorest among us; 
From Mother Jones; 
Public housing subsidies:  $1.9 billion in cuts would affect 125,000 low-income people who would lose access to vouchers to help them with their rent.
Foreclosure prevention:  75,000 fewer people would receive foreclosure prevention, rental, and homeless counseling services.
Emergency housing: 100,000 formerly homeless people could be removed from their current emergency shelters.
Educational programs: Learning programs for poor kids would see a total of $2.7 billion in cuts. The $400 million slashed from Head Start, the preschool program for poor children, would result in reduced services for some 70,000 kids.
Title I Funding: The Department of Education's Title I program, the biggest federal education program in the country, subsidizes schools that serve more than a million disadvantaged students. It would see $725 million in cuts.
Rural rental assistance: Cuts to the Department of Agriculture would result in the elimination of rental assistance for 10,000 very low-income rural people, most of whom are single women, elderly, or disabled.
Social Security: Although Social Security payments themselves won't be scaled back, cuts to the program would result in a massive backlogging of disability claims.
Unemployment benefits: More than 3.8 million people getting long-term unemployment benefits would see their monthly payments reduced by as much as 9.4 percent, and would lose an average of $400 in benefits over their period of joblessness.
Veterans services: The Transition Assistance Program would be forced to cut back some of the job search and career transition services it provides to 150,000 vets a year.
Nutritional Assistance for Women & Children: The government's main food stamp program is exempt from cuts, but other food programs would take a hit. Some 600,000 women and children would be cut from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, which provides nutrition assistance and education.
Special education:  $978 million in cuts would affect 30.7 million children. For example, the scaling back of federal grants to states for students with disabilities would mean that cash-strapped states and districts would have to come up with the salaries for thousands of teachers, aides and staff that serve special needs kids.
Job training programs:  $37 million would be slashed from a job retraining and placement program called Employment Services, and $83 million would be cut from Job Corps, which provides low-income kids with jobs and education.
Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa) said that the $85 billion in cuts "would really help a long way and get us on a sustainable fiscal path."  Hmmmm...so would only fighting the wars that we really needed to, as well as not paying for antiquated weaponry that is obsolete to our current military needs (and is expensive as hell); so would abandoning your parties repeated attempts to repeal "ObamaCare" (which as of July 2012 had racked up costs of approximately $48 million) and constantly defending the Defense of Marriage Act ($ 3 million so far) -  then there's that pesky notion of paying salaries, health care, personal protection, ground, air and sea transportation, pension and rent to a bunch of Congressional jack-wads who would rather propose 694 Anti-Choice bills in three months (!) than actually sit down and work with the President to tackle the serious problems still facing this nation and this planet.  I'd much rather give that money to Head Start kids or homeless Vets than to a bunch of self aggrandizing K Street whores who don't seem to have a fucking care in the world about ANYONE but themselves.  And yeah, I'm talking about you, Toomey.  Weenie.

So, in conclusion - thanks for the feedback.  Glad you found some humor here, and I hope you come back.  And honestly, I love feedback - I would be thrilled to hear from anyone and everyone who's got something to say, but know this - this blog is the radically amplified, barely censored, oft times caustic opinion of a self proclaimed ludicrous asshole who goes by the name of  Daddy on the Edge. The fact that you call me uninformed frankly makes me giggle, but you go right ahead and call me that if it makes you feel better.  Facts are facts, and even blind guides and blind fools can see that your GOP brothers wailing for this to be a Christian Nation are about as Christlike as a post Purim nosh at the 2nd Avenue Deli.

I'll wrap this up with a few words from the biggest Liberal I know; Watch...

Go with God, 


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Daddy on the Edge of Jesus, Muhammad and The Common Good

"This is the rule of most perfect Christianity, its most exact definition, its highest point, namely, the seeking of the"common good". . . for nothing can so make a person an imitator of Christ as caring for his neighbors.” ~John Chrysostom

Did'ja know that Daddy is an ordained Minister?

Yep - signed, sealed and delivered us from evil honest to God fearing Man of the Cloth, courtesy of The Universal Life Church Monastery.  I also signed The Big Book in NYC (seriously - no joke - it's this massive, leather bound tome that they pull out and have you sign - this after you've been sitting in the main waiting area of City Hall, listening for your name to be called and watching couple after couple coming in to get married - the whole afternoon was like some sort of college film, but I think I can say quite honestly that it was the best time I have ever had in a government building), which means I am able to marry people in Manhattan and all the Five Boroughs.  What could be better than having Daddy on the Edge officiate at your wedding?  Well this, for starters...

This is salted caramel ice cream, hot fudge, peanuts and caramel corn.  The creator of this concoction, Felicia Day, calls it a Cracker Jack Sundae.  It is delicious sounding, decadent looking, and it is consuming most of my thoughts this evening.  This needs to find a way into Daddy's mouth by the end of the week or bad things may occur. I might even accept this as payment for performing your wedding ceremony - that's how badly I want this thing.  Will marry for food?  I might, rabbit...I might.

But I digress (ya think???).  Salted caramel ice cream and all the fixin's is not the topic of today's foray into Daddy's brain.  Today, Minister Daddy, (nah...Papa Padre?  Father Father?  Eh, screw it) - today, I want to talk about The New Testament, The Qur'an, and The Torah.

I'll take "Religious Best Sellers" for $1,000, Alex!  Yep, these are three of the big boys - the play books, the instruction manuals, the veritable "eHows" for being the best darned Christian, or Muslim, or Jew you can be.  Throughout the centuries, they have been used to highlight our differences (usually to point out how one is so much better than the other two), but Preacher Pop (still not quite right...) is looking to focus for just a moment on one of the similarities of these three Holy Books - one of the main, central tenets that they all share -


2 Corinthians 9:7 - Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Deuteronomy 15:7 - If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.

 The Noble Qur'an -By no means shall you attain to righteousness until you spend (benevolently) out of what you love; and whatever thing you spend, Allah surely knows it. (3:92)

Mark 10:21 - Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.

Leviticus 25:35 - If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you.

We could be here all day highlighting how religions share a common belief in the importance of charity to their spirituality.  I've touched on three, but Hinduism practices a "daily morality" based on Karma and Dharma, Buddhism says that there must be joy in every act of giving, the Sikh Guru Amar Das says, "Blessed is the godly person and the riches they possess because they can be used for charitable purposes and to give happiness."  - On and on and on.  I've saved this one for last, because I thought it was excellent -

The Prophet Muhammad said: 'Charity is a necessity for every Muslim.'

 He was asked: 'What if a person has nothing?'

 The Prophet replied: 'He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.'

The Companions asked: 'What if he is not able to work?' 

 The Prophet said: 'He should help poor and needy persons.' 

 The Companions further asked 'What if he cannot do even that?' 

 The Prophet said 'He should urge others to do the good.' 

The Companions said 'What if he lacks that also?' 

 The Prophet said 'He should hold himself from doing evil. That is also charity.'

If you can't do anything good, at least stop yourself from doing evil.  That is also charity.  Congress could learn a lot from the Prophet Muhammad.

Day after day, I hear a growing number of our legislators and lawmakers calling for this to be a Judeo-Christian Nation, a nation that embraces Christianity - truly, One Nation Under God (the GOP God, of course - kinda looks like a cross between Charlton Heston and Jerry Garcia - loves assault rifles, hates gays...surprisingly runs hot and cold on Ted Nugent.)  But their words and their actions don't match.

From the book of James - "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. ..."

What do the latest "works" of Congress, specifically that God fearing, Jesus loving Right Wing of Congress - show us?  Attempting to restrict voter rights, cutting food programs for the poor, refusing to raise an anemic minimum wage, countless campaigns and measures unleashed daily for the seemingly sole purpose of  hurting the least of us.  That's not Christ talking, that's someone else.  Please, please show me one bill, one proposal that has been suggested by anyone in the GOP that could even be considered the least bit "Christlike".  I'm here to tell ya, they don't exist.

Meanwhile, the folks that we have been told to revile; well now - they seem to be walking the path of the righteous a lot easier than the self-righteous whack-a-moles of Congress.

Compare and contrast with me for a moment, willya?  While House Republicans recently proposed cuts to nutrition assistance that will kick 280,000 low income children off automatic enrollment in the Free School Lunch and Breakfast Program, The Imperial Court of New York
was hosting the 27th annual Night of a Thousand Gowns, a gala fundraiser, this year raising funds for GMHC and GLAAD.  In their history, the court has donated over a million dollars to worthy LGBT and HIV/AIDS related causes.  Seems that crossdressers, drag queens and "sodomites" (as many a Republican has referred to my gay brothers) are being a whole lot more "Christian" than all you good, morally bankrupt upstanding GOP mothers. (PS:  The folks on the right are newly crowned Emperor XXII Wen-Dee Bouvier Pinkhouse and Empress XXVII Gracie Steeles - word is the house was royally rocked at their coronation, and all of us here at Daddy on the Edge wish them a most epic reign. Link to ICNY will be on the sidebar - go get involved and be frigging fabulous!).

Here's another one - while Paul Ryan and his holier than thou GOP Cabal are still trying to cut $1.4 trillion from Medicaid over a ten year period (way to sock it to those "takers", Paul Ryan, you Social Security Recipient you) prison inmates in various correctional facilities were helping charities through several different methods.  At The Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, CA, a group of inmates known as "The Longtermers Association" has raised and donated over $150,000 to charitable organizations.  In Key West, FL, "Art Behind Bars" is a program that provides inmates with art classes, whose work is then exhibited and sold with the proceeds given to charity.  Since 1994, the group has donated over $100,000 to 400-plus non-profit organizations.  You can read about more of these organizations here.  These folks are amazing to me.  Prison can tear you down; it can eat you up inside, leaving you with nothing but darkness - or a person can choose, even in their darkest hour, to find a bit of light...and make it brighter.

The Republicans in Congress snuff out that light, or they try to.  They decry, defund and destroy every charitable program that doesn't fit with their way of thinking (ACORN, Planned Parenthood, anything "gay"), all the while making poor people poorer and rich people richer and THEN claiming that somehow, that's the way God wants it.

God doesn't want that.  Jesus doesn't want that.  Muhammad, Moses, Buddha - they don't want that either.  Saying that they do; saying that you act in Their names, is the mark of a False Prophet.  Worse - it is the mark of a Pharisee.

Jesus was not a fan of the Pharisees.  He called them blind fools, serpants, and hypocrites, accusing them of saying one thing but doing another - accusing them of making heavy burdens for men to carry, without lifting a finger to help.  He accused them of making a show of their faith, but doing very little to back it up with works.  The Pharisees, like our present day GOP, cared little for "the common good".

Who but demons would demonize the poor and the defenseless?  In every religion, save the religion of Greed and Avarice, what the Republicans are doing to the poor, the hungry, the homeless and destitute are some of the greatest sins imaginable.  And when we give in to their constant mantra - when we allow ourselves to believe, even for a moment, that it's the poor and their "entitlement programs" that are to blame for our current financial situation - then we have succumbed to the teachings of False Prophets.

This callous, malevolent, evil attitude toward the poor in this country Must End.  It is an empty, fruitless, heartless endeavor and we are simply better than that.  We Must be better than that.  How do I know?  Jesus told me.

It's sad that I have to look to a fictional character to wrap this up - how extraordinary would it be to hear one of our elected leaders speak these words, or words anywhere close to these?  Thank you, Charlie Chaplin - for reminding me that the Kingdom of God is within every one of us.  Watch...

  Can I get an Amen up in here?


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Daddy on the Edge - The Expiration of Inspiration

I don't breathe much, really...lately.

I mean, obviously I breathe enough; I'm walking and talking, doin' my thang in the blogopolis, so I must be getting enough O2 in my system.

But it's not the real thing, y'know?  What most Americans (and probably folks in a whole lot of the world) pass off as breathing is actually this shallow, ragged push me-pull you between oxygen and carbon dioxide - it's just about enough respiration to keep us conscious and alive, but not a helluva lot more.  It's like duct taping the hell out of that broken mailbox post so it'll stay upright a bit longer- it ain't the right way to do it, but it gets the job done, know what I mean?

And the real kicker is that it should be so easy!  It's breathing, for crying out loud!  But when work, and bills, and work, and taxes, and work and the dog and work and broken appliances and work and health issues and work and work and work...(whew...head rush)...yeah, when the pressures of life get to rest too heavily on one's chest and one's mind, this simple thing to do ain't no longer simple, and we suffer from a lack...of inspiration.

Isn't that great?  The art of the inhale is called inspiration.  Daddy loves unexpected words like that - for instance, the french word for "Warning" is "Advertissement" (which makes perfect sense if you've ever listened to the litany of nasty side effects in one of those Cymbalta commercials).  The french word for "gasoline"?  "Essence".  Isn't that awesome?  "Will you be home in time for dinner?"  "Sure - just gotta stop for some Essence and then I'll be there."  Filling your tank sounds downright sexy when the french say it (although at $4.00 a gallon, it still feels like you're getting mugged at the pump, no matter what you call it).

So, I've been suffering from insufficient inspiration.  The flip side of Inspiration (breathing in) is Expiration (breathing out), hence the title of today's post.  I'm not sure where I first heard the term, but I wrote it down immediately because it just tickled the hell out of me.  I didn't take it to have anything to do with breathing, although that is how it had been introduced.  To me it seemed like speculating that there could be an expiration date, a finite period of time - a limit to one's inspiration, or perhaps to the usefulness of such (use it or lose it, as it were).

We've all seen that happen, so there must be something to that - my great ideas, your great ideas - they don't die if we don't act on them - only our time to act on them expires, and they go on to someone else.  Years later, we see our ideas being sold on TV, or Bill Gates is unveiling them, or someone else opens that coffee shop, and we sulk quietly, jealous of all the attention our ideas are getting, up there with those other people who actually used them.  Song about The Twilight Zone?  My idea.  "Yadda, yadda, yadda"?  Swear to God, it was mine before it was Seinfeld's.  I tell ya, you've gotta copyright that shit the second it pops into your head, 'cuz you never know how long you're gonna have it.

Inspiration - it begins.  Expiration - it is over.  We live and die in a single breath, to be born again with the next, and the next, and the next.  Every breath an opportunity to be inspired anew - to go down another path, make another choice - live another life.  Not these half assed, token sucks of air like people drowning in oceans of their own design - but real, clean, deep down in your toes, get you high kind of breathing.  Do this with me right now - Exhale; whatever breath you have in you, force it out of you - empty yourself - push it all out...every last bit.  Now, deep and steady in through your nose, inhale as much air as you can comfortably take in , and then take in just a little bit more, and hold it. Hold it in for four times the amount of time you took inhaling...and then release.  Exhale normally, and let your breathing return to normal.

How'd that feel?  Did your teeth tingle?  Feel a little bit high?  I know, I know - it's nothing new.  Y'all do this in yoga and meditation - but for many of us unenlightened ones, this is not something we come by naturally, because we're stressed beyond belief, because there's too much noise and not enough sound, because there's too much doing and not enough being - because sometimes life...makes it hard to breathe.

But it's not life that makes it hard to breathe - it's all the crap with which we clog up our existence and refer to as life.  Life is not our job, or our political affiliation; Life is not our house, or our car, or any of the material possessions that we hold dear.  Life is expression.  Life is inspiration realized.  Life is every unencumbered, unstressed breath that we allow ourselves to take.

We can breathe; we can absorb inspiration freely and easily; we can be divine and mystic and extraordinary and epic...we just have to get out of our own way.

Observe your own body. It breathes. You breathe when you are asleep, when you are no longer conscious of your own ideas of self-identity. Who, then, is breathing? The collection of information that you mistakenly think it’s you is not the main protagonist in this drama called the breath. In fact, you are not breathing; breath is naturally happening to you. You can purposely end your own life, but you cannot purposely keep your own life going. The expression, “My life” is actually an oxymoron, a result of ignorance and mistaken assumption. You don’t posses life; life expresses itself through you. Your body is a flower that life let bloom, a phenomenon created by life.” 

~ Ilchi Lee

Breathe easy, my friends.