Welcome to my sixth column for AMP magazine.
This month’s Rant:
(information comes from "The Godly Must Be Crazy" by Glenn Scherer,
www.grist.org December 20, 2004)
So, why aren't we (the USA, Congress, Gov't) doing anything about the FACT that there are between 50 and 100 years of oil left in the world? (Saudi Arabia is already pumping at peak capacity and more, so they are hastening the draining off their oil reserves.)
So, why aren't we investing in and developing Hydrogen fuel, the best alternative to gasoline?
So, why aren't we doing anything about air pollution, land pollution, etc.?
So, why are we doing anything about conservation of wildlife, land, and resources?
So, why is Congress spending BILLIONS like there is no tomorrow (not even counting the BILLIONS PER DAY being lost in Iraq thanks to Bushass)?
I'll tell you why, cause some of our most important Congressional leaders belong to a crazy religious sect!
These people believe in a scripture-based justification for anti-environmentalism. Remember back in 1981, when President Reagan's first secretary of the interior, James Watt, told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ? "God gave us these things to use. After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back," Watt said in public testimony that helped get him fired.
Well, today things aren't any better, in fact, they are worse. Seems that there are certain Christian fundamentalists that feel that concern for the future of our planet is irrelevant, because it has no future. They believe we are now living in the End Times, when the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire. They also believe that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded, but actually welcomed -- even hastened -- as a sign of the coming Apocalypse.
Trouble is that there are a bunch of Congressional lawmakers who hold these beliefs, beliefs that create a conflict of interest situation. According to Scherer's article: “The 231 legislators (all but five of them Republicans) who received an average 80 percent approval rating or higher from the leading religious-right organizations make up more than 40 percent of the U.S. Congress. (The only Democrat to score100 percent with the Christian Coalition was Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, who earlier this year quoted from the Book of Amos on the Senate floor: "The days will come, sayeth the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land. Not a famine of bread or of thirst for water, but of hearing the word of the Lord!") These politicians include some of the most powerful figures in the U.S. government, as well as key environmental decision makers: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Republican Conference Chair Rick Santorum (R-Penn.), Senate Republican Policy Chair Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), (then) U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, and quite possibly President Bush. (Earlier this month, a cover story by Ron Suskind in The New York Times Magazine described how Bush's faith-based governance has led to, among other things, a disastrous "crusade" in the Middle East and has laid the groundwork for "a battle between modernists and fundamentalists, pragmatists and true believers, reason and religion.”).”
Do you under the implications of all this? It's that our Congressman believe in hastening the end of world and that it is their religious duty to do so! Do you want crazy people like this to run our government, to make our laws, to push for all our deaths?
Says Scherer: "People under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the Apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the Rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a Word?" These people don't believe in taking care of the Earth's resources because they think that Jesus will suddenly create a miracle and provide people with endless abundance as needed!
This sect of the Christian-Right are called Reconstructionists or Domionists. They believe in political activism because Christ will only make his Second Coming when the world has prepared a place for Him, and that the first step in readying His arrival is to Christianize America. At everyone else in the world's expense! "Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land -- of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ," writes reconstructionist George Grant. Christian dominion will be achieved by ending the separation of church and state, replacing U.S. democracy with a theocracy ruled by Old Testament law, and cutting all government social programs, instead turning that work over to Christian churches. Reconstructionists also would abolish government regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. EPA, because they are a distraction from their goal of Christianizing America, and subsequently, the rest of the world. "World conquest. That's what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish," says Grant. "We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less." Only when that conquest is complete can the Lord return.
Two of the most influential of these Far Out Christians in Congress are: House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair James Inhofe (R-Okla.). Both of them have repeatedly stated in interviews that they want to REMAKE America into a Christian only nation. Neither DeLay nor Inhofe include environmental protection in "the Lord's work." Both have ranted against the EPA, calling it "the Gestapo." DeLay has fought to gut the Clean Air and Endangered Species acts. In 2003, Inhofe invited a stacked-deck of fossil fuel-funded climate-change skeptics to testify at a Senate hearing that climaxed with him calling global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." DeLay is also a self-declared member of the Christian Zionists, an End-Time faction numbering 20 million Americans. Christian Zionists believe that the 1948 creation of the state of Israel marked the first event in what author Hal Lindsey calls the "countdown to Armageddon" and they are committed to making that doomsday clock tick faster, speeding Christ's return. In 2002, DeLay visited pastor John Hagee's Cornerstone Church. Hagee preached a fiery message as simple as it was horrifying:
"The war between America and Iraq is the gateway to the Apocalypse!" he said, urging his followers to support the war, perhaps in order to bring about the Second Coming. After Hagee finished, DeLay rose to second the motion. "Ladies and gentlemen," he said, "what has been spoken here tonight is the truth from God." So, is this why the USA is in Iraq? To hasten the End of the World? To force an Apocalypse to happen? Is this not insanity or what? Do you want congressman representing the whole USA that operates with this mental state?
About Inhofe, Scherer says: "James Inhofe might be an environmentalist's worst nightmare. The Oklahoma senator makes major policy decisions based on heavy corporate and theological influences, flawed science, and probably an apocalyptic worldview -- and he chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. That committee's links to corporate funders are both easier to trace and more infamous than its ties to religious fundamentalism, and it's true that the influence of money can scarcely be overstated. From 1999 to 2004, Inhofe received more than $588,000 from the fossil-fuel industry, electric utilities, mining, and other natural-resource interests, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Eight of the nine other Republican members of Inhofe's committee received an average of $408,000 per senator from the energy and natural resource sector over the same period. By contrast, the eight committee Democrats and one Independent came away with an average of just $132,000 per senator from that same sector since 1999."
Ahh! So, maybe these "leaders" are using Religion as a front to get paid from lobbyists! Operating under two masters, how very "Christ"- like!
How convenient must it be to be able to say that anyone who disagrees with them are against the will of God. It's deeply troubling that 231 US legislators have aligned themselves with beliefs that are antithetical to environmentalism. Says Scherer: "For starters, any environmental science that contradicts the End-Timer's interpretation of
Holy Writ is automatically suspect. This explains the disregard for environmental science so prevalent among Christian fundamentalist lawmakers: the denial of global warming, of the damaged ozone layer, and of the poisoning caused by industrial arsenic and mercury. More important, End-Time beliefs make such problems inconsequential. Faith in Christ's impending return causes End-Timers to be interested only in short-term political-theological outcomes, not long-term solutions. Unfortunately, nearly every environmental issue, from the conservation of endangered species to the curbing of climate change, requires belief in and commitment to an enduring earth. And yet, no amount of scientific evidence will likely shake fundamentalists of their End-Time faith or bring them over to the cause of saving the environment."
Remember, it was a bunch of devout believers, of strong faith, full of righteousness, that flew the hi-jacked planes on 9/11and killed thousands of people in NYC, Pennsylvania, and Washington that day in the name of religion.
What are our illustrious "leaders" willing to do in the name of their beliefs? Isn't it dangerous that for 231 US legislators the government policies that they support are based on the faith that the end of the world must be hastened? I think it is time that we take a really strong look at who is representing us in Congress. Or misrepresenting us. It's time for MODERATE leaders, who can deal with issues based on reality, not far out delusions.
Isn't it time we take our fate out of the hands of the mentally ill?
This month's Rave:
Circus Punks toys! Remember at carnivals and circuses, there would be the game where try to knock down the funny hairy dolls by throwing some balls at them?
Well, those are called Circus Punks, or knock down dolls, and they've been around for over a hundred years. Generally speaking circus punks were handmade as needed by carnies. They were always weird and beautiful because they were all hand-painted, sometimes crudely and sometimes incredibly detailed, which is what was great about them. Well, now Wade Krause and Paul Fresno have brought them back! Including making them by hand! Each Circus Punk is silk screened by Wade, and then sewn and assembled by various people. They make large sized 15 inch dolls and mini 6 inch dolls as well. And what even greater is that they have asked over 100 different really cool pop culture artists to design the dolls! That's right, you can go to www.circuspunks.com and buy your very own limited edition Circus Punks designed by Dirty Donny, Johnny Ace, Jim Koch, Frank Kozik, Gary Baseman, Lisa Petrucci, The Pizz, Glen Barr, Tim Biskup, Mitch O' Connel, and scores more!
Another cool thing is that they are doing exhibitions of these cool Circus Punks. The next one is going to be at The Showroom Gallery on 2nd Avenue in NYC, the V.I.P. Opening is on Thursday Sept. 29th. The show runs SEPTEMBER 30 to OCTOBER 20, 2005! Check out: http://www.circuspunks.com
This month's Rocking:
There are a bunch of really cool indie record labels still around, representing a lot of great Rock & Roll bands. One such label is Bootleg Booze Records in Sweden. www.bootlegbooze.com
From the small town of Arvika in Sweden comes the punkrock'n'roll label Bootleg Booze Records. Located too far from everything to make going to gigs and similar convenient, Arvika has very little to offer the restless youth. A cliche well used but also a cliche that is very true. As many before him Andreas Larsson took up music with some friends, playing somewhat grunge influenced rock with both Nirvana and Guns N' Roses playing the back of the heads of these kids when "writing" their songs. The band was called Noise of Reality and went with time more and more towards with the action fueled rock and the hard rock of the 80's the boys had grown up with.
After several gigs with a bigger and bigger returning crowd, a couple of demo tapes and a self-released CD the band wanted to take the step towards vinyl - that is after all the true format of rock'n'roll. Ola Eskilsson, older brother of the bands singer Pär Eskilsson, was a big fan of the band - family ties set aside. Ola was also a big music lover, perhaps bigger than all four members of the band put together, and when the talk of releasing a vinyl he naturally became involved. Without boring you with all the details it all resulted in that Andreas and Ola were the ones who decided to get things going. After reading a book on Al Capone the phrase "bootleg booze" had stuck with Andreas for a while. He knew it was a too cool phrase to just forget, but also did not have anything to use it for. So when the idea of starting up a label, just for fun, to release this 7" - it was unavoidable that it should be called Bootleg Booze Records.
As all of those reading who has had something to do with a record release knows it's not the easiest thing to go through with the first time. And especially not in a country where there are extremely few pressing plants and the ones that do exist are far from cheap. So, without any experience these two guys worked hard to get everything together; the music, the art, working with a foreign pressing plant with minimal employees with a good knowledge in the English language, and the biggest part of it all - the money! But they got it together, and looking back on it they probably made a bigger deal about it than it was. Like all of us do while we're in the middle of it all.
Anyway, the wheels were now in motion and both Ola and Andreas loved every part of releasing a 7" and it didn't take long before they decided that this was just a first record out of many to come.
Now, 7 years later, give or take, Bootleg Booze Records has several high energy rockin' 'n' rollin' vinyl 7"s, and even two LPs, in their back catalogue. And always when it comes to a Bootleg Booze release there's always something extra surrounding the release. Be it the packaging, colored vinyl or some extra goodies like buttons, guitar picks, stickers etc. thrown into the sleeve.
So, in conclusion; if you're looking for high quality rock'n'roll - keep your eyes open for the drunken skull in a top-hat.
Booze 016 - Urrke T & the Midlife Crisis "Ask Not What You Can Do For Your Country..." 7"
1800 white/red splatter vinyl, 200 50/50 red/white
Booze 015 - The Accidents "Dead Guys" 7"
500 black vinyl, coffin shaped cover
Booze 014/Rocka 002 - The Deadbeats "Long Hard Nights" LP/CD
500 red vinyl, gatefold cover - 1000 digipak CD
Booze 013 - Bad Machine/V8 Wankers "Sounds of the Drags" split 7"
566 black vinyl, 100 transparent
Booze 012/ Rocka 001 - The Accidents "All Time High" LP/CD
500 black vinyl, gatefold cover with collectors-card - 1000 digipak CD, 1000 jewelcase CD
Booze 011 - Mensen "Ready to Go" 7"
300 black vinyl, 200 red/black splatter
Booze 010 - Supersuckers/The Hangmen "split" 7"
500 black vinyl, 500 purple transparent out of which 250 comes in a box, 500 blue transparent with black splatter, 500 brown transparent
Booze 009 - The Deadbeats "Come Clean" 7"
300 black vinyl, 200 orange transparent (100 with The Deadbeats guitar picks)
Booze 008 - Electric Frankenstein/Ironboss "vs." split 7"
800 black vinyl, 200 50/50 red/green
Booze 007 - Marky Ramone & The Speedkings "Good Cop Bad Cop" 7"
700 black vinyl, 300 white. 500 comes with two temp tattoo's
Booze 006 - Crossfire "Rock ´n´ Roll Power" 7"
1000 black vinyl, 50 of these with hand numbered obi-strip
Booze 005 - Adam West "Digs Scandinavian Chicks" 7"
500 pink vinyl, 52 of these comes in a special "Hollywood-XXX-Edition" metal box, 200 black, 100 "2003 tour-edition" on black vinyl with different colored cover art
Booze 004 - The Stap-ons/Rickshaw "split" 7"
500 black vinyl, 55 of these comes in a hand numbered "Cream Green Book edition"
Booze 003 - Rickshaw/Noise of Reality "split" 7"
500 black vinyl, 50 of these comes with special edition plastic-bags
Booze 002 - The Hymans "Rocker" 7"
400 black vinyl (22 promo copies without covers but with a special promo-sticker), 82 transparent purple with black splatter (10 of these had Hymans and Bootleg Booze iron-on stickers), 20 transparent. purple with black splatter in a screen printed leather bag packed with goodies, 12 test presses that came in a screen printed 3-color metal-box with even more goodies
Booze 001 - Noise of Reality "F**k You!" 7"
300 heavy black vinyl
Well, there you go for this month, keep ranting, raving, and rocking, I know I will.
That's it for this issue! Click here to read column #7
Sal Canzonieri - www.electricfrankenstein.com / www.myspace.com/electricfrankenstein