Dear Jonestown Readers

Suzi Riot

suziriot.jpgAllow me to introduce myself to the Jonestown readers, since most of you have no idea who the hell I am. I go by Suzi Riot and I started my blog as part of my personal anger management plan. I don’t really blog about my personal life, but for contextual purposes I’ll tell you that I have a degree in History (concentration in U.S. Foreign Relations) from UCLA, I have a background in activism and politics (and was disgusted enough to leave it), and I now work in direct action nonprofit management. My work requires me to be patient and diplomatic, but people really piss me off and I find that writing about it keeps me from crossing those last couple of feet that will send me over the proverbial ledge. As you’ll see, my writing includes frequent use of the words fuck, motherfucker, fuckstick, et cetera. My blog is mostly complaining. I’m accustomed to blogging just for self-therapy and mental release; I never expected anyone aside from a few of my friends to be at all interested in my profanity filled rantings and ravings about constitutional law, foreign policy, the collective psychology behind human behavior, and professional idiocy. So I apologize in advance if my bitching annoys any Jonestown readers. Blame fairlane.

Since having received the great compliment of being asked by fairlane to join the Jonestown Superteam, I’ve been trying to come up with a post that won’t get me kicked off before I get going. I really hope this one will help me avoid the cut.

I’m an atheist, but religion has been on my mind a lot lately. Thanks to the MSM’s apparent willingness to allow Mike Huckabilly to frame the national discussion surrounding the primaries, a lot of media attention is currently focused on the role of religion in the 2008 presidential election. We’ve seen it from CNN, MSNBC, and even from the local news hacks. For some reason, I expected better from PBS. But I was watching the NewsHour recently and was half listening to an obligatory discussion between a pollster and a political science professor about how voters tend to align themselves with the candidate whose views most closely match their own. What caught my attention was this quote from Ann Selzer of the Iowa Poll:

“I was chatting with a young woman who is religiously conservative. In the past, she said all it took was a pro-life stance and an anti-gay marriage stance, and that’s really all the thinking she needed to do. And this year, it sort of struck her: These things have really nothing to do with running the country. And so those issues have really sort of, I think, played a little bit less, as people are really thinking about the complex world that the next president will inherit.”

Really? Well, it would certainly be great news to hear that even one person had actually started, you know, thinking about their choice for president. Religion is an issue because the Christianazis want it to be, but I thought it was fine that it was being discussed in this context. Then I watched the next segment, with Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It was like listening to a fucking sermon. Every one of Mohler’s answers to Ray Suarez’s questions involved phrases like “personal relationship with our savior Jesus Christ” and “govern according to the principles of our savior Jesus Christ.” Suarez didn’t even call Mohler out on the fact that he wasn’t coming close to really answering any of the questions about the appropriate role of the Bible in politics and governance. Suarez was just basically letting the guy proselytize on PBS. The previous day I had been watching a Newshour guest panel discussing the exact same topic and one of the commentators praised Mitt Romney’s religion speech, in which he said, “Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom.” I was pissed off when I heard Romney say it the first time and now I just got pissed off all over again.

This whole religion thing is just a manifestation of the larger, insidious agenda that the Republican candidates are pushing. Take a look at these quotes and see if get my meaning:

“Our most basic civil liberty is the right to be kept alive and the President should not hesitate to use every legal tool at his disposal to keep America safe.”

Mitt Romney in response to being asked whether the President has the power to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants.

“A President must always act in the best interests of the United States to protect us against a potential threat, including a nuclear Iran. Naturally, it is always preferable to seek agreement of all – leadership of our government as well as our friends around the world – where those circumstances are available.”

Mitt Romney in response to being asked if the president would have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress.

“All US citizens are entitled to due process, including at least some type of habeas corpus relief regardless whether they are designated unlawful enemy combatants or not.”

Mitt Romney in response to bring asked if the Constitution permits a president to detain US citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants.

‘There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church’s distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes president he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths.

Mitt Romney, Dec. 6 campaign speech.

“Faith doesn’t influence me, it really defines me.”

Mike Huckabee, “Christian Leader” campaign commercial.

“My faith doesn’t influence my decisions, it drives them.”

Mike Huckabee

“When our founding fathers put their signatures on the Declaration of Independence, those 56 brave people, most of whom, by the way, were clergymen, they said that we have certain inalienable rights given to us by our creator, and among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, life being one of them. I still believe that.”

Mike Huckabee on abortion, October 21st Republican Debate.

“The President must be free to defend the nation. While the Congress has an essential constitutional role in our national defense, the Supreme Court has also recognized that the president has certain core constitutional responsibilities to ensure that our nation can defend itself and our fundamental liberties in times of emergency.”

Rudy Giuliani in response to being asked if the president would have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress.

“America has a special, even a divinely inspired role in the world… It was this nation that saved the world from the two great tyrannies of the 20th century, Nazism and Communism. It’s this country that’s going to save civilization from Islamic terrorism.”

– Rudy Giuliani addressing the Federalist Society, architects of many of the most extremist Bush executive power abuses.

There are lots more gems like these. So, notice a common theme? All of these quotes reveal what is either a deliberate intention to subvert the law, a ridiculously incorrect understanding of the letter and meaning of the US Constitution, and/or incorrect and manufactured interpretations of constitutional law and history. The role of religion in government and politics is only the tip of the iceberg with these assholes. They all want to be president so they can continue BushCo’s mission to subvert the American system of government in order to serve the NeoCon agenda. They lurrrrve the monarchical presidency that Bush has established and not only do they not want to give that up, they want to expand executive privilege so no citizen, no legislative body, no court can stop them. And religion is essential to this purpose. Just listen to the real message behind these quotes: America needs a strong, tyrannical Christian leader to preserve the power of the president in order to protect good American citizens from the menace of Islamic terrorism.

This is why I get so upset when I see the MSM playing into the Republicans’ hands. They portray Mike Huckabee as a nice Christian minister; the fuck allegedly covered up that his son hung a stray dog at a Boy Scout camp in 1998 and then fired the Democratic appointed director of the Arkansas state police John Bailey, allegedly saying “I’ve lost confidence in your ability to do your job. I couldn’t get you to help me with my son when I had that problem.” (Newsweek, December 24, 2007) Hmmm, I wonder if that’s something Jesus would do. Huckabee is not just some Southern Baptist preacher. Giuliani is not “America’s mayor” or a hero of 9/11. Romney is sure as fuck not John F. Kennedy or victim of religious intolerance. The MSM needs to take a closer look. Voters need to take a closer look. I can only hope that Iowa woman was telling the truth and that others will follow her lead in really thinking about who they’re going to choose to either reverse or continue BushCo’s legacy.

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~ by Suzi Riot on December 28, 2007.

23 Responses to “Dear Jonestown Readers”

  1. Well, nothing like diving right in and how!

    We’ve read each other enough to know that we agree on this topic and I’m with you on the need for our fellow Americans to think! We elect a president but once every four years. For goodness sake, can’t we put down our People magazines and shut off America’s Next Top Model for just a few minutes a day to learn about the candidates?

    Great post, Suzi!

  2. Great post. It’s true that the political issues are being framed as if they had something to with religion, when in fact everything that is being said and supported, implicitly or not, is just incredibly immoral.

  3. Greetings Suzi! I have not read your blog (franiam hangs head in shame) but I have indeed seen your name in the comments sections of many blogs that I do read.

    And it would appear that angry rants and cussin’ are skills in demand at Jonestown. Otherwise, why the fuck would I come here?

    Speaking of fuck- this is one great fucking post you have written missy. Wow- on fucking fire good.

    The really sad truth is this in my estimation… It is not that these asshats actually put any faith in their so-called faith… Well maybe Huckabee, but let me get to that in a moment.

    No they use their so-called faith as a manipulative tool to influence and frighten the lemmings that are US citizens, to vote for them.

    It is a nice play book… after all it has worked for despots over time.

    Huckabee is a wild card because I think he may actually believe all the shit he spouts and that makes him what I affectionately refer to as “an apocalyptic asshole”. Meaning- he will blow us all up in the name of his perverse image of God.

    Let me finish my rant up with this… I am an actual living breathing Catholic Christian. Try not to hold this against me, but if you wish to, that’s cool.

    You may find that I have a very different outlook than most. What bothers the fuck out of me is that the message that strikes me deeply in my heart has been so perverted and manipulated by so many so-called followers.

    Oh well, so it is. Welcome and I look forward to more!

  4. I’m pretty fucking appalled at the copious usage of the word ‘fuck’ and its uncountable fucking variants, but other than that fucking oversight, great fucking post.

    What’s most frustrating is that fact that these fuckers are NEVER called out on it. Every single thing that the fucking wingnuts dreamed up in the 60s and 70s has become part of the mainstream discourse because THEY WERE ALLOWED TO GET AWAY WITH IT. Sure, there’s no ‘official’ religious test.

    But there certainly fucking is a religious test.

  5. Great post. It is so true that the MSM is (are?) giving these fascists a free pass and I’m so sick of it. And Randal is right, there is a religious test for President – no way would an atheist or agnostic ever get elected in this country.

  6. The Goppers are a 100% owned subsidiary of Jesusistan. Jesusistanis make up the bulk of the Gopper “base.” No Gopper candidate will survive the Primary cycle without Jesusistan.

    I am fairly certain Huck is behind all the push polling directed at Romney, as he selected Jesus as his running mate right around the time people started getting calls reminding them that Romney is a witch. I thought Rudy was going to be the sleaziest of them all, but Huck has replaced him in that category.

  7. So is this the fundamentals on why democrats what to rid the nation of Marines?
    (No one has ever staisfied my question why Bill Clinton tried so hard to dismember the Marine Corps.)
    I am asking about the use of power obviously.

    If you are going to point out that repulicans have fucksticks in their folds, then “Woop de fucking da!” Don’t vote for them.

  8. D-cup: Yep, dive right in without looking first! And then I end up with a post a lot longer than I intended!

    Dashiell: Morality and ethics absolutely have a role and religion is a poor substitute for either.

    Franiam: Spirituality and Christianity can be beautiful, positive things. We need more love, compassion, humility, charity, kindness, etc in the world. I very much respect those aspects of religion and that’s why it’s such a shame to see it used for ill. And I am totally stealing “apocalyptic asshole”!

    Randal: Fuck yeah, motherfucker! Not letting them get away with it is exactly why I blog. For me, blogging is about exercising and protecting free speech. Even if nobody reads it, at least I know that they haven’t shut me up.

    Mauigirl: Thank you! And that’s why the blogs have to pick up where the MSM drops the ball. (BTW, I visited your blog and your puppy is adorable!)

    Jolly Roger: Huck is absolutely the sleaziest of the bunch and that is really quite something considering who he’s competing with.

    Wyld: I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy my post, but I do see your point. Sometimes I feel that way: I’m not going to vote for them, so wouldn’t it just be easier to ignore them and not get so worked up? But I blog because I like to discuss ideas with others, even those that don’t agree with me. And I blog because we need dissent in this country, and the MSM sure as hell won’t do it. Jonestown is a place to do all of that. As far as the Democrats wanting to rid the nation of Marines, I don’t quite understand how you got that from my post. My mom was a Marine and my dad was a flight surgeon in Vietnam; and I’ve got friends in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have nothing but respect for members of the US Military, particularly the Marines since they are the ones who are always called on to really get the job done. Semper fi, Wyld.

  9. Damn I’m good.

    Excellent post Suzi.

  10. I don’t watch television but do read 30-40 pages of news and editorials daily plus scanning USA Today. You’re right about the MSM but I don’t know what people can expect when it’s all being sold off under our noses to Rupert Murdoch et al. I seem to recall it was Bill Clinton who arranged the Telecommunications Act and things have been getting worse since. Remember when Michael Powell was in charge of the FCC not long ago? Without a free press people have to work at informing themselves and it’s unfortunate but true that most simply don’t have the interest or curiosity.

    I agree that the blogs are our main way of communicating with one another at this point in time and I’m glad the mechanism is available with the understanding we have the freedom to say what we like and the government has the power and resources to read all we say. That doesn’t mean we ought not express our dissatisfaction with the situation nor the frustration of working for change and seeing so little. Perhaps it will aggregate. Perhaps more people like that lady in Iowa are beginning to understand.

    Welcome to Jonestown, Suzi. You’re a good addition to the mix.

  11. suzi
    you are my kind of person
    you are blogrolled and you are a new BFF..

    great post — and i am with you 100%

    it is amazing (and scary) to watch this all unfold before our very eyes and see the so called guardians of truth (MSM, Congress) let it happen.

    MSM because they want the get
    Congress because they are pussies

    it is sho0cking how religion makes people cower like sick puppies. I will sum it up organized religion = intolerance and hate. period.

  12. fairlane: Thanks for bringing me on… it’s fun so far!

    susan: You’ve hit the nail on the head. How can we expect the journalists to really investigate, really question the establishment, when they are all owned by one very, very, wealthy man? Bloggers may not be journalists and there is a lot of bullshit in the blogosphere. But I think I trust us more than I trust them.

    dcap: Holy cow that is quite a compliment, considering how much I admire what you do on your blog. And thank you for the blogroll add.

  13. GREAT post Suzi !!!

    I’m not an atheist, but I’m not ‘religious’ either. But anyway, I’ve been thinking recently that that the sad part of this bizarre Christian Evangelical thing is that it has put the entire gamut of christion “sects” (if you will) into their (the evantlical’s) big ugly pot of hypocrisy.

    There are millions of people who are “mainline Protestants” (such as Methodist, Lutherans and Presbyterians) who simply go about their private religious affairs without “evangelizing” or pulling political strings. For many of them, the “Protestant work ethic” remains one of the foundations of this country and continues to guide their lives.

    There are many Catholics, as well (disclosure: I grew up in a Cathlic family and people still tell me I should have been a nun !! Pshawww !!!), who pretty much go about their business … novena’s, stations of the cross, all that crap (which actually can kind of cool in a bizarre, gothic kind of way …).

    but I digress …

    The Evangelicals coming from the South with their Scots-Irish (no offense to anyone on this blog) hillbillyness have driven all religious and/or spiritually oriented people into hiding. It’s sad.

    Ok. So that’s my rant.

    Again, GREAT POST Suzi-Riot. And, absolutely, don’t worry one second about using the “F” bomb too often. It’s part of your charm.

    😉

  14. Suzi- I have never read any of your posts over at your blog before (hangs head in shame), but if this is any indication of what I can expect to read, well then i’ll be headed there pronto.

    On the point of your post, I think see the whole christianista thing as a marketing ploy. I mean when it comes to media darlings, most TV watching Americans can’t resist a folksy, down-home, God-fearing man or woman who pronounces publicly their christian faith. Who cares if they believe it, they pronounced it and that makes them likable and electable.

    This is how I think most Americans think:

    “Issues?” Health-care? Education? Abortion? Illegal wars? I need to change the channel, Stacey and Clinton are tearing a new asshole into another woman with a bad wardrobe. Wat fun! And who watches PBS anyway. You mean I have to give up ‘The Amazing Race’ or ‘Survivor’ for that?”

    I hate to “fucking” say this, but we deserve the all Huckabees and Romneys that come our way. It’s nature’s response to our collective apathy and idiocy.

  15. Thank you failane for asking and suzi for accepting. I am glad I’ll be seeing you here!

  16. Anita: Thank you very much! I agree that it’s too bad American Christianity has become defined by the evangelicals.

    Spartacus: Thanks and I hope you enjoy what you find. BTW, I really enjoyed what you’ve written over at Kelso’s place. I totally feel you on the deserving what we get. That’s why I often consider just saying “fuck you, you did it yourselves and I’m outta here, bitches” to America. Kelso seems to like Panama an awful lot.

    Freidabee: Thanks so much for the warm welcome!

  17. Yeah, what we’ve got here is Fox masquerading as Pravda..

  18. Those people USE religion to their advantage. I’d be surprised if any of them believe a damn thing they say. Am I cynical?

  19. Nice debut, Suzi, but as you’re swimming in the deep end of the pool now, you’ve got to be ready. You cleverly neglected on little item. Don’t worry, I would have done the same if I were in your Capezios. A catalog of 10 or 15 choice quotations on religion by Bill Clinton (who, on balance, I believe was on of the country’s top 10 presidents) would have put all of those theocrats to shame. We have to be fair. He was a perispicacious bible scholar and he used that knowledge to diffuse his critics and do some good for his country. Still, I never liked it when he shifted into that mode.

    I live in a country with, I believe, an “official” religion — Roman Catholicism. You’d hardly know it, though. Like most of Western Europe, about 1/3 of Catholic Panamanians self-identify as “atheist/agnostic, anti-clerical, skeptical, or modern.” The other 2/3 are pretty traditional, but the Catholic Church as an institution does not hold political sway the way ALL religious institutions hold political sway in the USA. Civil gay marriage is legal and all forms of birth control are readily available. STD awareness campaigns abound often with non-abstinence programs supported by the Church. Panama’s large Jewish (Ashkenaz and Sephard), Arab (Muslim and Christian), Chinese (of all variants) and Northern European populations also run the gamut from atheist to traditional. There is neither pressure to “be” anything nor “believe” anything.

    The person next to you wearning the cross or chai pendant may very well be as agnostic as any of us.

    Perhaps, though what’s nicest about the life here is that THE NEWS IS THE NEWS. OFTEN IT’S BORING. WHAT ARE THE AVERAGE PRICES OF MILK BY REGION? WHAT IS THE STARTING SALARY OF A FIRST-YEAR RESIDENT IN A PUBLIC HOSPITAL IN CHIRIQUI? There’s no need for jingoism nor Katie Couric. The issues of the day are usually economic and unlike in America, pretty much every Panamanian understands them.

    Is Panama strange in some way? Hardly. Panama is just like about 75 other countries the world over. The Wing-nuts like to say “America, love it or leave it”. A provocative question to be sure.

    Welcome to the show, kid.

  20. This is not a rebuttal comment, I just want to clarify one point that was not made clear from the get go. My mind is not “normal” I am a career Marine and have survived three divorces, so if I go on a tangent that you don’t see a link, then the technique was a learned response from one of my failed marriages. I have a truck load of issues going through my mind daily and as you use this(blog) as your pedistal in the anonymous world of blogging I do as well. This world of blogging is filled with opinions and I am most likely going to be your devil’s advocate, judging by our first encounter.
    I use my first hand experience with the world and spit out whatever rationale I feel to be the correct response. (Plus, it is a real pain in the ass to type all this shit with a cast on your arm.)

    So this is my rebuttal: you have spunk, I like you already.

  21. Wyld- The more you comment the more I like you.

    You are always welcome here.

  22. Kelso: Man, you are completely correct. They all play that game. As far as media, I really enjoy watching news when I travel internationally (if I happen to understand the language wherever I am). It’s a very enlightening experience.

    Wyld: Thanks for the clarification and I most definitely do not hold it against you to play devil’s advocate or express whatever opinion you choose to share. I like your style and look forward to future rebuttals. Hope that cast you mentioned comes off soon.

  23. And Suzi, having grown up with a Dad who was a Navy vet and still proudly calls himself “feminist”, there are but two so-called feminists I wish would shut up: Camille Paglia and Catherine MacKinnon.

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