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jadewahoo Avatar

Location: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Gender: Male

Posted: Oct 3, 2008 - 9:39am

Ahh! I love the acerbic wit and insight of Mark Morford. Here he addresses the glaring difference between those who view the Earth as a wondrous place of beauty to be celebrated through community and ritual vs. those who hold any such celebratory relationship an expression of evil, to be exorcised.
As the caretaker of an ancient Shamanic lineage, you can bet which I ascribe to...

Witches Begone!

Sarah Palin was de-witched by nutball pastor? What a shame

Friday, October 3, 2008

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Here's one way to make a small child's eyes go wide in creepyfun terror: Mention the existence of witches.

< /templates/types/article/object_lib.tmpl > < end /templates/types/article/object_lib.tmpl > < begin: types/widgets/pages/common/autocols/dropin.tmpl > < autocols/dropin/morford.html generated by morford on Fri Oct 3 01:54:58 2008 >

Real ones. Living ones. Witches living and existing right over there, just off the highway, in sad eerie-looking ramshackle hovels and trailers and barns not a mere few hundred yards from your speeding car, right up there in the parts of rural 1970s Idaho my family would pass through on the way to our little getaway lake cabin up north, deep in the misty, foggy, sunbaked summerland memories of my childhood.

Oh yes, the witches were there all right. At least, my parents sometimes hinted that they were, relating, as we zipped by these sweet-but-gloomy little towns, tallish tales of mysterious disappearances and unsolved murders and maybe a mutilated farm animal or two, and then they'd chuckle and wink to each other as my sisters and I stared out the windows, equal parts enchanted and suspicious and petrified.

Of course, to my 8-year-old imagination, these Podunk witches were at once terrifically real, and yet somehow, given how they lived in these weatherbeaten tobacco-spit burgs, also sort of tacky, like a cross between the Blair Witch and an emphysemic Wal-Mart greeter Ð- gaunt harridans in bad housedresses who kept small oozing things in jars and ate live rabbits and picked their six remaining teeth with the bones of small children and watched too much daytime TV and chain-smoked Winston menthols.

Makes me a little sad, then, that trophy VP nominee Sarah "I (Heart) Gibberish" Palin apparently had herself anointed by a true-blue witch-hunter nutball of a pastor, a Kenyan priest name of Thomas Muthee, up at her Wasilla church a few years back, just before becoming governor. Isn't that sweet?

Did you see the infamous grainy YouTube video? Did you read the disquieting little sidebar story about Muthee and his now-infamous witch huntin' treks down to Kenya, like that time he stormed into a village and formed an angry mob to drive out an old woman by the name of "Mama Jane" who was supposedly causing illness and traffic accidents and really crappy Wi-Fi connections at the local Starbucks? Charming.

Have you read, furthermore, about Palin's adorable Pentecostal church where Muthee preached, where they like to speak in tongues and lick the skins of serpents and watch NASCAR while shooting moose from the backs of animatronic dinosaurs adorned with "Jesus is My Co-Pilot" bumper stickers? (Note: possible slight exaggeration. But not by much.) It's all sorts of Disney-on-acid fun.

As for Palin, turns out Muthee laid on some hands, delivered a garbled serpents n' brimstone prayer designed not merely to help her leap from Mayor of Nowheresville to perky gubernatorial fireplug, only to later become, thanks to McCain's appalling judgment, the most insulting caricature of female empowerment in modern history who, as the VP debate painfully revealed, still knows not a single substantive thing about American domestic or foreign policy, but also to protect her from that same silly/terrifying witchcraft I imagined in my youth.

So I'm sad, but not necessarily because Palin credits Muthee, who likes to ramble about "spiritual warfare" and "the python spirits," with helping her win the governorship, or even that Palin doubtlessly called upon those same kooky Wasilla extremists to protect her from demonic forces far more horrifying than witches — like, say, condoms, or gay people, or Charles Darwin.

No, mostly I'm a bit sad because the real, true, lovely witches I now know are nothing like Palin and her clan imagine, and she might never know it — or, better yet, get a chance to become one herself.

See, not only have I happily outgrown my 8-year-old's fear and ignorance and blind dependence on others Ð- priests, Bibles, departments of Homeland Security — to tell me what I should be afraid of, or which gods I must kneel before, or how blessed I will be if I only turn off my brain and anesthetize my soul and send in my cash, but I've also learned a thing or two about paganism, Wicca, witchcraftery -Ð you know, all those juicy beliefs and practices that still give the evangelical set, as the late DFW might say, the howling fantods.

Is it worth setting the record straight? Pointing out how true 'n' deep witchcraftery has nothing to do with evil or Satan or excessive black eyeliner or sacrificing newborn babies while listening to Ministry and smoking cloves? That those who've taken up this most ancient and potent of callings actually study their enchanted craft for years and know more about, say, the cycles of the moon and the body and the rhythms of the planet than Sarah Palin's most secretest pagan fever dream could ever conjure?

Really, the irony of this whole affair is just too tasty to pass up. Because real witches are, of course, all about self-determination, complete spiritual freedom, and are often practiced in the innate magic of the earth, the body, the self. Most follow no particular deity or dogma, though that's entirely optional (you can be a witch and a Christian, for example). Truth is, it's too bad Palin's not a witch herself. She'd be so much more interesting. And, you know, useful.

Hell, I know a number of happy, accomplished, practicing witches at work and play in the normal world right this very minute, running errands and playing with their kids and texting their boyfriends, not a single one of whom is currently indulging in a ritualistic blood-drenched sex orgy at the feet of Lucifer. Wait, let me check Facebook ... nope, all normal.

As for the Wiccans, well, those witches are, of course, even more about nature and fertility and earthly ritual, a deep, life-affirming reverence for the cycles of life, for protecting the environment and celebrating the body, and it's all wrapped in a rather limitless chthonic self-determination and therapeutic ritual magick that's essentially the ideological opposite of what evangelical Christianity often wallows in. I mean, is it any wonder they're so terrified?

Ah, but Muthee and his clan are probably right about one thing: It's extremely likely that most Wiccans and witches of the world are, right this moment, holding all sorts of ceremonies and casting all sorts of spells against the idea of a Palinocracy, working hard to conjure great heaps of positive, divinely feminine energy so as to thwart the rise to power of this imposter female. Makes perfect sense, really.

After all, as any real witch knows, it's when you give the real demons of the world — fear, intolerance, dogma, narrow-mindedness, ignorance, lack of choice, religious fanaticism — too much sway, well, that's when all hell breaks loose.


EleventhMan Avatar

Gender: Female

Posted: Sep 5, 2008 - 11:00am

This is the column that first caught my attention, drew me in & made me a fan, and sadly I think he could have written it this morning as easily as in 2004:

What Are You So Afraid Of?
Sex? Gays? Terrorists? God? In BushCo's fear-drunk world, only one question really matters

 By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

 Friday, February 13, 2004

Oh my God but we are one terrified nation.

Fear is in. Fear is the new black. Spritz it on your face and neck, walk around the world all quivering and tremulous, waiting to be crushed by some dark massive throbbing wall of evil at any moment.

Fear is everywhere. Classrooms, water coolers, truck commercials. Fear is our government's raison d'etre, the calling card of the GOP. It will be the prime motivator in this year's presidential election, as Karl Rove will command that Dubya beat the drum of fear loud and hard and nonstop, smirking all the way.

Fear of terrorists fear of gay marriage fear of women and foreigners and the poor and environmentalists and progressives and Janet Jackson and hippies and commies and gul-dang liberals who want to take away your guns and make you think for yourself. We cannot have that.

Vote for us, the GOP will scream, and we will make sure to slaughter all those evil hippie demons, all while keeping your fear at a fever pitch via a never-ending parade of freshly minted evils that threaten your numbed McDonald's-gorged diabetic asthmatic children who can't breathe due to all the air-quality laws we've gouged. Shhh.

Fear has served the GOP beautifully. It won them the election and let them launch two full-blown wars and has pumped billions into the coffers of crony corporations and there is no reason to stop now.

Fear is bombing Afghanistan, right now. Fear is why we are decimating Iraq. A massive murderous budget-busting U.N.-hating war on a nonthreatening nation would have been unspeakable and intolerable had the GOP not deliberately engaged in truly world-class fearmongering beforehand, all about leveraging the sadness of 9/11 and tying it to nonexistent WMDs and biotoxins and nukes and scary bearded foreigners who are all hell bent on slaughtering American babies with rusty machetes.

Basic truism of politics, worldwide: Get the populace scared enough, and you can get away with anything. Fear yanks away your basic civil liberties, your intuition, your sense of dignity and humane behavior.

Fear means not blinking an eye as you remove your belt and your shoes as you allow your carry-on to be dumped out and rifled through and your toddler to be groped and her teddy bear strip searched by some snickering security personnel.

Fear means barely wincing as the utterly draconian USA Patriot Act gets reamed through Congress, twice, giving the FBI and police appalling new powers to monitor your e-mail and your Web-site visits and credit card usage and telephone calls sans warning or warrant or even probable cause. Fear means no longer saying hey, just what the hell is wrong with you people?

Fear is a tactic. It is a calculated force, a strategic maneuver, a carefully constructed PR methodology. It is a poison in the air, a cancer in the national bloodstream, a media pastime and a cultural narcotic. And here's the biggest secret of all: Fear is a learned trait, a practiced habit. It is something you cling to and allow to fester. They are counting on it.

Fear is why we buy SUVs. Fear of horrible spine-mangling accidents, fear of smashing head-on into a Mack truck at 90 mph at any given moment, fear that just around the next corner is an enormous gorge full of anthrax and gangbangers and demonic vegans that we will have to traverse just so little Timmy can make it to therapy and Daddy can haul his load of dry cleaning back from the office.

Never mind that SUVs have hideous road manners and are, in fact, far more deadly than smaller cars and suffer far more accidents than smaller cars, which are much better at avoiding accidents in the first place. Fear scoffs at this. Fear knows it's all about convincing you that horrible accidents and ungodly pain are inevitable, even if they're not. After all, fear drives a Hummer.

And logic? Poor ol' logic breaks down in the face of fear. Fear has no patience for common sense and spits at it and smashes it with a baseball bat and treats it like Dick Cheney treats a fat, docile pheasant.

Fear is why we love our guns. Fear is why we love our huge knobby tires and Super-sized fries and ultraviolent sports, making us feel all manly and corpulent and invincible. Fear is why we pummel the weak, hate the different, cling to uptight religious doctrine that we know, deep down, is sapping our soul and crushing our independent thought and numbing our sexual potency.

Try this test. Ask your neighborhood neoconservative homophobe just what, exactly, would happen if, say, gay marriage were to be legalized nationwide.

Ask them what would change. Ask them to be very specific. How would their lives be threatened? How would society crumble, exactly? Riots? Locusts? What is the danger in allowing love to flourish in all its variants and be enthusiastically supported by the state? Be as clear as possible. What, really, is so terrifying?

Fear, it just is. It nibbles away at our souls like a tapeworm. It is our own personal kryptonite.

It does not matter. For most of us, letting go and dissolving tight, harmful definitions of self and forsaking, say, an angry sneering homophobic God in favor of cultivating a messy raw juicy delicious wet incredibly difficult sense of personal responsibility and open-mouthed divinity is far too much to ask. We are terrified to even try. The church is counting on it.

We do know one thing: Change freaks us out. It is an upheaval of what was, the known, the stable, the safe. Change — social, sexual, political — is confusing and troubling and forces us to question our own inhibitions and moral shortcomings and deep inborn prejudices and who the hell wants to do that? No one, that's who.

Fear means never having to dig very deep, never having to ask serious questions of the self. There, there now. Don't bother thinking for yourself. Let the priests and the government CEOs and the war hawks make it all better. Boom boom crush snicker.

There are, of course, plenty of ways to defeat fear. You hear little about them because they aren't nearly as sexy or dire for media and politicians. After all, fear sells copy, moves product, draws ratings, gets votes. Defeating fear is for New Agers and peaceniks and pot smokers. Right? Whatever.

This is all you have to do to defeat fear: You don't. That is to say, you actually do the opposite, which is to promote the positive, educate yourself, drop your tired notions of how it's all supposed to work and pump out what the ancients knew to be a radiant kind of raw ego-free love. What, too fluffy? Tough.

Because only by making your world, your body, your perspective truly "in love" does anything actually change. It ain't pink hearts and fluffy bunnies and Hallmark swill. It's the most difficult and often most painful and life-altering thing you can do. It means forgoing the safe, questioning your deepest belief, peeling back the self in ways you can't even imagine until you get there and you say, oh my freaking God this is a pain in the karmic ass.

But once you tap into something divine and deeply personal and free of the spewings of the hate-filled homophobic Right and the whiny politically correct Left, only then can you use this energy to battle the demons of ignorance and fearmongering on every front, every day. Because, simply put, the more you know yourself, the less you fear. It is the only way. And you can start immediately.

After all, what are you so afraid of?

  • Thoughts for the author? E-mail him.
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  • jadewahoo

    jadewahoo Avatar

    Location: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
    Gender: Male

    Posted: Sep 5, 2008 - 9:55am

    Because this guy just says it all with such humor and biting wit:

    Greetings from "the angry left"

    Hey, peeved hippie! Stop your hatin' and learn to love the (McCain) bomb!

    Friday, September 5, 2008

    "Fellow citizens, if the Hanoi Hilton could not break John McCain's resolve to do what is best for his country, you can be sure the angry left never will."
    — George W. Bush, RNC '08

    Aww, just look at you. You seem a little upset. A mite peeved, even.


    Heck on a hot pancake, I'd even go so far as to say you were downright angry, given how I can see the ripples of general upsettedness and waves of appalledosity coursing through your hot liberal body like fresh biodiesel through a converted VW van. Really now, that can't be good for your chakras, can it?

    What's wrong, buttercup? Right-wing politics got you down? RNC '08 making you gag? Toxic and inexcusable events of the past eight years make you deeply sick to your stomach, spleen, heart, mind, spirit and even your kneecaps? Or is it the wretched notion that the bizarro-world McCain-Palin agenda wants to continue more of the same?


    Or maybe it's this: Maybe it's all this terrifying new evidence that there still seems to be this huge pile of Americans who aren't all that concerned with — or even aware of — just how violently the GOP continues to dump all over their very heads. Is that what's making your blood boil? Aww, there, there, now.

    Really, I have to say, what nerve you libs have, daring to be angry at a time like this. This is a time of optimism and change! This is a time of true, red-blooded American mavericks, of hot Alaskan redneck babes and giant phallic guns and military fetishism and zero birth control, of teen pregnancy and God and freshly slaughtered moose on the dinner table!

    Can't you sense the patriotism? Hell, McCain-Palin is so damn American it might as well be a McDonald's McRib sandwich dipped in Crisco and cooked over a Chevy Tahoe's exhaust pipe at a tailgate party in Kid Rock's bowels. Feel the jingoism, hippie!


    You know what you should do, angry lefty? You should take a page from the Republican Convention. Just look how perky they all are, doing that incredible dance of the true blind American, completely blocking out the pain and misprision of their party's leadership — the failed war, the fiscal disaster, the least popular president in a lifetime, the secrecy and scandal and historic ineptitude — much in the same way an insane cat lady blocks out the all the cold lumps of fur piling up in the freezer. Really, why can't you be more like that?

    I'll tell you this, peeved liberal: The GOP is laughing at your expense. Don't you see how they're tossing about "the angry left" catchphrase as though progressives are the only ones who've been molested by Bush's horrible policies and McCain's lust for more war, by illegal wiretapping, torture, environmental ignorance, the raping of the Treasury?

    Oh sure, you and I both know there are plenty of angry Republicans out there too, furious at how Bush and now McCain have ruined their once-noble party and trashed the heart of the nation for the sake of oil cronyism and war profiteering. But there is simply no room for them at this particular table.

    Right now, you get to be either one of two things: A furious lefty to be equated with North Vietnamese torturers, lured in by the "sham" of Obama's deep intelligence and potential historic greatness, or a deeply drugged conservative, numb to the world, lacking a foothold on a single issue you can defend but nevertheless shooting for the rafters with a giant rifle of gall. Take your pick.

    Here's a fun fact: Do you know why Bush and others get to call you "the angry left" and lightning does not strike them dead on the spot? Simple, lovebug: because they know something you don't.

    Here it is: Repubs know — or rather, desperately hope — that there remains a simply huge number of very ill-informed, reactionary Americans out there who are still operating on the lowest possible intellectual and cultural strata — who are, for example, totally turned on by seeing Governor Palin in a power skirt wielding a rifle and a knocked-up teen daughter and a fetish for Creationism and oil and sexual ignorance, a woman who has called the war in Iraq "a task from God."

    This is McCain's apparent message to these effortlessly terrified throngs (aka "Bush's base"): You know who should be running this country if and when I don't make it through my first term? Hot chicks with guns! Check that: Hot neocon MILFs with guns who can skin a moose and who reject condoms and who don't know a Shia from a Sunni from an Eskimo pie, but who know lots about foreign policy because she can see part of Russia from her desk. Yay America!

    So I ask again, why so livid, liberal? Is it because it wasn't exactly "the angry left" who shoved institutionalized torture, pre-emptive military violence, or a complete disregard for science down the throat of American domestic policy? Is it the 4,000-plus dead U.S. soldiers, 10,000-plus wounded and brain-damaged, and tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians? Oh, you bleeding heart. So silly you are.

    But don't you worry, because there's an even bigger secret looming that the right wing can't really mention right now. See, much as they want to sling "angry left" around and hope it sticks, there's simply no getting over the fact that, despite how it will take the Obama administration many years to repair the incredible damage Hurricane Bush hath wrought, most of us on the left are actually feeling pretty damn good these days. Happy, even.

    See, we know the tide has turned. The Bush Dark Days are nearly over. The Obama groundswell is historic, extraordinary, unstoppable. The GOP had its turn, was handed six years of unprecedented, unchecked power, and very nearly destroyed the country. Even Republican leaders now openly admit their party is a mess, shattered and gutted by Bush, will take years and decades to restore to something resembling dignity. And McCain/Palin? An aberration, one of the most disquieting quasi-conservative tickets to ever give a nation the creeps.

    So then, trust me when I say, try as they might, "the angry left" won't stick. As anyone with the slightest sense of history and poetic justice knows, such a jab is merely the final, desperate wailings of the bankrupt, the shameful, and the doomed.


    Servo Avatar

    Location: Down on the Farm
    Gender: Male

    Posted: Aug 29, 2008 - 11:36am

    No problem!  Just copy 'n' paste someone else's literate, educated and proofread work into your post. {#Rolleyes}  {#Beat}
    Personally I see a very important function for posters who are illiterate, unable to form logical thoughts, drunk, brain dead etc.  The "idiot posts" serve to separate the wheat from the chaff, for those readers who do know how to spell, write and think.

    Think about it — how would we know joy without knowing sorrow?  It only follows that troglo-posters serve to highlight the value of well written, logically sound posts that actually make a point.


    MsJudi Avatar

    Location: Houston, TX
    Gender: Female

    Posted: Aug 29, 2008 - 7:17am

    "Overwhelming the handfuls of truly thoughtful people who want to strike up a tolerable conversation about a given issue or article is a nearly unstoppable flood of moronism, grandstanding, baiting, flaming, horrible syntax, intellectual cowardice, mental masturbation, "hella" and DooooD!!! and pwn3d!!!11 omg!!!LOL!! Despite years of defending the Web as an egalitarian free-for-all wonderland, I now tend to agree with "West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin, who said, "Nothing has done more to make us dumber or meaner than the anonymity of the Internet."


    ScottFromWyoming Avatar

    Location: Powell
    Gender: Male

    Posted: Aug 29, 2008 - 6:41am

    indecipherable mental chyme


    EleventhMan Avatar

    Gender: Female

    Posted: Aug 29, 2008 - 6:16am

    ooh...thanks Jade...I used to subscribe to his column via email weekly, but have fallen out of the habit...this will be a nice way to check in with what he's got to say

    jadewahoo Avatar

    Location: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
    Gender: Male

    Posted: Aug 29, 2008 - 6:14am

    The purpose of this thread is for the occasional posting of Mark Morford's column from the SFGate/ San Francisco Chronicle, and comments about his caustic and hunorous writings.

    ===== Mark Morford's Notes & Errata =====
    SFGate.com - Friday, August 29, 2008

    Purging The Stupid
    Finally, software that zaps the most obnoxious Web chatter. Is this the Second Coming?
    By Mark Morford

    Are you a terrible speller? Mentally primordial? Mean-as-a-snake Republican? Dick Cheney?

    Are you fetishistically fond of posting puerile, unreadable, horribly punctuated, grammatically insane or otherwise indecipherable mental chyme all over the Web's now-ubiquitous comments boards, filling the public areas from here to Metafilter with OMG!! And !LOL!!! and ALL-CAPPED GIBBERISH that means absolutely nothing and is the conversational equivalent of dragging Ann Coulter across a chalkboard?

    Well, the world has had just about enough of you.

    Behold, as today's entry for the most brilliant-yet-unassuming innovation that just might change the planet: the YouTube Comment Snob, created by a humble Lutheran programmer named Chris Finke. ...

    (click here to read the rest)