MAGNOLIA-BLOSSOM

a little of this and a bit of that, just for you

rrrick:

You’re post of Frank made me think of something I read today. An interview done back in 1963 when people did not speak these thoughts so freely …
Playboy: Are you a religious man? Do you believe in God?
Sinatra: Well, that’ll do for openers. I think I can sum up my religious feelings in a couple of paragraphs. First: I believe in you and me. I’m like Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein in that I have a respect for life — in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don’t believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice. I’m not unmindful of man’s seeming need for faith; I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. But to me religion is a deeply personal thing in which man and God go it alone together, without the witch doctor in the middle. The witch doctor tries to convince us that we have to ask God for help, to spell out to him what we need, even to bribe him with prayer or cash on the line. Well, I believe that God knows what each of us wants and needs. It’s not necessary for us to make it to church on Sunday to reach Him. You can find Him anyplace. And if that sounds heretical, my source is pretty good: Matthew, Five to Seven, The Sermon on the Mount.
Playboy: You haven’t found any answers for yourself in organized religion?
Sinatra: There are things about organized religion which I resent. Christ is revered as the Prince of Peace, but more blood has been shed in His name than any other figure in history. You show me one step forward in the name of religion and I’ll show you a hundred retrogressions. Remember, they were men of God who destroyed the educational treasures at Alexandria, who perpetrated the Inquisition in Spain, who burned the witches at Salem. Over 25,000 organized religions flourish on this planet, but the followers of each think all the others are miserably misguided and probably evil as well. In India they worship white cows, monkeys and a dip in the Ganges. The Moslems accept slavery and prepare for Allah, who promises wine and revirginated women. And witch doctors aren’t just in Africa. If you look in the L.A. papers of a Sunday morning, you’ll see the local variety advertising their wares like suits with two pairs of pants. Playboy: Hasn’t religious faith just as often served as a civilizing influence? Sinatra: Remember that leering, cursing lynch mob in Little Rock reviling a meek, innocent little 12-year-old Negro girl as she tried to enroll in public school? Weren’t they — or most of them — devout churchgoers? I detest the two-faced who pretend liberality but are practiced bigots in their own mean little spheres. I didn’t tell my daughter whom to marry, but I’d have broken her back if she had had big eyes for a bigot. As I see it, man is a product of his conditioning, and the social forces which mold his morality and conduct — including racial prejudice — are influenced more by material things like food and economic necessities than by the fear and awe and bigotry generated by the high priests of commercialized superstition. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m for decency — period. I’m for anything and everything that bodes love and consideration for my fellow man. But when lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday — cash me out.
Playboy: But aren’t such spiritual hypocrites in a minority? Aren’t most Americans fairly consistent in their conduct within the precepts of religious doctrine?
Sinatra: I’ve got no quarrel with men of decency at any level. But I can’t believe that decency stems only from religion. And I can’t help wondering how many public figures make avowals of religious faith to maintain an aura of respectability. Our civilization, such as it is, was shaped by religion, and the men who aspire to public office anyplace in the free world must make obeisance to God or risk immediate opprobrium. Our press accurately reflects the religious nature of our society, but you’ll notice that it also carries the articles and advertisements of astrology and hokey Elmer Gantry revivalists. We in America pride ourselves on freedom of the press, but every day I see, and so do you, this kind of dishonesty and distortion not only in this area but in reporting — about guys like me, for instance, which is of minor importance except to me; but also in reporting world news. How can a free people make decisions without facts? If the press reports world news as they report about me, we’re in trouble.
Playboy: Are you saying that …
Sinatra: No, wait, let me finish. Have you thought of the chance I’m taking by speaking out this way? Can you imagine the deluge of crank letters, curses, threats and obscenities I’ll receive after these remarks gain general circulation? Worse, the boycott of my records, my films, maybe a picket line at my opening at the Sands. Why? Because I’ve dared to say that love and decency are not necessarily concomitants of religious fervor.
Playboy: If you think you’re stepping over the line, offending your public or perhaps risking economic suicide, shall we cut this off now, erase the tape and start over along more antiseptic lines?
Sinatra: No, let’s let it run. I’ve thought this way for years, ached to say these things. Whom have I harmed by what I’ve said? What moral defection have I suggested? No, I don’t want to chicken out now. Come on, pal, the clock’s running.
Okay that almost literally blew my socks off.
Here is, at that time, just about the biggest name in show business, openly discussing his lack of faith and his disgust with organized religions.  
And the thing is he KNEW the risk he was taking by speaking out this way. The interviewer even offers him the chance to start the interview over and leave the part out that might cost him his career, but his response was “No, I don’t want to chicken out.”
My admiration for this man just went through the roof.

Thanks for the submission Mike, this is so great!!

rrrick:

You’re post of Frank made me think of something I read today. An interview done back in 1963 when people did not speak these thoughts so freely …

Playboy: Are you a religious man? Do you believe in God?

Sinatra: Well, that’ll do for openers. I think I can sum up my religious feelings in a couple of paragraphs. First: I believe in you and me. I’m like Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein in that I have a respect for life — in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don’t believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice. I’m not unmindful of man’s seeming need for faith; I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. But to me religion is a deeply personal thing in which man and God go it alone together, without the witch doctor in the middle. The witch doctor tries to convince us that we have to ask God for help, to spell out to him what we need, even to bribe him with prayer or cash on the line. Well, I believe that God knows what each of us wants and needs. It’s not necessary for us to make it to church on Sunday to reach Him. You can find Him anyplace. And if that sounds heretical, my source is pretty good: Matthew, Five to Seven, The Sermon on the Mount.

Playboy: You haven’t found any answers for yourself in organized religion?

Sinatra: There are things about organized religion which I resent. Christ is revered as the Prince of Peace, but more blood has been shed in His name than any other figure in history. You show me one step forward in the name of religion and I’ll show you a hundred retrogressions. Remember, they were men of God who destroyed the educational treasures at Alexandria, who perpetrated the Inquisition in Spain, who burned the witches at Salem. Over 25,000 organized religions flourish on this planet, but the followers of each think all the others are miserably misguided and probably evil as well. In India they worship white cows, monkeys and a dip in the Ganges. The Moslems accept slavery and prepare for Allah, who promises wine and revirginated women. And witch doctors aren’t just in Africa. If you look in the L.A. papers of a Sunday morning, you’ll see the local variety advertising their wares like suits with two pairs of pants. Playboy: Hasn’t religious faith just as often served as a civilizing influence? Sinatra: Remember that leering, cursing lynch mob in Little Rock reviling a meek, innocent little 12-year-old Negro girl as she tried to enroll in public school? Weren’t they — or most of them — devout churchgoers? I detest the two-faced who pretend liberality but are practiced bigots in their own mean little spheres. I didn’t tell my daughter whom to marry, but I’d have broken her back if she had had big eyes for a bigot. As I see it, man is a product of his conditioning, and the social forces which mold his morality and conduct — including racial prejudice — are influenced more by material things like food and economic necessities than by the fear and awe and bigotry generated by the high priests of commercialized superstition. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m for decency — period. I’m for anything and everything that bodes love and consideration for my fellow man. But when lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday — cash me out.

Playboy: But aren’t such spiritual hypocrites in a minority? Aren’t most Americans fairly consistent in their conduct within the precepts of religious doctrine?

Sinatra: I’ve got no quarrel with men of decency at any level. But I can’t believe that decency stems only from religion. And I can’t help wondering how many public figures make avowals of religious faith to maintain an aura of respectability. Our civilization, such as it is, was shaped by religion, and the men who aspire to public office anyplace in the free world must make obeisance to God or risk immediate opprobrium. Our press accurately reflects the religious nature of our society, but you’ll notice that it also carries the articles and advertisements of astrology and hokey Elmer Gantry revivalists. We in America pride ourselves on freedom of the press, but every day I see, and so do you, this kind of dishonesty and distortion not only in this area but in reporting — about guys like me, for instance, which is of minor importance except to me; but also in reporting world news. How can a free people make decisions without facts? If the press reports world news as they report about me, we’re in trouble.

Playboy: Are you saying that …

Sinatra: No, wait, let me finish. Have you thought of the chance I’m taking by speaking out this way? Can you imagine the deluge of crank letters, curses, threats and obscenities I’ll receive after these remarks gain general circulation? Worse, the boycott of my records, my films, maybe a picket line at my opening at the Sands. Why? Because I’ve dared to say that love and decency are not necessarily concomitants of religious fervor.

Playboy: If you think you’re stepping over the line, offending your public or perhaps risking economic suicide, shall we cut this off now, erase the tape and start over along more antiseptic lines?

Sinatra: No, let’s let it run. I’ve thought this way for years, ached to say these things. Whom have I harmed by what I’ve said? What moral defection have I suggested? No, I don’t want to chicken out now. Come on, pal, the clock’s running.

Okay that almost literally blew my socks off.

Here is, at that time, just about the biggest name in show business, openly discussing his lack of faith and his disgust with organized religions.  

And the thing is he KNEW the risk he was taking by speaking out this way. The interviewer even offers him the chance to start the interview over and leave the part out that might cost him his career, but his response was “No, I don’t want to chicken out.”

My admiration for this man just went through the roof.

Thanks for the submission Mike, this is so great!!

e-writing:

The ‘Right to Work’ - (for less)Over fifty years ago Martin Luther King, Jr. warned America .. “we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone.” Sadly his warning went unheeded.The Orwellian-named ‘Right to Work’ laws (in reality the ‘destroy union power and benefit employers’ laws) have spread like a cancer through Republican states.  They are usually drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing group backed by corporate special interests to peddle influence with state legislators. Campaigns are funded by entities like ‘Americans for Prosperity’, a front group bankrolled by the billionaire Koch brothers, and the legislation is rammed through by the Republican state politicians that do their bidding.  That, right there, tells us all we need to know. There’s no mystery about it. Nothing subtle going on. It’s naked self-interest. When the infamous Koch brothers pour millions of dollars into buying politicians and changing the law you know for certain the rich will benefit and working people will suffer. And suffer they do. Without any question whatsoever. Employees in states with ‘right-to-work’ laws have lower wages, on average, than their counterparts elsewhere. Coverage by employer-sponsored health insurance and pension coverage is also lower .. (reference).The anti-union brainwashing job done over many decades on the American public has been spectacularly successful but, despite what big business interests and the politicians of the far-right who are their paid lackeys constantly preach, strong and effective trade unions are absolutely vital in western societies. The ‘free market’ can be a useful tool but has no conscience. It will exploit workers every time unless something prevents it. That’s just the nature of the beast.Trade Unions provide the essential counter-balancing force and are often the only protection the average worker has against exploitation. Neither America or any other major western power would be a fraction as successful or civilized if trade unions had never existed.Its no surprise that Hitler hated trade unionists and fascists everywhere try to undermine and suppress them. Totalitarian states ban them. Politicians fear them. Fair wages, decent working hours, women’s rights, health and safety, equality in the work place, they have all been advanced by trade unions.In the twilight days of the Soviet satellite states and in the brutal right-wing dictatorships propped up by the USA in Latin-America, some trade unionists risked their lives to fight oppression. When it comes to ‘government’ versus ‘trade unions’ its usually (not always but usually) the latter who have the angels on their side.Anyone who tries to suppress the fair and legitimate operation of trade unions is an enemy of us all. Anyone who tries to smear them with stupid ‘USA-bogey-man’ words like ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’ is either a fool or has some selfish agenda and should be greeted with hoots of derision or just ignored. Anyone who thinks trade unions are irrelevant nowadays simply needs to think.Especially today, as we continue to suffer the bitter aftermath of the financial meltdown of 2008 caused by the failure of  free-market financial institutions and lax regulation, we need trade unions more than ever.Ellie

e-writing:

The ‘Right to Work’ - (for less)

Over fifty years ago Martin Luther King, Jr. warned America .. “we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone.” Sadly his warning went unheeded.

The Orwellian-named ‘Right to Work’ laws (in reality the ‘destroy union power and benefit employers’ laws) have spread like a cancer through Republican states.  They are usually drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing group backed by corporate special interests to peddle influence with state legislators. Campaigns are funded by entities like ‘Americans for Prosperity’, a front group bankrolled by the billionaire Koch brothers, and the legislation is rammed through by the Republican state politicians that do their bidding. 

That, right there, tells us all we need to know. There’s no mystery about it. Nothing subtle going on. It’s naked self-interest. When the infamous Koch brothers pour millions of dollars into buying politicians and changing the law you know for certain the rich will benefit and working people will suffer. And suffer they do. Without any question whatsoever. Employees in states with ‘right-to-work’ laws have lower wages, on average, than their counterparts elsewhere. Coverage by employer-sponsored health insurance and pension coverage is also lower .. (reference).

The anti-union brainwashing job done over many decades on the American public has been spectacularly successful but, despite what big business interests and the politicians of the far-right who are their paid lackeys constantly preach, strong and effective trade unions are absolutely vital in western societies. The ‘free market’ can be a useful tool but has no conscience. It will exploit workers every time unless something prevents it. That’s just the nature of the beast.

Trade Unions provide the essential counter-balancing force and are often the only protection the average worker has against exploitation. Neither America or any other major western power would be a fraction as successful or civilized if trade unions had never existed.

Its no surprise that Hitler hated trade unionists and fascists everywhere try to undermine and suppress them. Totalitarian states ban them. Politicians fear them. Fair wages, decent working hours, women’s rights, health and safety, equality in the work place, they have all been advanced by trade unions.

In the twilight days of the Soviet satellite states and in the brutal right-wing dictatorships propped up by the USA in Latin-America, some trade unionists risked their lives to fight oppression. When it comes to ‘government’ versus ‘trade unions’ its usually (not always but usually) the latter who have the angels on their side.

Anyone who tries to suppress the fair and legitimate operation of trade unions is an enemy of us all. Anyone who tries to smear them with stupid ‘USA-bogey-man’ words like ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’ is either a fool or has some selfish agenda and should be greeted with hoots of derision or just ignored. Anyone who thinks trade unions are irrelevant nowadays simply needs to think.

Especially today, as we continue to suffer the bitter aftermath of the financial meltdown of 2008 caused by the failure of  free-market financial institutions and lax regulation, we need trade unions more than ever.

Ellie