Welcome to Finley Experience

This website is dedicated to LGBT folks who are surviving in this crazy world.

What's good for one isn't necessarily good for another.

Attempting to control the hearts and souls of the masses through force and injustice only forces the seeds of dissension to grow. History has taught this lesson repeatedly. Perhaps, we'll learn the lesson this time.

31 December 2012

Gun Control, Hysteria, and a Letter to Senator Vitter

*Updated with Vitter's response see end of article)

Recently, many people have raised their voices against gun violence and more directly against guns in general, and in particularly against semi-automatic guns. I remind these people, guns ensure your ability to speak out against guns. The adage "guns don't kill people, people kill people," while correct and lyrical, is still an oversimplification of a serious problem. If people didn't kill people, guns wouldn't be necessary, nor would guns have been invented. Additionally, if people didn't kill people war would finally be obsolete and we could all go about our business in a happy-go-lucky world. Unfortunately, no matter how idealistically we view the world, no matter how rosy our rose-colored glasses, we live in a chaotic and dangerous world where evil people do evil things to other people.

The Founding Fathers comprehended the dangers that the colonists faced, whether we like to admit it or not, the Second Amendment was a tri-purpose amendment that recognized the people's rights to protect themselves from foreign (British) invaders, American turn-coats (British loyalists/Colonial traitors), and indians (Native Americans who suffered mass genocide and forced relocation by the U.S. colonizers). For clarification below is an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence, these are the last of the grievences against King George:

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. 
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

Today, we face dangers that would have given the Founders nightmares, I'm sure even Ben Franklin would balk at the total destruction possible with nuclear weaponry. The current array of armament available to government is precisely why, now more than ever, the rights mentioned in the second amendment must not be infringed.

The Second Amendment

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

No where in the Second Amendment does it specify what types of "Arms" the people have a right to "bear" nor does it specify any people "without" the right. It does, however, specify that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Now, linguistically, some argue that the comma before "shall not be infringed" indicates that the right belongs to the "well regulated Militia" and not "the people." However, they are only partially correct, the comma immeditaely after "Militia" indicates a condition. The two clauses between "well regulated Militia" and "shall not be infringed" are conditional clauses acting as clarification of the subject "Militia." The Founding Fathers were men of letters, they were well-versed in grammatical convention. For modern readers, who feel the second amendment is an ambiguous run-on sentence (you're mistaken, its a complex sentence, get over it). Writing the two clauses into two separate sentences may be more appropriate for some readers.

The Second Amendment ("Broken Down" for the 21st Century)
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, shall not be infringed.
A well regulated Militia, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Through the simple process of making two sentences, we can clearly see that the militia is necessary to security and necessarially made up of rightfully armed people. You see, the Founders understood that the people were the Militia and that they were on the frontlines fighting the British, the loyalists, and the indians. Without the people and their weapons the states could not protect themselves. The country was too new, there was no United States "land or navy Forces," there were only the citizens in the militia that brought their weapons from home.

Many people claim that the National Guard, police departments, and other federal, state, and local "soldiers" are the "well regulated Militia" provided for in the Articles of the Constitution. That may be how the system has been twisted by corruption and propaganda, but that is not what is provided for in the founding documents. In fact, the various federal, state, and local "soldiers" that consitute the "standing-armies" of the United States are actually part of what the Founders were warning perpetuity against when they inserted a two-year clause. What two-year clause?

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States breaks down Congress' responsibilities (this is an excerpt, there are more responsibilities listed in the section):

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress

In this section of the Constitution, we find Congress has the right to declare War; raise Armies (with two-years financing); maintain a Navy; make rules for the land and naval Forces; call forth the Militia; and organize, arm, and discipline militia members "employed" by the United States (the States themselves, appoint officers and train the milita). The Founders were careful with their words, they listed provisions for "Armies," "a Navy," and "the Militia," these words were not interchangeable, not synonyms. These various lines of defense were not professional soldiers, they were civilians meant to receive training and if necessary arms "according to the discipline prescribed by Congress." The U.S. military, in all its glory, is now a standing army regardless of war or peace and it has a yearly budget that outpaces all other categories of government spending.

Since the beginning the U.S. has been weaponized, war after war attests to the fact we've managed to provide and maintain a standing army that, my friends, is unconstitutional. Since no amendment was ever passed to change the two-year clause within Article 1, Section 8, it is safe to say: our long-standing army is historically unconstitutional. Our Founders made clear "A well regulated Militia" is not the same as an army and that armies have funding time limits. What does it say that the national deficit is a two-fold problem whereby Congress, through incompetency and corruption, has sold its money making and financing abilities to private bankers (Federal Reserve Bank) and then professionalized a standing army for Wall Street to use as world-wide mercenaries? National Guard units have seen combat in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc. If the National Guard is truly a state militia, why have they been called to serve in oil wars overseas?

Oil is a commodity traded on stock exchanges (Wall Street), its value is determined by speculators speculating on the commodity's potential future value. Constricting the flow of oil increases the demand on oil and drives up the price. Conversely, opening up the flow of oil decreases the demand on oil and drives down the price. The history of oil in America is one rife with bribery, theft, and murder. To think that has changed is naive. Wake up! Bribery, theft, and murder are still the typical answers to obtaining control over commodities. The general rule: Bribe, if unable to bribe, steal, if unable to steal, murder.

Regardless of what some may say, our second amendment right exists, not for killing animals, but for killing people who threaten our security. Hunting animals is target practice as well as a way of obtaining food and clothing. The militia is a security fail-safe, a way for the state to obtain immeditate protection when an act of Congress would take too long or when the States need protection from Congress. The second amendment rightfully places the duty of securing the state into the hands of all armed citizens because, sometimes, the people have to protect themselves from the usurpations of rights, the human experimentations, and the mass genocides performed by governments.

With the historical implications of armament in mind, I wrote Senator Vitter. As some of you are aware, I regularly write our representatives. On occasion, they respond. I'll update if he does. I can't recall what day I sent this letter, perhaps Christmas Eve, not that that matters. Suffice it to say, an armed citizen prepared to defend their state against invasion is not the same thing as an armed person who becomes a mass murderer of civilians (regardless the reason or lack thereof). I don't blame mental health institutes nor do I support the subsequent demonization of mental health patients, however, I'll save that rant for a later article.  

Here's the letter. Please bear in mind, I'm not generally this polite to him. I take my rights very seriously and he has a serious habit of denying my rights. I'm sure whoever checks his email can attest to that:

Senator Vitter,

Please continue to fight for 2nd Amendment rights for all Americans.

We disagree on a number of issues, including my civil rights (I am an American lesbian and a Navy veteran).

I know after a tragedy, many want to place blame on guns, gun makers, and mental health institutions. There is a better solution: blame the responsible party, the shooter, the bomber, the terrorist. Do not blame the gun makers, nor the ammunition factories for the actions of the person who pulled the trigger. A killer will kill, regardless the weapon.

As your record testifies, you also hold the trigger-person responsible. I'm glad to see gun rights are one of the things we agree on. I commend you for your work on protecting the 2nd Amendment and I pray you continue to vote in favor of the people by maintaining vigilance.

Once again, thank you for standing up for our gun rights. Please stay strong in the upcoming fight against hysteria that often arises after such tragedies.

Thank you,
Monique Finley
*UPDATE: Vitter's response (received 17 January 2013):

Dear Ms. Finley,

Thank you for contacting me to voice your opposition to new gun control laws in response to the recent school shootings in Connecticut and California. I appreciate hearing your views, and I agree with you. 

In the wake of  these tragediesmany in Washington are calling for increased restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, arguing that it will help to reduce gun violence. For example, Senator Feinstein (D-CA) has announced plans to reintroduce a ban on assault weapons and to limit magazine capacity. Also,  President Obama has signed 23 executive actions and has called on Congress to pass legislation, including background checks for all firearms salesHowever, as many supporters of the Second Amendment have pointed out, increased restrictions do little to affect the actions of criminals, who by definition do not abide by the law. Instead, they restrict the rights of law-abiding Americans.

am a firm believer and ardent supporter of the rights enshrined in the Second Amendment. This constitutional right, and our heritage of using firearms for sporting and self-defense purposes, does not have to be sacrificed to reduce gun-related violence. Instead, we should focus on enforcing the extensive laws already in place and turn our attention to more appropriate measuressuch as increasing the safety of our schools and keeping guns out of the hands of those who may be mentally incapable of owning them  responsibly .

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about other issues important to you and your family.

28 December 2012

A Poem For Russia, Winners of the Finley Experience International Page Views Poetry Contest

To Russia: On Our Protests

It seems countries everywhere
face the bitter cronyism that tears
down civilizations one corrupt
brick at a time. Equanimous—
plenty of rhyme to exist and reason
to resist far more extravagantly
than with arms locked in front
of government buildings. The
picture begins to focus: for some,
police cameras, hovering drones;
for others, police watch as sheep
from deer stands targeting people
brazen enough to cover their faces.
Ain’t it quaint? In some places
folks fight to free their cheeks
to the wind’s caresses, in other
places they fight for their privacy
in public spaces. Here they take
for security’s sake, there they
take for the state. Liberty is never
given, just forcibly taken. Yet,
history proves, irrevocably, the people
can over-turn the tables, make
the gluttonous into hunger’s slaves.
And, turn the hungry into royalty.
Even a beggar can lead, I’d wager
more nobly than elitists, who think
everyone can borrow money
from mommy and daddy. That
mentality inbreeds the “let’em eat
cake” philosophy then plays taps
for an evolutionary death knell.

16 December 2012

Too Late to Secede from the United States of America?

In recent weeks we've seen post-election fall-out (G.O.P. whining), escalating discontent (social media racism), and murmurings of secession (citizen petitions on We the People). I have monitored the 10th Amendment / secession movements on-and-off since 2004. Secession is a concept I find fascinating on the simple grounds that while we, Americans, theoretically have secession as a state "out," no state has ever successfully seceded. In fact, our ancestors fought one of the bloodiest civil wars in history to conclude that we are indeed the "United States of America" and no, the South can't secede. From the Revolutionary War, through Slavery, Civil War, Reconstruction, McCarthyism and Jim Crow, by genocide of indigenous tribes and through assimilation of immigrants, from Stonewall to San Francisco, our dear lady Liberty, herself, has bled and wept o'er our lost generations.

We've struggled on striving to create a society that more closely resembles the society our founders dreamed up, we dreamed up. We fail at every turn, but we get up and keep working towards it. Every American, in every generation, has paid for the American dream, sweated for the struggle, and fought against tyrants to exercise their rights as individuals, as human beings. Polarized, categorized, stereotyped, and dichotomized into pasts vs. futures, yesterdays vs. tomorrows. Progressives so ready for the future they forget the lessons of the past. Traditionalists so afraid of the future they idealized the past. Neither looking out of the box, beyond their own limited time-preferences. Neither seeing the reality of NOW, that ever-fluctuating, never-changing, single point through which all time flies. What are you going to do now?

The ignorant call "to return to traditional family values" fails to realize the slow evolution of marriage from a communal or familial obligation to an individual obligation. An examination of "traditional [American] family values" exposes masculine superiority complexes directly related to the assumed superiority of  males within patriarchal societies. Women, conversely, experience inferiority complexes. This call blatantly ignores the quality of life that persisted for women during this supposed golden age of "traditional family values." In fact, to return to the traditions espoused by the radical right, would be to return women to the societal dark ages. Additionally, if we follow the various historical traditions of "family values," we'll be forced to return to a day where lovers cannot marry for love because both are property of their respective families and negotiations must be conducted. How many cows and chickens is your daughter worth? For the tradition argument to be valid, proponents would need marriage to return to its original place as a contract between families meant to increase their holdings, wealth, and reputations. Such a return to "traditional family values" would be a reversion of the progress our society has made in the area of an individual's right to decide their life partner.

Interestingly, within the historical origins of marriage we also find a great argument for legalizing gay marriage: the marriage contract is an economic contract. Gays are a part of the economy. The modern marriage contract is not between families, neighborhoods, cities, counties/parishes, states, or even nations. It is between two people; regardless of what the "traditionalists" spout. Approving gay marriage is a step towards economic and social equality that also financially benefits the city, state, and federal governments. In our current broke-ass state of the union, acknowledging that families come in various shapes and sizes is more than important, it is essential to healing division, fostering acceptance, and to growing our communities. Not only is it the right thing to do for liberty's sake, it's also the smart economic move. But, some Americans wouldn't know the right thing nor the smart thing if it were a pissed-off pimp waiting on a prostitute's past-due payment.

Many people consider themselves cream-of-the-crop, top-of-the-line, quality A-1 Americans. They're not. These are the same blowhards that insist on fascist clothing ordinances that turn crime prevention police into fashion police. Any move towards fascism is a leap away from liberty. Issuing citations for clothing is fascist. That said, my "favorite" example of American fascism will always be the Virginia Beach police department's use of police chaplains to issue speech tickets for cussing in public. To which I call "Bullshit!" Va. Beach, you ever hear of the First fucking Amendment? Americans that push for laws that prevent free speech or that determine what is and what is not appropriate fashion, well, those people are not American in spirit. There. I said it. They may be American citizens, but they are not the best we have to offer, they are the worst. These fanatics stifle creativity, ignore reason, and hate genuine inclusivity. They don't want equality, they want some fantasy world where whatever they say goes and to hell with everyone else. They bask in their ignorance as if it were the most noble calling, willfully blinding themselves to true liberty so that they can continue to spread bigotry and hatred.

Today, social scientists use algorithms to follow social media trends, including trends in bigotry and hatred. Studying social media trends offers real-time glimpses into the current levels of discontent (as well as other emotional levels). An undercurrent of discontent is normal and expected in any society, regardless of government "type." Even so, some governments, by their very design, propogate excessive rises in discontentment. Such governments long for realization of the mythical Iron Curtain that idealized and impossible complete blackout. It ain't happening, but they can try. Thus, trends must be watched regularly. The oscillations expose the constantly beating pulse of the nation and can signify great changes. One expects an erratic pulse when receiving competing inputs from 300 million people. When opinions begin to synchronize and the erratic pulse becomes cohesive, well, that's when the observant person recognizes that a climax is coming. How can the quality of that climax be accurately judged? Will the end result be progression or regression? That's where social scientists fit in. That's where we all fit in.

I'm not a social scientist. I'm a writer. I look at studies that social scientists conduct and I compare them with news from both the main stream and the underground. Truth is lost somewhere in the quagmire of memes, anecdotal tales, peer-reviewed studies, and investigative journalistic pieces that combine to create the broad fabric of discourse among social contemporaries deep within the "cloud." Is it just me or is this beginning to sound like Aristophanes' Cloud Cuckooland? Regardless of how bizarrely sci-fi life gets, regardless of how fanatics stay fanatical, regardless of traditionalists spouting traditionalism, regardless of progressives progressing, there will always exist opposing forces within human communities. Forces bent on dividing, deriding, and dehumanizing face-off against forces bent on uniting, uplifting, and humanizing the peoples and governments of the world. Of course, nothing is ever that simple. Nothing is ever truly two-sided. That's the complicated reality of humanity. We come with shades of gray.

These many hues preoccupy my thoughts when secession is brought to the fore. I think of where we came from, where we've been, where we are, and where we're headed. I think about the violent opposition we've all faced just to get here, then I think of where we have to go and the violent opposition we'll face getting there. I think of the "civilization" that we daily struggle to create and the barbarism that actually exists. I think of the ideal of liberty we've been indoctrinated to defend with our lives and the fact that no one alive has ever actually lived within the ideal libertarian society. I think of Utopia's elusiveness and the logical fallacies that drive secessionists to scream for a new and separate government. I watch and laugh at the fruitlessness of such a request. We're the only bastards in the world that know for certain our government is capable of dropping atomic bombs onto cities full of civilians. Any chance for secession ended the first day nuclear weapons were successfully detonated in New Mexico. Never forget that we burned our own cities during the Civil War, we didn't even have napalm then. Should we ever enter a second civil war, we are the same assholes who would use nuclear weapons on our own soil, we already have--just not in town. And, much like the South after Reconstruction, the fall-out zones would be a future lesson to any others who think to repeat the process a third time. Think about it.

Some Nights by FUN

(*Please Note: We the People of the United States of America are citizens of a Constitutional Republic, a.k.a. The Republic. We are not a direct democracy like some believe. By the Constitution, we are a Representative Democracy. We elect representation to defend the Constitution and the People. We placed our faith with government in the people, not in monarchs, not in career politicians, but in the People.

You want changes? Then, it is time for you to take an active interest in the good of the Republic. Do not leave governance to career politicians. Run for office. Vote for third, fourth, and fifth parties.)

This November vote them all out!
Clean Out Congress or Bust!

Take Me to Church by Hozier

* 26 JUNE 2015 * LGBT Rights Victory *
read the Supreme Court's opinion:


What Would the Dude Do?