Rozlee's Journal - Archives
When you're very sick, any emergency room will treat you, right? Possibly. They treated my sister's fiance back in 1999 when he started having severe stomach pain, constant nausea, vomiting and became very weak. They gave him anti-emetics, Mylanta and told him to keep as hydrated as possible. When he kept getting worse and went back a week later, they got more pro-active and did some labs. They didn't like what they saw and did radiological studies.
Stomach cancer. An oncological consult showed it was late Stage IV.
He didn't have health insurance. He was self-employed doing landscaping jobs and didn't make much. He was raising three little granddaughters. His daughter was in jail and hadn't been much of a mother to begin with. Their father was just as bad. Worse, actually.
But, if he'd had insurance, he might have been able to go to a clinic and had a primary health physician when the stomach pain first started and he began losing weight a couple of years before. It wasn't just something that came out of the blue. It was gradual. But, emergency rooms are called emergency because that's who they see. Patients that are having a severe emergency crisis. A severe illness that got that way after being ignored or not taken care of because the patient couldn't afford it's treatment in it's early treatable stage. The person who has a severe headache with numbness in the hands but doesn't have insurance and can't see a doctor until they're suffering a full blown stroke. The person that suffers from relentless heartburn and tingling in his arm that lands him in the ER with a debilitating heart attack weeks later. Someone who has pain in their leg and winds up a month later with a pulmonary embolism from a blood clot. Many people know something's wrong. If they had insurance and access to a family physician, they could be treated early. I'm sure it happens to many people every year.
George W. Bush once said famously that no American is denied health insurance. You just go to an emergency room.
Tino died from advanced stomach cancer within a few months of his diagnosis. His granddaughters were raised by other family members, but their Abuelito was the most beloved person in their lives. Yeah, the teabaggers scream. Let him die.
It's been reported before, but it's still too priceless.
The eyes are the windows to the soul. *shudder*
If Glenn Beck ever got bitten by a radioactive spider, he'd have the power to make everything he touched cry.
Being bi-racial sometimes can make one privy to things one wouldn't hear in mixed company. My current husband is Anglo, whose late wife was from Okinawa, Japan. Two of their three children have subdued Oriental features. You can see practically none in his only daughter, my step-daughter, Karin, who has extraordinary cinnamon colored eyes and light brown hair. My own children, from my German ex, have light brown to dark blond hair, and light brown to green eyes. Karin and my kids easily "pass" for white.
Karin has heard some comments when she's been among whites directed against Orientals who haven't known she was half-Japanese. During the Japanese tsunami, she was sickened at the "Well, maybe it's God's way of payback for Pearl Harbor," from people she's worked around that don't know of her heritage or tend to forget because she doesn't look it. She's heard stories of her late mother who married her Air Force father in the late fifties, and the blatant in-your-face discrimination her mom received from military personnel and the general American public as well. You'll never rise in the ranks if you marry her, my husband's superiors told him. Go to hell, he told them. It's enraging to hear of the ghastly treatment the gentle, tender-hearted Tsukiko had to endure from the bigots of the day; the bigots that are still here. It twists Karin to her soul to think about it. Many of those bigots are probably still around, having instilled their poison into another generation.
My children are half Hispanic and half white. With the large Hispanic population in the U.S., they've been saturated with the casual racism that flies their way constantly. My daughter yanked my grandchildren out of daycare when the owner made a comment about it being one of the best child care centers in the town due to it's dearth of minorities. A neo-Nazi skin head that worked with my son approached him about joining their group because he liked his German surname. My kids have gotten to the point where they hate being in a group consisting of only whites. They never know what they'll hear and it always hurts. They've gotten upset in so many ways. My daughter's husband is part Polish and when my little grandson told his other grandparents that he didn't like sausage during one of their BBQs, a neighbor laughed and said: "He's Mexican, German and Polack and he doesn't like sausage! What's wrong with this picture!" My daughter lit into him. Calling my grandson a Polack was a non-starter with her. Her husband told her worriedly that it was said in jest. But, she'd had it with the racist name-calling.
I understand where they're coming from though. I haven't had anyone say bigoted comments to my face but maybe a handful of times in the last couple of decades. Bigots have learned to be circumspect, except in some of their Teabagger signs. But, point out the racism in them and they howl and gnash their teeth that they're not bigots. Liberal whites are the bigots because they keep minorities down with social programs. Lately, since Obama's become president, that bigotry has come surging to the fore in conservatives and the general right wing. However, most bigots still tend to be undercover. You can see them venting their spleen quite a bit in anonymous posting on blogs and comments sections on many news articles. Just read Fox Nation. If you can stomach it.
Here, in Kendall County in the Texas Hill Country, 87% Republican by demographic, I'm feeling no pain. I'm one of the token Hispanics in Teabagger Central, I reckon. I need to go out and get some left-leaning stickers, I guess, if I want to get anything worse than patronizing, non-committal conversation, which I don't. Still, I know they're probably talking behind my back. I ought to send the kids undercover to find out. But, what's the use? It's happening and no use getting the kids hurt by listening to it all over again.
Being a racial minority in this country can be rough. Being mixed and able to blend into the majority culture can be even worse when you get casual bigotry first hand and unrestrained. And Asians and Hispanics don't even have it as bad as African-Americans. Karin's son joined a mixed race organization and tells overwhelmingly horrifying stories of the children and grandchildren of blacks who've been able to pass for whites and the monstrous things they've overheard from haters. Whoever said we've come a long way from the days of segregation doesn't know what they're talking about. It never went away. Now, it probably doesn't even need to be expressed within the enclaves of the xenophobics themselves. Witness Pat Buchanan and Rep. Doug Lamborn. Does anyone really believe these douches "regret" their hateful comments? Their only regret is that they spoke them outside of their hate-filled tribes.
If, to everyone's surprise, and meek Obama does go nuclear and uses the 14th Amendment to push through the debt ceiling, it's pretty axiomatic that Rethugs in Congress will go to lunch on his ass. So, would that be a really, really bad thing, or a really, really good thing? We know they'll push it all the way to the Supreme Court. We also know that despite the Court's waxing on a strict interpretation of the Constitution, that their right-wingers definitely legislate from the bench, witness Citizens United and other pro-business decisions they've made in the past.
I'm trying to get a feel for such a scenario. Because, speaking from the point of view of Citizens United, would they be more sympathetic to the business end and side with Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce? Or would they be leery of an electorate with their eyes on them, close to election day, wondering whether they'll get their government assistance and retirement benefits; whether institutions that count on government largess can operate if the cash flow from Washington stops? Like we've all said before, teabaggers like to blame the government for all it's ills and insist that it's too big. But, when it hits them in the pocketbook, a few minds re-evaluate. Or not. When I used to work in Civil Service, I had co-workers that complained about Big Governemnt and Congresspersons having Cadillac medical plans. When I pointed out to them that they were a part of Big Government and had Cadillac medical plans themselves, they'd flatly tell me I was mistaken.
Back on track. The onus would be on the Supremes if Republicans gleefully took Obama to the Court for using the 14th. I'd like to get a sense of which route they'd take. Nothing here but a thought exercise. Obama would be off the hook once he'd raised the debt ceiling and the Supremes would be the bad guys--as well as the Rethugs for pushing it--if they voted against him for raising it and causing the government to default and keeping Grandma from getting her Social Security check. Count me in as one of the Grandmas. Like I said, Obama might not be getting all the flak for this one. He came through, now the Republicans and the Supremes would be the bad guys. Or would the Supremes be cowed by the threat of default and their obligations to Big Business? These guys do have IQs a little higher than the rank and file teabagger that can only drone "cut spending!" and "cut taxes!" They'd be handing Obama a gift during an election season and making him a fighter for defending Americans and Rethugs the villains for wanting to keep veterans from getting our medical care and from getting paid to get killed and disabled in our wars.
This is only some speculation I've been doing and I don't know if it would play out like this and I'm sure there are a lot of other scenarios, many favorable to Obama and many disastrous.
Like I said, these conservatives on the bench don't care squat about the Constitution, despite their claims otherwise. I have no idea of the many arguments they might have for or against something like this. Conservatives sure like the idea of Armageddon, though. If this ever came to pass, I'm bracing for the worst.
It's America's dirtiest secret. Maybe because back then, it wasn't considered a crime or even out of the norm. "Children should be seen, not heard," was still centuries away and a heavenly concept to the childen living in the American colonies and during the 1800s and even the early 1900s. Both child and spousal abuse were the norm. In the realm of spousal abuse, the Code of Hammurabi states that a wife should be subservient to her husband; he can inflict any punishment he desires on her. During the American colonial period, child abuse was rampant. A child that died by mischance during a beating by a parent was considered saved and gone to Paradise. He had died while receiving grace. The parents weren't ostrasized; they were comforted that they had done right according to scripture. After all, doesn't the New Testament in Matthew 15:4 say: "Honor thy father and thy mother; he that curseth his father or mother, let him die"?
In the Colonial period, spousal abuse was deemed illegal. But, it was a law that was never prosecuted as the magistrates felt it would cause more bad publicity than the situation warranted and possibly even ruin the man's good name. Incest was another thing that we'd like to not think about relating to that period of time. But, the fact remained that several members of an extended family would live in close confines, with adults sleeping with children and with children witnessing sex acts between adults. Did it happen? You tell me.
Child labor was another type of horrific child abuse. Children of the desperately poor or even from unscrupulous parents looking for easy money, would sell their children to be street sweepers, bricklayers, even coal miners from the colonial period to the early 20th century. Many times, they were being sold into sex slavery. Churches at the time had potter's fields crammed with tiny bodies that had been laid outside of places of employment or even thrown carelessly by street sides; children that had died in industrial accidents, from illness or, I have no doubt, from beatings.
Women in colonial and Old West days were still considered chattel by their husbands and fathers. The age of consent was 10 years old until the late 1800s in many places. In Texas, the 10 year statute was still on the books until the 1950s (go figure). My husband's great grandmother was married at 12. I can't conceive this. Child abuse and beatings were the norm. Child murder was considered a crime, but very rarely prosecuted. Kit Carson, the sheriff that brought down Jesse James, was once looking for citizens to deputize. He approached a rancher to recruit him and his sons. The rancher commented regretfully that he only had 2 kids left out of 14 and the 2 were simple-minded. Kit indicated the 12 graves and crosses in the man's field and told him that if he hadn't had such a heavy hand in correcting his children, he might still have them with him. No condemnation. Just an observation. Back then, lawmen and sheriffs had large areas to cover and didn't have the convenience of modern vehicles to cover them. They also rarely responed to anything that didn't involve a train robbery, cattle rustling, horse theft, a bank robbery, or any crime that wasn't one of property. In poor areas, there usually wasn't even a sheriff. The well-to-do were the ones that needed their interests protected. Among the riff-raff, if someone shot his brother, it was considered a family matter and the family could handle it. If there was a bar fight and someone shot someone else, let the families of the two hash it out. Sometimes the sheriff would respond, sometimes he wouldn't. Who knew? And among it all, the children got beaten. They got head injuries and died. They got internal injuries and died. Oh, well. There were always more where they came from.
In 1910, the Supreme Court ruled in Thompson v. Thompson that a woman had no cause for action on an assault and battery charge against her husband because it "would open the doors of the courts to accusations of all sorts of one spouse against the other and bring into public complaints for assaults, slander and libel." I remember corporal punishment in school being severe enough to draw blood and leave bruises, but nothing was done about it. My much, much older brothers and sisters, who went to school in the 40s and 50s, tell tales of teachers hair pulling, slapping and throwing students against walls. This was in rural Texas, though. I'd like to think that it was only because Texas kinda has a great deal of Troglodytes. Again, you tell me.
Casey Anthony may, or may not have murdered her daughter. I hope whoever did winds up on a rotisserie in hell. I hate it when people tell me that things like this never happened when they were growing up. That people were more decent and god-fearing. Tell me another one. The children have always been victims. They're victims still.
I've been pre-occupied a great deal with the subject of choice lately. It's been all these Rethug assaults on choice that have got me reeling and the knowledge that if Obama is defeated in '12, new conservative Supremes could be elected that might be in a position to overturn Roe v. Wade. As I've said before in other posts, I think the Supremes would balk at doing it at the last minute and Obama so far seems to be secure for a second term, but currently, these extremists have commandeered our government and are launching stealth attacks on womens' right to choose in several states with ringing success.
I've been in a lively discussion, sometimes not too pleasant, on Political Forum.com under the handle of roz. I'd like to transcribe some of the arguments I've laid out in hopes that DU'ers might have some better perspectives.
The anti-choicers base their arguments mostly on religious reasons, on the Bible for the greatest part. But, does the Bible mention abortion or say anything about the sanctity of the unborn?
Christians constantly quote scripture about God "knowing you when you were in the womb." "God knitted me together in the womb." "I called you from the womb." These are their claims that God considers life to begin at conception. But, God seems to be kind of bipolar about the innocent in said womb.
In Hosea, the prophet commanded pregnant Samarian women to be ripped open. In Genesis, the Jewish patriarch, Ruben, ordered his daughter-in-law, Tamar to be sentenced to death by burning after learning that she was pregnant out of wedlock. As she was being taken to the fire, she told Ruben he was the father of her twins; she'd punked him three months earlier by seducing him dressed as a hooker. Oops. But, it seems as if the practice wasn't uncommon if their laws could sentence a pregnant woman to death. If the unborn were expendable, double that for born infants. Moses commanded his men to kill the Midianites in Exodus "down to the last suckling babe and to keep the virgins for yourselves." He ordered the men, women, children and babes in arms of Jericho to meet the same fate in the Book of Joshua as well as everything that breathes of the Canaanite people. In Numbers, a pregnant woman accused of adultery was given "bitter waters" to drink. If she was innocent, her pregnancy would proceed with no problem. If guilty, she'd miscarry. No one knows what was in the bitter waters, but some scholars have theorized that a cocktail including the now extinct silphium, an herb that was used as an abortifacient, might have been one of the ingredients.
In the New Testament, Jesus similarly never mentioned abortion. And during his life and ministry, there were several cultures and people around that practiced it. Yet, Jesus and his disciples never picketed any of the places where the procedures were going on. Jesus never included the practice in one of his many parables. He remained silent on the subject completely. Modern day Christians point at vague references to him gathering children around him, saying, "Suffer the little children to come unto me...such is the kingdom of Heaven." Seems to me he'd have grabbed a pregnant woman instead and rubbed her belly saying that you'd be impaled on the devil's pitch fork if you got rid of the fruit of her womb or something.
The subject is a lightning rod here on DU and all over the country. I feel ambiguous about it myself, especially during it's last trimester when higher brain and nervous system functions have developed. However, that's my opinion, my decision and I wouldn't ever presume to take it from another woman. But, anti-choicers are trying to take the choice not just of abortion in it's first, second and third trimester, but of every form of contraception altogether except the "natural" calender rhythm method and some even criticize that, saying God never mentioned birth control in the Bible at all and told his creation to multiply ad infinitum. Many anti-choicers can have 20 kids if they want. It's their choice, if they can afford them. If they can't my heart goes out to them. They'll need public assistance and with the way Republicans are cutting funds for programs for the poor left and right, they'll be pretty much screwed.
The big day is here. Television cameras and the D.C. police vie with dueling crowds of demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court. On one side of the division, a TV news reporter interviews a woman that's holding a baby and is saying: "Life begins at conception. That's where we all started. Each fertilized egg is a baby boy or a baby girl." On the other side, another woman tells another reporter that she and her husband have 3 children and are barely making it; they can't afford to be a family of 6 or 7 not making it. Inside the building, the Supremes are deliberating. They're arguing and asking that vital question:
WHEN DOES LIFE BEGIN?
This will be the be all and end all of the entire debate. Right now, in many states, the right to choose is being lashed at by anti-choice extremists. A woman in Idaho, attempting to procure drugs online to have an abortion, was arrested due to the state's ban on women not getting abortions after 20 weeks. In Iowa, a pregnant woman who fell down some stairs was hospitalized and then arrested for attempted murder when she confided to a nurse that she'd thought of aborting her baby earlier in her pregnancy. THOUGHT of it! The nurse reported that the fall may have been a suicide attempt to abort the pregnancy. Texas now requires ultrasound for pregnant women having abortions. Virginia has signed a law mandating hospital standards for abortion clinics, a move that may force over 2/3 of the clinics they have now to close. Mississippi is considering a bill that would define the meaning of a "person" and might result in outlawing contraception and even result in bringing criminal investigations on women who have miscarriages outside of a clinical or hospital setting.
WHEN DOES LIFE BEGIN?
When fertilization occurs say the anti-choicers. But, it's a rocky road from there if that's so. After conception, only half of all fertilized eggs implant. From that point, 15-20 percent of all KNOWN pregnancies end in miscarriage. The anti-choicers say that abortion is murder. Well, God must be the Great Cosmic Abortionist, if that's so.
Back to the Supreme Court now. In this futuristic setting, a conservative majority has the votes to overturn Roe v. Wade. They smell blood in the water. They have the power to take it all the way. Not to mention the ideology. Artificial birth control wasn't always legal after it's inception. In 1965, in Griswold vs. Connecticut, the Supreme Court ruled that the "right to marital privacy" held that individuals could practice birth control. Justice John Roberts wrote a scathing draft in 1981 disparaging the ruling. In his confirmation hearing, he squirmed when asked about the draft and said his views had changed. The "right to privacy" clause served as the precedent to Roe v. Wade. It's been in the cross hairs of conservatives since. There's no mention of the right to privacy in the Constitution, they argue. They battered Judge Sotomayor during her own confirmation hearings repeatedly on that question and asked her opinion on the right to purchase and use contraceptive products. The extremists in the anti-choice movement--and nowadays, they all seem like extremists--believe women should use nothing but the rhythm calender method of contraception. If they use contraception at all. According to the Guttmacher Institute and the American Journal of Public Health, 11 million women are currently using birth control pills. 2 million use IUDs. Nine out of ten have used some form of artificial birth control in their lives. Among all women, past and present, only 2% have admitted to using the rigidly imposed Church-dictated rhythm method.
The Justices are sweating bricks, looking out the windows. The anti-choice extremists, for all their screeching, mouth-frothing and saber-rattling, are, after all, a considerable minority. The women that depend on contraceptives, their partners, the guys out there worrying about being baby daddies, parents looking askance at their college age kids and wondering how many of them will be moving in with them hauling six kids of their own....now that demographic is quite a bit larger. And they've been galvanized. It was one thing to sneak in "Citizen's United" while the entire country was sitting zoned out in front of "Dancing With the Stars." Sexuality is always a game changer. Fuckin' always. And the TV cameras are out there covering the whole sorry mess around the clock and those extremists are making everything worse with their wild-eyed, spittle-spraying preachers holding up their jars of pickled fetuses. Not that the pro-choicers are any better, but they are scoring points running ads of parents living under bridges with 22 kids. To say nothing of the fact that a new women's movement seems to be brewing from the prior ashes of apathy. You'll take our BC pills from our cold, dead hands. A women's movement that may sweep out generations of Republicans from power for generations to come, like it did in the decades after the Depression. Not only that, but if they elect enough liberal leaning politicians, they may over rule any Supreme Court decision by using the Nuclear Option. Going on the road and getting the votes needed to enshrine the right to choose in the Constitution.
Is that even possible? So very few Supreme Court rulings have ever been over turned that way. And I've been burned. Americans have been beaten down to pulp by the Republican party and gone crawling, bleeding and whimpering to them, to get beaten down some more. I'd like to believe that my fellow women wouldn't take something like this sitting down. Because you know the bastards are going to overreach if Roe v. Wade ever makes it to them. They're going to go for broke. They're going to go into a feeding frenzy and want it all. Get rid of birth control; outlaw all abortions; consider even ectopic pregnancies murder; make miscarriages that occur at home crime scenes, the works. Or at least, that's what their base is going to want and they won't take anything less. The Supremes' backs are going to be against a wall. Awesome. This might actually be entertaining. Sucks to be them.
Personally, I think they'll blink. The very first journal I ever wrote was about interviews Justice Scalia gave on 60 Minutes and the Baltimore School of Law during the summer of '08, when McCain was ahead in the polls. If McCain had won, he'd have appointed conservative justices that would have ruled again on Roe v. Wade. In his interviews, Scalia said that denying people abortions denies them of having the right to decides such issues for themselves. "Why should the Court have the power to remove this from the democratic process?" And, "I would not only be in favor of Roe v. Wade, I would be in favor of the opposite view." Chickenshit of him, wasn't it? Giving himself some elbow room to weasel their way out of making a federal decision and paving the way to possibly punting the whole sorry mess back to the states. In such a case, we'd be back in the situation we are now. The right to choose will still be chipped away bit by bit, a death of a thousand cuts, until little, if anything, remains. Polls say most Americans support a woman's right to choose. But, if so, we're too apathetic to take to the streets and fight for that right. Like we've been too apathetic about "Citizens United." About the rich getting richer while the rest of us get poorer. About the never-ending wars. About...
Remember that skit we had on DU a few days ago of some comics in the UK cracking up over the idiocy of Sarah Palin supporters? We all seem pretty confident that anyone as stupid as she is doesn't stand a chance of being elected.
"That's what they said about Ronald Reagan!" my German national first husband snapped at me over the phone last night. I winced. We'd been young teens living in Stuttgart when we'd first been married. "And we all thought the same about Bush over here. Americans value stupidity as a virtue!" He went on a long rant. My current husband and I have a home in Okinawa. My ex wants the kids and grandkids we had together there now, this instant! "Tsunamis?" I said tentatively, knowing it wasn't a consideration. My ex wasn't fooled either. I suddenly realized that it wasn't just one of his political angry discourses. He was really frightened. It seems that Germans aren't as sanguine as Brits about Palin and her ilk. That Reagan comment about nuclear wars being fought on European soil was closer to them than to the UK.
Sarah with her manicured two-and-a-half-inch nails on the nuclear button. "What's this little pokey thingy do?" Unlike everyone else who thinks she's so religious, I don't buy it for a minute. Like Dubya, who hasn't been seen in church since he left office, I think that her religiosity is merely calculated trappings to make a niche for herself in the base of the Republican Party. She's got an IQ in the mid 80s, but she more than makes up for it in sheer natural cunning. And the collective IQ of our nation is even lower than that to have elected losers like Reagan and Bush II. I was stunned when I heard moderators during the Gore/Bush debates arguing over who'd won the debate and finally stating that it might have been a draw. A fuckin' DRAW??? Plus, the VP debates between Palin and Biden, also singing Sarah's praises. The hell! She came off like an 80s Valley Girl reject, changing the subject and never answering any question the moderator asked; always repeating a mantra of talking points over and over again. And they thought she did a great job! Consider as well that Palin never gave an open press conference while she was running as McCain's VP, something that had never happened before in presidential history. She was protected on all sides everywhere she went by handlers that kept the wolves at bay. Salon quoted Stephen King describing her as "Greg Stillson in skirts." Yeah, and like in King's book, "The Dead Zone," I can almost see why my German ex is in fear that our kids and grandkids might live in a country ruled by a demogogue like her. But, we survived Dubya, right? Oh, wait.
Palin makes Dubya look like Tertullian. She's uncontrollable. At least, Bush had handlers that made most of his decisions and put the brakes on his tendency to autocracy. That was Uncle Dick's domain. Not Palin. I can see her becoming drunk with power and holding the nation hostage to her every destructive whim. The only thing that could save us would be her impeachment and how that would turn out with her enablers protecting her every step of the way is anyones guess. This isn't Dick Nixon's America anymore. Presidential criminals are coddled nowadays, not prosecuted. Bush and Cheney have gotten away with war crimes in case anyone's forgotten. And her being elected could happen. McCain was ahead in the polls until the financial crash happened and he flubbed it all with his handling of it. Sans the crash, who knows what might have happened. And we're still on shaky economic ground. That makes Obama vulnerable, no matter what his current high riding on foreign policy from the bin Laden bump. Bush Senior was riding high on winning the first Gulf War and got throttled by the unknown Bill Clinton a year later on the recession, remember?
Don't underestimate this she-snake. Almost every post I read has DU'ers poking fun at her chances. Her screechy voice that sounds like zombie claws raking on chalkboard. Her refusal to be pinned down for interviews. Hey, don't laugh. She can pull the victim card or the feisty I'm-the-mighty-anti-media-warrior card. And like my ex said, we Americans have a penchant for picking losers and seeing stupidity as a virtue. A president you can sit down and have a beer with. Never mind that he brings the economy of the world crashing and starts an illegal war.
Maybe my ex just has me all shook up with his nervousness. But, I really think DUers and everyone else need to take Palin a bit more seriously. I remember how confident we felt when Reagan ran for office and how we thought he was a joke. How I thought everyone would be able to see through Bush II as the empty suit he was. We were wrong. We might be wrong about Palin too.
Terrorists? The Japanese and Japanese-Americans forced into internment camps in World War II weren't even terrorists by the biggest stretch of the imagination. They were contributing citizens of their country who were suddenly rounded up and forced into what were basically concentration camps. It was for the good of the country, many argue today. Tell me another one. Lt. General John L. de Witt, the head of the relocation program, had this to say about the people he was relocating in testimony to Congress: "A Jap's a Jap. We must worry about the Japanese all the time until he is wiped off the map." If it wasn't about race, they would've rounded up German-Americans in predominantly German areas where German language newsletters openly circulated, praising Hitler and criticizing American policy toward him. During the War, 400,000 German POWs were held in the U.S., working in fields, factories and construction and mingling among the general population while under guard. An account at the time tells of an incredulous African-American veteran who was disabled in the War, watching as Nazi soldiers--who had fought in a war that had taken the lives of over 6 million Jews and 5 million other victims in death camps--drank from a fountain labeled "Whites Only." The black vet, who had fought for his country and been injured had to use the "Colored Only" water fountain. Despite his service and sacrifice, he was still a second class citizen to foreign soldiers that represented an army that had committed horrific genocide.
Things haven't changed much since then. Since 9/11, we've been paralyzed in fear of the brown terrorist. There have been quite a bunch of them. Major Nidal Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter. Richard Reed, the Shoe Bomber. The dead serious, but laughably incompetent Times Square and Underwear Bombers. The list of notables goes on and on.
Many of the notables, however, like the Liberty Seven, seemed to be more into a game than an actual plot. Many in even federal circles have started to complain about an FBI specialty unit that goes around investigating terrorist plots and has uncovered many and turned in over a hundred suspected terrorists. In many cases, they concentrated on "chatting up" various Moslem youths and keeping at them for months, leading them on with carefully worded phrases and fantasy scenarios, pouncing on them when they would finally crack and make some unguarded statement. In one case a federal judge looked at a young man being brought in front of his bench and at the FBI dossier in his hands and groaned, "Oh, no. Not those damn idiots again." Many of the complaints seem to draw on the fact that the so-called plots are more on the line of thought exercises.
Speaking of thought exercises, consider the treatment of Jose Padilla, the "Dirty Bomber" and Michael Fortier, one of the co-conspirators in the Oklahoma City Bombings.
Face it, Jose Padilla wasn't the Poster Boy for good behavior to begin with. He was a gangbanger who had been in prison already for killing another gangmember he'd kicked in the head during a fight as a juvenile. After serving his last jail sentence, he converted to Islam. In 2002, he was arrested for conspiring with Al-Qaeda and providing material support for terrorists. It was alleged that he'd been trained in the construction and employment of radiological weapons--dirty bombs. To make a long, long story short, he was held as an enemy combatant without charges and with disregard to habeas corpus. It's been alleged by his legal team and human rights observers that he was tortured almost the entire three years and eight months he was under unlawful detention. He was kept in isolation, suffered sleep deprivation, never-ending sensory blackout, continuous noise disruption, ice cold room temperatures, stress positions and then,in the morning, the incessant daily interrogations would resume. He has been diagnosed with not only severe PTSD, but with brain injury. But, did Padilla ever really commit any real crime? Can any "confession" he made be considered valid in view of the way it was obtained? No evidence was ever found connecting him to any conspiracy and his so-called confessions, obtained after years of imprisonment, seem disjointed and bizarrely disconnected to any real plot that could possibly work outside the realm of sheer fantasy.
Contrast that with the treatment of Michael Fortier and his wife Lori, two of the co-conspirators in the Oklahoma City Bombing. Timothy McVeigh, as we all know, was executed for his part as the main conspirator. Terry Nichols received life in prison. Mike Fortier cased the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building for the best place to park the moving van. Lori Fortier forged IDs for Timothy McVeigh to use in case he needed entrance into the building or escape from police after the bombing. Lori never got time in jail for co-operating in testimony. Michael Fortier, who also co-operated with authorities, got twelve years and was released after ten years and five months for good behavior. He was under the Federal Witness Protection Program while under incarceration and upon leaving prison, he and his wife entered the program as well. How's that for justice? Practically coddled in prison and living protected and secure off our federal dollars after knowing and abetting the second largest mass terrorist murder in our country's history. I keep seeing the picture of the dead baby in the fireman's arms. Michael and Lori could have prevented that.
Nowadays, terrorism by white supremacists reigns greater than that by any Islamist group. Ever hear of William J. Krar? How about James G. Cummings? Or Kevin William Hardham? These three men were all arrested for having weapons of mass destruction that they planned to use. Krar went to prison for only five years, refusing stubbornly to say who his accomplices were. Cummings was shot by his wife in a domestic dispute. Hardham was arrested after his backpack was found along the marching route of a Martin Luther King Walk. White Supremacist groups and militia groups that want the violent overthrow of the government far outnumber Islamic terrorist groups. The KKK membership has swelled since the election of a black president. 300 militia groups have grown in the last year alone. There have been two incidences of police killings by militia and white supremacists groups in the last two years and a plot was uncovered by a third to do the same. But, the media has been strangely silent about terrorist plots and violence by these groups. They carried the Hutaree story for a couple of days (except Fox, of course) but not as long as they did with Islamic terrorists who held media attention for days and days.
It is what it is. I guess that for the early American settlers, the Native Americans were the terrorists. But, go listen to Fox News. They can find them behind every tree.
Ever since Newt Gingrich announced he's running for president, my FB page has been buzzing with comments from stories about him gleaned from the news media. So have so many liberal websites that I visit, including DU. One of the biggest criticisms I hear is that he married a woman 23 years his junior.
In his personal relationships, I think he was smarmy in the way he dumped his first wife while she lay sick with cancer. He cheated on his second wife with his third while he sanctimoniously pummeled Bill Clinton for his affair with an intern. All the while, he was having an affair with one too; the future, third, Mrs. Gingrich.
But, one of the biggest criticisms I hear is that he married a "woman young enough to be his daughter." "A trophy wife." "A gold-digging younger woman that wanted an old, rich fart." "An old perv that wanted a sweet young thang."
I'm married to a man twenty years older than I am. He was a widower when we met in 1987. I was a single mom, working three jobs as a cocktail waitress at night, a grocery bagger by day, and an Army Reservist one weekend a month. He was an Air Force officer.
He'd stood steadfast by his first wife's side while she died of leukemia. He'd never have left her for another woman then, or any other time. He wasn't rich, although he was high ranking. He was shocked and confused when a young Army Reservist was crushing big time on him at the Air Force hospital I worked my drills at. He tried to tell me he was too old for me. I told him age was just a number. He was uptight enough that he refused to date me for two years for fear of fraternization until I no longer worked at Wilford Hall. This wasn't a man that was taking advantage of a younger woman. And I wasn't going after a rich old fart.
I always see people startle when they see us together. Now, I've turned 50 and he's turned 70.
It makes me cringe when I hear comments like those above about the reasons for May-December marriages. Even after all these years, it's hard not to flinch at hearing some of them. It's stereotypical to the max and it hurts, it really does. It's like being an interracial couple. By the way, we're an inter-ethnic couple. I'm Hispanic, he's Anglo. I'm sure that doesn't help either. I just wanted to get this all off my chest.
My husband warned me it would be like this when we were seeing each other. Hey, he's worth it, and more. But, maybe it might be nice, if you're ever in South Texas and see a small Hispanic woman and a tall strapping older Anglo man, holding hands as they walk their dogs, you might think for a moment and say, "They really love each other," and not, "Boy, she got herself set for life," or "He must've liked them young."
OK, that's a low blow. But, nowadays, it almost seems like instead of killing Saddam, we imported him.
Does anyone here remember the biggest reason that whipped Americans into a frenzy of outrage and got their juices flowing for sending troops into Kuwait in 1990 for the first Gulf War? I do. It was the Incubator Babies! Cold bloodied Iraqi soldiers were stalking through nurseries, grabbing newborn premature babies by their ankles and tossing them out of their incubators to die gasping on cold hospital tiles. Or at least, that was the story a sobbing Kuwaiti nurse told a Congressional committee.
Only, she wasn't a nurse. She was the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador.
Today, we have Republicans in Congress proposing budget cuts to the CDC and the NIH that will shave over a billion dollars in research grants and programs to assist children with disabilities secondary to premature births and to perform research for life-saving biomedical research aimed at finding causes and developing strategies for preventing preterm births themselves. Is it just me, or does that kind of sound a little like throwing premies out of incubators?
"Saddam lived in luxury on the money he'd stolen from his people," Bush said to justify his invasion of Iraq after no WMD were found. Today, predatory lending banks toss people out of their homes; millionaire congressmen pass tax breaks for themselves at the expense of the middle class and the poor; they give corporations tax loopholes you could toss a small moon through.
"Saddam gassed his own people," Condaleeza Rice said. Well, we didn't get gassed, but several of our people got poisoned and our Republican congress had to be shamed by a comedian to pass legislation to get our heroic 9/11 firefighters and policemen health benefits for the contaminants that are killing them from their service on Ground Zero. That's on top of the way they're trying--and succeeding--in protecting a major polluter in getting off scot free after poisoning one of our greatest bodies of water. And set the stage for another possible disaster to happen in the future.
This isn't even Bizarro World anymore. At least, with Bizarro World you knew what to expect--the opposite of what's on earth. What one party in our country has done to it is a silent, stealth destruction from within. I dare not call it terrorism. The American people aren't terrorized. They're apathetic and shell-shocked at best and furious at the wrong targets at worse. Not that I'm giving the Dems a pass. They've been enablers and beneficiaries of corporate largess as well. But, a few have cared; and tried to stop the tide.
God, I need a drink.
I'm sure this is something that's been gone over before in other articles/venues; about how the older sitcoms and shows of the 40s, 50s and 60s weren't as wholesome as the Repubs and teabaggers seem to rhapsodize them being. I seem to remember Bill Maher going on about how Ralph on the "Honeymooners" used to threaten to beat the tar out of his wife, Alice. Lucy sure got her lumps from her husband, Ricky. He had a fetish for spanking. Watching some of the oldies but goodies on the classic channels and on the cartoon channels can be a real eye opener.
I really feel like bitch smacking Darrin Stevens for refusing to let Samantha and his daughter embrace their witchitude. Just give up your entire heritage and be my personal housemaid/sex slave. You deserved to be turned into a goat every week, doosh. You weren't any better in the way you treated Jeannie, Major Nelson. In fact, you were worse.
But, the cartoons are what crack me up. I love hearing these conservatives rave about how modern day cartoons have all these subtle, subliminal sexual messages tucked away into them to corrupt our children's minds and turn them into sex fiends and/or make them succumb to the homosexual agenda. Tinky Winky's purple purse. Sponge Bob and Patrick holding hands. The minister on "The Little Mermaid" with the erection. The cloud of dust on "The Lion King" that spells S-E-X. Cartoons weren't like that in their day! No siree! They were wholesome and a girl was a girl and a man was a man. Popeye was the hero who saved Olive Oyl and there wasn't any of this sick, sick, sick sex stuff discreetly tucked away into every cartoon like there is today.
Yeah, right. Because all that sick, sick, sick sex stuff was right out there in the open.
Have you watched Popeye lately? Really watched it? I used to take so much for granted until a couple of articles I read somewhere in some underground newspaper tagged a couple of episodes. Then I really started watching closely, not only Popeye, but some of the other older cartoons. Popeye really liked punking Blutto. In this one episode, when Blutto was faking being sick in the hospital, Popeye dressed in drag like a nurse and sashayed into his room, making Blutto's eyes shoot out of his sockets. Popeye sure dressed in drag a lot. Blutto did too a few times to try to fool Popeye. All for the hand of the beauteous Olive Oyl. Bugs Bunny loved drag, too. He not only dressed in drag to fool whoever was the pursuer du jour, he usually grabbed them and gave them a big ol' smacking kiss on the mouth. This one episode of Popeye featuring frontal nudity floored me. Popeye was fighting this shark and the figurehead of this ship falls on top of the shark and Popeye thinks it's a mermaid and sits her on his lap and kisses her. The figurehead is that of a topless woman. She's bare-breasted, although not exactly anatomically correct since she has no nipples. Of course, it's the shark and he saws his way out of the figurehead. Still, my grandchildren were watching raptly and I yelped and dove for the remote. Wholesome, yeah. In another episode, some cat (not Tom) was trying to get by a hawk to catch a mouse, but the hawk kept thwarting him. In summary, the cat dressed like a female hawk to try to get by the hawk; his plan backfired; the male hawk fell in love with him; he put the cat up on a nest and kept bringing him up tidbits to make it easier for him to lay eggs and cuddled him and smooched him. There. Not only gay marriage, but inter special marriage.
I don't mind my grandkids watching Popeye, Bugs and other cartoon characters in drag. I do mind them seeing how Blutto keeps trying to kiss and kidnap Olive while she screams and begs him to let her go; how he drags her by the neck and hair to make his getaway with her. At one time, long ago, it was funny. It doesn't seem all that funny anymore. And you right-wingers out there that say that modern cartoons are brainwashing our kids and attempting to turn them into sex fiends or predatory homosexuals, I have news for you. If a sexually ambiguous character like a TeleTubby holding a purse sends you into a frenzy and makes you see the homosexual agenda everywhere, why do you consider decades of cross dressing, male-to-male kissing, and nudity in cartoons as "the good ol' days"? Sincerely, I've watched that clip of "The Lion King" where the cloud of dirt was kicked up. I've slowed it down and replayed it. I can't see anywhere that it says S-E-X at all. They're right. It must be subliminal. And only filthy minded right-wing asshats can see it.
My huge extended family was having their Sunday post-church BBQ back when I was newly minted from Army basic training. They'd requested that my two cousins and I, all military, wear our uniforms so that they could honor us properly. They asked to see our dog tags and when I showed mine to my brother, I suddenly froze in horror. As I saw his face do likewise, I knew what he had seen.
My religious preference: NONE.
Sure, we had another atheist in the family. But, my cousin Severo was so militantly obnoxious about it, that he was something of an outcast and rarely invited to our family get-togethers and holidays. I mean, these people are fanatic. My sisters murmur their rosaries to EWTN while doing their elliptical exercises. Not that the Holy Mother has ever interceded. They've been struggling to lose the same 10 and 15 pounds for the last 20 years. Everyone went to catechism, Catholic schools, funds permitted; got the required sacraments. My siblings even have a couple of grandchildren who are altar boys ( I watch them with an eagle eye to make sure they're not walking bow legged).
Some neurologist now say that atheists are born with their brains wired differently and pre-disposed to non-belief. I refute this. What about European countries where the majority of the population are non-theists? Although, I admit that my skepticism started young. You know how it goes. "God created everything." "Well, who created God?" "God gave up his only begotten son to die for our sins." "No, He didn't. He came back three days later." I made it my goal to read the entire bible from start to finish in my teens, however. I figured it would bring me closer to my creator.
Big mistake. That book ought to be banned if people are expected to remain faithful. Or at least rationalize it until their heads explode. OK, this is a rant, in case you haven't figured it out. If I can't vent my spleen today, I'll grind my teeth into nubs. I stood by sadly and passively while my family swooped down and snatched up my children when they were babies, determined to save them from the hellfire that my unbelief had destined me for. I was wishy-washy and cowed, standing on the sidelines watching them get baptized, attend catechism, confirmed, married in the church. My family made sure they alway attended Sunday services while they lived in the area. Eventually, after marrying, they moved to different towns. To my relief, maybe it was the example of my lack of belief, their own was lukewarm. Once gone from the strict holy environment of the family, they cheerfully lapsed into non-church attendance.
Now, I'm fuming all over again. My son-in-law's family is as disgustingly Catholic as mine is. Around the weeks of Lent and Easter, they demanded that he keep my precious little 3 year old granddaughter, Olivia, with them while she underwent the rite of first catechism. She's adorable. But, she's rather morbid. She's gotten a fixation on vampires lately. She's got a baby doll that she likes to drag around, telling everyone it's dead. "My baby's dead. A vampire killed her. He drank her buh-lud." So, it begins. A new generation of what I consider the brainwashed. I know a lot of DU'ers are taking umbrage if they're reading this and are faithful. I respect your beliefs. If you sincerely have a faith and aren't rubbing it in people's noses and trying to evangelize them annoyingly and insistently, more power to you. But, must those beliefs be a form of indoctrination pounded into individuals at such a young, vulnerable age? Can't people be allowed to grow up a little until they get a chance to have a questing mind that allows them to reflect, question and make up their own minds about the faith their families are presenting them with?
Well, my little granddaughter was adorable as expected reciting her first canon of faith.
"Jesus loves me. He died for me. He died on the cross for me. A vampire drank his buh-lud."
I live in Boerne, Texas, a bedroom community north of San Antonio which boasts an 87% Republican demographic.
There's this one nimrod that drives around town in an F-150 with an extended cab and a couple of bumper stickers: SECEDE and one for Chuck Norris for President of the Republic of Texas and a 1-800 number to call. He's your typical teabagger thug-looking type; overweight, 60s, swaggering; cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. I don't know what kind of seat he sits on in his truck. He jounces up and down on it when he's driving something fierce. Is there such a thing as Shaken Teabagger Syndrome?
OK, I can't help thinking; let Texas secede already. I always wanted us to move to Maine anyway.
First, correct me if I'm wrong, but once you split off from a nation, don't you also lose access to it's currency as a form of exchange? I mean, this isn't the 19th century when the original secessionist movement took place and states were able to break away and have their own treasuries. We live in a global economy now whose nations are interdependent on each other to keep their currencies stable. In my mind's eye, I see Perry and Chuck Norris raising the Republic of Texas flag over Austin and then looking around, only to see Skank of America and Shitty Bank rolling up their carpets and hightailing it out of the state, or at least raising their rates on loans to the state so high that any borrowing would be prohibitive. Down the line, many businesses might also decide to close their doors, feeling that the young nation was too risky to keep investments in and that they might be better served returning at a more stable economic period. Adios Walfart, Burger King, et. ali. The teabaggers will miss you. Especially you, Burger King. What this means is that the new Republic would probably have to swallow their pride and approach that most hated of institutions for national financial assistance: the International Monetary Fund. With pressure from the U.S., the IMF would probably demur and refuse to help.
We still have cattle and oil! That seems to be the mantra of the Texas secessionists. Sure you do. Venezuela has plenty of beef, too, as does Mexico, Korea and so many other nations. We live in a free trade world now, remember? Besides, if Texans wanted to sell their beef in any international markets, they'd have to pay the U.S. to use their transportation lines and a piqued U.S. would probably tell them: "Uh...no." As for that oil, most of Texas' oil is off-shore. Again, they'd need permission to use U.S. transportation lines to sell to customers overseas. The U.S. would be collectively filing it's nails and dismissively telling them, "Sell it to Hugo Chavez."
Then, there would be the obvious federal bennies like Social Security, Medicare, education and disaster relief. I can imagine how those fat, old secessionists would feel if they didn't have Medicare money to pay for their Hoverounds when the ones they had needed to be replaced. Not to mention that the minute the majority of Texans saw that they had to keep their brats at home to home school them, they'd doubtlessly go crying back to Uncle. The only recourse they'd have to live the good life they never realized they had as U.S. citizens would be to assess and raise taxes, assuming they ever got their hands on transactionable funds again.
National security would be a problem. Texans love thinking they're all bad ass. But, drug lords are pretty bad ass, too. Mexico might like taking it's former possession back for shits and grins. The space aliens flying around in Marfa, the UFO capital of the world, might salivate seeing nice, fat teabagger happy meals just theirs for the taking. And sooner or later, they'd run out of ammo. The majority of the ammo factories and metal refineries to make ammo are in the U.S.
Mas triste. But, oh, well. Go ahead. The rest of the country will probably be only too glad to pack your bags. If only to eat popcorn and watch the fun.
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