Mere minutes after the 9/11 attacks, we were united. We were Americans together, facing a common enemy. The whole world reached out to us in sympathy. It didn't take long for that unity to fracture. Conservatives wanted to punish. Punish someone. Anyone. The liberals were heard asking "Why? Why did this happen?"
No, we didn't want to give the hijackers counseling (hard to do anyway, since they were DEAD), as someone suggested. We wanted to understand their motivations so we might take steps to prevent it from happening again. (That might be too nuanced for the conservative mind, but there you have it).
When we brought up the things that may have led to such a drastic action on their part, we were called the "Blame America First" contingent. The conservatives, led by the Bush (mis)administration and pop-eyed pundits, became the "Blame Everybody Else" faction. America could take NO responsibility for it and, as a matter of fact, the reason for it was that the terrorists "hated our freedoms." They do to some extent, but given that we're not the only country WITH such freedoms, and in many ways there are Northern European countries that are more culturally free (our claim to fame seems to revolve around economic freedom, which as anyone with any sense could tell you is illusory anyway)it falls a little flat.
Given that the United States trained and financed Osama Bin Laden for his fight against the Soviets when THEY invaded Afghanistan (one of the things, one might argue, that ultimately led to their downfall), there is some merit to suggesting our covert intelligence community DIRECTLY contributed to what came of it.
To make matters even worse, yet another former friend to the intelligence community of the United States (the guy we financed and supplied through his incredibly brutal war with Iran) was determined to be a threat (by what means we still cannot ascertain) and a second war (or a second front to the SAME war) was sold to the American people by a great many truly questionable methods. (Wasn't opening up a second front one of the things that defeated Hitler during WWII?)
We heard a veritable mantra (Nine-Eleven, Nine-Eleven, Nine-Eleven, Nine-Eleven, etc...ad nauseum), as the justification for everything they wanted to do. So what if 17 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia? So what if Osama Bin Laden was a disgruntled member of the Saudi royal family? "Let's get Saddam!"
To this day I'm almost positive the reason we went after him was because the administration KNEW they could take him. And back in 1999, George W. Bush told his biographer that, if given the chance, he'd do what his father didn't. He'd go after Iran, kick Saddam's ass, and earn himself the second term his father didn't get. In 1999. Gotta give him credit for determination. He did EXACTLY what he said he would.
So, yeah, I'd like to take a moment to look back and remember all the CITIZENS who were killed on 9/11, and the families they left behind. And the wives that Ann Coulter insulted by calling "Harpies" who "probably wished their husbands dead anyway."
Yeah. Classy, eh?
If nothing else (and it was PLENTY else) the events of 9/11/2001 brought home a very important lesson to the United States. Our relative seclusion and separation from the Old World could no longer be counted on to protect us. And we were given a choice. We could either play the swaggering bully (arguably one of the reasons we were attacked in the first place) or we could try to be the kind of nation we like to think we are.
Bush played it one way. Barrack Obama, thankfully, is capable of playing it another way.
Personally, I'd like to remember and commemorate this day by working to ensure nothing like it every happens again.
Who's with me?
but I don't think it means what you think it means.
Okay, evolution deniers, I've had just about all of your willful blindness as I can take. You say evolution's only a theory, so it's not really proven science. A Theory is as "proven" as it gets. Acting as though it means the same thing as some yutz--like, maybe, YOU, saying "I have a theory that we're going to have ham for dinner tonight" shows a remarkable ignorance not only of science, but of critical thinking in general.
I had this conversation the other day. With a coworker. I mentioned "the kind of nuts who don't believe in evolution" and then discovered that she, specifically, was that kind of nut. I'll admit, I felt like a bit of a jerk. For all of five seconds. I simply said "Huh" and went about my business.
So she asks me, "What does that mean, Huh? You sound like you don't approve." (Or something similar). She was fishing for more than a single grunt in response.
So I reply "I'm just not sure I've ever met someone who didn't believe in evolution." You skeptics and what not say what you will about pagans, at least they believe in science. They just believe in other things BESIDES science. I'm agnostic, but I have a lot of friends (and a wife) who are pagan. One in particular I'd just love to see in a debate here, as a matter of fact. I wouldn't care who "won." I'd just like to see it.
But I digress. After I say that, she's silent for a little while, then started in about it "only being a theory." I sighed, and thought about how to counter this. I paid some attention in High School science classes, but I don't remember off-hand how they defined them. If I remember correctly, "theory" means something that's been proven. It's as "hard" as science gets sometimes, given that science, unlike superstition, allows for new information to change accepted assumptions.
I told her as much, saying that science isn't the same as mathematics, where 2+2=4 and that's it. The term "theory" is science's (and scientists') way of saying "there are very few absolutes, but this is what looks to be the case." Our medical sciences are, to a great extent, based upon the theory of evolution--particularly germ theory. We're able to combat germs because we understand how they're likely to react to certain stimuli--based on what we understand of how they evolve. If evolution wasn't a fact as well as a "theory," we wouldn't be able to manipulate them the way we do.
Closer to home, I pointed out, is the simple existence of dogs. Man's best friend and all that. A creature we have been deliberately breeding (evolving) as WE chose for the better part of several thousand (who knows how many?)years. All those remarkably different creatures are, in fact, nearly identical genetically. And only a hand-span away from the wolves that spawned them.
Adaptation and Natural Selection are observable facts. Our understanding of how it works may not be complete, but no credible scientist has any doubt that evolution occurs and is, in fact, occurring around us all the time. I realize this flies in the face of the whole "God Created Man" thing, but, seriously, do you want your science to be based on faith and dogma rather than observable phenomenon? Would you trust your safety to an airplane built like a cross with no consideration for lift and drag and other physical laws based on the idea that "faith" would help it fly? Would you bet your faith against the laws of motion? I don't care HOW pious you are, you can't evade the laws of physics.
So the way you deal with the seeming dichotomy between your "divinely inspired" book and real world science we use and depend on every day is to deny the science. Because you know, deep down, which you should actually trust. Science has no agenda and has built millions of tools that have shaped our world and continue to do so. Religion and "faith" possess the agenda of whoever's interpreting the documentation and has never once, by itself, added to the sum of human knowledge with regards to the physical laws of the universe.
You get on a plane and fly because science told them how to make a machine that could fly. You pick up a phone and call your wife because science told them how to project information through the air in radio waves. You climb in your car and motor down to church because science told them how to burn fossil fuels to create combustion and create the horseless carriage.
Science. You can sit and pray to be instantly transported somewhere else for as long as you like. Faith can't do that. Science, on the other hand, can tell you why it might and might not be possible.
Science doesn't demand faith. It demands critical thought. It requires questioning previous assumptions. Science grows and changes as our understanding of the universe expands.
Religion? Not so much.
There's a reason the Bible and other holy books don't really describe the world, the solar system, the galaxy, atomic structure, or anything else that is actually observable. Because the people that wrote them had no more information about the nature of the universe than anyone else did. The idea that a omnipotent, omniscient deity had even the smallest input in any of them seems, well, ludicrous.
But people can believe anything they damn well please, as long as they don't try to pass laws meant for the rest of us based on their narrow view of the world.
I have to add that my new-found annoyance about this subject was raised by the inanity of the following comment, made by a parent and a teacher in middle of the Missouri High School Band tee-shirt controversy.
“I was disappointed with the image on the shirt.” She said. “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school."
Yeah--who'd want a high school associated with science, right?
Here's the whole article, btw... http://www.sedaliademocrat.com/news/0px-18...
They are the 21st Century equivalent of flat-Earthers and are just too blind to notice. So many fools, so little time.
When they scream "No Socialism!" it's not as though they have the faintest idea what it means, or how a government medical program would be in any way related to socialism. All they know is that they've been told "socialism bad" and they'll parrot that ejaculation until the sun boils away the sky.
Okay, assholes... DEFINE Socialism. Yourself. No, stay away from Wikipedia and that hideous parody "conservafuckingstupidpedia" or whatever the hell it is. Define it in your own words.
Can't do it, can you? You haven't the FAINTEST FUCKING IDEA what it means.
One thing we do in this country that's stupid as hell is our attempt to wage wars on ideas, on abstractions. The War on Drugs was bad enough (a war on drugs is a war on people, usually brown people, and don't you forget it), but then we got the War on Terrorism. Or (rather) the "War on Middle Eastern brown people."
As stupid as it is to fight a war against an idea--like the Right Wing assholes deciding to have a war on socialism (apparently to counter our so-called "War on Christmas) --that's really not what's going on here. The Generals might have declared a war on Socialism, but it's being fought by people who don't have a fucking clue. They're not at war with an idea, they're at war with a WORD.
The reason the "generals" want to fight "socialism" is because they think it'll cost them money. That's the only reason. They think that they'll somehow stop being ultra-fucking rich and just end up plain ol' filthy rich. They might have to forgo that gold plumbing and opt instead for the gold-plated plumbing. A fate worse than death.
But the rest of you? Seriously? A little "socialism" would make your lives a hundred times easier. A little sharing and caring, you know? You're already shoveling money into the system as fast as it can take it, and what are you getting out of it? Not much. Your house catches on fire, you get fireman. Your drunken brother in law starts a fight, you can get a cop. But if you fall down and break your leg, you'd better hope you have a good job, because all that money you pay the government to help take care of you doesn't mean a goddamn thing. And the money you and your employer has been feeding to the insurance company parasite? It might help some, but you'll still have to pay some of the bill yourself. That's despite having paid more in a single year to the company than the whole thing's going to end up costing.
I know, I know. "Socialism." Bad word. Scary.
I'd rather pay a little more in taxes and know that if I break my leg I'll just have to go to the hospital (or my doctor) and say "fix me up" knowing that once it heals I'll never have to think about it again. It'll be over. There won't be any doctor bills, no hospital testing fees, no x-ray costs, no extra bullshit my insurance company "forgot" to pay.
You're at war with the word "socialism."
Socialism surrenders, agrees to be called "Paying it Forward."
Shut up, Rush. Have an oxy, a coke, and a smile, and shut the fuck up. You're a rich motherfucker who will never have to worry about paying your health care bill. You have accountants to pay accountants to pay your health care expenses. Hell, you have doctors who'll falsify prescriptions for your fat, happy ass. You don't deserve an opinion.
edited to fix a punctuation error
What price pride when that pride is misplaced, when those you revere are not what you imagine them to be? When they fight for themselves, and their privilege, and bend your ear to fight not for your rights, but for their privilege as well? Fight against "socialism," when you don't even know what it is, nor why you should fear it. You fight not against an idea, but only against a word. How stunningly stupid you are. And proudly so.
Willful ignorance is a crime against nature, a crime against humanity, for it is through this kind of ignorance that the worst injustices have been done. And to have modern Americans, people with access to all the knowledge gained in this world and all its history through war and peace, through famine and depredation, turn their backs on knowledge and fight to preserve ignorance is a slap in the face of the founding fathers you pretend to revere, a deliberate urination on the documents by which this nation was formed.
Our founding fathers, for all their faults, revered knowledge above all. They believed they fought so their children might not have to. They learned war-craft and tactics so their children might learn literature and mathematics.
And yet those who heed the clarion call to battle sent by those who claim to be defending the "spirit" of the original intent of this country (a lie as blatant as calling a cow an airplane) stand proud in your ignorance, hating what you are told to hate, fearing that which you are told to fear, with no personal knowledge of the issues on which to draw upon. You are pawns on the chessboard, moving to block and parry without any awareness of how or why.
If told to resist health care reform, you do so, though it is not your freedoms they rise to defend, but the freedom of your oppressors to continue their oppression. Like our forefathers studied war and diplomacy to free the next generation to study something else, we should give ourselves health care, so we may free the next generation to seek something else. But you meat puppets do your masters' bidding and because of it the very discussion is drowned out by your white noise.
Freedom to be sick, to be denied health care, or to go into debt to procure it, is not freedom. It is merely another form of slavery. And you people welcome your chains, and cheer one another for your submission to them.
I say unto you then, stay stupid, and be proud in your stupidity. Hearken to the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck. While they decry your right to health care they sit in their million dollar homes, sipping champagne, or gobbling prescription pain meds like candy, laughing at you all the while.
You do their dirty work, and pat one another on the back for your folly. You are the anchors tied to our throats, dragging us under. America has long since lost its way thanks to people like you.
This has become the Home of the Knave.
(with thanks to the Swedish power metal band Falconer for the title of this thread)
When Max Baucus came out right away and refused Single Payer a "seat at the table," he made it clear the fix was already in. The fat, bloated parasite that's the health insurance industry was going to be protected no matter what the cost. Then, when he said that was a "mistake" and yet still didn't allow it to enter the debate, that was like adding insult to injury. When Obama talks about "a uniquely American approach" he's also talking about protecting that putrid leech at our expense. How is that acceptable to anyone?
Nearly everything that's wrong with our health care system can be laid at that bloodsucking parasite's bulbous belly. And, what's more, those fuckers on the Hill know it. They've allowed the Right to pretend that skyrocketing health care costs are because of malpractice insurance and all that was needed was "tort reform." They've played church-mouse while the parasite grew fatter and fatter on OUR suffering, and now wonder why we're pissed at them? White House spokespeople are telling progressive groups to sit down and shut up while right wing loonies come to protests wearing firearms and carrying signs threatening physical violence?
The fact is that the health insurance industry brings nothing to the process that can't be attained a lot cheaper by bypassing it entirely. Pretending otherwise is simply perpetuating a lie. This isn't cynicism, this is a basic truth. We, as a society, pay millions (if not billions) of dollars a year to the insurance industry in the hopes that we'll never have to actually ask for any of it back. And, if we are forced to file a claim, whether or not we actually get what we need is entirely up to them--no matter how much money we've paid into it. The whole purpose of an insurance company is to gather money and pay as little back out as possible. By whatever means it can manage. And all we can do at this point is take it.
From the very beginning of this fight it didn't look good. Our legislators came out on their knees, asking the minority party meekly for something that might, in time, compete with the insurance companies. And in response the right wing freaked the fuck out, the insurance companies hired and fielded an army of agents to disrupt the debate, Republican legislators refused to even discuss it, and the professional pundits started calling it "socialism." When, in the end, the best thing it's likely to gain us is the elimination of "pre-existing conditions?" When it's beginning to look like it might turn into a mandate for every American (rich, poor, and fucking on-the-street homeless) to offer their arm, leg, or throat to the parasite to suckle on? Yeah, that's really fucking progressive. Feed the leech. Or else.
Cynicism? Are you fucking kidding me? Why should any of us be cynical, considering that this is perhaps the most half-assed attempt at reform we've ever seen (not including anything related to campaign finance reform, which is an issue in and of itself where BOTH sides will happily fuck the rest of us while giggling all the way to the bank)?
And considering we keep hearing mutters from the Hill from this Senator or that Senator that they might, maybe, if necessary, be willing to "kill" the Public Option entirely. At the request of the bloated leech at the table, of course. At which point we can only hope Obama's willing to veto the very legislation on which he's staked his whole Presidency.
Yeah, maybe there ARE progressive legislators still fighting for that much, at least. Kudos to them. But at this point it's hard to look at them any differently than we might look at cops who DON'T taser little old men, soccer moms, and epileptic children. We know they're out there, but they sure ain't drawing attention to themselves.
Are we suggesting that some of our congress-critters are corrupt? Well, in the words of Mark Twain--"there is no distinctly native American criminal class save Congress." It seems that the notion isn't a recent development. When those with the most influence over the process, specifically those who have seemingly bent over backwards to protect the leech, have been paid tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions by said parasite, one has to wonder if there might be a conflict of interest somewhere. I mean, what are the chances?
And as far as offering alternatives and ways to fight back, one can only shake one's head and wonder. What can we, as citizens, do that we're not already doing? We write and call our Senators. We write LTTEs. We participate in town meetings, join protest marches, talk to like-minded people and try to get them to do the same. Basically, we can make pains in the ass of ourselves and get told by the likes of Rahm Emmanuel to knock it the fuck off.
Woo hoo. Great fun will be had by all.
If we actively discuss promoting primary challengers to some of these so-called "blue dogs," we're quickly reminded that the Party apparatus controls the process and that unseating an incumbent is next to impossible. That trying to seat an actual progressive in their place is an act of nearly obscene futility.
What's more, it's suggested that maybe we're right wingers in disguise because we have the temerity to question or criticize people who would protect a bloated, overfed leech over sick and injured constituents, and apparently do so without a trace of shame. What's more, we're accused of actively trying to demoralize folks.
Demoralize my ass. We're trying to inflame people, to get them to stand up and be counted. We want them at LEAST as pissed off as those ignorant "death panel" protesters at the Town Meetings. We don't want people to give up, we want them to fight back. We want them to scream their outrage from the rooftops.
We don't want people to assume that our legislators are doing everything they can do, we want them to realize they're doing the LEAST they can do, and acting like even that's expecting too much.
For the last several months I've been trying to tell people how to get the ball rolling on campaign finance reform, offering a specific, viable tactic to change the playing field. And for the past several months I've gotten no traction whatsoever. The fact is, it all starts there. Campaign finance reform is the foundation for every other change we'd like to see pass. It's the cornerstone of real progressive change in our government. But it won't happen unless WE make it happen.
I think what amuses me the most is that I've been called "selfish" for being such a rabid advocate for single payer. When I sit here night after night and read that this person's not able to get the medicine s/he needs, or that person is fighting with the insurance companies about an important procedure, or yet another person has been driven to the point of bankruptcy by medical bills. I've been a proponent of Single Payer since before I knew what to call it, since I was a callow youth who thought himself invulnerable. And even now, when I'm fortunate enough to have very good insurance through my wife's employer, I spend all this energy promoting something that I myself don't need for the sake of all the people who have no insurance, or might as well have no insurance for all the good it's doing them.
I'm glad people are keeping the faith. But don't take it for granted. Don't assume that they're looking out for us. A lot of them aren't. A lot of them are cuddling up to that bloated leech, hoping that IT will help them get re-elected next time around. And it had better, given that if they vote the way they're leaning, they're not going to be getting any help from US.
The last thing we need to be right now is complacent. Don't let the idiots drown out your voice. Not for a second. If they shout, shout louder. This could be the battle of our lives. This could be the battle FOR our lives.
In this fight, the only thing the meek will inherit is a bill for leech food.
updated to fix the
A couple of days ago I posted a thread about my discussions with a Republican co-worker (so Republican in fact that he has a big Repub elephant tattooed on his upper arm) and how he's not the kind to spout talking points rather than discuss things on their own merits. I got him to admit that, from a "conservative" point of view, single payer makes a lot of fiscal sense.
So, obviously, I have no problem with discussing or debating politics at work. A lot of us are liberal, even those who aren't particularly politically active. They tend to have generally liberal viewpoints.
Tonight, however, I did something I don't usually do. I was talking to a relatively new co-worker and she mentioned home-schooling one of her kids. He apparently wants to be a writer and has been reading and writing before even kindergarten. She had issues with the kindergarten teacher and pulled him out for a year.
I commented that a lot of people have problems with home schooling because that a lot of "nuts" use it as a way to keep their children away from things they don't like.
So she asks, "what do you mean by 'nuts?'"
Cue the warning bell. I shrugged and said "I mean people who don't want their kids around people of a different race, or people who don't believe in evolution."
"I don't believe in evolution," she told me.
To me this is a bit like encountering a flat-Earther. I said, "interesting," and honestly intended it to go no further.
She said "that sounds like you're thinking something bad about me."
My reply was tentative, but I told her "I've really never talked to someone who doesn't believe in evolution before and it makes me curious. I don't really think it's debatable, considering that much of modern medicine, particularly our methods of dealing with disease, wouldn't work at all if evolution wasn't true. And what's more, if you look at dogs, it's pretty clear that we've deliberately evolved the species."
She was silent for a moment, then said, "well, I believe in Creation, but it's possible that parts of the theory of evolution are true. It's just that, well, it's only a theory, not a theorem. It hasn't been PROVEN to be true."
I replied, "That's not really how science works. In mathematics you can absolutely prove things 100%--like 2 + 2 = 4, but in science, it's not like that." (Ignoring that her terminology didn't make a lick of sense... I think she was tangling up in the difference between a hypothesis and a theory, but that's just a guess on my part). I tried to explain how science is constantly evaluating itself, taking in and integrating new information as it's discovered. It constantly tests itself. Or, at least, that's how it's supposed to work.
She asked me if I believed in the Big Bang, and admitted that she couldn't understand how anyone could. I could see her point, or at least what she was saying, and admitted that it IS hard to imagine a time before the universe existed. I told her "I don't know" and I don't have any problem with that. It's like quantum physics--people trying to grasp something that our feeble human brains might have a hard time with. The universe--AND the concept of Deity--are pretty large things for a human mind to wrap itself around.
Then she asked me if I thought the bible was man-made.
"Yep," I said. "Too many holes for it not to be." I didn't tell her that I consider revealed religion to be the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on humanity. "Take God, for example. You've got this omnipotent being that created everything, right? Why would such a being need humans to worship it? That's a human failing and, while the Greek Gods were given definite human traits, I'm not sure that makes any kind of sense for the Christian concept of God.
"And," I added, "this has absolutely nothing to do with my opinion about the existence of a deity or the possibility of any kind of afterlife. Fact is, I don't know and I'm okay with that."
And that ended the discussion on the spot. She didn't get upset, which impressed me. In fact, I had the distinct impression that she was thinking about what I'd said. I doubt I shook her faith, but it's quite possible no one had ever held it up for her to examine in quite that way before.
The bible, as it's written, is full of holes. Not only conceptually, just in the way the stories are told, but in integration between one concept and another. Is the Old Testament God okay with rape, incest, genocide, and slavery? Actually, not only OKAY with these things, but actively lobbying for them at various times? When Noah built the ark, how did he manage to sail around to North America and Australia to save the critters native to those places? It's pretty obvious that the people who wrote the bible knew next to nothing about zoology, as we understand it, and were also pretty ignorant of geography of any region aside from the Middle East. Hardly something that suggests that it's "divinely inspired."
I really don't like the idea of debating religion at work. In fact, I don't tend to debate religion at all. People take it too personally, even more so than politics. Especially given how some people use it to justify their politics (and in the weirdest ways possible, sometimes). I'm agnostic. And that's after a childhood of attending just about every kind of church one can name, as well as bible study and church camp on top of it. I am not a Christian, not because I don't know anything about the religion, but because I know too much about it.
The final straw, as far as I'm concerned, is the concept of Hell. Taken by itself, it makes no sense. Imagine any kind of divine being (much less an omnipotent and omniscient one) condemning a flawed human being to an eternity of suffering for what amounts to a temporary transgression. And, to make it even worse, not so much as a punishment for any crime (since any crime could be forgiven if the sinner simply repent and "Believe in ME") but for not stroking God's ego in the right way.
I'm agnostic, and almost militantly so. NOT an atheist, or at least not like many of those one might encounter HERE. I don't actively disbelieve in God (or any form of Deity), nor do I assume those that do are deluded, insane, or stupid. I don't know if there's an afterlife, but I don't think that believing in one makes one an idiot. I do, however, think that accepting any religion as "Truth in a Box" is quite simply ludicrous, and if there is a deity, s/he/it is so complex and mind-boggling that we'd be lucky to grasp even the smallest fragment of its being. What's more, I don't think it matters. Any "God" that would judge us based on our belief in it isn't, by my reckoning, worthy of reverence. It would be like worshiping a large, more powerful version of James Dobson.
God can take care of "Him" self. I'll worry about my relationships with other people and let "Him" do just that. And, while I'm at it, suggest others do the same.
Seeing it, as I do, as a statement that all people having an inherent right of self-defense--but doesn't it seem to anyone else that openly wearing a firearm at a protest is a kind of tacit threat? There's nothing really subtle about it.
I'm curious. Why would someone actually arm himself just to stand around with a politically charged sign? Especially one suggesting that violence is a viable political act? And why is it that the RW folks feel a need to be armed at a protest, anyway? Are they really expecting to be attacked? By whom?
It's interesting to note that the only cases of domestic terrorism we've had in the United States have been at the hands of people of similar political ideology to these folks and yet, somehow, they get to walk away from what most sane, intelligent people would look at as a deliberate yet semi-subtle threat. "Remember, we're armed. Step wide, if you know what's good for you."
Certainly very few people would care to debate him face-to-face. Maybe that's what he was afraid of. Not being attacked, but being told what kind of ninny he is.
Personally I'd like to nominate this fellow for the next Olympics, as a member of the javelin-catching team. I think he's a shoe-in.
And why is it okay to wear a sidearm at a protest when it's probably not okay for me to carry a katana strapped across my back and a pair of nunchaku in a holster on my hip? What's the difference? The fact that there's not a powerful katana lobby? The fact that there's not a National Nunchaku Association? How about a rattan escrima stick? Or a telescoping baton? Why is it okay to carry a loaded pistol on one's hip when it's clear that a firearm is specifically an offensive weapon when a stick or a baton is just as likely to be used defensively?
I give up.
(I accidentally posted this in the wrong forum the first time around)... It was meant to go here.
If you think people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and their ilk have more of a right to speak their mind than Alec Baldwin, Natalie Maines, or Viggo Mortensen, you've got a couple dozen screws loose. Rush, Sean, and Bill are PAID to spread their malicious lies. Alec, Natalie, and Viggo are doing so because they believe it's the right thing to do. If you are unable to recognize the difference between the two positions, you not only have screws loose, but you've permanently misplaced your screwdriver.
If you think that you prove yourself as being strong by shouting down the opposition, by acting as though you have some sort of right to threaten their lives and or livelihoods for daring to disagree with your point of view, you are well on your way to becoming the same kind of shitheel loser who blew up the Federal Building, shot a family planning doctor, or gunned down a woman's dance class because they "had it coming." That's what the 9/11 hijackers thought too. Charles Manson thought he was laying the ground work for a race war in this country. Is that what YOU'RE going for?
If you think that all liberals are grass-eating, gun-hating, birkenstock-wearing, Prius-driving, long-haired hippy types, you really don't know anything about them at all. Some liberals are blue-collar, pickup driving, country-music listening, deer-hunting, CCW-owning, ass-kicking omnivores much like yourself. But if you really want to believe you're opposed only by "pantywaists," be our guest.
If you think Obama is some kind of foreign national Manchurian candidate whose managed to fool everyone except the batshit craziest political fringe group to appear in the past couple of decades, you're so ignorant of the legalities of citizenship that you should be glad your own citizenship has never been questioned. If required to pass a test, you'd fail with fading colors.
If you think you've got a handle on the true origin of the universe, what happens after we die, and where the human race is going after this craziness is over, I respectfully (or not so respectfully) suggest that you're just as clueless as the rest of us. No one really knows, and to pretend you do because of words written in a book, itself of questionable origin, is as ludicrous as claiming with absolute certainty that there is no God. You don't know, I don't know, and let's stop pretending anyone knows any more about it all than anyone else.
If you think your morality, your view of sexuality and "perversion" should somehow be ratified into the laws of the land, I beg to differ. You are no more moral, in general, as the rest of us, and, in fact, many of us find your obsession with the sex lives of perfect strangers to be both unsettling and quite beside the point. It is of no consequence to you if your neighbor is screwing one man or several, be that neighbor male, female, or something in between.
If you think that gay marriage will inevitably lead to people trying to marry their dogs or turtles, or their brothers and/or sisters, might I suggest that your imagination holds some particularly disturbing facets to it. I can say without a doubt that my first thought when I think of two reasoning adults legally consummating their love for one another is NOT whether or not a person might successfully argue that he can then marry and legally screw his canine companion. Personally, I wonder at the mentality of someone whose mind does trend in that direction.
If you think that a woman isn't just as capable of making decisions about her own health, life, and future as any man, maybe it's YOU who is living in the wrong country. There are mullahs in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia who believe the same thing as you do in this regard. You are wrong, of course, but that hasn't stopped any of you from loudly proclaiming your ignorance.
If you think we haven't noticed that you backed every half-assed, stupid, thoughtless, self-serving scheme of the last President and yet scream about everything our current President is doing to try to repair the damage that dumbfuck and his greedy cronies did to this country, you need to think again. I know you people aren't all that bright, but c'mon. We're perfectly aware that the real source of your dismay is that an African American family is living in the White House and trying to inject the slightest amount of fairness into our political dialogue.
If you think that God is as narrow-minded and bigoted as you are, you're bound to be terribly disappointed in the end. A God capable of creating the sheer variety of life on this relatively small world in a spiral arm of a rather obscure little galaxy, much less the wonder that is the universe as a whole, couldn't possibly be so small as you suggest. Rather, such a deity would be worldly, creative, loving, and full of good humor and irreverence. How could he not? Tiny minds don't create such wondrous things. They can't.
If you think we liberals are just going to roll over and play dead so you can do whatever you want, you may want to think again. Some of us might seem a little spineless. But some of us are just plain spiny.
Oh, I'm sure you'll find out soon enough.
Poor? Destitute? In need of a little help from your neighbor to make ends meet? Tough shit. You should have picked better parents. If you'd have picked parents with good educations, you would have had a much better chance to go on to college to get a good education yourself. You're just the present generation of a long line of wastrels. How do I know? Well, just look at you. What did those shoes cost--30 bucks? You have no pride in your appearance. Off the rack jeans? Please. And that tee-shirt? What was it--a K-Mart two dollar special? You get what you pay for.
Must suck to be you.
So, yeah... Blame your parents. Of course, there are those who aren't born to rich parents who manage to make it, so maybe it's not all about poverty. Maybe it's about laziness. Since I've heard of people who've pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, it's obvious anyone can do it. I'm just lucky because I didn't have to. I'm lucky, you're lazy.
See how this works?
If we need to see a doctor, we just call a concierge and invite him over for a house call. All you poor people--well, isn't that why we have emergency rooms? If you can't afford to pay your bill, well, maybe you need to get over it. People worked hard to fix your smelly, sniveling kid's broken arm last month and they deserve their money. Get the kid a trained monkey and get back to work. People need your money. You can't expect the world to stop because your little baby got hit by a car.
Food? I don't know why anyone would need food stamps. Or those little cards they use these days. I mean, isn't that why we have food banks? Seriously, there are just so many people who expect everything handed to them. If they're not stealing it themselves, they're convincing the government to do it for them. I donated a couple cans of yams the other year. I contribute, see?
Hey, you, kid! Drop that cookie. I didn't pay my taxes so your mama could buy you junk food! How dare you.
What do you mean you want more education funding? If you don't like the public school system, put your kids in private school. The best thing is that you can decide what you want them taught and send them to the specific schools that cater to your prejudices. Isn't that lovely?
How dare you expect something I don't need. If I don't want it, you shouldn't need it. Right? If I don't need assistance for food, why should you? Just work harder. That'll get you everything you need. Or so I've been told. Don't like the education your kids are getting, well, pay for better. Don't expect me to do it. I have my own kids to take care of. Medical care? Go to the E.R., you bum. Just thank God you live in America, where at least you know you're free.
Not so much?
Whiner. Hey, you could have been born to starve someplace like Calcutta. Count yourself lucky. At least in America a lazy piece of shit like yourself can get a few meals a week, sucking at the public teat. Be thankful we don't just send you to India, you loser. Outsource your ass just like we outourced your job.
Seriously, folks. Expecting me and my taxes to pay for your food, medical care, school system, and some so-called "safety net" crap is like expecting me to pay for someone to put out the fire if your house is burning down. That would be crazy.
Oh, wait. What?
I wondered to myself... Now that we're on top, what will DU become? I hoped it might become something of an inclusive liberal think-tank, with our finest minds being able to take the dross thrown by the other side and spin it into political gold. I hoped we could find common ground and put together ideas about framing that could, possibly, knock the Republicans off their game a little.
Maybe I was hoping for way too much, especially considering the Republicans hardly needed any help being knocked off their game, considering they're reeling around the country like drunken pirates on shore leave, but I didn't expect us to turn the guns on one another for the fuck of it.
Maybe I should have. Okay, maybe part of me feared or suspected that outcome. I mean, why not, right? Our enemies are beaten (hahaha) and, well, we've got enough disagreements within our own rank to fuel a thousand bloody internet brawls... if not more. If nothing else, we have the grand standby of the left-authoritarians against the left-libertarians. "Let's ban tobacco!"
"Oh, fuck, not this shit again."
The battle for healthcare should have given us a real reason to band together, to fight for something meaningful and to expand our voice across the web to all the other liberal sites. "Don't give us half-measures, you motherfuckers. Make it real or go home." But instead, we started fighting amongst ourselves almost as soon as the first hint of a plan came down the pike. I won't hide it. I was for single-payer all the way. Because it's the ONLY thing that'll actually work. If we had've come out of the gate screaming "Health care for all or FUCK YOU," in pretty much the same way the Republicans ask for ANYTHING, we might have gotten a seriously strong "public option" out of it. But, no. We got second-guessing, pissy-pants, "keep our ammo dry for something...anything...else" motherfuckers who couldn't negotiate their way out of a maze designed for and by a three year old.
I know the term "herding cats" was practically invented for Democrats (if it actually wasn't) and in many ways I think that's a strength. But when we can't even come up with a solid position from which to push? No wonder all the fringe groups felt as though they'd been thrown under the bus. With all the pushing and shoving the minority interests were the first casualties.
I've tried, tried very hard as a matter of fact, to keep my emotions out of these disagreements. I like debating for it's own sake, and for the chance that it might bring up lines of thought no one has considered before. I know it has for me. I still think my idea for getting corporate donations out of certain STATE campaigns is a good one. Unfortunately people were too busy beating the living shit out of one another to pay attention.
So be it. Let the Republicans control the state initiative process. Let them rule the ONLY way we have to force politicians to do or accept things they would never vote for if left to their own devices.
Can't say I'm innocent of making it worse that it might have been, but the debacle of several weeks ago weighs heavily on me. I came back to DU after a long hiatus after the Primary Wars because I was specifically asked by someone I respect a great deal (someone who hasn't posted any of HER famous threads for quite some time, btw...though, I would say, for good reason. I know I don't tend to do much of this while dealing with personal issues either).
I've been a bit pissed since that whole blow-up. I openly admitted to something I'd never bothered to hide in the first place and suddenly I became Public Enemy Number One in the eyes of some folks. I think it was at that moment that I realized that any semblance of respect in this place was as ephemeral as the dreams of single payer health care have become. It's really a "what have you posted worth a shit lately" type of deal.
So I'll post police threads that piss off the authoritarians because, well, I don't give a fuck if I piss them off. Not all cops are bad. But even if they're not, too many of them are, and too many others are complicit. It's the truth and if you can't take the truth, maybe you should go somewhere else.
And I'll post my opinion about the 2nd Amendment (Self-Defense is a inalienable right) and, again, I don't give a shit who likes it or not.
And, well, I'll post things about ME and MY opinions, and (Gawd forbid) my personal experiences because, well, I reserve the right to do so even if some people think it makes me a self-absorbed jerk. Fuck them. My therapist doesn't seem to think so. That's good enough for me.
Maybe I do need something I can only get here. The anonymous (mildly) wild west atmosphere of someplace like DU is where people can let their hair down and talk shit to anyone. I'm not used to it anymore, particularly since I'm not the littlest kid in my class anymore, the one with his nose buried in a book WAY older than any my peers might choose to read. Maybe I need a reminder of what it's like to be kicked around--not because of any tendency to do it myself, but because I need to remind myself why I loathe bullies more than anything else on the planet and why I tend to give them both barrels when I see someone else under their not-so-tender ministrations.
There are a lot of things that are still good about DU. The idea that we all respect one another as part of the great liberal "army" in opposition to the Right Wing fuckheads--well, that's not one of them anymore. If it ever really was.
But rest assured. If you're the kind of liberal who likes the notion of "banning" things that you don't like, I will be along to kick holes in your complacency. I don't like banning things, be it books, movies, substances, or weapons. I don't claim to be wise enough to decide what someone else is worthy enough to possess, and I don't think anyone else is either (here or elsewhere). It's a bit like I feel about God or the "supernatural." I don't know and neither does anyone else. You don't preach to me, I won't tell you to take a long walk off a short pier. I will note, however, that it's not the Christians on DU who have a tendency to tell me what I should believe. I may not agree with them, but at least they're not annoying.
And don't confuse my left-libertarianism with the other variety. I'm not an "I've got mine and fuck you if you don't" type person, and I resent the fuck out of anyone suggesting I am. If I was, I'm sure I could find other places to be than DU.
I take some solace in knowing that for all the respect I'm not afforded here, there are other places where I know that I can expect respect to be reciprocal. And I can live with that. As long as I realize that only certain people on DU give a rat's ass about respect. Giving or receiving.
All in all, I think the positive of DU still outweighs the negative. But sometimes it's a close thing. When I see people telling our gay brothers and sisters that they need to sit down and shut up, or telling other minority members that they're getting all riled up for no reason, well...
That dog won't hunt. Not for a minute.
Question authority, power to the people, fuck the corporations, and never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.
Good night and good grace.
Not all cops are bad. Hell, MOST cops probably aren't what we'd call "bad." But as long as they are not soundly censured and driven out of the profession by those who are, by our perspective, "good," (which means those who don't engage in bullying behavior, expect special treatment because of their job, and/or aren't actively corrupt) we shouldn't anticipate the "Cop-Hating" to diminish by any perceptible percentage.
Cops should be held up to a higher standard, given that they are trusted to carry weapons and regulate the behavior of the rest of us. In consideration of this fairly obvious fact, they should welcome rather than oppose such things as citizen oversight and the public filming of their interactions with members of the citizenry. It would protect THEM from wrongful charges of abuse of power, brutality, or corruption as well as protect citizens from said behavior.
And all the calls for an end to it will fall on deaf ears as long as their defenders fail to realize one thing. Most of us are not "Cop Haters," but "BAD Cop Haters," and we really wish more decent cops would publicly join our ranks rather than reacting so defensively. I have met as many what I'd consider decent cops as bad ones. So I know they're out there.
If they want to change public attitude, they need to speak up and let us know that they're on OUR side, not the side of their criminal co-workers.
edited for clarity... (I forgot the word "diminish.")
Anyone else get the chance to watch this? It was interesting as hell, covering everything from the fight for birth control and legal abortion to the AIDS epidemic and its aftermath. It was an eye-opener for me, who supports gay rights, to learn where the battle started and its rocky road to get where it is today. Everything from the Stonewall riots to what happened after the "twinkie defense" got Milk's murderer off with 4 to 7 years. Which, by the way, is pure bullshit.
I felt the same way watching that as I did when I first watched "Iron-Jawed Angels," about Suffrage. I wept at the strength shown going up against the powerful with nothing but the courage of convictions and the stalwart comfort of one's comrades. It took astounding courage to do that and I have nothing but respect for those who did it, just as I have a similar sense of respect for those who participated in the anti-war movement and civil rights movements of the 60s, the ERA battle of the 70s, and the union wars of the 30s and 40s. All of those people who sacrificed their freedom, their comfort, and (sometimes) their lives to give us all that much more freedom have my undying esteem.
I root for the underdog. I'm not sure if it's because I spent so much time as one when I was young, or because I was taught to distrust the powerful. Who knows? Maybe both.
It's such a good thing I'm not a conspiracy theorist (happily marginalized by other "better" Democrats and liberals) because it sure seems to me that the timing of AIDS sure worked to the benefit of the reactionary Right Wing. I tend to think it's accidental, but I can see how others might be suspicious. My own opinion about conspiracy theories is that a certain number of them are probably correct to some extent or another, though it's certainly possible we may never know the truth about them, or which ones are fever dreams and which ones reality. So I tend to take into consideration how plausible they are, offer up a "might be," and go about my business.
Just like when I saw the plane crash into the World Trade Center on 9/11. My first thought (after "holy shit") was "well, isn't THIS convenient?" A conspiracy? Maybe not. But the aftermath sure was. That's really all I need to know.
AIDS? Probably not the product of a conspiracy and some secret laboratory. But the timing was, as I said, remarkably convenient. Coincidence makes me twitchy. But, as I said, I don't trust the powerful.
Overall I found the documentary informative and well-balanced for the most part. Check it out if you get the chance.
When a liberal politician votes for something, s/he is not doing so to serve a small portion of his constituency, the ones who voted for him/her. If s/he votes for clean air and water, for example, it's because that clean air and water will benefit everyone--including those who voted for the "other guy."
If the vote is for public safety, the liberal votes for it because public safety is good for everyone. If it's for economic justice, it's because it harms no one and helps many. If a liberal votes for peace, it's because the liberal understands that fighting should be the last resort, not the first option. If a liberal votes for universal, single-payer health care reform, it's because the liberal understands that the only ones coming out ahead in this current system are the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and it's about time that someone looked out for the people.
When conservatives (Republican or "Blue Dog" Democrat) vote against such things, they are not voting against clean water or air so much as they're voting against impeding the profitability of an agency that might be harmed financially by such regulation. Now it may be argued that profitability impacts jobs, but it seems a strange bargain to sacrifice health for employment. Sick people aren't particularly productive.
When conservatives threaten to vote against single-payer health care, it's not because they believe that it would be worse for the people for everyone to have equal access to health care, but because they think it would be bad for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. No one is arguing that people in places like Britain, France, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, etc... aren't healthy. So what's their real objection? It's not that it's "socialized" medicine, since they know full well that no one is talking about nationalizing the doctors or hospitals. It's not about the expense, since even a little research would show that single-payer is the most cost-effective option available.
The fact is that conservatives serve narrow special interests before the general public nearly every time. They argue that, since they were elected by "conservatives," they owe it to them to vote a certain way. Even if it's wrong. Even if it's harmful.
Liberals serve all of us, "conservatives" serve as few of us as possible. "Conservatives" serve those who believe the same way they do. Conservatives represent selfishness at its very core, and, in the process, harm many of the same people they would claim to represent. Because the one thing we should all see by now is that the "conservative" economic ideology is as morally bankrupt as it is fiscally bankrupt. Supply-side economics IS "voodoo economics."
The only ones foolish to pretend that it hasn't been totally discredited are the "conservative," pundits and politicians--people who serve themselves and those as similar to themselves as they can possibly manage and are therefore about as useful and trustworthy a source of information as Enron Executives around the turn of the last century. Which is to say, not at all.
You, my dear Conservative Senators and Representatives, were elected to serve the United States and the people of the United States, and defend its Constitution. We respectfully suggest you start doing so by turning your backs on the singular, exclusionary policies of conservatism past and instead embrace the idea that to serve America, one must serve Americans. All Americans, not just the ones who happen to look, dress, or think like you do.
And then, my dear, we may have something to talk about.
I think I'll wander off until others reach this seemingly obvious conclusion.
Have fun, folks. See you next time.
You can't sell peace to war profiteers. Can't do it. They won't buy. You can't sell the truth to habitual liars. They're not interested. You can't sell election reform to those who get what they want with the system in place as it is now. It's just not possible.
You can't sell fair play to a cheater. If they can't guarantee a win, they won't play.
You can't sell equal rights and equal access to a bigot. All the sincerity and all the honesty in the world doesn't matter.
You can't sell reproductive choice and freedom to people who think they have a "God-Given" right to dictate their conscience to other people. It's just not happening.
You can't sell equal justice to those who exist and thrive by pushing injustice.
You can't sell alternative energy to the oil companies, or universal healthcare to the insurance companies. They have no reason to buy it and every reason to oppose it.
You can't sell liberalism to those who've sworn to destroy us. There's no common ground between those who believe in serving all of us and those who have dedicated themselves to serving only a small group of the powerful elite.
It's just not possible. How can we hope to gain ground when they believe EVERYTHING we stand for is simply wrong? When people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and a host of others spend every waking moment trying to think of new ways of marginalizing our message? When powerful and wealthy religious leaders call us evil and those we support "demon-possessed?"
I'm trying to figure out precisely how we're supposed to make peace, how to attain "bi-partisanship" without giving up everything for which we stand.
I know there are those who believe that, somehow, against all evidence to the contrary, there is common ground to be found. We already know we don't see things the same way, that the mechanics of our brains are totally different. So many of them are trapped in an either/or, black/white, right/wrong dichotomy that our perspective might as well be that of a completely alien species to them.
There might actually BE common ground, but I'm not sure how we can find it. We believe peace is possible, they believe it's not. We believe that there's value in a world where everyone can prosper, they believe that prospering is a "God-Given" boon and any failure to do so is proof of God's disfavor or, at best, evidence of a lack of moral character.
What common ground we may have is buried under six inches of swamp water infested with venomous snakes. How long can we afford to stand there waiting for them to meet us there without risking a multitude of snake bites in the meantime?
Yes, there IS the possibility of reaching out to those who have been misguided into thinking that the Republican Party has their interests at heart. But how do we do so when they control nearly every avenue for making that reach?
"Blind taste tests" reveal that a vast majority of Americans actually support progressive goals. Yet somehow in the midst of the so-called "culture war" we can't seem to make the connection between what they say they want and how we can bring it into being.
It's not the middle-of-the-road, triangulated, corporate-friendly centrism that speaks to them. It's far more progressive than that. Yet when we come to do battle with the other side, we don't seem to be able to speak to the attitudes we share. We hide it away, and allow the Republicans, and the complicit corporate media, to define who we are and what we want America to be. We don't strive to define ourselves, and marginalize those with the courage to do so.
And wonder why the collective response of all too many Americans turns out to be "No Sale."
Not a DU Donor
Member since Sat Apr 30th 2005
The ten most recent threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums.
FL GOP tries to close state pension system to new workers, yet take THEIR pension at 2X accrual rate
FL GOP denies $51 billion federal Medicaid to poor, yet order cheap health care for themselves
Happy Mother's Day
I love DU2!
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz (R) ran company now accused of Medicaid fraud (Rick Scott redux)
Mediterranean diet cuts risk of heart dis-ease
By No Elephants
The ten most recommended threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums in the last 24 hours.
Use the tools below to keep track of updates to this Journal.
Today's Featured Forums