Monday, April 11, 2011

Are There Drugs in the Water System?

Somebody – anybody – needs to explain to me why people are not out in the streets protesting what these fuckers on Wall Street have gotten away with. Really. Y’all know that I HATE conspiracy theories but, seriously, are they putting something in the water, a collective barbiturate, that is leading us to endure this?

These fuckers are stupid, not smart. They drove their companies into the ground.

These fuckers would not have a job if not for the American taxpayer.

These fuckers are apparently oblivious to that fact.

And while they point out this “return to profitability” that is supposedly justifying raises AGAIN to even-more-obscene levels, don’t forget that they are doing that with our money too!

Jesus Christ on a stick, people! Do you say “Thank you sir; may I have another?” before you bend over?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Irrelevant to the Conversation

As the government shuts down because Republicans have decided it’s more important to destroy Planned Parenthood than to close a deal, it is essential that women on both sides recognize the core woman-hating that enables this argument to happen. I use the term “woman-hating” because “misogyny” sounds too soft to convey their spite.

Republicans know perfectly well that millions of poor and not-poor women rely on Planned Parenthood for most of their healthcare needs. They simply don’t care.

Planned Parenthood provides abortions. The fact that abortion is a perfectly legal and often essential health care procedure necessary to save women’s lives and health is irrelevant. The fact that abortion is a small part of Planned Parenthood’s programming, and NO part of the federal funds involved, is not a problem with the Republican argument, it’s a feature of their tactic. By taking away funds for the overwhelming majority of Planned Parenthood services, and leaving only private funds dedicated to abortion, they effectively destroy the organization. They will have eliminated the primary provider of abortion services in the nation and they know it.

The fact that women will die without access to safe abortion procedures is irrelevant. The religious right has consumed the modern-day Republican party, and in any debate between the relative merit of woman-v-fetus, women lose when Republicans have their way. That is the utter contempt Republicans have for women. That is the contempt that no woman should miss.

Republicans hate abortion. Not theirs, of course, or the abortion of the daughter of a friend. But as a matter of public policy that mostly impacts people who are not them, Republicans do not want women to be able to have abortions. Whether they are sincerely motivated by a set of beliefs they are willing to impose upon the rest of us, or merely by some gut-level aversion to letting uppity women “get away” with being sluts, Republicans as a party are willing to do anything and everything they can to deny women access to abortion.

Individual Republicans who do not support this policy are also, as you have it, irrelevant.

So if millions of women are denied basic health care so that Republicans can finish pounding their government into our uteruses then, so be it.

I have watched our access to healthcare be used as a pawn in political games between Republicans and Democrats for most of my adult life. I watched Democrats trade our bodies like horses in the healthcare reform auction. And never once have I heard any woman – reporter or politician – point out how much contempt it displays for the lives of women that these exchanges can even take place.

From the Republican point of view this is their best chance in forever to drive a stake through the heart of women’s access to abortion, eliminate another Democratic lobby, and – hey! – maybe save a few bucks in the process.

And if a few thousands of people happen to be hurt or die as a result of their efforts, and it turns out that all of those people just happened to be women? Oh well, it just worked out that way.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Democrats vs Republicans in One Map

Via Paul Waldman at The American Prospect, a map of broadband internet access.

It seems to me that this illustrates a pretty fundamental difference between the Republican and Democratic parties as they currently exist: Republicans promote policies that only benefit their benefactors. Democrats, on the other hand, continue to promote policies that seek to improve the lives of those with less institutional representation -- even IF those policies largely benefit people in states that vote Republican!

This is why so many of those reliably red states are also welfare states that receive back far more in federal dollars and benefits that they contribute, while we -- in reliably blue states -- get back far LESS than we contribute.

Personally, after listening ad nauseum to Republican Governors from the south and west continue to decry the very federal programs that benefit their most vulnerable citizens I'm ready to call their bluff.

What to completely opt of the Medicaid program Texas? Have at it. We'll also waive the rule that requires your hospitals to treat the indigent, as that would be only fair, and make sure than other states implement delayed benefits for newcomers so that people can't just move to get what you won't provide. Let your poor people die in the streets for a few years and see if your citizens are fully prepared to accept the results of pure Republican policy.

I know this sounds cold, but it seems to me that we Democrats have been enablers of Republicans. We make sure that people don't suffer the worst excesses of Republican rule and get vilified in return by elderly people sitting in wheelchairs paid for by Democrats.

Screw them.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Open Letter to Lawrence O'Donnell

Last night you made it clear that you are not a football fan. There is nothing wrong with that per se, but then perhaps you should do a little basic homework before having a segment called "Football as Socialism."

Tonight, you made clear that you also have nothing but disdain for football fans, and that you feel confident in assuming that we are all as ignorant as Sarah Palin on subjects like the Amazon Rain Forest and Tibet.

Since you failed to perform some of the most basic information gathering in preparation for these two segments, perhaps you might take the time to listen to two points:

  1. In the Monday evening segment, you actually embarrassed yourself -- even if you weren't knowledgeable enough to know it. Your points about the extortion of precious public resources to essentially build the factories for this industry were well made. I agree with you completely. Your focus on slamming the "million dollar players" was a little cheap, since you can only focus on them because the owners have succeeded in keeping their own financial largess hidden from us. You also failed to note the fact that these players typically have a very short shelf life and often spend the rest of their lives significantly disabled by their chosen occupation. Yes, they choose it, but nobody drafts coal miners either and I assume you would have slightly more sympathy for their plight vis-a-vis the health costs involved. It is the owners, not the players, that benefit most from this situation. But the truly embarrassing part was the fact that you could cite the cost of the newest Packer stadium in a segment about sports "socialism" and fail to note that the Packers are a COMMUNITY OWNED team! You either didn't know that or deliberately avoided mentioning it because then Green Bay wouldn't have helped to make your point. Shame on you. The Packer model is so threatening to the other owners that they instituted a rule stating that it could never happen again, thus protecting their ability to hold the fans of every other community hostage to the demands we both decry. Profits go back into the team or the community. No one individual is allowed enough ownership share to take control. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
  2. Tonight's segment on the Groupon Superbowl ad issue was just as bad, and more personally insulting to some of your audience. Since you, yourself, do not enjoy the sport, you allow yourself to hold in your mind a cartoon image of what a football fan must be. Guess what? Many of us are women. Many of us have professional positions and/or hold advanced degrees. Not only are many of us well acquainted with issues of global warming and the oppression in Tibet, but I feel confident in saying that at least a few football fans have probably traveled there. Was the insult necessary to make your point? No. It was gratuitous sneering at people you clearly know nothing about. How ironic that the person taking Keith's chair would spend two segments in a row insulting football and its fans. You must be feeling so secure these days!

I liked you as a sub, and thought you just might do a credible job of taking over. Whatever else people may have said about Keith, the man did his homework. You should, too.

I watch your program every night, but there are limits to how much I will continue to suffer such sloppy work. Three strikes and you are off my evening schedule.

(Oh, and that's a baseball metaphor, in case you didn't know.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Republicans Love War, But Not the Warriors

On the heels of what should have been am embarrassing floor fight over extending health benefits for 911 first-responders, Republicans provide further evidence that, for all their pseudo-patriotic flag waving for never-ending wars, they don’t care much about the young men and women they send to fight those wars.

A recently-released proposal by the Republican Study Committee suggests reducing non-defense spending to 2008 levels and non-security spending to 2006 levels. Although cuts to veteran’s benefits are exempted for 2011, they are on the table beginning next year, and would result in a 42% cut in VA expenditures by 2021, according to an analysis by Jim Horney of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. This, even as the military released figures from 2010 that the suicide rate among our troops exceeded the casualty rate for the second year in a row.

This shocking abdication of their responsibility to care for the soldiers impacted by the wars they have championed reminds me of nothing so much as the anguished concern Republicans express over developing embryos as compared to their callous indifference regarding the needs of poor children: Once born, Republicans care very little about children. Once the soldier comes home, he/she just become another piece of discarded and obsolete equipment.

Human beings are not pieces of equipment, not machines that can be subjected to a little retooling. War causes damage to the human psyche. Sending soldiers back for deployment after deployment as we have done in unprecedented ways during these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, will cause damage that we, as a nation, have a responsibility to address.

The Republicans should be ashamed – if they were capable of it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why I Wish Republicans Had Taken the Senate

Gird yourself people. This is going to be ugly and Obama's second term hangs in the balance.

Given the results last night, I, personally, wish the Republicans had taken the Senate as well. For two years, they have been able to either block or gut any attempt to rescue our economy -- and yet the US electorate blames Obama for the state of affairs. It is the most singular expression of cynicism I have ever witnessed -- and it has worked! They caused the problem; they refuse to support any solutions, and the Democrats pay the price! It is political genius even if it is craven and power-seeking at the expense of our country. The Democrats may be better at actually governing, but the Republicans play a wicked-good game of politics.

Now flash-forward to a Republican House with Boehner in charge: They are going to pass all sorts of legislation intended to send a message to their base: Balanced budget amendment? Check. Repeal of Healthcare Reform? Check. (you get the idea)

Then when none of it makes it through the Senate they stand back -- as they have for the last two years -- and say "See? The Democrats in the Senate and White House won't let us do all those things you say you want us to do!" Since the next election -- like this one -- will hinge on the extent to which the economy recovers, all they have to do is stand there and wait for the payoff for their crimes.

I feel very dispirited. Our only hope is that our young people grow up. They voted less this year than they did in 2006! (Yes, you heard that right. Not less than 2008, when Obama won them, but less even than the last mid-term in 2006!) The increase in old-farts voting their racism and young people sitting out their disappointment was the difference in this election.

Certainly I understand their disconnect. Obama could have eliminated Don't Ask Don't Tell by simply directing his Justice Dept not to appeal. He upped the ante in Afghanistan and did (or didn't do) a lot of other things that must have taken the wind out of their sails. Welcome to our world. Our politicians never quite perform the way we want them to, yet we go into the voting booth and hold our noses and mark the ballot because we know it still makes a difference. You must too, young people!

Because the old farts aren't going to die fast enough to keep them from fucking up your future!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Unitarian Jihad

I am reprinting, without permission, a manifesto created in 2005 by Jon Carroll, a Unitarian from San Francisco, because it's just so damn good. Given to me at Saturday's Rally to Restore Sanity in St. Louis.

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only one God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary.

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism --14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism committee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you??? Whatever happened to ... you know, everything? Why is the news dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like, or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to the committee of the whole for further discussion.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We are everywhere. We have not been born again, nor have we sworn a blood oath. We do not think that God cares what we read, what we eat or whom we sleep with. Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity notes for the record that he does not have a moral code but is nevertheless a good person, and Unexalted Leader Garrote of Forgiveness stipulates that Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity is a good person, and this is to be reflected in the minutes.

Beware! Unless you people shut up and begin acting like grown-ups with brains enough to understand the difference between political belief and personal faith, the Unitarian Jihad will begin a series of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios, kidnap so-called commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned discussions of the issues of the day. We will not try for "balance" by hiring fruitcakes; we will try for balance by hiring non-ideologues who have carefully thought through the issues.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We will appear in public places and require people to shake hands with each other. (Sister Hand Grenade of Love suggested that we institute a terror regime of mandatory hugging, but her motion was not formally introduced because of lack of a quorum.) We will require all lobbyists, spokesmen and campaign managers to dress like trout in public. Televangelists will be forced to take jobs as Xerox repair specialists. Demagogues of all stripes will be required to read Proust out loud in prisons.

We are Unitarian Jihad, and our motto is: "Sincerity is not enough." We have heard from enough sincere people to last a lifetime already. Just because you believe it's true doesn't make it true. Just because your motives are pure doesn't mean you are not doing harm. Get a dog, or comfort someone in a nursing home, or just feed the birds in the park. Play basketball. Lighten up. The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone. Brother Gatling Gun of Patience notes that he's pretty sure the world is out to get him because everyone laughs at him when he says he's a Unitarian. There were murmurs of assent around the room, and someone suggested that we buy some Congress members and really stick it to the Baptists. But this was deemed against Revolutionary Principles, and Brother Gatling Gun of Patience was remanded to the Sunday Flowers and Banners committee.

People of the United States! We are Unitarian Jihad! We can strike without warning. Pockets of reasonableness and harmony will appear as if from nowhere! Nice people will run the government again! There will be coffee and cookies in the Gandhi Room after the revolution.