Thursday, August 8, 2013

New Quote of the Day

Just another Orwellian inversion that rationalizes fucking the poor from today's Compassionate Conservative. Seriously, who actually wants his smiling portrait posted next to this supercilious bile?
And since Christian Conservatives can cherry pick whatever they want from the bible to justify bullying the rest of us into submission to their prejudices and hatreds smoke this in your pipe and put that in:

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 
“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ 


Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Told You So

I hate to say it but I told you so.

As we come upon the dog days all the pieces are falling into place for another Republican-engineered debacle. Once more the used-to-be routine business of running the country is about to be hijacked by a band of radicals bent on bringing our society to a grinding halt unless they get what they want. Or at least unless they prevent the people they dislike from getting what they want. And what the radicals want is the dismantling of the one entity that keeps us from becoming an epic Technicolor wide screen version of the Balkans: our duly elected federal government.

We used to be the envy of the civilized world. In the aftermath of the city-razing catastrophe of World War II that rendered almost the entire European continent a dazed refugee camp, we brought the planet back from the edge of social and economic disintegration. After the wholesale destruction and deadly havoc resulting from unrestrained conflict between ethnic and political groupings our wholly disparate yet united states worked together to forge a new economic engine that rebuilt a devastated hemisphere and eventually spawned a global economy. And we did it by ensuring that everybody had a stake in that progress. We created a social contract that included everyone from a geographic and ethnic jumble that made the Europeans look homogenous.

On the one hand we had the Free Market: Capitalists unfettered by any centralized direction of their resources and innovations. And on the other we had liberals who made sure the progress they made was regulated to prevent over exploitation of resources and included opportunities for all participants at every level of the ladder. When confronted with our greatest inequities we expanded that contract in the 60s to include people of color, women and the handicapped. All of this managed through the Federal Government and its resources.

Then came 1980 and our President, the “great communicator,” informed us that with everything confronting the country our one big “problem” was this same government. Now we’re being manipulated and controlled by his disciples whose only goal is to take the one government that inspired the Western world through thirty years of the Cold War and “drown it in the bathtub.”

We worked our way to the top of the heap from the forties through the sixties, leapfrogging over the Soviet Union by hammering out compromises and accommodations between owners and workers, unions and management, lefties and righties, whites and blacks. It wasn’t all kumbaya and group hugs. We never felt we had to like each other but just acknowledged that since we had to live together we might as well minimize the conflict and make deals. In fact, growing up in the fifties and sixties I got the impression that that was the “American” way: Tolerance, acceptance, respect and cooperation.


Now we’ve got a major political party whose single fundamental principle is that the other side has no right to incorporate their own beliefs as a component of their citizenship. Since the 80s, Republicans have been tapping into right wing loathing and paranoia by demonizing Democrats and Liberals, characterizing them as having no legitimate say in governing the country. While this may have been a winning strategy in the short term it has finally backed them into a corner: How can you compromise with "the devil" and remain true to the believers who sent you to Washington? This isn’t rabid frothing at the mouth from the fringe any more, it’s become the official party line. And since the election of the black guy, this extremism has gotten outright dangerous.

They have fashioned a perennially winning strategy — there are always angry people out there willing to vote for someone as angry as they are — but at the same time they've rendered themselves incapable of governing, a process, again, that requires tolerance, acceptance and compromise.
When you add this to the fact that the Bush presidency exposed the self-aggrandizing ineptitude of a sustained "governing" program built solely on excluding your political opponents from meaningful participation, it's to be expected that when one of those opponents begins to effect positive change the reaction will be shrill hatred and mindless opposition. 
"Governing" as we've always known it has been corrupted by more than just money and poisoned by more than just racial bigotry. I listed the American values I was raised with above. Which ones are these avowed “patriots” holding the rest of us hostage to?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Queers: A vignette for the times we live in

So these two guys (we’ll just call them Larry and Moe) are sitting in a bar across from each other at a booth. The remains of a just finished meal between them. They’ve just gotten a couple more beers. On the TV screen over the bar, the announcers at CNN or Fox or MSNBC are announcing and discussing the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Prop 8 and therefore allow same sex marriages in California. Larry starts curling his lip in disgust and shaking his head in disapproval.

“This is wrong,” he says.

Moe: “What’s wrong?”

L: This gay marriage thing. I tell ya it’s wrong.

M: Yeah it is queer… (he chuckles at his own joke)

L: Nah, I’m serious. We shouldn’t be doin this.

M: Ahh why not, why shouldn’t they be as miserable as the rest of us? (this time he laughs out loud at his own joke)

L: Yeah, see, that’s part of the problem right there. You think it’s funny, you’re making jokes.

M: So? What else ya gonna do? Ya gonna get all pissed and miserable an start chewin the inside a yer mouth over it? You think yer gonna stop this?

L: Well I ain’t gonna just sit back an laugh about it.

M: So wattaya gonna do?

Long pause, Larry thinks it over, drinks some beer.

L: Well I don’t know what I’m gonna do, I just know it ain’t right.

M: They’re all grownups , they can do whatever they want. They ain’t hurtin anybody.

L: Yeah they are!

M: Who? Who they hurtin if they wanna get married to each other?

Larry thinks it over again.

L: Me.

M: They’re hurtin you.

L: Yeah, they’re hurtin me.

M: How?

L: How?

M: Yeah, how? How does what a couple queers in San Francisco do hurt you here?

Larry takes another slug of beer while he thinks it over.

L: Well I think it’s wrong. I think it ain’t right.

M: Who says it’s wrong?

L: Me. It’s wrong. See, I just said it. (now it’s his turn to chuckle at his own joke)

M: Oh I see, you say it’s wrong so they can’t do it.

L: Ahright, it ain’t just me. God says it’s wrong.

M: When did he say that?

L: I dunno it’s inna bible or someplace.

M: Well I ain’t no authority but I’m pretty sure it don’t actually say those exact words. Besides, so what if it does? Not everybody believes in the bible. Not everybody believes in the same thing as you or me.

L: Well they don’t have to but I believe it and if I think it’s wrong I’m supposed to say so, right? Ain’t I supposed to speak up when my religion says something somebody’s doin is wrong?

M: Well think and believe whatever ya want, just don’t expect everybody else to buy it. They got a right to do whatever they want just like you do.

L: Well it hurts me that people are doing something my religion says is wrong. They’re saying what I believe is wrong. There, that’s it: They’re denying me my religious freedom telling me I gotta shut up while they do the things they do. I got rights too, ya know.

Moe sits a long time thinking. Has some beer. Larry sits drinking, feeling like he got his point across. After a while Moe gets up from his seat. He’s got his ketchuppy steak knife in his hand. Instead of proceeding to the bathroom, he slides into the seat right next to Larry. In fact he forces Larry right up against the wall pinning one of his arms back against his side and he grabs Larry’s other hand and forces it down on the table. He holds the sharp greasy knife-edge right over Larry’s little finger.

L: Wha’… Whattaya doin?

M: I ever tell ya about my religion?

L: Whattaya mean, we went to Catlick school together. Twelve years.

M: Yeah, but that ain’t my religion now. Lemme tell ya what my religion now says. My religion now says that whenever somebody else tells me I gotta do what their religion says, I get to cut off one of their fingers. No wait, that's wrong. My religion says I HAVE TO cut off one of their fingers.

L: That ain’t no religion.

M: Yeah it is. It’s my religion. You telling me I can’t practice my religion the way I’m s’posed to? Now I gotta cut off two.

L: Two?!

M: Yeah, one for sayin I have to be against queer marriages because of what your religion says, and the other for saying I can’t follow my own religion and cut off one of your fingers.

L: Ahright ya made yer point.

M: Not yet I ain’t.

L: Cut this shit out!

M: Tell you what. My religion is merciful. I won’t cut off the thumb or the index finger. The first time. You need those and I want you to see the merciful side of my beliefs. I’ll just do the pinkie and ring finger. Ready?

L: Goddamit, cut it out!

M: You’re telling me I can’t practice my faith.

L: You can’t cut off my goddam fingers, no!

M: I have to cut ‘em off. God says so.

L: God never said that!

M: Well maybe not to you. Listen the harder you struggle here the worse it’s gonna be. Just close your eyes and… you know… pray.

L: “Y- you’ll go to jail for Chrissakes!

M: God’s law supersedes man’s.

L: You’ll go to jail?

M: I’m ready to pay the price for my religious beliefs. You can’t tell me I can’t follow God’s law… now hold still…

Moe presses gently but firmly down onto Larry's pinkie finger with the edge of the knife. Just when it's about to break the skin:

L: Ok. I get it.

M: Get what?

L: I get it. I get IT! I ain’t stupid.

Moe relaxes his grip and slides back. He goes back to his seat and has some more beer. Larry does all the stuff you would expect to get back his composure. He takes a good drink of his beer.

M: So ya wanna talk about abortion?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Quote of the day

Probably for the same reason that smug self satisfaction is now considered a virtue while poverty, sickness and hunger are vices.
-- gootch