Saturday, October 18, 2008
No More Fighter
After almost four years, in early November of 2004, I was invited by Theoria and a few other folks to start posting here. Everyone else has moved along, sometimes in friendship, sometimes in acrimony, until it was just me and Wilfred.
I haven’t posted much here for months, and I think a great deal of it comes from my fatigue with politics. I think that LSF is wedded in my mind with politics, and so it seemed silly to post here. Add to that the problems with software and my own cluelessness in that area, and it just didn’t seem worth it.
I was feeling the itch occasionally to write about music or movies, so I’ve got a new blog wardrobe. For the one or two of you who are interested, I’m now posting on my own over at Breakfast in the Ruins on Wordpress, which is all simple and I can just plug and chug when the impulse seizes me.
Thanks for all the folks who’ve read and commented over the years here at LSF.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Finally over ... and I’m left with this feeling:
Gonna be a long fall, and a longer four years, no matter which new boss is picked to run our empire.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Make Me Wanna Holler
Marvin came up on shuffle today as I was sitting at my desk after I got sick of the infotainment on NPR.
dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah
Rockets, moon shots
Spend it on the have nots
Money, we make it
For we see it you take it
Oh, make you wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
Money, I make it, so that the politicians can tax it to give away to the killers and the cons. ESPECIALLY the faith-based grifters:
"There are some who bristle at the notion that faith has a place in the public square,” Obama said. "But the fact is leaders in both parties have recognized the value of a partnership between the White House and faith-based groups." His remarks followed a visit to a community ministry in Zanesville, Ohio.
Of course both parties have ... they love nothing more than organizations that they can use to launder government money through into patronage-based ballot-box-stuffing systems, and history shows that no con works like the religious con when you want people to do as they are told.
To increase finance
Bills pile up sky high
Send that boy off to die
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
Laundering public funds through an organization like a church is little different than laundering death and nation building through mercenaries and oil companies. The cream will ALWAYS be skimmed off the top, and those who need help will be left with a smattering of sour curds.
As Austin Cline put it when discussing earlier attempts by Obama to use “faith” as a political tool:
What we have here, though, is a politician seeking the highest elected office in America who is trying to promote a secular political issue as also being a religious issue. Who does Barack Obama think he is? He’s not a pastor or minister, nor is he running for the office of “Highest American Priest.” He has no business promoting anything as being “genuinely religious” or not; indeed, this is something which Christians should arguably be more annoyed with.
Of course, most American “Christians” are not spiritually Christian. They do little work examining their faith, but rather take a Mad Libs approach to belief, plugging in pleasing words to create something that makes them smile while presenting few actual challenges to the way they live their lives. Their spiritual “leaders” are even worse, wanting only to keep their pews and collection plates full while they run their tax-free businesses. Better still to get some government-minted silver put into their palms.
This plan is another fake “solution” from another fake progressive willing to continue the status quo, speaking only of empty schemes to reinforce what doesn’t work, what divides us, while not dealing with the real problems faced every day by far too many Americans. Meanwhile the wars and theft of material wealth from the have-nots to the have-so-much-alreadys will continue apace.
And throw up both my hands
Yea, it makes me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands
Crime is increasing
Trigger happy policing
Panic is spreading
God know where we’re heading
Oh, make me wanna holler
They don’t understand
Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah
Everybody thinks we’re wrong
Who are they to judge us
Simply cause we wear our hair long
They think they can judge us, judge everyone, every woman, child, poor person ... every
human being because they got god and the guns and the almighty laundered American tax dollar on their side.
Makes me wanna holler.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Barack Obama, speaking before AIPAC:
Across the political spectrum, Israelis understand that real security can only come through lasting peace. And that is why we, as friends of Israel, must resolve to do all we can to help Israel and its neighbors to achieve it, because a secure, lasting peace is in Israel’s national interest; it is in America’s national interest; and it is in the interest of the Palestinian people and the Arab world.
As president, I will work to help Israel achieve the goal of two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a Palestinian state living side- by-side in peace and security.
A modern-day Buffalo Soldier, eager and willing to do his part to keep the savages in their place while the settlers steal all the arable land. The Israelis know how to pick their friends, because if there is ANY nation on Earth that has perfected cultural genocide by setting up bantustans, it’s the United States. Peace through theft and brutal slaughter.
Federal Lands and Indian Reservations - South Dakota
Monday, April 21, 2008
A brief story about two young women, young women we will name Ophelia.
The first Ophelia lived in a small, isolated community. Though she has gifted hands, she was never allowed to think much about becoming something other than what she was raised to be in her community, a young bride and mother. Until the day the police came, when new men in uniform told her that the men she’d listened to her whole life were abusing her and the other women and girls in the only home she’s ever known. She has no more choice now, it appears, than she did then ... a man sitting behind a bench, and men in lab coats swabbing inside her cheeks for her DNA, will let her know what her future is to be.
As always, men will decide.
The second Ophelia lives just to the north, in a big city. She had her first child while still a teen, and two more followed shortly thereafter. She and her children have limited options. She’s has a mind for numbers, but her strict parents and her indifferent teachers never told her that she could become so many things with that gift, perhaps an engineer or scientist or computer programmer. She was raised to believe that motherhood for a girl like her would be a blessing. She would have someone who loved her unconditionally. Later this year, when she finds herself pregnant again, the men in her state want to force her to have an obstetric ultrasound before she can have the abortion that she feels she needs to have, a new demand on top of all of the other delays and obstacles that those “righteous” men have placed in her way. She can’t make such decisions for herself, silly woman, any more than she could have benefitted from more encouragement when she was in school.
As always, the men know best.
It is not for either Ophelia to question any of this. They have a role, after all, a role that has been determined for them by men based upon what those men read in a book written by other, deader men. The Ophelias are supporting characters, plot points in men’s grand stories, pawns to be pushed and sacrificed for a higher good, to serve the King/Prophet/God/Senator/Minister, even to their deaths.
Neither Ophelia could make choices for herself, develop her natural talents, become her own story. They are, after all, only women.
I wish my story was fiction, but it’s all too real, not just in Texas, not just in Oklahoma, but in far too many villages, towns, cities, states ... COUNTRIES. Yes, even in this country, which likes to proclaim itself a land of freedom and equality and opportunity. The Ophelias of the world are left to sink or swim, to serve the demands and rules and madness of the men around them.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Yankee Stadium Is Hallowed Ground For Papal Visit
I can’t think for a more appropriate place for that authoritarian enabler of pedophiles to preach than a big sports stadium. A place where rules are followed for the sake of the game, not for any higher purpose (despite proclamations to the contrary by hacks) but to entertain, to keep people focused not on anything real, but on something else, anything else other than brutal war, a brutal prison industrial complex, a brutal economic system that steals from the poor to elevate the rich. No, play ball, drop to your knees and pray, look away from your problems and gaze drop-jawed at the expensive vestments and ruby slippers.
America’s favorite sport isn’t baseball, or football, or basketball or BMX racing or NASCAR. America’s favorite sport is the wagging of fingers, interventionist scolding, hypocritical moralizing. America loves to tell you what to do, while reserving the right for those giving the instructions to do as they please.
Whether he’s meeting with just five of the thousands of victims raped by Priests, or standing side-by-side with our war criminal President, Pope Nazinger just loves to tell us that many of us are wrong, while he and his friends are right, are champions of Truth, the Way and the Light:
In the wake of the French Revolution, in contrast, many European nations developed what Benedict calls a ‘’conflictual’’ separation of church and state. A godless state sees its role as chasing the vestiges of Christianity from the public square. As it has succeeded, Europe has been robbed of its civilizational vigor. ‘’Europe seems hollow,’’ Benedict has said, ‘’as if it were internally paralyzed by a failure of its circulatory system.’’
If Benedict reflects the Catholic Church’s new attitude toward America, evangelicals in turn have warmed to the church. It’s not the ‘’Whore of Babylon’’ of yore, but an ally in a deep-seated cultural struggle. As Benedict himself has said of evangelicals, ‘’They have come to see Catholicism as a defender against the pressures of secularization and an upholder of the same ethical values that they themselves profess.’’
He might as well have been speaking of President Bush, a man famous for his impatience for pomp and circumstance who went all out - from a 21-gun salute to a four-tiered, lemon-flavored birthday cake - for the pontiff. Bush told Benedict, ‘’In a world where some no longer believe that we can distinguish between simple right and wrong, we need your message to reject this ‘dictatorship of relativism.’ ‘’
The phrase is one of Benedict’s signature lines. It was featured in his homily at the 2005 Mass for the papal conclave that so impressed his fellow cardinals before they selected him as pope. Benedict’s point was that if relativists consider any claims of moral truth as inherently oppressive, they feel justified in attempting to muzzle those who make them. In Benedict’s words, they ‘’seek to subordinate all religions to the super-dogma of relativism.’’
Relativism (I guess “secular humanism” doesn’t have the same scary ring that it used to) ... oh that terrible relativism. A straw devil that Papa likes to erect and then ritually exorcize, that ole’ devil relativism.
Pope Benedict XVI waves to the crowd as he joins President Bush
The old fraud, and others like him on the Protestant Christian right, like to insist that relativism means that anything goes, that any system of values, or no values, is as good as any other. Of course, there is no acknowledgement of the arrogance inherent in the idea that the believer/preacher/minister is able to discern “truth” where others can’t, that imperfect human beings would even know it if Truth sat on their face and wiggled around.
Relativism, in real practice, is the idea that robust debate, the conflict of ideas, is the path toward finding BETTER solutions to our problems, BETTER ways of living our lives. It is the recognition that Truth is a boundary we can not reach, but rather a horizon that we can try to approach, and if we reject other points of view, other beliefs, we might miss a critical insight, a new solution that our own limited beliefs and experiences blinded us to.
Of course, such a society would make it a little harder to fleece the sheep, to keep the collection plates full, to provide fresh-faced altar boys and girls to diddle, to lie into evil wars and unsustainable exploitation of our world and of each other. Debate, discussion, interaction with the other must be quashed, stamped down, kept at bay, which is what Bush and Ratzinger have in common. It’s the motivation for so much of how our society runs, and thus its expression on a playing field for a children’s game played by adults and paid for by taxpayers is the perfect place for the Pope to sell his wares.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
The Presidential candidates can’t fun fast enough away from reason and toward superstition:
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are eager to talk about religion. But why are they so scared of science?
The two remaining Democratic presidential candidates recently agreed to participate in the Compassion Forum, scheduled for April 13 at Messiah College in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Billed as a conversation on faith and values, the event will be broadcast by the Church Communication Network. It also comes five days before a proposed science debate that was canceled after the candidates refused to participate.
The would-be debate was organized by Science Debate 2008, a coalition of scientists, academics, business leaders and citizens who’ve pushed the candidates to talk about scientific issues that—despite their critical importance to America’s well-being—have been downplayed during the campaign and within the nation’s political discourse.
After Obama declined and Clinton and McCain failed to commit, organizers abandoned the April 18 debate. They’ve now presented the candidates with three alternative May dates prior to the Oregon primaries on May 20.
“These are issues worth discussing,” said Shawn Lawrence Otto, chief executive officer of Science Debate 2008. “Because of the huge impact that science and technology is having on our lives and our policies, voters have a right to assess the candidates on these topics—and candidates have an obligation to tell voters what they’re thinking."
Perhaps it’s hard to pander in an area where it requires one to actually do some research, to know something about the world. Reason, after all, as long since departed the public sphere in this nation.
"Nearly every scientist I’ve spoken to recently says that the next one or two Presidential administrations have a chance to determine the future viability of the planet. Those are dire words, coming from people used to being conservative in their language,” said Otto.
Other issues include stem cell research, drug patents, global disease pandemics, bioterrorism, nanotechnology, population growth, environmental conservation, water shortages, renewable, space exploration and the integrity of government science.
As for why Obama and Clinton are willing to debate moral but not scientific issues, Otto was baffled.
“Is there a greater moral imperative than the ongoing viability of the planet?” he asked. “Science is about practical solutions to moral questions."
Solutions? Since when do our political “leaders” give a shit about SOLUTIONS?
All they care about is power, and money ... preferably more of it for themselves and their friends, and it’s easier to get help rounding up votes from people prone to leaps of faith than from people who ask a bunch of questions.
Obama, Clinton or McCain, either way you’re voting for Worshipper in Chief, and that ole’ time religion is the easiest path to power.
Monday, March 24, 2008
The Sleepers Must Awaken
How can a people so lacking in compassion for their own fellow citizens be made to care from the dead halfway around the world, the dead murdered by bullets and bombs and chemicals bought with their tax dollars and delivered in their names?
How can Americans be made to understand the great crime now five years old, this great crime on top of so many great crimes?
Some protesters in Chicago thought that some political theater in a church celebrating the capital punishment and resurrection of a “God” over two thousand years ago might wake some people up:
As they listened to the gospel during mass Sunday, few parishioners at Holy Name parish could have imagined how their holiday service and their Easter finery were about to be tainted.
Six protesters disrupted the beginning of Cardinal Francis George’s homily to shout their opposition to the Iraq war. The demonstrators—who called themselves Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War, despite their male and female membership—squirted fake blood on themselves and nearby worshipers as security guards tried to usher them from the parish’s auditorium, where mass is being said during repairs on the downtown Chicago cathedral.
The syrupy red substance—which one protester later described as “stage blood"—initially drew horrified gasps and a few shrieks from the 600 worshipers at the mass. The shock, however, quickly gave way to anger as people booed the demonstrators while they were being removed from the hall.
The symbolism couldn’t be more spot on. While comfortable people gather together to celebrate a bloody murder to save their souls, before representations of murder transmuted into symbols of redemption, these young people tried to remind them that other human beings are dying horrible deaths, suffering their own endless cycle of death and loss, with no redemption in sight. It was, of course, lost on their audience, outraged that they would frighten THE CHILDREN:
A few livid parents followed the protesters into the lobby and berated them for scaring children at mass.
“Are you happy with yourselves?” Mike Wainscott of Chicago shouted at the demonstrators as they were being handcuffed by police. “There were kids in there. You scared little kids with your selfish act. Are you happy now?"
A cry for peace and compassion is a selfish act. The children will be scared by dissent in church, as though the book they’re teaching their children to venerate wasn’t already a horrorshow. I know it gave me nightmares when I was a kid, chock full of murder and rape and war and death.
"The fact that people have to come to Easter mass and do something like that is disturbing,” said Carroll Baker, whose face was splattered with the fake blood during the fracas. “It’s very sad, and it’s very irritating.”
Bob Gowrylow, a 70-year-old Holy Name usher who is battling cancer, wept in the lobby as he tried to clean the fake blood from his blazer. Gowrylow said he blames himself for not rushing down the aisle quickly enough to prevent the protesters from frightening parishioners.
Gowrylow, who said he had been recently released from a hospital, worried the worshipers missed an important Easter message because of the disruption. He missed the cardinal’s homily himself because one of the demonstrators had squirted the fake blood in his ear and damaged his hearing aid.
How do you awaken those who are asleep to great crimes? How do you move them out of their own fears, their own small little worlds, and make them understand? Can you? SHOULD you? Some would say that such protests are counterproductive, that they only widen our divides, reinforce people’s acceptance of what is. Some would say that they have no right, especially those who are unable and unwilling to see past their own little worlds and their own darkened fears:
The cardinal returned easily to his Easter homily, but Connie Gallegos found herself staring at disbelief at her husband’s blood-splattered khaki pants and his light-blue Polo shirt. The scene seemed so surreal, she said, she didn’t register what was happening until after the protesters had left the auditorium.
For the rest of the mass, she sat and thought about the Northern Illinois University students who were seated in a lecture hall on Feb. 14 when a gunman opened fire, killing five before taking his own life. She wondered if those students sat frozen as she did, muted by the confusion and emotions swirling around her.
“I have a son who goes to NIU,” she said. “I keep thinking about how those students must have reacted."
Words fail. Political theater is the same as a violent attack. Church is no place to fight for peace:
After the service, the cardinal reiterated the Catholic Church’s opposition to the war, but he said mass is not the place to protest the U.S.-led invasion.
“We should all work for peace,” George said, “but not by interrupting the worship of God. It’s an act of violence to come among a group of believers and try to manipulate worship to your own purposes, no matter how noble and good they are."
Unless of course that manipulation is used to take away women’s reproductive freedom, or to protect the skins of pedophiles, or to pass the collection plate and make some money.
So many have said so much, written so much, marched so far, produced art and music and theater to try to awaken some spirit of compassion in the American people for those murdered and tortured for oil and empire. To try and make people understand. As IOZ writes as our ongoing wars move into their sixth and seventh years:
Now if this is how I feel after something so quotidian as a break-up; if I feel my frankly comfortable, untroubled life to be exploding into a thousand sorrows just because my lover and I reached an impasse that we couldn’t negotiate together; if such bleakness, helplessness, and desperation as I’ve never felt in my life can come from something so insubstantial as having to buy new furniture or a new jacket because he’s taking my favorites; if I am wracked by fear--real, true fear as I haven’t felt since I was a child--about being alone for a while; then just how the fuck must it feel to be an Iraqi or an Afghani or a Palestinian? If it’s bad to lose a lover in Pittsburgh, what must it be like to see your family killed, or your husband kidnapped, or your home destroyed in Baghdad?
I think this is an experiment too many of us shy away from totally, to consider the very worst hurts in our lives, the deepest gulfs of grief and despair, and to try to imagine them magnified a hundred-fold and then repeated daily, accompanied by daily humiliations and by a truer helplessness. That, you know, is why something like the Occupation of Iraq is such an unforgiveable crime--not because it violates the ethical obligations of nations, if such exist, or because it contravenes international law, or because it violates some ephemeral original spirit of America, truth, justice democracy. I am sick to death of justice and democracy. I am tired beyond words of the euphemisms that surround the treatment of war as a political phenomenon. Consider the most terrible thing that has ever happened to you and your family, and then look at a picture of a woman wailing over a husband killed by a bomb, or a man tearing his hair out over the body of his brother with a bullet in the head, and consider that for them the reoccurence of such tragedy is inevitable, and the closeness to it daily and inescapable. How must they hurt, those people caught between nations, armies, insurgencies? And how is it that I am crying on a bus for myself, and not for them?
How do you teach people compassion who have no time or openness for it? One can only hope that each gesture, each demonstration, each word, poem, movie, photo, plea, cry, scream, prayer ... that each is a little seed that might eventually grow into an opening understanding of what is being done in our names, once again, crime upon crime.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
"Human judges can show mercy."
Arthur C Clarke, the pioneering science fiction author and technological visionary best known for the novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey, has died at his home in Sri Lanka, aged 90.
Clarke, who wrote more than 100 books in a career spanning seven decades, died of heart failure linked to the post-polio syndrome that had kept him wheelchair-bound for years.
His forecasts often earned him derision from peers and social commentators.
But although his dreams of intergalactic space travel and colonisation of nearby planets were never realised in his lifetime, Clarke’s predictions of a host of technological breakthroughs were uncannily accurate.
He was one of the first people to suggest the use of satellites for communications, and in the 1940s forecast that man would reach the moon by the year 2000 - an idea that experts at first dismissed as nonsense. - Guardian UK
December 09, 2007
Thank you Dr. Clarke, thank you for the stories, for inspiring my wonder in nature, my appreciation of science, my appreciation of life. R.I.P.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Those Who Forget the Past ...
We are a stupid people, so willing to believe respun versions of the past, ginned up belittlings of faintly-remembered heroics in favor of inflated celebrations of current empty political posturing:
In an on camera interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Rep. John Lewis—one of the most influential African-American members in Congress—has said he will support Obama as a superdelegate. Congressman Lewis had endorsed Clinton last year, but says that Obama’s candidacy is a “movement and something in American politics that cannot be ignored.”
Lewis has said his decision to change from Clinton to Obama was harder then his march across the bridge in Selma 43 years ago when he was beaten and bloodied by Alabama State Troopers.
Harder than REAL resistance, REAL fights for change and justice and fairness? Turning your back on a political ally and probable contributor rises to the level of snarling dogs and raised clubs?
The political language in this country is beyond debased.
“The central question… is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes…. National Review believes that the South’s premises are correct…”
And a homophobe:
No. Apparently, according to his son on NPR today, he was the savior of the Republicans from the extreme right:
"He drove out the kooks of the movement,” Christopher Buckley said. “He separated it from the anti-Semites, the isolationists, the John Birchers. He conducted, if you will, a kind of purging of the movement."
He didn’t put an intellectual face on hatred and greed and fear and bigotry! NO! He saved the Right and the Republican Party to develop into the peace-loving, civil and altogether positive force that is ruling this country today.
You’d think I’d be used to it by now, seeing as in how despite what I thought I knew about history, America is a Christian nation, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was really a Republican and George W. Bush is actually a great humanitarian ending the scourge of AIDS in Africa.
So, it goes on, with meaningless arguments and claims that have nothing to do with reality. We float free, bobbing on the waves of swamp gas poured out by our media and ruling political duopoly. Tethered to nothing to ground how we talk about who we are, what we should do, where we should take our country. A nation of PR flacks and sophists. It’s all just a big fabulist’s show.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Hard to care ...
As tomorrow’s open primary approaches up here in Wisconsin, I find myself remembering a presentation we “gifted” children were given in high school as the election that proved to be the beginning of our conservative nightmare approached, sometime in the winter of ‘79 or early ‘80.
We were extolled on the virtues of our two-party system by some worthies from some university or another. It’s hard to remember the details, mainly because it was the usual line of crap, but I do remember standing up when they opened the floor for questions, and asking “so what are we supposed to do when there is little real difference between those two parties?”
A long-winded version of “shut your fucking pie-hole” followed, of course, but I was well on the way to paying WAY too much attention to politics.
Yet here I am, in this election season which is supposed to be “historic” and “transforming”, and ...
... I’m having a hard time caring. Yes, I’m spending more time reading the news and watching the coverage than a lot of people do, but I find my attention wandering.
A dear friend, not yet willing to give up on the whole mess, asked me to go out tomorrow after work and at least vote to cancel out a Clinton vote, for Obama of course. We had stood in together in a fieldhouse in Chicago nearly four years ago and watched an Obama speech, the weekend before the election. I had been impressed by that speech, by his general engagement with the crowd (he looked especially good in comparison following the introduction from the reptillian Rahm Emmanuel).
Here I am, four years later, and I’m really lost on the idea that any of it matters.
Though it’s tempting, I don’t mean to piss on the hope people are projecting on Obama. Well, maybe I do ... just a little.
I think in a lot of ways his rhetoric is a welcome change. In a lot of ways, I understand that people want to believe that he’s some kind of crafty lefty trojan horse, planning to let loose the forces of justice and peace and fairness behind the stone walls of official Washington. At least it’s nice to hear someone not mispronounce words all the damned time, or sound like a teacher reading out of the study guide in a dull drone. I enjoy some soaring speechifying as much as the next guy. Not long ago, I would have fell for it.
Hell, ANY kind of change has GOT to be an improvement, right?
Yet I just can’t believe that. Reducing the size of our monstrous imperial military won’t happen. Feeding the nation’s banking and insurance systems on usury and protection schemes will continue. Our justice system will continue its defacto system of apartheid on the poor and the black. The drug war will go on, destroying families and wreaking lives, both here and abroad. We’ll continue to support the slow genocide of the Palestinians. Women will continue to see their healthcare options disappear if Obama or Clinton or McCain is elected. Take Obama’s indifference to women’s freedom, for example:
I don’t know anybody who is pro-abortion. I think it’s very important to start with that premise. I think people recognize what a wrenching, difficult issue it is. I do think that those who diminish the moral elements of the decision aren’t expressing the full reality of it. But what I believe is that women do not make these decisions casually, and that they struggle with it fervently with their pastors, with their spouses, with their doctors.
Our goal should be to make abortion less common, that we should be discouraging unwanted pregnancies, that we should encourage adoption wherever possible. There is a range of ways that we can educate our young people about the sacredness of sex and we should not be promoting the sort of casual activities that end up resulting in so many unwanted pregnancies.
Ultimately, women are in the best position to make a decision at the end of the day about these issues. With significant constraints. For example, I think we can legitimately say — the state can legitimately say — that we are prohibiting late-term abortions as long as there’s an exception for the mother’s health. Those provisions that I voted against typically didn’t have those exceptions, which raises profound questions where you might have a mother at great risk. Those are issues that I don’t think the government can unilaterally make a decision about. I think they need to be made in consultation with doctors, they have to be prayed upon, or people have to be consulting their conscience on it. I think we have to keep that decision-making with the person themselves.
I could go on. While I think it would be good for this country to face a serious run for the Presidency by a black candidate, it would be equally good for it to face a run by a woman. Whichever one of them runs, if they manage to survive the onslaught from Senator Crypt Keeper and the media, little or nothing will change. There is little difference between them. One may have black skin and one may be female, but they are both solidly part of a ruling class that believes in an exceptional America that can do no wrong, an exceptional nation of good-hearted and worthy people who have no need to face the crimes committed to get us where we are (a fact which another country with a history much like our own is facing very publically). They are part of a privileged class that thinks the uncontrolled movement of capital is more important than any other consideration, a class that protects religion before the needs of the general public, a class that feeds on our arms dealing, that turns a blind eye on our war crimes. A class that believes that a large and continuously growing military is the most important task of government. Clinton or Obama, if either of them take office, will not hold the Republicans accountable for their lawlessness of the past two decades, any more than Bill Clinton did.
How can they? They and their party enabled it.
So, hard to care. Maybe I’ll go and fill in the little space next to Obama’s name just for shits and grins, because watching the Republicans attack will make the media and our quiescent citzenry face the nasty racism still running under the surface of this country like lava beneath a Hawaiian moonscape. We do seem to be in a place where we’re more willing to deal with that problem than we are to deal with the equally disgusting misogyny, if the continued antics of Chris Matthews and other pundits are any indication. Maybe I won’t. What I won’t do is believe that voting for him or for her is anything other than a vote for the status quo, for one line of bullshit over another line of bullshit, one ticket at the multiplex versus another ticket at the multiplex. It will only be trying to guess which storyline will be more entertaining.
As a friend would say, get some popcorn and watch.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
In the interview with the Law in Action programme on BBC Radio 4, he said it was “extraordinary” to assume that the ban on “cruel and unusual punishment” - the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment - also applied to “so-called” torture.
“To begin with the constitution… is referring to punishment for crime. And, for example, incarcerating someone indefinitely would certainly be cruel and unusual punishment for a crime.”
Justice Scalia argued that courts could take stronger measures when a witness refused to answer questions.
“I suppose it’s the same thing about so-called torture. Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to determine where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited in the constitution?” he asked.
“It would be absurd to say you couldn’t do that. And once you acknowledge that, we’re into a different game.
“How close does the threat have to be? And how severe can the infliction of pain be?"
Hmmm, so the Constitution doesn’t address this question?
All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
Treaties, you mean like THIS?
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 39/46 of 10 December 1984
entry into force 26 June 1987, in accordance with article 27 (1)
1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
Of course, we all know how much attention Americans like Scalia have paid to ratified treaties, but it’s still appalling that an idiot like this occupies the highest court in the land.
Every institution in this country is broken.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
To the Polls, Little Doggies!
Rush right in, folks, offer up your rump for the brand of your choice! Turn down this chute and get a big C for Change, or maybe an E for Experience if you’re of the Donkle breed of beef. Wait, don’t want to be part of THAT herd? The other ranch has some cooler symbols. You can get branded with a CROSS if you like cooked squirrel and JEEBUS. No? How about a BEEHIVE on your fat, ignorant ass? They’ll put some magic underwear on for you until it heals. Still doesn’t feel right? Well, there is always the straitjacket symbol, if crazy old coots are your thing.
Yes, yes ... I know. You’re helping to choose the leader of the “free world”! You’re turning down that chute because you WANT to!
You’re a free citizen in the greatest Ranch on EarthTM, after all. How DARE I suggest that you’re being led astray, that you’re just the product in a well-oiled enterprise engineered to deliver meatsacks to the owners?
After all, some of you are independents! You’re free to pick a side and keep the center alive!
CYNTHIA McKINNEY: Well, of course, in Georgia, we’ve got some pretty restrictive laws, and we‘ve challenged them in the courts, the open primary, the second primary. And basically, by utilizing the open primary, people can go to the polls and they can pick up a ballot of a political party of which they have never before participated, and that’s what’s happened to me twice.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain what happened exactly. You’re saying that Republicans came and voted in the Democratic primary to get you out?
CYNTHIA McKINNEY: Yes, to determine—and so their votes then determined who the Democratic nominee was going to be.
If you don’t do your part, some mavericks who won’t run with one of the accepted herds will lead us all off a cliff, or some other dire outcome.
Moo, go where they lead you, head right down that chute into the
pen polling station and play your part in this grand enterprise.
It doesn’t really matter, but if it feels good to play along, then more power to you. You’re a piece of beef to them, livestock, a captive breed that exists to be exploited for the people who write their checks. Have fun.
For the Democrats, the real game is being played between two factions of the elites. The economic, military and political elites are solidly behind Hillary Clinton. The cultural elites have lined up behind Obama. We the voters are sitting in the stands passively watching. Hillary Clinton should be able to win. Goldman Sachs and the arms industry usually trump Oprah Winfrey and Hollywood. But if there’s any explanation about why Obama has exploded so brightly onto the political scene in 2008, it’s the fact that TV and Hollywood have stepped up to shroud the political debate in a fog of big budget escapism. They’ve managed to convince a good chunk of the cultural elite and millions of American voters that you don’t have to confront the occupation of Iraq or the destruction of the Constitution at all, that you can simply retreat into an expertly produced big budget epic of an escapist fantasy where a black Kennedy revives Camelot and where the invasion of Vietnam or Iraq, the terrorist attacks on 9/11, or legalized American torture never happened. This is politics as entertainment, an attack on democracy using an 18 month long Presidential campaign.
My vote is not to participate.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Music Break - Donklephant Debate Edition
An O’Jay’s classic.
Music Break - New Shelby Lynne
I’m a huge fan, have been for years, ESPECIALLY since I Am Shelby Lynne came out. Finger’s crossed that she comes by Summerfest again this summer.
Gonna have to head to the local independent music store and pick it up.