Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Me and Christmas

Okay, I said a while back I would do a post about me and Christmas. I usually write about more satirical or political things at Christmas time (remember the one about Christians' believing that Santa Claus is actually Satan?).

I love Christmas; I always have. The holiday festivities, the decorations, the "meaning of Christmas" (as taught to me by the old Christmastime TV specials of my childhood), the general wonderfulness of it all. The thing that throws some people off, though, is the fact that I am not a Christian.

I don't have a religion. I do have a set of beliefs, but that's another post in itself. My point here is to describe my relationshp with and enthusiasm about a holiday that has become associated with Christianity. I have blogged a lot about the Pagan origins of Christmas traditions, and how it is originally a Pagan holiday that was hijacked by Christians. But that's mostly for fun and partly to enlighten any poor souls who might happen by and don't already know what we know.

Christmas appeals to more in me than what Christians claim. I enjoy sociology, history, observation of culture, of human nature, of humanity in its various expressions. The Christmas I have known since my earliest memory was a cultural holiday; one where people tried to express all those good things we're all familiar with, all embellished with the colorful trappings of holiday festival. My generation grew up on Rankin-Bass animated Christmas specials, and the magic contained therein. I even appreciate the things that Christianity has brought to the table (so to speak), although I see them as expressions of cultural and historical significance, the human glue that binds societies together. As a non-Christian, and a nonreligious person in general, I recognize that religion is still a part of me as long as I am a part of society - it is a part of my culture, even if I don't share those beliefs.

So, what I love about Christmas is the cultural things; the festival, the history, the holiday, the lights, colors, art, music, sights, sounds, aromas, and yes, even traditions. There's a lot to be said for appreciating the holidays on a lot of different levels; it makes for a rich experience indeed.

Well, it's far into Christmas Eve, so I'll leave on that note. A heartfelt Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

More Christmas Cool Stuff: It's a Blunderful Life

This is great: It's a Blunderful Life. Apparently there are lot's of "Wonderful Life" parodies with GWBush. Remember: "Everytime a bell rings, Rove becomes someone's bitch in prison."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Blogging Begins. Wassail!

Okay, anyone who has had the dubious fortune of reading my blog during past Decembers knows that I love to blog about the pagan origins of Christmas. I also enjoy poking fun at the rightwing defenders against the "war on christmas".

So, I am starting off this year's Christmas blogging with this 3-part documentary that I found in the interwebs. These have a lot of really cool info (get a load of Ruprecht in pt 2 - who knew that Santa Claus was based less on St. Nicholas than on the devil that St. Nick captured and enslaved?)

I'll be blogging more about Christmas this year, as I have some thoughts to share about my complicated relationship with the holiday - but until then, please enjoy this three-part documentary about the origins of Christmas.





Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving update: I'll take a left wing, please.

Okay, spent Thanksgiving with brother-in-law's family and some of their friends. Brother-in-law ("B" for short) votes republican. So does his wife ("S" for short). They are classic "vote-against-their-own-interests" republicans. Right-wing right down the line, yet he works for the City where he receives great benefits which he has used extensively, and will continue to do so for the rest of his life. She works for a hospital and is active in her union, shockingly enough, considering how she is unswervingly right-wing. They live in a home that they bought through HUD. The list goes on and on, but suffice it to say that they are classic in the mold of A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican. They are opposed to liberalism yet their lives have been so improved thanks to liberal-democrat policies that they would be shocked if they only realized. They don't - they think they did it all themselves and deserve every benefit they receive (not realizing they're exploiting the fruits of socialism).

Their friends, although I admit up-front that it is not my place to judge, are country Nascar Walmartian types who seem like they stepped right out of King of the Hill.

B & S have three daughters. The older one (23yrs) shares our basic liberal ideology (thank goodness), while the two younger ones (21yrs) don't seem to be too concerned about such things.

There was very little political discussion, but here's a sample of what little there was:

B, to my wife ("T"): "So, who did you vote for?"

T: "Who do you think? Obama."

B: (emphatically) "I'm sorry."

(Older neice's boyfriend: "The Messiah himself!")

T: "I think he has some good ideas."

B: "Well, if you believe what it says in the good book-"

S: "No political talk at dinner, remember!?"

End of conversation. I knew where he was going with it: he was going to say that the Bible says Obama is the Antichrist. Happy Thanksgiving.

And by the way: what is this obsession the right has had throughout the campaign about Obama being "the messiah"? They're the only ones who ever bring it up. I know it is all a part of their contention that he is the antichrist and all that but it still floors me that the rank-and-file repukes buy it. Real ones, too, right in plain sight! Hoky smokes, Bullwinkle.

I spent the day feeling disassociated from the group, as usual. I'm used to it. It's usually really depressing, but this time I was encouraged by the crushing loss they received on election day. Chuckle (and sigh of relief).

I like my brother-in-law, and I don't condemn him for being ignorant about politics, any more than he condemns me for not knowing how to pour a concrete foundation. He's a good person who is easily influenced by friends and associates who get their worldview from FOX news and talk radio. At least he expresses an active interest, which I suppose is better than being apathetic. Maybe. Maybe not.

I'm just glad more voters decided it was better to vote for the antichrist than for four more years of truly diabolical policies.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Worried About Thanksgiving Fights with Right-Wing Family Members?


Reprinted from Alternet:

Worried About Thanksgiving Fights with Right-Wing Family Members? By Sara Robinson

Oh, Lordy. It is that time again. Thursday is Thanksgiving -- the official kickoff event of the 2008 holiday season. For a lot of progressives, these festivities also mean that we're about to spend more quality time with our conservative relatives over the next six weeks than is strictly good for our blood pressure, stress levels, or continued sanity.

Personally, I'm not a wholehearted fan of turkey -- probably because the mere smell of it instantly slams me back into memories of several decades of Thanksgiving dinner arguments with conservative kin that took a turn for the ugly. We all know we're supposed to stick to "safe" topics like the kids, college football, and the weather; and avoid controversial issues like religion, politics and whether oysters belong in a proper bird stuffing. But the afternoon is long, and after the approved topics have been exhausted and that third bottle of Cabernet vanishes and the tryptophan torpor hits, decorum and discipline are at high risk of going all to hell. After that, things can and do get contentious, usually in ways that make everyone wish we could all just go back to fighting over oysters in the stuffing.

These family gatherings were hard enough to stomach through the appalling years of the Bush Adoration -- but this year, it's likely to be even worse. Our beloved family wingnuts were insufferable, in a grotesque Mayberry-on-acid surreal kind of way, while crowing into their succotash about the manly Godliness (or was it Godly manliness?) of Our Divinely Ordained Commander-in-Chief. But this year's different. This year, they're on the way out of power -- and they're scared witless about it. Which means big steaming heapin' helpings of liberal-bashing are likely to be featured prominently on the menu next to the mashed potatoes, as they put fresh vigor into every paranoid anti-liberal fantasy ever spouted by Rush, Reverend Pat, or their new darling, Sarah Palin.

The black guy won. Armageddon -- or, at the very least, socialism, atheism, gun control, and a national epidemic of erectile dysfunction -- must certainly be at hand.

As you prepare to head once again into the family fray, it might be useful to note that most of the right wing's favorite anti-liberal slanders are rooted in some deeply-held -- and deeply wrong -- assumptions about who liberals are, and what we believe. If your relatives, God bless 'em all, insist on going down that road, your best defense this year might be to listen closely for these underlying myths and fables at work -- and be prepared to challenge them head-on when they surface in the discussion.

Here's a basic set to get you started. Tuck it away in your bag with your Xanax and Maalox, and apply (liberally, of course) as needed.

1. Liberals hate America.

For the record: Liberals love America. In fact, what makes us liberals is that we actually read and believed all those pretty words in the Declaration of Independence about "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and in the Bill of Rights about freedom of speech, religion, assembly, privacy, and all the rest of it.

We're idealists that way. We want to live in the country the Founders described. We believe that the nation's founding documents expressed a uniquely powerful moral contract between the people and their government, and an audaciously positive vision of people's ability and competence to shape their own future. When we get annoying and whiny, it's usually because we believe so much in America's astonishing promise -- and our own responsibility for realizing it -- that we're sorely disappointed when the country falls short of that standard. We really want to believe we can do better.

Conservatism, by contrast, tends to take a dim view of human nature, prefers hierarchy to liberty, and isn't completely convinced people can or should be trying to contravene the will of God or their betters by trying to arrange their own futures. This tends to lead to a selective reading of the Constitution (as well as the Bible), and -- as we've seen in the Bush years -- a far more flexible attitude toward its interpretation.

The proof, however, is in the history -- and it's pretty irrefutable. America's greatest moments of progress, generosity, and moral strength occurred when the country stuck most closely to its progressive ideals. We loved America so much that we freed the slaves, passed child labor laws, built schools and colleges, gave the vote to women, enacted civil rights laws, rebuilt Europe after a war we helped win, and put a man on the moon. All of these were progressive projects -- and all were fought tooth and nail by conservatives in their time, simply because they feared change and saw power as a zero-sum game. Yeah, we sometimes overshoot and miss -- but you can't argue with the daring scope of our dreams.

Conversely, most of our worst moments -- the Native American genocide, the continued justification of slavery and Jim Crow, the Japanese internment, Abu Ghraib -- were conservative projects that were driven by narrow-minded xenophobia and short-term greed, and are regretted by everyone (including most conservatives) when we look back now.

Rick Perlstein has called this out as a predictable pattern: conservatives will loudly obstruct social progress for decades before finally accepting it -- and then, they'll insist they were 100 percent for it all along.

Love us or hate us; but we're every bit as American as our conservative friends and relatives, and have been since the day the Declaration was written (by a liberal, in fact).

2. Liberals want to leave us defenseless in the face of evildoers around the world.

The big disconnect on security issues begins with the fact that we have a far more expansive definition of "security" than conservatives do. And, perhaps, a broader sense of what the actual threats are, and what can be done about them.

When conservatives discuss "security," they're usually thinking in terms of solving all our problems by sending in more guys and gals with guns. The flip side of this that they tend not to give much credence to real threats that can't be fixed by guys and gals with guns.

But as progressives, we know that the country's financial crisis is a security issue. And in a world of superbugs and epidemics, universal health care is a security issue. And global warming is, plain as day, a looming security issue (and the Pentagon agrees). We also know that sending in the Marines, hiring more cops, and taking off our shoes at the airport won't begin to address some of our most terrifying problems. Real-world security is far more complex, and requires a much wider range of solutions, than most conservatives are willing to consider.

3. Liberals hate the free market.

If that's so, why does everyone down at the Apple Store know my name?

The operative word here is "free." Liberals believe wholeheartedly in the amazing power of markets to deliver all kinds of important goods. But we've also noticed that some of the deepest human goods of all -- a strong family, a caring community, a healthy environment, safe food, clean water and air, and time to enjoy them all -- are assigned no economic value at all in unfettered markets. If we want to protect the value of things that money can't buy (and even conservatives will usually agree that such common goods exist, and deserve to be protected), then we need to put some restrictions on markets so they can't encroach into those areas.

Besides, any 10-year-old who's played Monopoly (or any adult who's been within reach of a TV or newspaper in the past two months) can tell you how free markets invariably end up. One person ends up owning the whole game board, and everybody else ends up broke. Game over. That's not an accident; it's just how capitalist systems work. Good regulation can go a long way toward preventing that, too.

It can also be argued that conservatives don't really believe in free markets, either. Truly free markets can only work if there's also a free market in labor -- which means open borders (it's fun to drop this suggestion with a broad wink on border-fence grognards) and unfettered collective bargaining -- neither of which are exactly pet conservative causes.

Because free-market theory also asserts that markets only work right when people can make rational, fully-informed choices, they break down if there's not a parallel free market in information, too. If conservatives really believed in free markets, they'd support efforts to preserve and maintain that market. Keeping good information flowing means putting tight regulations on media consolidation, and firm limits around how far advertising and PR firms can go to stretch the truth or bury negative information. It also means abolishing laws that deprive consumers of important purchasing information, like food-libel laws and federal bans on rGHB labeling. It's a rare conservative who's willing to go that far to protect the sanctity of the free market.

4. Liberals hate our troops.

We love our troops. We love them so much that we want them brought home safe and sound to their families, as soon as possible.

This one's almost depressingly easy. Who blocked the new GI Bill because it might encourage troops not to re-up? Who refused to increase VA funding? Who oversaw last year's debacle at Walter Reed? Who is making soldiers buy their own body armor?

News flash: it ain't the libruls. Putting a yellow ribbon decal on your car is not enough. Making sure our troops have everything they need to do their jobs -- and keeping our promises to them when they get home -- is putting our money where our mouth is. Liberals have been there doing the heavy lifting from the start, while the conservatives in government have been nowhere on the scene unless there was a photo op involved.

5. Liberals are a bunch of elitists who hate decent working- and middle-class Americans.

…as opposed to those sainted corporate men-of-the-people who fly around in private jets and pull down eight-figure salaries while closing plants and cutting 10,000 jobs at a time. That's what real populism looks like, you betcha.

Liberals are funny people. We think that sending well-paid American jobs overseas is a bad idea. We think the minimum wage should be big enough to cover life's necessities, with some left over. We think it's insane that over half the bankruptcies in the country are due to lack of adequate medical insurance. We think everybody who has the grades should have a shot at college. And we believe that middle-class prosperity is absolutely essential for maintaining a healthy democracy -- because history (via Kevin Phillips) has taught us that no democracy that's tolerated our current levels inequality has ever survived for long.

You'd be surprised (or maybe not) at how many conservatives making this accusation have never stopped and taken stock of the role government has played in making their own middle-class life possible. Their dad or granddad got through college on the GI Bill. They financed their own education with Pell Grants and federally-guaranteed loans. They grew up in FHA or VA-funded houses, and collected fat mortgage interest deductions -- which, right there, ensured their family's place in the middle class. They went to decent public schools -- and, perhaps, state universities. They're several thousand dollars richer every month because they're off the hook for Grandma's living expenses, thanks to Social Security and Medicare. They or their parents may have started businesses with help from the Small Business Administration, or relied on government advice and subsidies to keep the farm going. They work for businesses that depend on government contracts.

And then they'll sit there over the second helping of candied yams and loudly insist that they made everything they had, all by themselves, with no help from anybody and especially not from the government.

All you can do is laugh. And then, because they're family, go back to 1945 and start re-telling the family story -- this time with Uncle Sam's forgotten role in the drama front and center.

6. Liberals are against "family values."

This is one of the biggest disconnects between us. As George Lakoff has pointed out, conservatives and liberals have very different ideas about what families look like, how they function, and what rules they should run under. The problem is that liberals are quite willing to recognize the conservative model as a legitimate and valid way to do family, even if we don't always agree with it. But when conservatives look at liberal families and their patchwork of made-up arrangements, they see a chaotic free-for-all that doesn't follow any of their strictly mandated rules of family organization -- and thus doesn't qualify in their minds as any kind of "family" at all. We think it's creative and flexible. They think it's unstable and scary.

So it comes as a considerable shock to conservatives when you point out that progressive areas of the country have significantly stronger families, by almost any metric you can imagine. They have lower rates of divorce, teen pregnancy, infidelity, drug abuse, domestic violence, and juvenile delinquency than the more conservative areas do. Massachusetts -- the first state to offer gay marriage -- also has the lowest divorce rate in the country. They like marriage so much there they think everybody should have a shot at it.

Looking at the statistics, it's possible to conclude that the conservative obsession with "family values" may reflect the fact that families in Red America really are beset by devastating problems that aren't nearly as common in Blue America. Rather than admit that maybe we know something about creating healthy families that they don't, they'll usually try to fix the blame for their family chaos on us and our crazy anything-goes family arrangements. (If there are Bible readers at your table, you might suggest they re-read Luke 6:42 before holding forth.)

Liberals believe in family. We take our marriage vows just as seriously as conservatives do. We love our children just as much. Our families are at least as successful and happy as theirs. This shouldn't be a matter of debate; but it will continue to be one as long they refuse to believe that our families are just as healthy, valid, and sacred to us as theirs are to them.

7. Liberals want to raise our taxes.

It all depends on who is the "our" in this scenario.

If your dinner companions are well-off enough to be bringing in over $250K a year, there's no point in finessing this. Their taxes probably are going up. The only comeback is that between Clinton-era tax cuts, the housing bubble, and the hot stock market of the past 15 years, they've probably made so much money that it's time to start giving some back to the nation that made their boon possible. (Refer back to #5: they almost certainly didn't make that pile without at least some government help.)

If 's nobody at the table fits that happy description, then according to Obama's plan, they're going to get a tax cut. Sure, they're not going to believe it until they see it (and, quite possibly, not even then); but it's not an argument they even want to have until after an Obama tax plan is passed and the actual results are in.

Remind them also that there's just no way to pay for a $600 billion war and a $700 billion bailout (and that's just the current cost on both fronts -- they're likely to soar in the future) without somebody somewhere paying some more taxes. The bill for the war alone currently stands $5,000 per American household; the bailout may cost that much again, depending on how much of the money the government can recoup. The GOP went shopping on our credit card -- and now it's time to pay our share of the bill.

8. Liberals are Godless -- and therefore, amoral.

This often sounds odd coming from people who raised you, who generally like you, and who usually think you're a fairly sound citizen…well, apart from that weird liberal thing. One good comeback is to personalize that accusation: Do you really think I'm less moral than you are? Seriously? In what way? Hmm. (It's good if you can resist the temptation to say: Gee, it must have been the way I was raised.)

Another twist on this: I'm liberal because you made me that way. You dragged me to church, where they taught me to love my neighbor and care for the poor and sick -- and I became a progressive because I took the things you taught me to heart.

If personalizing the argument won't work with your crowd, go general. A lot of progressives are deeply religious -- and our politics are guided by our religious faith. Evangelical churches are getting involved with environmentalism, poverty, and human trafficking -- all issues where liberals have been active for decades. It's good to have the extra hands on board.

It's also true that a lot of progressives aren't religious. Unfortunately, many conservatives equate "secular" with "having no moral code whatsoever," since they honestly believe that nobody can possibly behave themselves unless there's some outside authority keeping a hairy eyeball on them. (It's tempting to speculate about what people who believe this might try to get away with when they think nobody's watching; personally, I think it's an incriminating admission that they can't be trusted behind closed doors.) Rejecting God means you refuse to follow His rules -- which, according to their logic, can only mean that you hold nothing sacred and don't recognize any rules at all.

Call this out for the wrongness that it is. All non-religious progressives have things they hold deeply sacred: family commitments, community obligations, professional responsibilities, the Constitution, social and economic justice, the earth and its systems, the idea of democracy, the dream of a peaceful future. Those things form the basis of a demanding internally-driven moral code; and it's not uncommon to find secular progressives who live more uncompromisingly moral lives than many overtly religious people.

9. Liberals don't believe in personal responsibility.

Again, there's a definitional disconnect at work here. Conservatives tend to use the rule of law to enforce traditional morality and social hierarchies, which usually means light treatment for those at the top, and harsh penalties for those at the bottom. Liberals tend to use the rule of law to maintain some semblance of fairness and equality, which means that those who have more should be given sentences proportional to their greater wealth and power; and those with less should be given a more gentle hand. Naturally, each side finds the other side's reasoning and criteria appalling.

But there is common ground. The bare fact -- which everybody at the table may agree on -- is that in present-day America, nobody is happy with the way justice is being doled out, and people all over are getting away with things no civilized nation should allow to slide by. Absurd leniency abounds on both sides. You can either argue over whose side is getting the worst of it; or you can simply agree that the system is broken all over, and move on to the pumpkin pie.

10. Liberals are wimps.

Conservatives like to caricaturize liberals as being soft in all the places our society values toughness. Our refusal to adhere to any dogma must mean that we're soft in our convictions. Our reflexive open-mindedness is often derided as evidence that we're soft in the head. Our persistent and gentle insistence on humane government is evidence of hearts too soft to set hard boundaries or do what must be done. And all of this together makes it easy for them to portray us as a mushy bunch of feckless, effeminate intellectuals lacking in cohesion, backbone, focus, or purpose.

But you can only believe this if you don't know anything about the history or reality of American liberalism. The Constitution is, itself, a liberal document -- the ultimate expression of Enlightenment principles. In every decade since the republic was founded, progressives have stepped up and put themselves on the line to further the purposes of government laid out in the Preamble. We're heirs to the people who fought and died to free slaves, organize unions, give the vote to women, end child labor, protect family farms, enact civil rights laws, and preserve our environment. Some of the boldest, bravest Americans in history -- Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, Teddy Roosevelt, Cesar Chavez, and of course Dr. King -- have proudly called themselves "liberal" or "progressive."

Progressivism couldn't have survived and thrived if we were half as weak and indecisive as conservatives like to think we are. Our progressive forebears were not fearful people. Nor did any of them seem to be bedeviled by a lack of conviction. "Mushy" or "feckless" are about the last words I'd use to describe any of them. ("Stupid" isn't anywhere on the list, either.) When you sign up to become a progressive, this is the legacy you take on, and from then on attempt to live up to. It's not God's job to make the world a better place. It's yours. This has never been work for the faint of heart, mind, or spirit -- and in this era of conservatism gone rotten, it still isn't.

It's going to be a stranger season than most, in no small part because the changing political winds are going to put some fresh twists and turns into the same old holiday discussions. But holiday arguments over religion and politics are a tradition that's as old as the republic. For most of us, wouldn't be an American family holiday without a little hot conversation served up over a freshly roasted bird.


Sara Robinson is a twenty-year veteran of Silicon Valley, and is launching a second career as a strategic foresight analyst. When she's not studying change theories and reactionary movements, you can find her singing the alto part over at Orcinus. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and two teenagers.

© 2008 Blog for Our Future All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/108638/

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

You want to know something that really freaks me out?

Here's something that really has me messed up. I don't want to say that I am worried, exactly, but I am curious and concerned. You see, for many months now, I have not been able to find any of these for sale, anywhere:


You may think, "Big deal. Stuff like that comes and goes; maybe they were out of 'em or something."

No, this is bigger than a simple inventory lapse. Hostess Blakcberry Fruit Pies have not been available in any grocery or convenience store where I have shopped for a long, long time. I mean a really long, long, looooong time.

It's not just that I like them. They have been available for as long as I can remember. Stores often stocked a few more of them because they were a little more popular than the others. But now, it's a barren wasteland where once the mighty berry fruit pie reigned supreme.

The call goes out to all my blog buddies. Have any of you seen a Hostess Blakcberry Fruit Pie for sale? Anyone? Anywhere? Please let me know if you have, so that this great pie shall not perish from the face of the earth.It is a mystery which must be solved.

Thanks ahead of time for your help.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Funny headline of the day:

Seen on MSN: "Teen Survives Cougar Attack."

Well, I thought it was, anyway.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hi$tory

Bush (yes, he is still the president) had an economic plan. His Arabian counterpart Osama Bin Laden did, too. The two were remarkably similar. Actually, they had basically the same goal with different motives.

From 2003:
Bush's Plan
The plan is very simple, but not obvious on first blush. Make sure that all the money is gone from the U.S. treasury, make sure the deficits are so great that all social and educational programs are cut, increase the military and security budgets to "protect our nation" with all these monies going to corporations and security firms who are extra-national (not tied to any country, but actually more than multi-national in that they are outside the purview of any nation at any single moment) and stave in the social security fund by allowing it to go to private corporations for "investment"-and you have the perfect scenario for saying, "only the private sector can save us-we're broke and they have the money to run every program, fund every program, but of course, at huge costs and profits for the private corporations." Our only resource will be the corporate lenders, especially the large extra-national corporations who will have loyalty to no one except their corporate coffers and large share owners throughout the world.

This plan is so obvious at this point that it is hard to believe because it is happening so fast and the Democrats and even conservative non- neo-con Republicans don't realize what Bush and his neo-con buddies are up to.

Of course, this is easier to accomplish with all of our attention being focused on 9/11 matters, Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, the WMDs, threats to our nation, threats to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (where we lose troops everyday to Iraqis and Afghans fighting against our occupation), but we keep sending in more troops to basically protect Bechtel and Halliburton. Soon, we'll also hire private contractor troops, some from other countries and others from selected American security firms. All the time we are occupied with this, just as Orwell predicted in his novel, 1984, the Bush team will be destroying our civil liberties and taking away our social and educational programs in order to fund "security measures" and will keep blinking yellow, orange, and red codes at us.


From 2004:
Bin Laden's Plan
"We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah," bin Laden said in the transcript. He said the mujahedeen fighters did the same thing to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, "using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers... We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat," bin Laden said.


So, both planned to drive ths US into bankruptcy to achieve their goals. I hope the American citizens who voted to support that are pleased with themselves.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Joe the Plumber" is a @$$%...and I'm glad.

Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka "Joe the Plumber" (if that's not a name that sounds like a 1940's petty crook, or the codename for a wiretapping expert, I don't know what does) is trying to further exploit his exploits as rightwing media darling by "writing" (and I use the term loosely) a book. That's right. "Joe the Plumber" is writing a book. This, of course, follows the news of his boot-scootin' into a country music deal. Yee Haw!

Well, I for one am totally in favor of Mr. Wurzel - I mean, "Joe" *wink wink* being the symbol of Republican party from now on. Who needs that tired old drug-addled gasbag Rush Limbaugh or pompadored doofus Sean Hannity or even child-porn producing hypocrite Bill O'Reilly (aka Bill-O the Clown), when they can have a real-life down-home blue-collar man of the people like "Joe"? A tax-evading, professional-license-avoiding, alias-identifying, truth-stretching, wanna-be hillbilly is so right for the "right" that it's hard to believe he isn't entirely created in a lab beneath the Skull-N-Bones clubhouse.

Republicans' voting public in the blue collar community won't identify with the real Republican base: corporate fat-cats, old-money aristocrats, and wild-eyed fascists anxious to take over the world. They should be happy to be forced to bail out billionaires while enoying the fruits of the Bush/Cheney administration's free-market paradise (you know, the one where "the free market will regulate itself").

Joe's book will, no doubt, be a bestseller. I know if I was in charge of buying material for a political science course, I'd order a bunch of them, to serve as an example of what can happen when you elect neocons into leadership for 8 years (turning America into a giant exclusive gated community surrounded by trailer parks).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Okay, I'll do a Post about Marriage Equality.

Apparently, there have been world-wide protests in support of gay marriage rights, inspired by California's unfortunate passing of the proposition 8 ban on gay marriage.

Strangely, this subject is also hugely important to... homophobic religious heterosexuals. In the words of Craig Furguson: I know! Ordinarily, I would expect "gay marriage" to be a "So what? Live and let live" thing, right? Wrong. Here in California, where the months leading up to the Nov. 8th elections produced more letters-to-the-editor of the local newspaper about gay marriage than just about anything else. I would have expected more letters about things like the war(s), or the economy, but nooo. Gay marriage was the big deal of the day with local voters.

Particularly annoying was how those who wanted to ban gay marriage said that gays were forcing their lifestyle on them. Of course, when rebutted with a request to cite an example, they didn't (or couldn't). Their meaning was obvious: simply knowing that homosexuals exist was how it was being forced on them.

I usually added comments to those letters, especially to the smug religious zealots/closet theocrats who are a real pet peeve of mine. They probably thought I was the local gay advocate or something. The truth is, I am the local advocate of keeping government the hell out of my personal life.

It's weird: most people whose opinion I have heard are not opposed to gays having the same marriage rights as anyone else. Yet, the vote results say otherwise. There is a lot of speculation about why that is, but none of it matters to me. I haven't given my opinion on it much, but here it is (itemized for clarity):

It is a civil rights issue. So-called conservatives are now on record as saying they want the government to dictate whom they may marry. That is a dangerous position to take, I think. See, I believe that consenting adults who are legally able to enter into other civil contracts are legally entitled to enter into a marriage contract. By the way, this is why conservatives' ridiculous claim that marriage equality would lead to legalized beastiality, pedophelia, etc., is wrong: We're talking about a legal issue between consenting adults. They are citizens and (usually) taxpayers. Many are even veterans (take that, righty-tighties!). No animal or has the right to vote; nor are they mentally competant to enter into a contract. Human adults, unless found mentally incompetant to understand the meaning of the action, can do so. Incidentally, I couldn't care less about plural marriage. If three or more consenting adults want to form a committed lifelong relationship; an extended family wherein they all benefit, that's fine with me. It's not a choice I would make, but it's not my place to prevent their making that choice, either. Again, I am not talking about something like fundamentalist Mormon arranged plural marriages to child brides. They're a bunch of sick bastards. Consenting Adults, that's the key phrase here.

It is a great vehicle to demonstrate conservative hypocrisy. They claim that one of their most cherished values is freedom from government intervention in their lives. Yet, they always insist that government's role is to dictate the behavior of peoples' most intimate relationships, like marriage. The truth is, conservatives do want government intervention in peoples' lives. They just don't want to pay taxes, obey labor laws or environmental regulations, etc. They claim to be God's chosen, but the god they worship is the almighty dollar.

Last, here is the main distinction between me and the ban-gay-marriage crowd: I draw a distinct difference between religious marriage and legal marriage. I beleive they are two completely separate things. Churches can impose whatever rules upon their members they want, but those rules are only valid for those church members. Legal marriage, on the other hand, is for all citizens, whatever their religion or lack thereof; it is required to accomodate everyone to whom all other laws apply.

For a group of religious zealots to deny civil rights to other citizens, based on religious values, is completely anti-American and just plain wrong.

Maybe someday those who would deny others' civil rights will find themselves on the other side of an issue of equal importance to them, where they are denied their civil rights because they don't conform to the majority mold. Maybe then they'll understand what Thomas Jefferson meant when he wrote:
"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression."
He also is attributed with this one:
"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."
In other words, Majority rule does not give the majority the right to oppress the minority. So, the protesters are correct in fighting for their civil rights. Hopefully, for all our sakes, equal rights will prevail.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

To the Anonymous Commenter:

Domain Name: bushlawgroup.com
IP Address: 65.218.135.# (AIMCO)
ISP: Verizon Business
State: South Carolina
City: Greenville

Enjoy your anonymity.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I am going to...

...start dressing up the blog's visuals soon, since we are finally entering he 21st century. I thought we'd never get here! Anyway, suggestions are welcome!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Finally!


"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. ...We must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost." - Thomas Jefferson

More blogging, of course, to follow. Thrilled is an understatement. I hope to touch base with the blogger buddies I've met over the last four years of political blogging. We made it!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Constantly Amazing Random Eavesdropping Today

So it went like this:

My wife and I were having lunch at a restaurant this afternoon. It's a place with a New Orlean's theme, more pricey than our usual choices, but we felt like indulging ourselves. Seated nearby were two "elderly" ladies - not that elderly, but one in maybe her 60's and the other one older.

We heard them talking about the election and immediately turned our ears their way.

They started out sounding like a pair of rightwing conservatives, or at least rightwing voters. One of them talked about getting her news from FOX and O'Reilly. Stuff like that. But, as we listened, they began to discuss Obama... and they both began to explain why they were choosing to reject their party to vote for Obama. They both said they voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004. And, they both said they thought the country has been "getting worse and worse" for the past several years. They even discussed their belief in anti-Obama propaganda, such as Obama "not saluting the flag because he refuses to stand for America," and similar Fox "news". But in spite of all the garbage they had consumed via rightwing news outlets, they still said it was better to give an unknown, potentially dangerous upstart a chance than to continue down the disastrous path of the republicans.

We were thrilled and surprised. A pair of longtime republican voters, overheard through a totally random coindidence, explaining over lunch why they were rejecting the repukes and their doomed policies, changing from republican voters to democratic ones. That's change I can believe in.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hoping that my vote matters this time

Like many of you, I voted early (I dropped my ballot off five days early). However, as many of you are aware, the Republican party is engaged in several insideous schemes to destroy our votes, like voter caging, vote flipping, disenrollment, long lines at polling places, even telling college students they can't vote because they no longer live at home, and telling people whose homes were forclosed that they can't vote because their address has changed. Republican operatives even tried telling democrats they should vote on the wrong day. And of course there's the Bush administration's typically backwards-named-to-conceal-it's-true-purpose "Help America Vote Act" which rules that your vital info has to match a notoriously flawed national database. No match means no vote for you.

Republicans have admitted that the fewer voters there are, the more successful the republican candidates are. With that as their strategic foundation, they have proceeded to turn the last two presidential elections into circuses of election fraud. And, as you've heard me say before, the biggest thing that stands between progressives and success is republican election- and voter-fraud.

I just hope it works the way it is supposed to this time. There is a difference: there is media attention focused on the activity, whereas before we were ridiculed as tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists. But we're talking about thousands and thousands of voters whose eligibility has been challenged. Hopefully the ones that do get counted will accurately reflect the real vote. If it doesn't, again, then there will be hell to pay.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Re-Posted From 2006: For Halloween-Eve...

One of my favorite, most favorite, most favoritest-favorite artists in the whole world is the wonderful Edward Gorey. He was not only an illustrator, but a prolific author as well. So, for Halloween Eve, please enjoy one of my favorite Edward Gorey stories:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

30 Minutes of Hope

I watched it. Did you watch it? I liked it. Did you like it?

It's amazing, the difference between a thoughtful, intelligent, articulate scholar & statesman like Obama, versus the inarticulate, dishonest, halfwitted dullard George W Bush.

Hope appears on the horizon.

By the way, here is a nostalgic Constantly Amazed History Moment: From 2004, one of my very first blog posts ever. Back before "change" became a political motto, I wrote "It's Never Too Late To Speak for Change," a post that sort of explains why I have been doing this for four years. I am saddened to say that it still rings true after all this time. Let's hope it's different this time around.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

IMPORTANT!



IMPORTANT!

The repukes have already enacted laws to steal your vote! I am not just spouting off here. I am serious. Electronic voting machines are already demonstrating malfunctions that are switching democrat votes to republican. The "Help America Vote Act" (so named in the opposite-speak parlance of the right wing) has and is purging millions of qualified voters from the rolls, voters who are most likely to vote democratic. And do you think your safe with a mail-in vote? Think again! Unless you are very, very careful, your vote will be stolen from you. Don't let it happen! Please click on the link above for more. I'll try to add updates.

I have said it a hundred times before: The republicans are planning to steal the election through vote tampering. AGAIN. Please don't let them succeed!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Emperor's New Clothes

I find it amusing (or weird) that the mainstream media either hasn't noticed, or is ignoring the fact, that the republican nominee for president is running on a platform that is 180 degrees opposite of conservative. Weirder still, republicans (they used to call themselves conservative) don't seem to care, and democrats aren't taking the opportunity to point it out, either.

The definition of conservatism is to conserve the status quo. To maintain what is established and resist change. To employ tried-and-true methods and embrace traditional values. To surround ones self with the familiar. To stay the course. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it is broke, fix it but for god’s sake don’t include any design improvements. If it stays fixed, don’t fix it. If it breaks again, fix it but for god’s sake don’t include any design improvements. If it…” you get the picture. Often, it involves a desire to return to an idealized version of the past.

Now, let’s look at the Republican party catchphrases for this election (in other words, their sales pitch):

"Change."
"Reform."
"Standing up against their own party."

Huh?! None of that has anything to do with conservatism. Not one bit. Yet those are the pillars of their campaign.

Change. They had to jump on this one after Obama used it and everyone liked it, a lot. Now the republican candidate says they’re the real party of change, the kind "you can believe in." The only change they're good for is changing their message to steal another candidate's thunder. Any way you slice it, "change" and "conservative" are incompatible. Together, they're an oxymoron. On the republican ticket, they say, "desperate enough to acknowledge the failure of conservative values and their rejection by most people."

Reform: Reform is the exact opposite of what conservatism is all about. Honestly – is there one member of the red team that has ever spent a moment in a political science class? Or did they learn all they needed to know about politics, and society from talk radio? It's so laughably ironic that the party that once elevated their pronoun-challenged mantra “stay the course” to the level of Gregorian chant now pins its hopes on candidates who sing the praises of “reform”. And the fact that McCain's first defense of Palin's credentials is always her supposed record as a "reformer" is so funny in it's idological perversity that it must have real conservatives sobbing with laughter. Or just sobbing.

“Standing up against your own party.” OMG! Can you believe that nonconformism is now a preferred value of the establishment party!? The republican party!? The ones who spent the dawn of the 21st century striving to create a permanent republican majority, the ones who threatened to punish anyone who dared deal with a democrat, the ones who made it clear in no uncertain terms that party loyalty was more important than human life; you were with ‘em or against ‘em, and if you were against the republicans you were against god and country. Now the republicans' candidate for president is boasts about how he "stood up against his own party." He also chastises Obama for not "stand up" against the democratic party (as if that even matters: maybe, during his time in congress, Obama didn't need to oppose his party. Ever think of that, John McStupid?).

Anyway, is this the most backward logic or what: the republican party wants you to think that they are running the candidate who opposed the party who is running the candidate. In the words of Mickey Goldmill, "Shrewd."

Have you ever seen the movie Little Nicky? Remember Jon Lovitz’ character, who would do something evil, then be punished while screaming, “I deserve this! I deserve this!” There’s the new republican party mascot.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

At least they're consistent

For quite a while, my blog posts, when I do produce one, are usually negative. That’s because I am one of those people who is more inspired to blog about the injustices of the world than about the niceties. My passions for social and political commentary are driven by my fury at those terrible things, those wrongs that must be righted before I can ever find peace.

When I described being overwhelmed in my last post, I neglected to describe one of the symptoms, which has a direct effect on blogging. That is, I find it difficult to focus and concentrate on a topic when my head is filled with the cacophony of badness that we are left with at the last days of the Bush administration. So as I return to blogging proper, I want to start throwing out random topics and try to weed the mental garden so that I may ultimately try to shine a positive light in here sometimes.

There are two things that are biggies with me, as far as blogging goes, and they are both interconnected as current reports come to light. They are:

1. Hypocrisy, my biggest pet peeve, which is something I truly believe is the glue that holds the republican party together. I can’t think of a single issue about which republicans and so-called “conservatives” are not hypocrites. I am open to being proven wrong about that, but so far it hasn’t happened.

2. Election fraud / voter fraud. I am passionate about this subject. It is the thing that really drove me to really get into political blogging. I maintain (as you probably know) that the republican party cannot win a fair election, and they are well aware of that. So, they must engage in completely unethical practices involving voter suppression, election fraud, and all manner of un-American acts which are such an insult to democracy and to our Constitution, that they are easily defined as treason.

Where does this leave us today? Well, there is a mountain of evidence of election and voter fraud that has been and is being perpetrated by the Republican party. They realized many years ago that they can't win if people vote, because more people vote for democrats.
Paul Weyrich — a principal architect of today's Republican Party — scolded evangelicals who believed in democracy. "They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote... As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." thanks nunya for that link

Voters say they were duped into registering as Republicans

Study Finds States Purging Millions of Voters in Secret

And check out Nunya's posts here and here.
At the same time, the repukes try to draw attention away from their insidious activities by pointing the finger of blame where no blame exists:
Despite the screaming wall-to-wall coverage of "Democratic voter fraud in 11 swing states" as seen on Fox News and even the once-respectable CNN, none of it's true. None of it.
And of course, there is my old post that is still important:
Restored: 20 Amazing Facts about Voting in the USA.
Again, the Republicans know full well that they cannot win an election unless they cheat. Oh, and did I forget to mention that Joe the plumber is a fake?!.

Here is what I believe, and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong: WHATEVER A REPUBLICAN SAYS IS THE OPPOSITE OF THE TRUTH.

UPDATE:
Other important resources concerning republican election tampering are here, and here.


Also, see the video below.



Now, I'd like to close with something a little more upbeat, thanks to a link via betmo:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No More Apologies

I have been so bad about posting in my blog that, quite frankly, my apologies are beginning to annoy even me. My few remaining loyal readers and blog buddies deserve better.

Do any of you remember when I was at my blogging peak (i.e., the good old days)? I used to get comments like, “Man, where do you find those amazing links?”, and, “Right on, well said!”, and, “You’re pathetic, you liberal socialist un-American unpatriotic unreligious worm… you’ll become one of us someday, you’ll see!”

Yeah, there was a time when I would stay up all night composing eloquent and complex rebuttals to right-wing bloggers and their insipid, asinine commentary. And man, there were some fire-on-the-fingertips moments, believe me.

I began this blog in September 2004, hoping to add my voice to the many who knew how bad the BushCheney regime was, long before it became hip to be aware of it. It was a real uphill battle back then, remember? We were regarded as the fringe. Weirdos, hollering out in the green park of conservative consumerist complacency. The curtains were drawn in the McMansions where the worshippers at the alter of St. Ronnie could practice chants to “support the troops” and protect against the war on Christmas.

Still, we were riding high, us “Bush-haters” (that term was once used to dismiss us as shallow and reactionary; now it is simply a description of about 90% of the world’s population). Even in the face of adversity, we were the elite practitioners of reason in a sea of madness. I, for one, am extremely proud to say that I opposed the war against Iraq from day one, and said so at the time, before I ever even started blogging.

Like many, I was posting every day. I felt driven to do so, first to proclaim the importance of voting out Bush in 2004; then in response to the stolen election and the Kerry betrayal (concede my ass, Mr. Skull-N-Bones). At my peak I was contributing to three different blogs, one of which is based in France and is still successful, while the other fell apart after I left due to a troll (remind me to tell you that story).

But something happened… not just to me, but other blog-buddies of mine. Posts became less frequent, and some blogs folded up altogether (others continue with a vengeance and to them I offer my heartfelt thanks and compliments to their strength and perseverance). I think what happened is this: we expected the badness of the BushCheney administration to plateau and maintain at some point, at which time, it stands to reason, they would either have to be brought to justice, or at least be made to not commit any further treasonous and vile acts against this country or the rest of the world. But instead, it just got worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, until it seemingly could not get any worse at all. Then, just to make matters, well, worse… it did.

So here we are. And here I am: burned out somewhat and simply exhausted by the sheer enormity, the vastness, of the evil of the “right” and the harm the Bush administration has inflicted on our world. Every day I collect links to items about what they have done, and it is too much. I don’t mean that as a catchphrase, either. I mean there is so much horribleness to what they do, constantly and relentlessly, that it is too much to catalog and consume.

So, I guess I just need to simplify, rather than try to keep up with everything, and post more simply and more positively (WWTDLD*?) Early in the life of this blog, I promised I would carry it through at least until GWBush is removed from office. I can surely do that, and I hope to keep going and add my other artistic interests to the blog (I have said that before, but I always get overwhelmed by political issues and blog about those instead).

Please don’t sign me off just yet, blog buddies! (I wanted to say "my friends" but thanks to John McCain, I can never utter that phrase in good conscience again). I may be slow, but like Charley Brown’s Christmas tree, I have sincerity. Keep checking back!

*What Would the Dalai Lama Do?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Where Have I Been?

Where have I been? I haven't been blogging, that's obvious.

I don't know why I have gone for blogging breaks; I've written about it in the past as a way to make myself stop taking them, but I still do it. I'm back now, though, for a long time, I hope.

I started blogging in Oct 2004 and decided I wouldn't stop at least until the Bush regime was removed from power. It appears that day is on the horizon, but I am greatly disillusioned with the entire process. The democratic party has let us down so many times that I am back to considering them the lesser of two evils. What hopes I had following the 2006 congressional elections was dashed as the "democratic" congress refused to impeach the bush administration, approved mountains of money to continue their conquest of the middle east, and generally seemed to become the repukes' willing henchmen.

Who is worse: Dracula or Renfield? Dracula, obviously. Does that mean we admire Renfield so much that we want him to make all the rules and represent our interests in the world? Not for me, it doesn't. But our Dem leadership thinks we're satisfied with Renfield at the helm of the ship of state.

And you know what? They're right about that - most people seem to be satisfied with the lesser of two evils. Many are even more satisfied with the with the greater of two evils. Still more don't care much either way: a poll was taken decades ago that shows most Americans at the time actually opposed our own constitution, and I wouldn't be surprised if the situation has only gotten worse. If nothing else, we are most certainly all more controlled by corporate media than ever before.

So I become disillusioned and discouraged as things get worse and worse. This latest news about John Edwards, whom I previously endorsed as a good candidate (Kucinich will always be my #1 pick), is a deeply disappointing example. I thought he was worthy of my vote, and now I find out he's a philanderer and a liar. It's just another brick in the wall. And it's been like that for a while now.

So I become disillusioned and discouraged and remain so. Hopeful? Sure, there's always hope. The democrats, who in spite of being the sniveling lapdogs of the vile repukes, are still at least 1,000% less corrupt than the repukes are, could win. IF the repukes don't steal the election for a THIRD @#$%^ TIME.* Which they probably will. And if they don't, it won't matter much anyway; partly because the of damage they've done which won't be repaired in my lifetime, and partly because I predict they will wait until after the election, then go to war against Iran before January 2009, and leave the whole economic-political mess for the Democrats to repair/live with/be blamed for. And the Dems deserve it, because they didn't impeach the bastards and end the war in 2006 like we elected them to do.

* (Don't worry... this hasn't happened. Yet.)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Yay! A Site Appears on the 'Net Like Cool Water in the Desert: Republican Offenders

This is absolutely great! As some of you know, I have tied to compile links to sites and reports listing the many, many scandals of the republican right. Most of you are already aware of our old favorite, Armchairsubversive, which one of the most important sites on the 'net. But lately I have discovered a new site devoted to keeping track of all the rightwing depravity, hypocrisy, contempt for society, and sneering disregard for the rule of law that we have come to expect from the GOP (Grotesque Old Perverts).

The site is called (drumroll & fanfare, please) REPUBLICAN OFFENDERS, and it is absoluetly brilliant. It achieves the work that I have been lazily doing (okay, I've only been saving a folder of links), but on a grand and glorious scale that fits the importance of subject matter.

And why, some ask, do I consider this to be so important? Let's address that first. Many are convinced that all politicians are corrupt, and that the big two parties are equally guilty of transgression. Fair enough; I used to hold the same opinion. But since I began blogging in Oct 2004, my opinion has changed. I have done enough research online to be convinced (and I mean convinced, not swayed by passion or duped by unbalanced data) that the Republican party is far, far more corrupt than the Democratic party. When it comes down to the lesser of two evils, as it inevitably does for me every election, the Democrats win hands down.

This is largely due to the Republicans' constantly proclaiming themselves to be morally superior to all others (especially democrats). They insist that they are God's chosen political party and that they do no wrong, they are the source and protectors of "family vaues" and all things good and righteous, they are the only practitioners of sexual morality and socioeconomic fairness, and want nothing more than to spread freedom and democracy and to all, with the added bonus of leading all to heaven as they are the only ones who know where it is and how to get there.

HYPOCRITES! LIARS!

The reason Republicans are about 10,000 times worse than Democrats on the corruption scale is their hypocrisy. They lie cheat and steal without remorse, they commit the most disgusting acts of depravity, but worst of all, they do all that while piously proclaiming their moral & spiritual superiority. If they would just own up to their actions; if just one Republican pedophile or whoremonger or whatever would admit (especially after being proven guilty) what they did and accept responsibility like an adult and apologize for their actions, then I could accept them as, like I said, responsible adults who erred and are willing to accept the consequences of their actions.

Instead, the scenario is usually more like this: A rightwng Republican (male in this case) spends his entire career condemning homsexuality as an unpardonable sin, and telling his voters to support him because he'll protect them from the Democrats' "gay agenda". Soon we discover that same rightwing Republican has been enthusiastically taking it up the poop chute from his harem of young gay male prostitutes for years. He'll sob and beg forgiveness and his followers forgive him, because their God embraces concealed repressed sexual deviance and hey, a little distraction helps conceal the action going on in their own pews, ya know?

If the guy had been a true liberal, he could have accepted his sexual preference and formed a healthy relationship with a consenting adult and perhaps even participated in legislation to allow them to form a legal monogomous union. Instead, he chooses the conservative approach: repress his sexuality out of guilt, shame, and fear for his reputation among his equally hypocritical but judgemental peers, until that repression expresses itself through twisted perversion and drug-addled back-alley boner buffing as often as he can for as long as he can get away with it.

The massive hypocrisy of the political "right" is what makes their corruption far worse than anything the left is guilty of. As long as they maintain their "holier than thou" platform, we will be there to point out how very wrong they are.

Please, please visit the following links of you haven't already:

Armchairsubversive

Republican Offenders (possibly my new favorite site...)

Republican Sex Scandals Dwarf Those of Democrats

In the interest of balance, here are rightwingers' lists of Democrat scandals. I leave it to you to decide which carries more weight in light of Republicans' claim of moral superiority versus progressive liberals' more realistic claim that we are all human and must take responsibility for our actions.

Democrat Scandals

Sex Scandal Lineup (mixed left & right)

Top 10 Democrat Sex Scandals

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rightwing Regret

Okay, so this weekend we had a little get-together with inlaws... specifically my wife's sister, brother, and his wife. I like 'em all and we all get along fine... and they're all republicans, of two different types.

My brother-in-law and his wife are the sort of suburban vote-against-their-own-interest republicans - the kind who condemn liberalism while spending their lives cashing in on liberal democrat policies. I mean, he works for the City, great salary and tons of benefits at taxpayer expense (and has used them a lot to the extent that they have saved his life and those of his children), bought his home through HUD, pro-union, etc., yet voted for Bush/Cheney right down the line. Whatever - like I said, I like them, and ignorance is a forgivable sin.

But my sister-in-law is more of a social conservative. Fundamentalist Christian, "pro-life" (I call it pro-birth), and pro-Bush. She believes what she's told by the right, and is so averse to conflict that, driven to practice avoidance as a coping mechanism, she would not be able to face the truth about the horrors that have been been committed in her name by the Bush/Cheney regime. I like her, too.

But here is the interesting part: at the end of the day, after the others had gone home and the sister-in-law lingered, the conversation got around to current quality of life. The price of groceries, etc. And my sister-in-law expressed great concern about how bad things are... "Why?" she would ask, "why are these food prices so high? What's going on!?" And so on, about gas prices, healthcare, etc. She's a nurse, by the way, and says the hospital she works for is losing money, etc. (and you know how much they charge).

It was really sad. I should have felt vindicated; that here was a "loyal Bushie" who is now reaping the bitter harvest of her support for the republican administration and it's eight years of insane and destructive policies, which have affected many different aspects of her life. I tried to explain to her that the food is expensive because the fuel used to produce it and transport it is so expensive, among other things. I tried to explain that a single payer healthcare system would be an improvement over the profit-first exploitation-medicince practiced in this country. I tried to explain that the "happiness level" in countries where people pay taxes to receive basic needs in return, such as healthcare and education, is higher than it is in America, where the corporate plutocracy is striving to revert to a Dickensian industrial age where the "middle class" no longer exists.

I explained my philosophy that the whole purpose of forming societies is so that the group can contribute to the common good; so that basic needs can be met by all. These include clean water, healthcare, and education. Those three things should be available, for free, to all, paid for by fair taxation.

To my surprise, she enthusiastically agreed. This Bush supporting, war supporting, anti-choice, fundamentalist, agreed with a philosophy of full-blown progressive liberalism. Of course, she didn't realize that's what she was agreeing to - if she did, it would be too much of a shock for her (and I mean that literally, not just as a figure of speech).

I imagine the conversation we had has been going on all over the country. Bush/Cheney supporters are suddenly confronted with the fruits of their actions. Whether they were innocent victims, "values voters" who were duped by the rhetoric, or foxophiles who knew what they were doing, some of them may now be realizing that their actions just may have been the cause of immense difficulty for millions of people all over the world (not to mention the agonizing death and maiming of so many others).

I know one, at least, who is shocked by the price-per-pound of bananas... one who may realize, too little too late, that she helped set the price herself.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wow... constantly amazed, again.

Yes, amazingly, Randi Rhodes is outta there at Air America radio. And good for her, I say. The state of progressive radio in this country is pretty anemic, and in the Sacramento CA area, the capitol city of the so-called leftest state in the west, it is absolutely non-existant. Really - anyone who can find a lefty radio station around there, please let me know. And Air America, once the great hope of progressive radio, has done more harm than good to our cause.

Not too long ago, they booted one of my heroes, Mike Malloy. Why? Who knows. Maybe they have a death wish, or maybe they are rightwing wolves in sheeps clothing. Either way, the decision sucked. They were on thin ice, damnit.

Then, recently, they suspended Randi Rhodes for calling Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro "fucking whores" at a live gig that, as far as I know, was not an Air America event. Air America suspended her - so much for free fucking speech. It's okay for Dick Cheney to tell a senator to "go fuck himself" on the floor of the senate, but it's not okay for Randi Rhodes to swear at a live gig. Ooo, swearing... how fucking sinful. What would Air America do if a stand up comic like Lenny Bruce or George Carlin was guesting on one of their shows? Censor them?

Well, she definitely has the last laugh now! She landed at the same radio home that landed Mike Malloy! Woo Hoo! She's now at Nova M radio, who run KPHX 1480 in Phoenix, of all places. I say that because as some know, I am from AZ and lived in Phoenix, including the early/mid 80's when talk radio as we know it was in its infancy and growing into the monster it would soon become. Talk radio in Phoenix started out with a healthy mix of right & left opinion, enthusiastic but not as hateful as it is now. Soon, however, Phoenix followed the national trend and became overwhelmed by rightwing radio. But now... Wow!

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I realized that Phoenix has become home to some badass progressive talk radio, far more than Sacramento has to offer. Is that sad or what!? Geez! And as icing on the cake, they also have Stephanie Miller and Rachel Maddow, more of my favorites... I swear, I am not a paid endorser. But this is a dream team for me.

Anyway, I am hoping Randi and Mike Malloy and all are met with huge sucess in the southwest. Rock on, truthseekers.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Shopping Day, Part 2

Okay, so after we're done grocery shopping, coming out of the store, there's a guy with a little table there with stacks of forms in clipboards.

"Sign a petition?" he asks.

"What is it for?" we reply.

He had several petitions for people to sign, and briefly explained each one. They were related to various local issues - redistricting, methamphetamine-related crime, etc. But one of them was to enact a law to define marriage as being only between a man and a woman. Yawn. We said what Amy Winehouse said when they tried to make her go to rehab.

Now, as progressive bloggers, we see this tired old chestnut dredged up over and over again. And each time, I ask myself, what are conservatives afraid of? And they are afraid. I mean, whenever they address the subject of 'gay marriage' they always use the language of fear: the "Defense of Marriage Act," and so on, always constructing their rhetoric and catchphrases in the language of defense in the face of imminent danger. They don't just proclaim a preference for heterosexual marriage, they proclaim it is under attack and threatened with extinction.

My suspicion is that they are not afraid, but they are aware that fear is the best tool to motivate the public, and so they use it to achieve their ends. But as for the people who are so concerned about gay marriage that they are willing to go to great expense to try to eradicate it, are more likely to be motivated by a reaction to their own repressed sexual identity issues. So, these reactionaries feel that if gay marriage gains acceptance, they will not be able to resist the feelings they labor so hard to suppress. It's their own marriages they're worried about, not ours.

Ironically, one of the reasons they cite as justification for their cause is their belief that the "homosexual lifestyle" involves a lot of promiscuity. Their solution to that is to enact legislation designed to prevent gays from forming monogomous relationships. So, they promote monogamy by denying people the right to be monogomous. Brilliant.

I think that any mentally competant adult who is legally able to enter into a contract agreement has the same right to enter into a civil marriage contract. If they want to hold different values for religious marriage, that's fine. If their church won't recognize their marriage, that's a separate matter from the legal contract that is civil marriage, which is the right of every consenting adult couple, despite the righty-tighties' rhetorical fear-mongering.

Still, as I have in past posts and other blogs' comment sections, I ask the same longstanding question and challenge any right-winger to answer: What are they afraid of? Why do they feel threatened? From what does heterosexual marriage need to be "defended"?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Shopping Day, Part 1

Well, Sunday was grocery shopping day for my wife and I, so why not share the mundanities of that activity in what was once a highly-charged political blog? After all, politics seems to have "trickled down" to the grocery store lately, for many of us. So, to begin, here is a nice little shopping list from an article at Organic Consumers dot org:
QUICK FACTS OF THE WEEK: A NATION BUILT ON UNSUSTAINABILITY - FUEL, FOOD, AND DEBT

With trucking diesel fuel prices now over $4 per gallon in many locations, food prices are reaching an all time high, since the average grocery store item has traveled 1500-3500 miles.

Over the past year, alone, consumers have been forced to pay significantly more for staples like eggs (25 percent), milk (17 percent), cheese (15 percent), bread (12 percent), and rice (13 percent). This is partially due to increased costs of transportation and partially due to massive amounts of cropland being converted to biofuel production. As a result, consumers are paying more for their food and paying $15 billion in increased taxes per year for biofuel subsidies.

Fuel prices have nearly doubled the expenses of commuters over the last year. Recent polls show a strong majority of U.S. citizens are in favor of allocating a larger portion of the federal budget for mass transportation.

In contrast, the amount of federal money earmarked for mass transit projects (example: rail and bus) has been reduced by nearly 70% since the Bush Administration took over in 2001.

A record number of consumers are using credit cards to pay for increased fuel costs. Although the recession has negatively impacted employment, the New York Times reports one of the few booming occupations in the current job market is as a Debt Collector.

Since 2001, the top five oil companies have increased their annual profits by an average of 500%.
Thank goodness I have a liberal supply of stored fat to get me through the lean times. Between that and not being able to afford gas, I'll soon be a lean, mean, coupon-clipping machine.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Codependent Quoterama

Earlier this month on my easter post I noted the following quotes:

George Washington:
"The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine."

Adolph Hitler:
"The national government... will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality.”

Well, I found a couple of others that are as heartwarming:

George W. Bush:
"I believe that God wants me to be president."

Adolph Hitler (again):
"I would like to thank Providence and the Almighty for choosing me of all people to be allowed to wage this battle for Germany."

Maybe we can find some codependent quotes for Cheney/Stalin!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Finally, my 2 cents on the Obama church thing.

I'm late jumping on this bandwagon, but since it is still simmering, I just thought I would comment on this story-that-should-be-a-non-story about Obama and his church minister's provocative remarks.

First, an anology. I have a longtime friend who is also a blogger, and often reads this blog (howdy, dude!). He and I have known each other for many years. And, in that time, we have had many spirited debates about all kinds of subjects including politics, society, and culture. Each of us has made statements that the other disagreed with wholeheartedly. Sometimes those discussions were pretty dynamic. But in the end, we each were able to recognize that specific opinions are only fragments of the whole psychology, and our appreciation of the whole person superceded any problems we had with one opinion. And that, I think, would be the situation between Obama and this minister. Association does not mean absolute adherence to identical opinions. It just means you have a friend and you don't have to agree with every single word they utter.

Besides, there's really one hell of a double standard in the media attention here. For example, as described in this article:
Rudy Giuliani's priest has been accused in grand jury proceedings of molesting several children and covering up the molestation of others. Giuliani would not disavow him on the campaign trail and still works with him.

Mitt Romney was part of a church that did not view black Americans as equals and actively discriminated against them. He stayed with that church all the way into his early thirties, until they were finally forced to change their policies to come into compliance with civil rights legislation. Romney never disavowed his church back then or now. He said he was proud of the faith of his fathers.

Jerry Falwell said America had 9/11 coming because we tolerated gays, feminists and liberals. It was our fault. Our chickens had come home to roost, if you will. John McCain proudly received his support and even spoke at his university's commencement.

Reverend John Hagee has called the Catholic Church the "Great Whore." He has said that the Anti-Christ will rise out of the European Union (of course, the Anti-Christ will also be Jewish). He has said all Muslims are trained to kill and will be part of the devil's army when Armageddon comes (which he hopes is soon). John McCain continues to say he is proud of Reverend Hagee's endorsement.

Reverend Rod Parsley believes America was founded to destroy Islam. Since this is such an outlandish claim, I have to add for the record, that he is not kidding. Reverend Parsley says Islam is an "anti-Christ religion" brought down from a "demon spirit." Of course, we are in a war against all Muslims, including presumably Muslim-Americans. Buts since Parsley believes this is a Christian nation and that it should be run as a theocracy, he is not very concerned what Muslim-Americans think. John McCain says Reverend Rod Parsley is his "spiritual guide."
If a candidate's support of, or from, volatile religious leaders with big mouths and small brains is a reason to condemn, then let's be fair, shall we?

Better yet, just get religion the hell out of government.

I think religion sucks, and I approved this message.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Oestre, Or, My Employer Wants Me To Be Wiccan!?

Here is my fourth annual reprint of tidbits from my original constantly amazing easter post. This one goes out in honor of my place of employment, who, in an apparent attempt to be inclusive and politically correct, sent out a flyer to inform us of a celebration of the "spring equanox [sic]". More on the irony of that below. For now: Happy Oestre, Pagans!

Easter's Pagan Origins
Many, perhaps most, Pagan religions in the Mediterranean area had a major seasonal day of religious celebration at or following the Spring Equinox. Cybele, the Phrygian fertility goddess, had a fictional consort who was believed to have been born via a virgin birth. He was Attis, who was believed to have died and been resurrected each year during the period March 22 to 25. "About 200 B.C. mystery cults began to appear in Rome just as they had earlier in Greece. Most notable was the Cybele cult centered on Vatican hill...Associated with the Cybele cult was that of her lover, Attis (the older Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, or Orpheus under a new name). He was a god of ever-reviving vegetation. Born of a virgin, he died and was reborn annually. The festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday and culminated after three days in a day of rejoicing over the resurrection."

Wherever Christian worship of Jesus and Pagan worship of Attis were active in the same geographical area in ancient times, Christians "used to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus on the same date; and pagans and Christians used to quarrel bitterly about which of their gods was the true prototype and which the imitation."

Many religious historians believe that the death and resurrection legends were first associated with Attis, many centuries before the birth of Jesus. They were simply grafted onto stories of Jesus' life in order to make Christian theology more acceptable to Pagans. Others suggest that many of the events in Jesus' life that were recorded in the gospels were lifted from the life of Krishna, the second person of the Hindu Trinity. Ancient Christians had an alternative explanation; they claimed that Satan had created counterfeit deities in advance of the coming of Christ in order to confuse humanity. Modern-day Christians generally regard the Attis legend as being a Pagan myth of little value. They regard Jesus' death and resurrection account as being true, and unrelated to the earlier tradition.

Wiccans and other modern-day Neopagans continue to celebrate the Spring Equinox as one of their 8 yearly Sabbats (holy days of celebration). Near the Mediterranean, this is a time of sprouting of the summer's crop; farther north, it is the time for seeding. Their rituals at the Spring Equinox are related primarily to the fertility of the crops and to the balance of the day and night times. Where Wiccans can safely celebrate the Sabbat out of doors without threat of religious persecution, they often incorporate a bonfire into their rituals, jumping over the dying embers is believed to assure fertility of people and crops.
Oh, cool! This means that my employer is encouraging us to celebrate one of the 8 Wiccan Sabbats! Ha ha ha!

More about Easter
In Norway, in addition to skiing in the mountains and painting eggs for decorating, it is tradition to solve murders at Easter. All the major television channels show crime and detective stories (such as Poirot), magazines print stories where the readers can try to figure out who did it, and many new books are published. Even the milk cartons change to have murder stories on their sides. Another tradition is Yahtzee games.

In the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, a tradition of whipping is carried out on Easter Monday. In the morning, males whip females with a special handmade whip... [consisting] of eight, twelve or even twenty-four withies (willow rods) and is usually from half a meter to two meters long and decorated with coloured ribbons at the end. It must be mentioned that while whipping can be painful, the purpose is not to cause suffering. Rather, the purpose is for males to exhibit their attraction to females; unvisited females can even feel offended. The whipped female gives a coloured egg to the male as a sign of her thanks and forgiveness. A legend says that females should be whipped in order to keep their health and fertility during whole next year. In some regions the females can get revenge in the afternoon when they can pour a bucket of cold water on any male.
Call it Easter, Spring Solstice, Fertility, Jesus, Rabbits, or whatever... even the celebration of the marketing of hideous crap.

Finally, a constantly amazing blog post is nothing without my obligatory political section [link]
George Washington:
"The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine."

Adolph Hitler:
"The national government... will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality.”
So, happy easter, everyone... another ancient pagan ritual celebrating the natural order of things. Seasons change. New life appears, and old things pass away. Constantly Amazing, isn't it?