Saturday, September 25, 2010

Teh Gay

First of all, there will be opinions expressed here that may cause controversy. Sorry 'bout that chief, but that's the way it is.

To begin with, let's correct some of the rhetoric surrounding the “gay” issue. I'm tired of having to point out to people, being gay is NOT “normal”; it is “natural” without being “normal”. According to Merriam-Webster, “Definition of NORMAL 2a : according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle”; whereas “natural” “Definition of NATURAL 2a : being in accordance with or determined by nature b: having or constituting a classification based on features existing in nature.” In short, in other words, though being gay is NOT the “norm”, it is fully natural, i.e., there is nothing condemnable about being or not being “gay”.

Let's stipulate that peoples' sexual orientation is none of my business; the only time it becomes my business is when it comes to my being propositioned. I tend to agree with Heinlein on this one; it is always nice to be asked, I don't have to agree to it but it is nonetheless nice to be asked. However, someone's sexual practices have absolutely nothing to do with me. Unless I ask someone about the topic, it is not something that generally comes up in conversation. I don't bang on about my personal sexual orientation and don't really care to explore others' orientation.

As to the question of “choosing” to be gay or heterosexual, one needs to ask of those “heterosexuals” when did they “choose” to be heterosexual? All of us, every man jack out here, have both homosexual and heterosexual aspects. It's very similar to the old Carlin routine where, as George said, “You're in the dark, rubbing up against someone, kissing and fondling, having a good time and, when someone turns on the light and you find out the person you were fondling turns out to be the same sex, we're all trained to shriek “ABNORMAL” and run into the night screaming. But, it felt good.” In other words, what Carlin was saying is that the actions themselves were pleasing but our cultural training says it is something evil. Nonsense!

Do people “choose” to be gay? I don't know, do people “choose” to be heterosexual? If quizzed, I wouldn't be able to tell anyone when I “became” heterosexual, I just noticed early on that I liked girls, even before anything of a sexual nature had developed. Do people “choose” to become a despised minority? I doubt it. I'm certain some people “choose” to express their “gay” side (bad experiences with the opposite sex are quite possible to cause one to “choose” not to repeat those).

What I have long contended, unless one is having sex in public, either heterosexual or homosexual, one's orientation is absolutely immaterial. After all, there are laws on the books regarding PDA (public displays of affection) and, though I believe such laws may go a bit far, I feel they should be applicable no matter what kind of “affection” is being displayed.

In conclusion, whether one “chooses” their orientation or they come by it “naturally”, that should hardly be any kind of a criteria of evaluating a person. Of course, it goes without saying that I have friends, close friends, who are gay. So? I did NOT choose them because they were gay, I chose them because of who they are as people. Period.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Kill the Democratic and Republican Parties? Why Not?

I have (mainly) held my tongue in regard to the present “liberal” Democratic (mal)administration. It has been almost a full year since the Obama administration has taken the reins and, on the basis of that track record, contrary to Obama's self appraisal of his governance as a B+, I would be forced to grade his administration to date as a D- if not an F!

Obama and his henchmen rode into Washington as “change we can believe in” and promptly changed....nothing! Certainly, Obama said he was going to close down Guantanamo, but he backed down on that promise. The first order of business for the Obama administration in dealing with the financial crisis brought upon us by the Wall Street banksters flood Wall Street with TRILLIONS of dollars in outright gifts and “quantitative easing” (cash) so as to enable the banksters to reopen the frozen lines of credit to small businesses and individuals. The result? The TBTF (To Big To Fail) Wall Street banks still remain close fisted in regard to reestablishing normal credit flows while, simultaneously, showering themselves with multi-million dollar bonuses for a “job well done”! However, anyone who bothered to notice would note that the very economic advisors Obama surrounded himself with were, primarily, Clinton era retreads, many of whom were directly involved in demolishing the very FDR era regulations that were put in place specifically to keep the Wall Street banksters somewhat reined in.

Unfortunately, this is the same tune that the Obama administration has played on a variety of issues. Instead of breaking, openly and flagrantly, with the horrendous practices of the GW Bush (mal)administration, time and time again the Obama (mal)administration has happily embraced virtually ALL of the GW Bush era violations of the Constitution and the citizens' Constitutional rights. Rather than “do the right thing” and bring Bush era goons (including Bush and Cheney) before the bar of justice, the Obama (mal)administration has focused on “looking forward and not backward” and allowed that group of monstrous miscreants to run scot-free! I suppose that means that, should I ever be accused of a crime but am not caught red handed in the act, when I come before the judge I could say, “Your Honor, let's look forward and not backward” and be acquitted? Not bloody likely!

Regrettably, I could go on and on and on citing similar insane arguments made by this (mal)administration to excuse or even continue discredited policies from the previous (mal)administration, but to what end? Suffice it to say that this is hardly what one would call “change”.

Unfortunately, the Republicans are, if it can be imagined, even worse. I say this because, as has been demonstrated during the GW Bush (mal)administration, even at their nadir of public support there was a good 25-30% of the voting public that STILL supported all the manifold heinous policies of that (mal)administration! What that translates to, in raw numbers, is that some 75,000,000 (out of some 300,000,000) Americans are raving lunatics or, at least, closet fascists who will always side with “the powers that be”. Is it now so difficult to understand how Nazi Germany became Nazi?

The Democratic Party has become nothing more no less that Republican light inasmuch as they are funded by essentially the same forces (F.I.R.E. sector, Big Pharma, “health” care sector, et sim) as their Republican legislators. Furthermore, the Republicans simply refuse to even try to constructively address the manifold problems destroying this nation. The ONLY solution the Republicans have to any and all problems is “tax cuts” (for the wealthiest 1%) and less regulation, even though it has been more than adequately demonstrated that these “solutions” simply DO NOT WORK! The Democrats, on the other hand, to attempt to achieve some semblance of “bipartisanship”, have continually accepted Republican tropes, undercut their own principles and STILL weren't able to enlist any real Republican support!

If nothing else, the GW Bush (mal)administration finally proved that the Republican tropes of “cut taxes, cut regulations” are simply useless. However, the Rahm Emanuels (like Bubba Clinton before him) are politicking using the “triangulation” strategy. YOU CANNOT TRIANGULATE between totally unworkable (the Republican trope) and marginally workable (the Democratic alternative) and come out with a practicable policy. For all their myriad failures, the Republicans at least do one thing; they stick to their guns, maniacally, and refuse to budge. The Democrats, on the other hand, either know nothing about bargaining (you start by going for your most maximal demands and then bargain down; you don't start with a compromised position and bargain down from there)!

Horrid as it is to say, I have to agree with Lenin's maxim that to make radical change one needs to make matters WORSE to bring matters to a head. As it is, the American public is constantly faced with a choice of picking the lesser of two evils. Eventually, following this logic, the entire system becomes more and more evil (for, if you always must choose between evils, your choice will always be, of necessity, evil). As mentioned above, the Republicans are past masters at sticking to their maximalist positions while the Democrats are constantly yielding their positions and trending more and more toward the Republican position. We have now come to a pass where the differences between Democratic and Republican positions are negligible, at best.

The Republican Party has shown (at least since Reagan) that they ONLY rule for the top 1% of the population. If for no other reason, this in and of itself is a sufficient indictment for the termination of the Republican Party. By the same token, since the Democrats have insisted on becoming nothing more nor less than Republican light, they too have signed their own death warrant. It is well past time to draw down the curtain on both these diseased and discredited political parties and start anew. Perhaps, this time, we can end up with AT LEAST one party whose constituency will be the vast majority of the American people. Slim hope but at least it is a possibility.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

It's NOT just racism...

As the brainless bovine that make up the birther/deather/teabagger crowd emit their fact less, logic less squeals primarily about Obama, many commentators of the left/liberal variety jump on the “it's racism!” bandwagon. True, as far as it goes, many of the mindless gasbags are, at their core, racists. Many of those who lament “We want our country back!” are those that want the fictional white, middle class utopia depicted in “Leave it to Beaver” back. Sigh! Those days really never were, as I should know since I was alive back then and have memories of that era. But, this is what they want.

However, these self same regressive poo flingers are, in the main, adamantly against the very things that made the comfortable middle class life possible during the Eisenhower era. Most are adamantly against unions, though it was unions that won many of the labor victories that made the 5-day work week, the 8-hour work day and a decent, livable wage a reality. They would foam at the mouth and scream “Socialism!” were the government to go back to the Eisenhower era top marginal tax rate of 91% for those making over $3 million a year. They would go beyond apoplectic were Obama to send federal troops into a state to enforce federal law on equal access to affordable housing as Eisenhower sent federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce Brown v. Board.

All this being said, the opposition to Obama and the Democrats is not merely racist. It is a deeper, more malevolent, more malignant kind of opposition. It is an opposition that anyone representing/holding a more liberal viewpoint, no matter what the issue, is illegitimate and, therefore, unfit to rule. These are the "monarchists" in today's society who feel that they, and they alone, are morally superior enough to rule. Though these sentiments of the ruling elite are mouthed by many who “the ruling class” thoroughly despise, they are merely parroting the noxious talking points fed them by that self same “ruling class” (├╝ber rich elitists with an over inflated opinion of their own self worth). These talking points are spewed out by the multiple paps of the reichwing Wurlitzer (O'Reilly, Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, etc. ad nauseam), who hold themselves out as “average Joes” simply “telling it like it is”. The fact that they are multi-millionaires with absolutely no knowledge of life in the trenches as experienced by the vast majority of their audience seems to be of no consequence. For the purpose of leading their muttonheaded flock, they assume the mantle of “the common man” though in no wise actually having any real, personal knowledge of what the real common man faces. They are isolated in their luxurious ivory towers, having no truck with the common peasants living in squalor, whose sole purpose, according to these wealthy charlatans, is to serve them.

Let us not forget, for all the truly despicable actions of Bill Clinton, he was not guilty of the vast majority of false charges claimed by the self same rabble that is now clamoring for the head of Obama. Clinton was a war criminal, he was a poseur as champion of “the people” while selling them and their interests down the river; all this is true. He was not, however, the murderer of Vince Foster, he was not an accomplished land manipulator (he and Hillary actually lost money on White Water). Virtually all of the charges that excited the hottest denunciations of Clinton and his wife by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy were, quite simply, baseless. Again, in the case of Clinton as in the case of Obama, that minority (the mega-wealthy, over-privileged class) are adamantly fixed in opposition simply because they have absolutely no desire to have one iota of their power and privilege eroded to devolve to the masses.

So, remember, it is not simply racism, it is a wicked though small cabal of rich elitists who want more for themselves and less for everyone else.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Let's talk health care, shall we?

OK, I've held fire over the entire health care debate, hoping against hope that the Congress and Obama administration would, finally, forsake the imprecations of the highly funded health care combine (AMA, PharMa, AHIP, etc. ad nauseam), but that was not to be.

The absolute pile of crap that came out of Baucus' Senate Finance Committee showed just how beholden Baucus, Conrad, and Bingaman are to their primary funders, the out of state health care lobbies. The bill itself was drafted by one Liz Fowler who, until earlier this year, was an executive VP for the health care concern Wellpoint, Inc., primary owner of the majority of Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans in the U.S. So, this being the case, is it any surprise, whatsoever, that the Baucus Senate Finance Committee bill is just one great big wet kiss for the health care industry?

After last weekend's clueless gathering of mentally deficient “9/12ers” in D.C., one could only scratch one's head in bewilderment at how these people, the very people, by and large, that are and will continue to be screwed by the health care industry, were loudest at braying approval of the status quo. What is sobering is to realize that most of that crowd of unwashed, mouth breathing, knuckle dragging mental midgets can and probably do vote!

And, more astoundingly, though they raged and screamed about “socialist medicine” few, if any in that crowd, had ever actually experienced “socialized medicine” and had absolutely no idea what they were braying about. Contrary to the “masses” that showed their abject ignorance of the subject, I have actually experienced “socialized medicine” in both Europe and Canada. Again, contrary to all the “horror stories” of restrictions on providers, restrictions on procedures, interminable delays and scarcity, all of my experiences with European and Canadian health care were very salutary. When admitted to a hospital, after obtaining necessary personal data, I was quickly ushered to a hospital bed and was nursed and treated every bit as well as I ever had been in any American hospital. When going to the doctor I merely had to present my “health care ID” and got in to see the doctor in short order. When labs and tests were indicated, there was no major delay in obtaining them. And, most importantly, NO BILLS WERE TENDERED FOR ANY OF THIS CARE!

The pathetically weak, industry dominated Baucus bill is in no wise ANY KIND of “socialized health care”! It is a huge gift package for the health care industry, with “individual mandates” that would benefit the health insurance industry with MILLIONS of new “insured”, even if the only insurance available to many would be, essentially, worthless coverage. With literally dozens of ways for the insurance industry to game the system, Baucus' “health care reform” would, actually, be less than useless, it would be positively harmful!

Unfortunately, at this point it seems that the whole “health care reform” charade needs to be scrapped and, since it is manifestly obvious that the Republicans won't sign on to anything of consequence anyway, it needs to be redrafted from scratch. And, more importantly, when the redrafting begins, it should BEGIN from the standpoint of UNIVERSAL SINGLE PAYER! If necessary, then the universal single payer MAY be bargained down to a robust, heavily subsidized public plan. The public plan can be retained as a FALL BACK position, but it certainly shouldn't be the point of departure for a real health care reform plan.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Bail?
You betcha!

We are constantly being assailed, from all sides; the for profit media, government spokespersons, the talking heads on radio, TV and the inter-tubes, that there are companies and concerns that are “too big to fail”. They are “too big to fail” because, should they collapse, the economic reverberations would be too dire to contemplate. Therefore, due to their economic and political size, if they are in danger of failing it is incumbent upon the government (i.e., the taxpayers) to bail them out.

There is an excellent article today by Dave Lindorff, “Whatever Happened to Antitrust?”. He points out very clearly how much of the problems that the economy is now experiencing comes from the relaxation and non-enforcement of many of the antitrust laws. Many of these antitrust laws date back to the Theodore Roosevelt and Taft administrations. Unfortunately, this relaxation and non-enforcement of these antitrust rules cannot solely be laid at the feet of Bush the Lesser. It was during the Clinton administration that a premier anti-trust agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission, was abolished in 1995.

Additionally, IMHO, the entire concept of “too big to fail” is perverted and largely an aspect of the “American way of life”. The entire idea of “mass production” has morphed into unsupportable gigantism. Gigantism, by definition, “ a condition characterized by excessive growth...” (emphasis added). Certainly, mass production has led to lowering of price and increase of availability of most commodities. However, this very lowering of price and increase in availability has led to overproduction. For example, were we to produce fewer automobiles the prices of cars would go up. However, that would in turn mean that vehicles would be kept longer, maintained better and people would, of necessity, place a higher value on the vehicles they have. People would, in turn, stop thinking of cars as disposable commodities, hence slowing the rate of cars being junked.

Ah, I hear you say, “But! That would mean a slow down in growth! Our economy would crash!” Well, yes, the consumerist version of our economy would crash...and more the better! A great deal of our economic problems come from that self same consumerist economy. As we have become ever more a “throw away” culture, we have amped up the use of natural resources. As it is, the U.S. has only about 4% of the world's population yet we use about 25% of the world's resources! This while, all during the Cold War, we went about the world selling the “American way of life”. Now, that China and India are becoming more wealthy and aspire to the “American way of life”, one can readily see that that situation is insupportable. Were the rest of the world to adopt the “American way of life” at this moment, it would require 4 more Earths to supply the current world population! There are no other Earths out there to provide those resources. There are two and only two possible ways out of this predicament. Either the Earth's population, ourselves included, will have to drastically cut back on their consumption or drastically cut back on the world's population. Yes, neither is a very palatable choice but, that's what we are stuck with. We must go back to a time before Edward Bernays and his heirs and their public relations forced America (and the rest of the world) into our present consumerist culture, back to a pre-consumerist world. A world where a citizen's worth was not measured by their consumption. A world where one didn't discard perfectly good items simply to get the “latest and greatest” gadget to replace it. A world where items were economically reparable and where you didn't have to discard an otherwise operable item for lack of a replacement gear. Frugality is still a virtue.

Also, if we were to slow “economic growth” and bring back the idea of frugality and repairability, there would be a growth in the real economy, i.e., local appliance repair shops, local repair facilities of all kinds. Slowing “growth” is not a bad idea. Cutting back on consumption is a good idea. Promoting population control, worldwide, is a good idea. A modicum of sanity by politicians and polities would be a good idea. I fear it won't happen until material circumstances force it upon us.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Beware what you decide to believe in...

Perhaps now, with the ginned up, phony “outrage” (in many cases, paid for and subsidized by the mega corporations of the health care combine), people may understand where this commentary is coming from. Let me take, as an example, such as Rachel Maddow, who in general I highly praise and like.

OK Rachel, like many, many media types (but, especially liberals) was in full throated support of the “Iranian Twitter© Revolution”. This is understandable, Iran has a repressive, theocratic regime which, among other things, suppresses womens' rights and those of other despised minorities such as the GLBT community. So Rachel, as many other commentators, loudly applauded and supported the ongoing protests in Iran that have been Twittered and Facebooked and MySpaced around the planet. However, is Rachel aware that the mechanism used to unseat Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953 was this self same one? Are Rachel and the myriad other commentators who have loudly and strongly backed the Iranian “revolution” aware that the current demonstrations follow, almost exactly, the game plan enacted by Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. (Teddy Roosevelt's grandson) in Iran in 1953? The plot that Kermit and his CIA cronies used was to stage massive street protests (riots) by segments of Iranian society disaffected by Mossaddeq's reforms. There are now (and always will be) segments of society that are disaffected. If any confirmation of this is needed, one need only reflect on the fact that, even at its nadir, G.W. Bush and his (mal)administration garnered over 20% (>60,000,000) approval ratings. If even a sizable portion of those 60,000,000+ people had turned out in street demonstrations and those were reported as the demonstrations in Iran were reported, an outside observer, with little or no knowledge of the internal situation in the U.S. at the time, might well reason that the majority of Americans actually supported G.W. Bush, Darth Cheney and their policies. They would be sadly mistaken but that would, nonetheless, be their takeaway of such demonstrations and reporting.

Another variant of this kind of flawed reasoning is displayed by many, many commentators who loudly lauded the various “color” revolutions in Yugoslavia and the post-Soviet sphere. Even such luminaries as Thom Hartmann have repeatedly lauded and noted with approval those manufactured “revolutions”, again, being wholly and abysmally ignorant of the situation on the ground. Caught up and washed over by the “news” coverage of the For Profit Media, Hartmann and others huzzahed these “revolutions” as honest reflections of the “will of the people”. What is often omitted from his and other commentators' evaluations is the fact that the “revolution” in Yugoslavia as well as the myriad “color revolutions” is the fact that they were ALL covertly (and, sometimes, not so covertly) supported, organized and funded by either the U.S. government outright or through various NGOs (“non-governmental organizations”) such as the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, to name just two. What is often forgotten is that both of these NGOs were founded under the Reagan administration, primarily to take over various formerly CIA functions such as encouraging and facilitating “regime change”. It should also be noted that the Soros Foundation also has had a hand in the Yugoslavian and other “color revolutions”. The IRI, NDI and Soros Foundations were all instrumental in establishing, organizing and funding all of these various color “revolutions”.

As was the case in the Venezuelan “overthrow” of Hugo Chavez, there certainly was a resentful core to the opposition to him. What was hardly ever accentuated in the U.S. press, this opposition was, primarily, the upper middle and upper classes who had been forced by Chavez to relinquish a tiny bit of their choke hold over the economy to the wider society. Much as was the situation in Cuba in regards to Castro, much as is the situation in Honduras with President Manuel Zelaya. Certainly, those who stand to lose power, money or position in a society are going to be upset, that goes without saying.

Again, if some outside observer, ignorant of the true dynamics on the ground, were simply to judge on the basis of “news” reports, they would have to conclude that the majority of Americans fervently and vehemently detest the very idea of change in the health care system and its delivery...and they would be very wrong!

So, this warning applies to all who rush to judgment with but a minimal, partial and/or media generated opinion, “Beware what you decide to believe!”

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Right Wing Media as Iago

Over the course of just the last year there have been 3 high profile massacres/attempted massacres/murders committed by persons having extreme right wing views. Let us give each a cursory look and see what we can divine from them.

July 27, 2008 - “...a politically motivated[1][2](emphasis added) fatal shooting took place at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. Motivated by a desire to kill liberals and Democrats, gunman Jim David Adkisson fired a shotgun at members of the congregation during a youth performance of a musical, killing two people and wounding seven others.” Wikipedia entry “Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church shooting”. When the right wing media were accused by some of having had some part in motivating Adkisson, they howled most vehemently that they were in no wise to blame. Those denials became strangely muted when, during his interview and the rambling letter he left behind specifically stated that his was a hate crime. During the police search of his home the police found:

1.Liberalism is a Mental Disorder by radio talk show host Michael Savage
2.Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism by talk show host Sean Hannity
3.The O'Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly Wikipedia

Additionally, he specifically stated that on his wished for hit list were the Democratic members of the House and Senate as well as “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America” by Bernard Goldberg Wikipedia This hardly seems to comport with the protestations of the vehement, violent right wing talkers who say that they are innocent.

May 31, 2009 – Scott Roeder, a long time violent anti-abortion activist assassinated Dr. George Tiller at Dr. Tiller's church. Roeder had a long history of anti-government (Freemen) and anti-abortion extremism (Army of God). Roeder had already been convicted in 1996 on explosives charges (which begs the question, “How was he in possession of a handgun?”). Roeder had been reported to the FBI the day previous to the assassination attempting to glue the locks to Dr. Tiller's clinic shut. Roeder had ties (there is debate as to how close) to Operation Rescue. Wikipedia

Following the assassination of Dr. Tiller, Operation Rescue's founder, Randall Terry, had this to say (“distancing” Operations Rescue from Roeder):

“Terry: The point that must be emphasized over, and over, and over again: pro-life leaders and the pro-life movement are not responsible for George Tiller's death. George Tiller was a mass-murder and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed.

Q: So who is responsible ...

Terry: The man who shot him is responsible ...

Q: ... because that makes it sound like you were saying that he [Tiller] is responsible.

Terry: The man who shot him is responsible.

Q: What did you mean by "he reaped what he sowed"?

Terry: He was a mass-murder. He sowed death. And then he reaped death in a horrifying way.”
“Terry Declares That Tiller "Reaped What He Sowed

June 10, 2009 – James von Brunn walked into the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. with a .22 caliber rifle and shot and killed a security guard. Again, as in the case of Scott Roeder, von Brunn was a convicted felon so the question must be asked, “How was he able to be in possession of a firearm?” Von Brunn had, in 1981, entered the Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C. and taken people hostage at gunpoint. He was tried, convicted and imprisoned for that crime. Von Brunn had a long history (after all, he was 88 years old) of violent anti-social, anti-Semitic, anti-racial activity. He was motivated by the likes of George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party.

Please be advised, the above is merely a cursory glance at the information available on all these incidents. I urge each of you who read this to bestir themselves to do some surfing of the net to get more details on all the above.

The main point of this piece is this: “Does the violent right wing Wurlitzer (Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, etc. ad nauseam) bear any responsibility for these and similar acts?” Let me put it this way, was Iago responsible for Othello's murder of Desdemona? If you are asking, “Did Iago murder Desdemona?” of course the answer is “No”. However, if you frame the question as “Did the act of whispering vile calumnies about Desdemona into Othello's ear cause the death of Desdemona?” the answer would have to be an unequivocal “Yes!”

Were the depraved howlings of the right wing Wurlitzer the proximate cause of the deaths above? No. Did their invective laden scream fests, broadcast to millions of people, many on the very knife edge of sanity, lead to those deaths? I ask, you decide!
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