QUOTE OF THE MONTH
Nelson Mandela, died a couple of days ago, and the airways have been filled with tributes and analysis of his impact on the political landscape. Indeed Mandela stands forth with a handful of others of the 20th century whom we can look up to as real fighters for freedom and justice. His name is equal to that of Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Caesar Chavez, Lech Waleza in the pantheon of people we adjudge as heroes.
Mandela started as a peaceful revolutionary and democratic socialist in South Africa. The massacre at Sharpeville was said to have radicalized him and led to a more militant Mandela and a upturn violent activities. He co-founded the MK in 1961, becoming ultimately the ANC’s armed wing. He sought help from Casto and other Communist states in his struggle to help his people. After his conviction in 1964 for treason and his incarceration, he developed the present philosophy for which he is noted, and upon his release from prison in 1990.
He went on to become the president of the country in 1994, and today South Africa stands as a model of reconciliation between black and white citizens. Of course that doesn’t mean that all is well there by any means, but Mandela set the tone of forgiveness which allowed the country to move forward instead of devolving into a bloody war.
But most all of this is common knowledge. Today, the US, like countries around the world, are paying tribute to this freedom fighter. Yet it was not so very long ago that things were quite different here as regards this individual.
It is clear that there was no real desire in this country to come to Mandela and Black Africans in general initially. As was true in the 60′s as regards the Vietnam war, the impetus for change came from university campuses across the nation, as students challenged their schools financial investment in the rich industries of South Africa. Local governments in some cases followed suit.
Finally a coalition of Democrats and liberal and moderate Republicans passed a comprehensive bill called the Anti-Apartheid Act in 1986. The near-god of the Right, Ronald Reagan, promptly vetoed it. Back it went to the Congress, where people like Jessie Helms claimed that Mandela was nothing more than an ungodly communist aligned with the Soviet Union. In fact old Jessie led a filibuster against the law.
Other well-known Republicans who voted no to over-riding the presidential veto. Among them were: Phil Gramm, Joe Barton, Dick Cheney, Ralph Hall and Howard Coble and Hal Rodgers. Rodgers, Barton, and Coble had the gall to commemorate Mandela after his death, making no mention of the fact that they had tried to stop the imposition of sanctions against South Africa to end apartheid and his very imprisonment. Present members of the senate who voted against the bill are: Thad Cochran, Orrin Hatch, and Chuck Grassley.
For the first and only time in the 20th century, a coalition of Democrats and Republicans over-rode the President’s veto and the bill became law. The rest is history.
No doubt before long, the tea party will “adopt” Mandela as one of their own, much as they have laughingly tried to do with Martin Luther King, Jr.
But we remember that the Republicans again, in very large numbers were on the wrong side of history back in 1986. Cheney of course says his vote was proper and that Mandela has “mellowed” since then.
Indeed, some Democrats were as well. Mandela was not taken off the “terrorist watch list” until 2008.
Some “modern” wannabe leaders are finding the going a bit tough in praising Nelson Mandela. Ted Cruz gave the obligatory tribute and was vilified for it by his cadre of insanely crazy followers. It’s best we don’t forget that either.
Some of you and I have known each other quite a long time. Some of us have been conversing here and on Facebook for a few years. I know lots of stuff about you, and you know lots of stuff about me. But only by inference. I mean you know how I feel about Republicans, and how I feel about God to a certain degree.
Lately I’ve been messing on Pinterest. I used to think it a strange and rather silly place. But actually it has led me to some ideas for decorating, and I’ve found a few recipes that look worth trying. But more than that, I’ve been able to indulge some of my favorite things. It’s sort of like a scrapbook without all the work.
So, I thought perhaps you might like to take a peek.
I’ve always said that you should come in my home and walk through it and kind of know who I was and what I believed when you were through.
So maybe this will suffice in a sort of way. This is who I am, would be, wish I could be. It’s what makes me happy and what makes me laugh. It’s what I might indulge in if I were fabulously wealthy. It’s just a snapshot, not the entire book. So come along and see.
I’m not an enthusiast of architecture per se, but I know one type that simply adore beyond adoration. I’ll just say Chrysler building and you get the idea.
I’d like to walk up this staircase.
I’d like to stand at the top of the first tier, just barely turning to come down.
I’d like to pause, with my satin gown and cigarette holder and a fluffy little dog in hand.
I’d smile in that Katherine Hepburn way.
And my Cary Grant would rush up to envelop me.
You see, on this staircase, jeans or flip-flops just don’t work.
It would be an obscenity.
You understand I’m sure.
Pink and black are art deco colors.
I would caress the lines with carefully manicured nails (this is a fantasy quite obviously).
Lalique of course. Designed by Rene.
I would call him Rene of course. We are friends.
He gave me this piece as a gift the last time we met in Paris.
I can dream.
But my Cary looks like this:
And we head out this door:
Plenty of room to create lovely food for you to enjoy.
They were Sicilians.
Their husbands/fathers/brothers were certainly part of the mob.
They taught me how to make sauce.
And I can make some sauce.
With some delightful ciabatta bread–full of holes, perfect for some pasta.
It’s really a lot about other people and other places.
So I do a lot of reading.
My reading, like everything else is eclectic.
Reading is kinda a journey through life. You grow from reading. You expand.
There is of course never enough time. Alas I cannot live long enough to read all that I should like to.
Fabulous people would (fabulous is the word of the day) inhabit my world:
We would talk of the Southwest.
We would talk of my beloved New Mexico.
We would speak of chiles and turquoise.
Of mesas and cacti.
Of impossibly blue skies, and red sands.
Of roadrunners and coyotes, of ristras and tortillas.
Of arroyos and adobe.
And of history, that we touch with each and every stone, each and every grass that blows in the wind:
But we would talk of the beautiful people everywhere.
You know the ones I mean.
And we would speak of places to visit:
Laugh at jokes and puns.
At realities and fantasies.
At absurdities and foibles.
We would be arrogant and humble and everything between and we would poke fun and assault each other with barbed jabs in a contest of quips.
Because it is.
And that’s why these trips into my head are so fun.
Because when I come out, I look around, and reality is every bit as nice.
It’s just fun to try on a different pair of shoes in your head now and then.
I think I like my regular old sandals just fine still.
How ’bout you?
Well where have you been? I been waiting here it seems like forever, and NOBODY showed up. So I thought I might jar you from your lethargy with Buttons here, my friendly pup.
Actually I have just been busy in a fairly good way. Holidays and all. Finally have days utterly to myself. Made enough food yesterday to last until at least Monday. By then, I think we will start to be tired of it all.
Frankly the political scene both disgusts me and bores me. I still keep INFORMED, but I’m just so tired of Republicans being, you know, so Republicanish, which is a nice way to say douchey. Do they ever stop being douche bags? My representative sure doesn’t. Steve Pearce is his unholy name, and he is a douche of the very first order.
A millionaire they tell me, and owned lock, stock and barrel by the TeaDrunkards. I find it amusing to read the GOP playbook (sent around to all the lil man and woman/childs pretencing at actually serving the public). Said playbook is regularly filched/gifted/snuck to various liberal organizations and published for all to see. It consists of phrases (typically called “talking points”) and suggestions of things to do to make the GOP look intelligent and the Democrats to look stupid.
The playbook lately has focused a lot on Obamacare, of which I am thoroughly tired by the by. So, to make a long story not quite as long, old Steve has been busy reading his, and he regales us regularly on Facebook with lists of all those tens of millions who have lost their coverage in New Mexico, followed by a plea to “please send us your stories of misery”. He then reports one or two of these, and dusts his filthy lucre hands off and thinks he’s done his “job.”
Of course he offers these people no help of any sort, and fails to bother suggesting that they go to the exchanges and see what they might be offering. We have no individual exchanges here since our other douche Guv Martinez, didn’t sign the legislation until it was too late to have the time to set them up for October. So we are very douchey here. (Guv Martinez may have some serious problems of her own since her main man on her staff is a Rovish like creature that a number of people have suggested might be leading her into some illegal behaviors )
Anyway, his latest addition to stupid dialogue is to suggest that Domino’s Pizza is paying $15-20 per hour to drivers, but only in “energy selling” states, meaning those states that are pumping oil and frackin’ their way to heaven with gas. Now any student in the first fifteen minutes of undergrad school (pick your subject) knows that one has zero to do with the other on so many grounds that we reach infinity. But what was funny was that a whole bunch of Domino’s drivers chimed in with “hey Steve, you idiot!” Turns out that the $15-20 is an estimate of what drivers CAN make with tips off their base crummy salary, and DOESN’T include the cost of maintenance of their vehicle and GAS. But poor old Steve fairly misses that, since he’s simply following the PLAYBOOK.
I figured after going a few rounds with Steve, that well, I was right in the ball park with this next story. It seems like dinosaurs liked to poop in groups. In this they are similar to camels and elephants, which means the apple don’t fall far from the tree, I guess. Or not. Evolution is a strange thing. I’m really pretty sure that Republicans poop in groups too.
Which leads to this: did ya know that some soft tissue from a T. Rex survived 68 million years? It was found in Montana, and I have no idea whether that mattered at all, but factoids are important in Jeopardy, so consider me a coach. I mean under the best conditions it’s only supposed to last a million years. Anyway, the collagen from the beastie resembles that of birds, which must make the people at the Creation Museum go scrambling for an explanation. It all has to do with a lot of biological mumbo jumbo and IRON-rich blood that for some reason known only to a BIOLOGIST, helps preserve the tissue.
Which reminds me of Coach, Craig T. Nelson, who is among the dumber of the Republicans I know of. He hates paying taxes, hates the “welfare” society we now live in, hates Obama for bringing all that to Merika, and so on and so forth. And he’s not going to take it any more, refusing to pay taxes for things he doesn’t believe in. After all, he says, “What happened to society? I go into business, I don’t make it, I go bankrupt. I’ve been on food stamps and welfare, did anybody help me out?. . .” YES YOU IGNORANT FOOL, THE GOVERNMENT HELPED YOU OUT WITH THE FOOD STAMPS AND WELFARE!!! I mean this is Louis Gohmert stupid.
Louis by the way has been ear-deep in Obama conspiracy theories, claiming that the President is busy via the AHCA in amassing a private army. He’s been at this for some time, and the stories of the government buying up ammunition only goes to support that idea according to the Galloping Gohmert. A portion of the law which allows the training of a group for public health and national emergency response, is to Louis a smoking gun. But he’s a bit unsure of what the weapons of choice will be for this group:
“I’ve continued to ask questions, what is this for?” It says it is for international health crises, but then it doesn’t include the word ‘health’ when it talks about national emergencies. And I’ve asked, what kind of training are they getting? It provides in Obamacare that this commission and non-commissioned officer corps will be trained. But I want to know, are they using weapons to train or are they being taught to use syringes and health care items? But we’ve got no clear answers on that.”
Seems like dear Louis should bring up this subject at the next group poop he has with Cruz and King, and well, all the bare butted GOP’ers at the gathering. Hey, whose poo don’t stink?
Preferring the latter conclusion, I wonder forward.
Once upon a time in a land far from here, or not, men (let’s be honest that women were seldom asked their opinion and mores the pity for that undoubtedly) gathered to discuss an important topic. Was it fruitful to continue in an “every man for themselves” mode or was their value in grouping together in mutual associations. Such associations of course presupposed that some individual freedom would be lost for the common good of all.
Thus the concept of government was conceived.
At first the common good was no doubt safety from marauding bands of bad guys from other tribes, but it soon led to giving up all kinds of individual rights for all kinds of common ends. If Babor’s extra production of wheat was needed to feed more than just his family, than Manduk’s herds of sheep need be fenced from trampling those fields.
Things went along in that fashion with different systems being tried out, eventually that led to strong men and rule by might rather than agreement. Rebellions and re-formations resulted in a myriad of different systems by which human beings organized themselves into larger and larger entities.
Lo and behold, a bunch of folks made their way to a “new world” which was quite old to the people who already lived there, but new enough to them. After pushing indigenous folks out of the way, they then threw off the yoke of king and Parliament, and found themselves with a country to set up.
Our illustrious fore-fathers, mindful of the social compact ideas of Locke and Rousseau and Montesquieu, set down in Philadelphia and over some months of wrangling and persuasion, arrived at what we call a Constitution, a document that sets out with some generality the rights and duties of citizen and government.
Ask about anyone and they would say, that this phenomenal document has served us well since 1789 or so. That seems to be based on the fact that we are still here as a country. Any cursory look at the document itself suggests that a good deal of the language is antiquated and now unclear. Do we really think in terms of militias any more? What is cruel and unusual?
The world has changed a lot since those days. We are increasingly a global society. We are a people who has grown in size from something in the area of 3 millions to over 300 millions. Our land has tripled or quadrupled since 1789. Our demographics are vastly different. Our ability to travel has increased exponentially. Our ability to get news on almost any subject has as well. Our technologies threaten to out pace our understanding of them or how they will impact on our daily lives.
Government systems are always a compromise of sorts. When we talk about “free” governments, or “elected governments” we speak of the ever-present tension that exists between the individual and the common good. Our political parties seem to split along those lines and have now hardened into an extreme on one side, and a “common good” leaning at least on the other.
Is it not time to rethink who we are, what we want and what we are willing to give up to continue in this great experiment?
It seems we should be having this dialogue (whatever that means). Does this constitution any longer adequately deal with the problems that confront us? Are we beginning (or have we for some decades now?) tortured the language to achieve the outcomes we believe right. Of course the next Court then sees things very differently and they torture it in other ways to achieve quite different outcomes.
Here are some questions I have thought about:
- Is our current federal government divided into an executive, congressional, and judicial branch with serious checks and balances, a useful system today, given the complexities of our global world? Would a parliamentary system work better, given our intense polarization?
- Do we really want an unfettered right of individuals to own and carry firearms? Is the ability of people to “redress” government by arms a viable option in this day and age?
- Given our capabilities in technology, what is the meaning of “search and seizure” for the individual today? Where do we draw the line in terms of our ability to spy on each other? Given the threats of terrorism, should we give police more or less ability to fetter out criminal behavior. Does the ability of some to hack into sensitive systems change our opinions? Does the ability of terrorist elements to get ahold of nuclear material change the equation?
- If we respect the right of people to believe in God in the fashion they choose, does it make sense to grant tax benefits to religious organizations? What constitutes religious objections to a law? Does one have a concomitant right to be free from religion?
- What are the duties of citizens? Should all be required to vote or pay a tax? Should we have a federal holiday on election day? How should we limit the influx of money from exceedingly wealthy individual toward either controlling who is the candidate or which party wins? Should we limit the time of electioneering? Should there be only federal registration of voters, and only federal requirements for eligibility?
- Should everyone be called to some time of “public service”, either through the military or other “public corp” work? What constitutes a “conscientious objector”?
- Does the government have the right to require education to a certain level, and are certain basics required? Are they reading, writing, and arithmetic, or might they be parenting, basic civics, conflict resolution, critical thinking skills? Should every person have the right to as much education as they desire, and free of charge?
- Do people have a natural right to life? When? Can or should the state take it away under any circumstances? Which ones?
- Do people have a natural right to food, IF the state at large can provide sufficient quantities?
- Do people have a natural right to medical care regardless of their ability to pay if we have the technology to treat them? If not, then what limits attach?
- Given the costs of incarceration, mental health treatment, and various other costs incurred, does the state have the right to set standards of who can be a parent? Is being able to be a parent the right of being human? Why? Does the state have the obligation to clean up the messes created by those who are not suited to parent properly? What standards would you suggest? Who would set them?
- Should we allow “professional” politicians? Should citizens be required to “serve” in government for a specified time?
- Do we wish to set limits on the growth of private business? How big is too big? Should corporations be people? Should they be allowed to control multiple divergent areas and thus virtually control a market?
- Do individual states serve a purpose in the world today? If so, what? What things should be left to local “governments”?
- What constitutes free speech? What constitutes speech?
- Given the technology that is close to approaching an ability to monitor the brain and determine “truthful” statements, do we still wish to maintain a right to remain silent? What constitutes “being a witness against oneself”? Are bodily fluids private? Are brains waves private?
- Are our bodies ours to do with as we wish? Does the state have a right to deny the use of drugs or other substances? Abortion? euthanasia? How can it, if it can, regulate such things? How does this impact personal privacy?
- Should there be limits on individual wealth? What kind of tax system do we envision that is fair to all?
It seems to me that these are just a very small number of questions we might ask. Many would argue that some of these are so well established that they should bear no discussion. Is this true or right? What things would you want to add? What opinions do you have on one or more of the above?
Is it time to rethink this social compact?
She was born. She had a mother and a father. She had two brothers. It was a messy family. The mother, victim of mental disease at a time when there was little to do but lock them away, was locked away. The father, a man of the railroad sent the children off to foster care.
In later years he took up with a widow and they lived in sin, and her kids became his family.He saw his daughter and sons from time to time, but they had effectively been replaced. She never spoke of that in anger. It just was. After all, he was under the influence of a woman. What could one expect.
She clerked at a department store. She met men. She probably craved love. She was probably close to being one of “those girls”. She got safely married to another wounded soul.
He lived under the thumb of a controlling mother who covered her manipulations under the guise of martyrdom. He was a soft sort, easily controlled unlike his sister who was rebellious.
He met the almost bad girl, and married her. They practiced conditional love, the only kind they knew. They had a kid, a girl. They went through the motions of being parents. They tried their best. They had no idea how it was supposed to be.
She never had another child–the first one had been that hard a delivery. She did all the things the books said. She kept it clean and dressed. She fed it baby foods. She baked. She cleaned her house. She modeled housewifery. Being a wife and mother were the standards she had aspired to, it was how one was adjudged as “normal.”
She was liked by most everyone. She was a great party attendee. She was lively, funny, animated. She danced up a storm. She never started to smoke until she went to work in the shop. She never drank much until after she divorced and remarried. Then she learned to drink a lot.
She wrapped presents nicely enough to compete with her sister-in-law and mother-in-law at Christmas. They were most polite to each other on the surface, but seething beneath were all kinds of resentments, jealousies, and God only would know what else.
She met a man at her workplace and fell in love. She gave up her teenaged daughter but then moved two miles away so she could “visit often.”
She never read a book, barely touched the newspapers except to check the ads for sales. She liked soap operas and jigsaw puzzles. She was a Republican until she was told that she wasn’t supposed to be, so she became a Democrat. She could not have explained why.
She was great at small talk but never had a serious conversation that anybody every heard about any subject. She was short on empathy because she never met anyone who was empathetic I guess.
She once said to her daughter that she was “smart about books and stupid about men”. She often registered her disgust that her daughter inherited her buck teeth but the father’s chunky physique. She was always frustrated when she took her young daughter clothes shopping. She would tug at the skirt, sigh loudly, and tell the sales girl to “get the next size up, she’s nearly up to my size already.”
She and her new husband moved to his home state of Tennessee, and they saw each other rarely after that, and conversed on the phone on “holidays”.
She introduced her daughter now grown, as “my daughter, the lawyer.” She could not have told you much about what a lawyer did of course. She incessantly wanted to know when that daughter would marry. Nothing else much mattered.
When the daughter announced she was going to enter a Catholic convent, she was livid with anger. She never explained why. The daughter, by then had learned to avoid conversations with “Mother” who was always judgmental, always accusatory. Much like the Father, the daughter was presumed in the wrong in every dispute. She hung up on the daughter in disgust once or twice, the condition not met for love.
When the daughter called to announce that she was not entering the convent but instead was moving to Connecticut to be with a man she had fallen for, she was ecstatic. The conversation was short. She hung up and then called back telling the daughter to “call when you get your new number”. The daughter promised to call when she arrived.
She never asked the daughter anything about this new man. Not a single thing. It was enough that the daughter was reaching the goal at last. For now it was apparent to the daughter that the Mother defined her own success in parenting on the daughter’s seeking marriage as the standard of female attainment.
The daughter called when she got to Connecticut. The relationship with the man was over almost before it began. When the phone rang and the answering service cut in, and she heard the woman’s voice, she froze and could not answer. She could not go through another round of explaining and then the judgment, the disappointment, the question of how had she failed again. She let it go. And she let it go again, and again, until the woman stopped calling.
The daughter did find the right man, and learned all about unconditional love. She moved to Iowa. Once she got a call that the woman was sick but was recovering. She was told that the woman expressed happiness at her marriage. She thanked the “step-brother” who conveyed the news.
Yesterday, for no reason, the daughter googled the woman, wondering if she was still living in Tennessee. She would be in her mid 80′s. She found instead an obituary. The woman had died in 2008. Her husband in 2010. The obituary said she had been survived by a husband and three step sons. There was no mention of the daughter.
The daughter sits quietly and reflects. She does not judge her actions right or wrong, only what she needed to do. She does not judge the actions of the others in omitting her from notification as right or wrong, only what they needed to do. She never judged the woman who did the best she could.
Lives quietly move on. We do not choose who will be our parents, who will be our children. DNA does not insure a bond. There are no winners. We just pick up and continue, hoping we have learned something from it all, though God knows what that can or should be. Plenty would tell me that a parent is a parent no matter what. I guess. But then you aren’t me are you? We can only acknowledge each other’s pain, each other’s sorrow, each other’s needs and limitations, and we can only believe how we would handle things because it would be right for us.
And another chapter ends in this thing we call life.
If one more person suggests that the Mainstream Media is in the bag for the Democrats, I surely will flatten them with a left hook. The so-called “liberal media” has been relentless since the roll out of the Affordable Health Care Act, in pointing out all its flaws and shortcomings. It has repeatedly asked the question: “are these glitches portents of real issues in the law itself?” Yes, of course, the pimple on my nose is also directly related to the rainstorm that now threatens too. Please folks get a clue.
Meanwhile the EXTREME RIGHT has all its ducks in a row and is panting out the same refrain from radio and TV–this is a train wreck and it’s just as we predicted. This can’t be fixed! The President lied! Millions are losing their insurance! Millions are facing huge increases in premiums!
Suddenly the awful healthcare system in this country, one that does just fine for the wealthy but barely exists for the poor, is being touted as the “best health delivery system in the world!” It ain’t. People who are not rich but are well enough off routinely travel to other countries for a variety of procedures that can be done cheaper with every bit as good an outcome. It’s called medical tourism. And whatever they might try to tell you, people are not leaving Canada, Britain and a host of European countries, all in some attempt to escape “socialized” medicine in those countries.
Yes the Website for the healthcare exchanges is bad, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was. Was that inexcusable? Certainly. Shame on them all. Has anyone been harmed by the delay? Not a single soul as far as I know. Today, you can negotiate the site fairly easily. When I tried to continue my enrollment and found that the information input was not taking properly, a phone call to the 800 number (which was answered promptly and involved a wait of only two minutes) provided an answer within five minutes and I am ready to reset and try again.
Much has been made about all these people getting cancellation notices from their insurance companies. Somehow this is making Obama out to be a liar. He is not, quite plain and simple. Let me make this as clear as can be:
- Company policies that were in place BEFORE the ACA became law, are grandfathered in. Many of these were and are substandard policies, not covering major catastrophic needs, but they are grandfathered in nonetheless.
- Policies that were issued AFTER the ACA became law, are required to be “brought up to standards”.
- There was, therefore EVERY reason on earth for the President to tell people that for those who had EXISTING policies, they could keep them. This did ASSUME that they were grandfathered policies for WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND IN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY WOULD ISSUE SUBSTANDARD POLICIES AFTER THE ACA PASSED KNOWING THEY WOULD BE GOOD FOR ONLY ONE YEAR?
- How was the President to conclude that those policies issued BEFORE the ACA would be cancelled? And that in many cases, insurance companies would run the following scam: Hi, you insurance is being cancelled because it doesn’t meet the ACA standards to go into effect Oct 1, 2013. Here are some new plans you can buy from us that are up to the new standards (all at much higher prices). If we don’t hear from you, we will continue your coverage under a new compliant plan at this new price. (no mention that you might find better coverage at lower cost on the exchanges).
- Insurers create and drop plans all the time, and they continue to do so. Is the President responsible for this process and do people have a right to hold him accountable just because their insurance was cancelled due to the usual alternations conducted by the insurers? Surely most people have had their insurance cancelled at one time or another. This is not the President’s fault, but the fault of companies who are always playing the numbers and when you seem ripe for a claim, they are doing their best to cancel you before that happens.
- The cancellations are being sent out to approximately 5% of all people who are self-insured. Most people are not self-insured by are covered through employer programs, or medicare/Medicaid. Of these some 3% will end up when all the dust has settled with premiums higher than they had before for substantially the same coverage. Those are pretty darn good numbers, even though in the individual circumstance they might be painful. In most cases, they will occur to people who can afford the increase.
To all those who are so filled with hate for Obama that you would rather eat nails than get cheaper and better health care? Well, I have one answer. Keep your fake insurance or get none at all. But the FAIR thing to do is to pass a law exempting medical expenses from bankruptcy. Then when you get hit by a bus, you can pay your fair bill from the hospital and not stick the rest of us with your treatment. Capish? I mean, you don’t want to be one of those awful “takers” do ya?
PS: On an anecdotal note: I got into two conversations on Facebook with “Obamacare disaster victims”. In both cases (one over 70, the other in their 90′s), neither wanted Medicare and were unhappy because their insurance companies wanted a lot more money to keep insuring them. Cry me a river. Seriously.
- Dean Baker: Obamacare isn’t cancelling your plan – your insurance company is though (eoionline.org)
- No, Obama Didn’t Lie to You About Your Health Care Plans (alternet.org)
- President’s Insurance Announcement Keeps Eyes on the Prize (huffingtonpost.com)
- The President’s Fix and How Insurance Companies Will Still Be Able to Screw People (thedailybanter.com)
- Obama Dares Insurance Companies to Put Up or Shut Up (motherjones.com)
- What the Obamacare fix does, and how it could be better (dailykos.com)
- No, You Can’t Keep Your Insurance (yourfaceispolitics.wordpress.com)
There is a definite payoff to being an eclectic. I think all great minds are actually. Not that I am comparing myself to being a great mind. I am all too aware of my limitations to do that, but at least my nose is pointed in the right direction.
Which all goes to say nothing more than that my interests are myriad and lets just say, broad, broad, broad. I read a lot of stuff in any given day or week. And I’m convinced that because of that, I draw a parallel sometimes or should I more perfectly say, an idea seems to form, informed by all that flotsam free-floating around just waiting and looking for a hook to grab and attach itself.
Utterly confused? Yeah, I know, I get so in love with the flowery shimmer of words kissing that I end up just babbling. I would compare myself with Sarah Palin, but unfortunately she never manages to ever reach an idea ever, just snippets of phrases strung together in some effort to look Wall Street Journalish.
Back to business.
So my friend Tim is going to the Chicago Theological Union working on a Masters in Divinity and he sent me his book list for the semester, and I’m reading one of those (figuring out that textbooks required from that place are certainly useful for my scholarly endeavors). It’s a dry subject to most but fascinating to me–biblical exegesis–methodology to be exact. It’s called Method Matters: Essays on the Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.
And given the political landscape, I’m reading a lot of crap about Ted Cruz, that lunatic genius from Texas who has designs on America the Beautiful that should they comes to realization would make you cry.
And I just finished reading another tome about creationism and the crazy people who believe in it, which I hated for a variety of reasons that we don’t have to go into here, but nonetheless offered real nuggets of truth too.
And can you believe that those three things all swirled around in me old head for a few days, and is now busting out in urgent spews of words and phrases all because something important is to be learned in all this? And since you haven’t (unless the universe is way more crazy than I think) been reading these same things, I just got to let you know all about it.
So let’s start at the bottom and work up. About these creationist believers. You know the one’s I mean, the silly folks who are just sure that Genesis (chapter 1, 2 or together) describe in REaLitY just exactly how the earth and everything around it were created? Them? The cognitive dissonance folks? The compartmentalized fools? Them.
They like their bible their way, as has been pointed out innumerable times. God said it, I believe it, ‘nuf said. God actually said it in the pages of the King James Bible, the only one worth reading from their point of view. And he said it, dictated it, so that the average, only sorta educated person could easily understand it. Why do they know that? Because they understand it, just fine.
No amount of showing them that they don’t understand it will be allowed. Mostly that is true, because they way they understand it suits them just fine. It allows them to hate whom they naturally hate, and condemn whom they naturally wanna condemn, and look down upon those they think should be looked down upon.
Now to suggest to them that they are wrong in their understanding is well, easily dealt with. That’s where the red guy comes in.
Satan is also the most devious trickster ever invented (and God did that, but a good fundamentalist doesn’t dwell on why too much–it was no doubt for our own good). Satan gets in people’s heads and messes them up.
Fundamentalists are pretty sure that any time somebody–anybody–says something that they don’t like, Satan is behind it.
Are you getting the drift?
So, if somebody tries to present actual facts that the bible is not as they say–that’s SATAN working again. They actually call you that to your face if you aren’t careful. Or words to that effect. I was once asked, “Sherry, why do you hate Jesus so much?” all in response to my trying to explain why evolution was actually true and believing in God and believing in EVOLUshun was really okay.
Which all led to this remark by a geologist (a real one) speaking at a creationist convention:
“. . .I am a young-age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turned against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate. Here I must stand.” (Amongst the Creationists, pg 213)
That pretty much tells you that these people are not to be trifled with.
Now, Ted Cruz is a fundamentalist of the first order. His daddy is a preacher who talks about Ted being a royal priesthood, a king, and Obama of course being a Kenyan devil. These folks are serious about their fundie ways. Ted is also a dominionist among other things. A dominionist is defined as:
The theocratic idea that regardless of theological view or eschatological timetable, heterosexual Christian men are called by God to exercise dominion over secular society by taking control of political and cultural institutions. Competes in Christianity with the idea of Stewardship, which suggests custodial care rather than absolute power. Used here in the broader sense, some analysts use the word only to refer to forms and offshoots of Reconstructionism.
Basically these folks believe to one degree or another than they should impose a Christian government over the US, based on biblical law as they understand it, and go on to do so across the world. People who are not Christian or don’t adhere to proper beliefs are to be eliminated (How that is to be done depends on how hard-core you really are.)
Where do they get this notion? Why they get it from Genesis 1:28 where in God gave Adam “dominion” over all the earth.
So they feel very righteousy in all their planning to destroy the Constitution as it is, in favor of what it really always was, but somehow got perverted by the LIBERALS, those heathen God-haters, also known as the N word of all words SECULARISTS, which is really an S word, but no matter.
And they mean business and no bigger proof of that is grifter girl Annie Coulter, who probably could care less, unless she can see a way to make a dime off it, but anyway, she in seriousness or jest said this:
And well, we don’t know how close to Mr. Cruz this is or isn’t, but for some, this is what they really believe, and if you try to explain to them that they are probably pretty wrong in this, well, as I said, you get Satanized.
So what is the truth about all this dominion stuff?
Well, I was reading my Method Matters and I was reading about the methodology called Comparative Methodology which to make a long story very very short, means comparing biblical texts with other textual material from other areas and groups such as Egyptian or Mesopotamian, Babylonian, and so forth. Do we find similar stories say to the flood story? And of course we do. And that helps us understand the Hebrew flood story in some context. Get it?
So when we look at the “man made in the image of God” we wonder what that means. And it suggests that in Mesopotamia, the king made images of himself for the temple (to be worshipped) and in territories taken in war. So if God made an image of himself (in man) is this similar to showing off one’s victory–humans are the capstone of God’s creation. Except that in Mesopotamia, the images are cast to revel in war victories or hunting victories, the latter reflecting on the former. They reflect violent acts by the King.
Is this the same in the bible or different. The author of that essay, argues different. Why? Because when we read Genesis 2:16, we see that the “dominion” previously alluded to, is tempered in the second Genesis story using the Hebrew words šmr (serving) and ‘bd (preserving). We can see that the Hebrew writer who joined the two creation stories changed the royal rhetoric of violence which we see in Mesopotamian texts to a non-violent image of caring and nurturing of the earth by this image of God–humanity. (*please note I am not suggesting that the Genesis redactor was aware of the Mesopotamian textual or iconographic rhetoric)
The lesson is quite different. And rational people thus informed and having a better idea of what dominion means in the Hebrew bible, no longer can or should use it as a basis for a forceful control over others.
But of course we run into that old demon Satan once again.
I might be telling you the truth, and honestly I am, but then again, my mind might be so warped by my companion Beelzebub that I only THINK that I’m telling you the truth, and I’m really doing Satan’s handiwork. Or as they say in Star Trek: Everything I say is a lie–I’m lying.
You have now entered a circular argument and will never be released–or a black hole–or the inside of true-blue fundamentalist.
- Rafael Cruz is an avowed creationist (dailykos.com)
- Ted Cruz’s Father is a Dangerous Religious Fanatic (politicususa.com)
- Creationist Ken Ham: Vote for godly candidates, not for policies that benefit you (rawstory.com)