Hold Your Prayers, God is Busy in the Southwest These Days

1913520_ME_MurrietaImmigrants_MJB_See, God is a little bit busy these days. If you hadn’t heard, a lot of children have been making their way to Merika these days, fleeing, you know, violence. Although nobody seems to talk much about that, the violence that is.

A vocal if hopefully small herd of mean people call them “illegals” and scream at the kids, telling them to “go back home”. Some have suggested that a well aimed firearm at the border might do the trick just fine, and no one of course should think they are meaning anything violent by that call to arms.

While not going quite this far, but *nudge nudge, wink wink* maybe they are, a couple of our pious types have ‘splained to us, the spiritually lacking, that this is all part of God’s plan. Brian Fischer, blasphemer-erradicator in charge of American values said thusly:

“Our southern border is there by God’s design. To disregard it, to treat it as if were not there, to regard it as something not worth respecting and defending, is an insult to the God who put it there for our benefit.”

Just forgettabout that “bring the little children unto me”. You missed the damn footnote: “unless they are from another country and *ick* brown or black, and are entering unto me illegally”.
 
Nodding in agreement is Texas *cough* Pastor Robert Jeffress who points out that God wants a fence between them and us, because, God was always clear about boundaries:
 
“Yes, Jesus loved children, but he also respected law. He said, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” Jeffress clarified for the faithful on Fox News. “So, we need to do both. Show compassion, but secure the borders.”
 
Just forgettabout that stuff in the early part of the bible, about welcoming the stranger and hospitality and so forth. All that, we know, is made irrelevant by Jesus, oh except for that little part about not suffering men who lay with men to live. And maybe that part about witches too. That might stay in too.
 
 
Just before leaving office, on Dec. 23, 2008, George W. Bush signed into law the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. This bipartisan measure, named for a 19th century British abolitionist, was aimed at extending and beefing up efforts to prevent and prosecute human trafficking and protect the victims of trafficking.  More importantly, it described exactly how unaccompanied children crossing the border must be treated.
 
The crazies on the Right have of course ignored their own complicity in this legislation, and find it more profitable to insinuate that the President has in fact invited these kids from their violence-wracked homelands to America for some nefarious purpose:
 
I have to believe that when you don’t respond in any way that you are either inept or you have some ulterior motive of which you are functioning from,” Perry said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
 
Ricky (I can’t believe these glasses haven’t made me smart yet) Perry actually said that, although what the conspiracy is for or about, is beyond his meager brain power to discern.
 
Meanwhile, the Right continues to live in cognitive dissonance which prompted one comedienne to suggest that the children should paste the name “fetus” on their forehead. That sounds harsh, but these are the same people who are willing to go to extreme lengths, i.e., Hobby Lobby, to protect the rights of a “fertilized egg”. To turn children away who are fleeing violence and possible death in their own country, seems a interesting juxtaposition to say the least. 
 
To say nothing of our sanctimonious lip service paid to all those poor Syrian children who are living in makeshift tent cities all over the Middle East, having fled the murderous bombardments of Bashar Al-Assad. No finer example is John S. McCain and his wringing of hands at the “humanitarian tragedy” that is going on. Yet we hear nothing from the old fart when it comes to protecting these poor children arriving frightened and alone because their families believe that the trek to Merika is far safer than allowing them to remain at home.
 
 
“It would cost us very little to fly them back, as compared with the cost of taking care of them while they were here,” he said.
 
Mostly McCain has whined about not being allowed to take his cell phone with him in viewing the detainment camps in Arizona. His Senatorial rights, he claims trump these kids right to privacy. Change the policy, he bellowed.
 

We in America are again caught in that position we so often find ourselves in–telling the rest of the world how to behave, all the while doing the in-opposite at home. Another shaming moment in the US of A.

 

I AM My Sister’s Keeper

womengloriousAs with so much with me, a number of widely disparate notions traverse my synaptic receptors before it dawns on me–the greater issue–that is.

Thus it starts with the insanely stupid Hobby Lobby decision, brought to us by five Catholic men who have probably long-since stopped depositing seed in the fertile womb of any woman married to or otherwise.

A perusal of but a few of the rags that pass for “right-wing” blather turns up gems such as “you want to have your fun and make me pay for it”, “keep your legs together or pay for it yourself”, or this upside-down logic, “if you can’t afford contraception, you can’t afford to have a baby anyway!”

Hey there brain-dead XY’er, umm, it seems that you fundamentally misunderstand some rather basic stuff. One,  if women are using contraception to “have fun” well guess who they are having fun with? Second, contraception coverage under an insurance plan is not a “gift”, it is a benefit owed to the employee in lieu of a bigger paycheck. Taxpayers have nothing to do with it bozo. Third, umm, under this theory why are you still getting your I-can’t-get-it-up-without-ya Viagra in your insurance plan? If you want to have fun, pay for it? And fourth, uh, contraception is the way you avoid a pregnancy you cannot afford stupid.

I am post-menopausal, yet this fight is my fight. For I am a woman. For I am a human being.

Some many years ago, when I still worked for a living, I had a work colleague. “B” as we shall call him was an African-American male and law schooled at U of M. “B” was inordinately proud of his U of M alumni status and wore a lapel pin announcing his alumni status virtually every day.

One day, “B” wandered into the law library (which contained a lunch room at one end) where a number of us (mostly women, Black and white) were discussing affirmative action and how we all were grateful for the opportunities it had given us as both women and women of color to advance in various professions. Added to that were the men and women before us who had labored on our behalf to ensure that we as young women had more opportunities than their generation.

“B” was asked if he too were grateful for the boost given him in his pursuit of a better life. He exploded in a vehement denial of being such a recipient. He got where he was, “by his own talents and abilities” and was beholden to no one for his success. We all were shocked, attempted to argue with him, but B left the room quickly in disgust at our suggestion.

I am retired and no longer work. Yet this fight to level the playing field is my fight.  For I am a woman. For I am a human being.

A friend just a day ago, talked about how she and her family had needed food stamps and other forms of public assistance to get by for a time in the past. All who know her, know she is a hard-working mom, a dedicated wife, a thoroughly responsible person. She puts a face on all “those” people that the Right so snidely likes to look down upon as “takers” and as developing a culture of expectation that the government will take care of them. She belies that picture assuredly.

I can echo that story by one of about my housekeeper who is struggling, working from sun-up to sun-down to raise six children all the while in the midst of a divorce from their father who continues to refuse to pay one penny toward their care as a way to punish her for putting him out for his drinking, drugging, and abusive ways. She receives what aid she can from where she can, and we struggle to find better ways to help her.

I am not receiving assistance, and if all goes as it seems to be, I never shall. But this fight is my fight. For I am a woman. For I am a human being.

How does this all tie together?

Only in one respect. Read Matthew 25.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 40i And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41* j Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42k For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44* Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’

There are many who say that we are genetically wired to care about each other. Certainly humans are not meant to be alone like the cheetah or polar bear. We have found camaraderie and safety in numbers. We have sacrificed some independence, some freedom for the protection of those numbers. Somewhere in that movement from tribe to village to town and city, we have learned to care about the needs of others, not just ourselves. Beyond our concerns for the progeny we bear, we care for the old, and for the disabled.

Recently remains of a Down’s Syndrome child was found among early human burial remains. The skeleton suggests that rather than kill or expose these disabled babies, they were cared for until their natural death. Similarly we find the remains of elderly who certainly could not have survived without help from others.

From this we learn that the desire to care for each other is ancient. We seek to serve each other,  either by genetics or at the very least by the call of the most perfect prophet the world has known–Jesus Christ.

Unlike our Right-wing evangelicals who twist scripture to reflect a Jesus who counsels against government assistance, eschews the minimum wage, and Paul who taken out of context tells us that those who will not work will not eat, we respond to what is in our hearts and/or in our DNA, called to reflect that what we do to others we inevitably do to ourselves.

When I hear the voices of hate-bearing sanctimonious condemnation, when I listen to their explanation that we are “coddling” and “creating a dependence culture”, I am not sure what comes first to me, the tears of grief that people can drape themselves in the flag while waving the bible in order to hide from the world their true self-centered motives, distorting Christ and his sermon of empathy and love, or the flashes of red-hot anger that wish to explode in slapping such people across the face as hard as I can, watching the self-satisfied holier-than-thou smugness fade as the cheek brightens into a red imprint.

We do what is right because it is right, quite simply. Women as poor as they may be deserve as good health care as the CEO of GM. Everybody gets to where they are in life due to the helping hands of untold dozens if not tens of dozens, and lack of means is no definition of worthiness or lack of it. Dr. Ben Carson has become the darling of the Right with his claims that government assistance to the poor, is akin in some measure to a return to slavery. Well Dr. Carson was the recipient of plenty of that assistance as a child and young adult, and that assistance gave him the opportunity to study hard and do all the things he had to do to achieve great success. He did not do it alone and he would be the first to be offended had his mother or he been treated as something less than the kids who grew up in better circumstances.  How soon we forget from whence we have come.

How soon we fall victim to our own greed for the “good life” and turn our backs on all those who are left behind. How soon we forget that but for the “grace of God, go I”. How soon we twist self-righteous religiosity into some sort of club with which to bludgeon all those who don’t do as we say, while we do as we wish, crying out to God when caught, that we too are sinners, but somehow still not sinners like those awful others. 

So we will gladly pay a little more if it means that everyone has a decent minimum. Everyone should have a home, clothing, medical care, quality education, and a job at a fair and living wage. We will do it because we don’t see the world as them and us, but as we.  It is the human thing to do quite simply. And you will never dissuade us otherwise, though you may win a battle here and there. You will not win in the end, because

WE ARE BETTER THAN YOU ENVISION US AND YOU TO BE.

 

 

Wish I’d Said That Thursday

I truly wish I had said it.

Reblogged from BrainSpank

 

I am a woman. I gave birth. It was painful.  Excruciating.  Agony.  No one knows.  I do.

My child knows no one other purview until it gulps air outside of me. Until it leaves my womb it belongs to me and no one else. No other body, governmental or even judicial matters at all to me.

Not as far as I’m concerned anyway.

I really don’t care what you have to say.

I cannot stand five catholic men in black robes who would decide anything for me or the child in my body.  I loathe you for trying.  Your ignorance.  Your arrogance.  Your hubris.  When the day comes I want to relinquish control of my life, my child’s life, to the likes of you, I’ll let you know.  It will have a big fancy seal.  It will be on parchment.  Sheepskin.  You’ll know.  Champagne and caviar.

Until then, shut the fuck up.

We all know you think it’s your religious privilege.  We all know you think you’re somehow entitled to a voice here.  A heavy legislative hand.  A right.  But you are wrong.  You don’t.  You can’t.  You won’t.  You can’t tell me what contraception to use anymore than you can tell me what to do with my womb.  My body.  You stand there, collecting your filthy lucre from the dirtier angels of our filthiest nature and presume to define sin for me.

Fuck you.

You took a stand on the side of a company that wears its hypocrisy on its goddamn face.  They invest in and make money off of the manufacture of contraceptive products.  They willingly paid for the objectionable products for their employees for years.  Decades.  What changed besides Obamacare?  They say their mission is to prevent abortion but the only net gain from this will be more abortion.

By the way, they say the contraceptive products the won’t pay for kill babies.  Wrong.  Completely wrong.  What they do is prevent fertilization.  No beings.  No babies.  How did we get to a place where the Supreme Court is guilty of science denial while listening to and valuing the opinions of clerics and wizards?

Five Roman Catholic men who wear black robes to work.

In this process you would willingly consign me to a coat hanger.

I am a man and I do not accept this jurisprudence.  It is the antithesis of jurisprudence.

But I am a woman too.

It’s like your whole reason is to make sure it’s born.

After that, it’s nobodies business but mine.  Ironic how you grab responsibility before it’s born and surrender it completely the second after.  How do adult white men entertain the notion that they somehow get to champion the fetus and forgo the child?

Jackasses.

They are the last people.

Then, some sonafabitching congressman comes along to make my last stand.

To pretend to speak for me and all the unborn.

I am a woman and I have given birth and if I begin to understand that delivery might mean my death, I get to decide what to do.  If that child will be born inside out?  My problem.  If that child is born with whatever disability?  My problem.

Not yours.

Fuck off.

The same goes for my contraception.  Sometimes it’s to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. 56% of the women in this country that avail themselves of contraceptive medication have it prescribed to them by doctors for reasons other than preventing pregnancy.  Sometimes it’s to prevent my spending days in bed writhing in the kind of pain that makes botulism or ebola look Fischer Price.  Sometimes it’s to reduce my risk of certain cancers.  Viruses.  You don’t know.  You can’t you bastards.  I am a woman and you are not.

I can no longer countenance five greasy old academic males deciding any of this shit.  It’s none of their business.

None at all.

I am a woman.

I would make each of you pregnant tomorrow morning if I could.

Or, I would visit the menstrual cycle upon each of you if I could.

Then we would see who the women are.

That would be awesome.

Bitches.

I am a man speaking for women.

Drinks for my friends.

It Wasn’t THAT Long Ago. . . .

A little history seems in order.

right to vote Okay, so before we start, let’s get this straight. This is not an anti-male diatribe, much as you may think it is. There are damn well plenty of stupid women out there who have drunk the kool-aid and think women’s place is in the home, tending the kitchen, children and pets, in that order. The trouble is, the women who tell you that are ANYTHING BUT stay-at-homers themselves and even if they are, they are writing blogs, books, and preachin’ on social media that YOU should not be like them, but rather like the fantasy women they envision–pampered, protected, cared for, and wiper of runny noses all wearing that crisp peter pan-collared cotton frock and perfectly shined respectable two-inch pumps and pushing the vacuum with a free hand.

Whew. . . .

No this is against paternalism and all its ugly underbelly of psychological signals that tell the female gender that they are all they can be just by primping in front of the mirror and making very sure that that eyeliner is on straight and that lipstick is the latest fashion color of the season.

Ya see, I grew up in that tween place, on the cusp, able to see both shores as it were.

Women got the vote in 1920. My mother was born in ’26, so she grew up having it, though I must say, she pretty much used is as far as I can tell, as her husbands explained to her was right and good. But her mother came into her adulthood without it, my grandmother was born in ’01, so it impacted her most. I knew these women for whom the vote was a “new” thing,  but grew up knowing that voting was no different for me than for any guy I knew.

It was not until the 60′s, during the general period of awakening that lots of minorities were going through, least of all white males who were being conscripted to be the fodder in another war, but one this time that seemed to merit no one’s patriotic fervor, that we women began to learn of our own deeper oppression. We began to learn that it was not okay that our bodies were not our own to control, that we were not by “nature” relegated to certain types of jobs, and paid less in others simply because we were women.

We learned that there was much more to do in this journey to equality.

And we secured our right to control our bodies–in other words–to make mistakes just like men do with theirs.

And we worked hard to break through glass ceilings that prevented us from being fighter pilots, (if that’s what we wanted), neurosurgeons, police officers, firefighters,  and corporate CEO’s. And then we discovered that even when we got the jobs we didn’t get the pay, and we began that fight too.

Always with a certain segment of scared men and the women they controlled telling us that we were going against God, country, and well, nature itself.

womens_rights2Always with those who believed that as we gained our power to control our lives, theirs would somehow be diminished. Sharing is a hard lesson to learn.

They argued of course that women would become “just like men”, or worse, punish men in some Amazonian-driven lust for power themselves.

They argued that we would cry during tense negotiations with a Khrushchev and rain down upon America the nuclear holocaust that permeated the Cold War era.

They called us atheistic feminists and the spittle trickled down their chins, catching and rerouting through grizzled stubble, that they wiped away with grubby fingers still clutching ragged signs with misspelled words echoing their hate: Back to the kitchen you sluts!

But while these battles went on quietly across America with thousands of dedicated women, all the clamor died down, and life didn’t change a whole lot. We figured we were still on the journey, but life as we know it hadn’t stopped, and someday we would reach our goal of full integration and equality in America. Most of us thrived in a world that seemed increasingly equal to us.

And then along came the “IMMORAL MINORITY”  waving their bibles, and explaining to middle-aged white men who had failed in the great American dream to be great achievers, that women were the problem and not corporate greed. Women were and always were the problem ever since that bitch picked that apple off that tree and seduced God’s great creation Adam into sinning. Women were the problem.

And as the rich got richer and the poor got poorer and the great middle started to age and find that damn they weren’t much better off than their parents, some thing had to give. Corporate America became adept at focusing the blame on minorities, takers all. Suddenly, feminism became a dirty word again. Our enemies are mostly aging white men who feel left behind (damn that Rapture, where are you?). The feel and it’s certainly palpable at this point, emasculated by articulate, educated women.

Ask me about it. I belong to a forum of my old high school, and my wars always end up being against these male types (one of which actually said that he ended up calling me names because “I drove him to it.”), and women who believe that women were created to serve me according to their fine uneducated reading of certain pseudo-Pauline texts.  And invariably they block me, so I can read the their comments and they don’t have to respond to mine. Except that there are men on the forum who are just as liberal as I am, just as knowledgeable, and just as “in-your-face”, and they don’t get blocked. Why? Because men can argue with men, but women must be very careful to be properly respectful lest they be branded as “stupid” and “a troll” and “self-defined intellectual”. (I was once told that educated people were “pissants” all, by one tiny-penised patriarchal dope.)

So along comes Hobby Lobby and it’s claim that its corporate religiosity is being assaulted by requiring it “pay” for certain contraceptive methods it in its utter stupidity deems abortifacients, and the Feds have no right to make them offer same to their employees. There is so much wrong here that it’s sick. First, HL provided all these methods before they were picked as the “plaintiff” and then told, “damn, guys, you offer this stuff already!” Hobby Lobby owner Green claims “shit, I have no idea”. Hobby Lobby gets I would guess 80% of its inventory from China, a nation that makes abortion a national policy and until recently required it after one child. Hobby Lobby has a 401K retirement benefits package which includes owning shares of various big pharma companies which, you guessed it, manufacture all the abortifacients that HL moans about.

So the SCROTUS decided that corporate religious well-being trumps women’s rights to good health. Along with that, they decided that there can be no buffer zone between women trying to enter clinics that offer contraceptive care along with abortions and those who want to scream at them demanding that they “think again”.  Women seeking treatment at a PPH clinic must be within “spittin’ distance” of those who seek to turn them away.

Across America, Republican led legislatures make it hard if not impossible for poor women to get reproductive care of any kind by loading down clinics with regulations (aren’t Republicans against business regulation as a matter of principle?) that are so burdensome that they have to close.

And all this in the name of NOT ABORTING. When all of these restrictions do exactly the opposite.

Republicans in Congress vote down equal pay for women.

There is a line.

It has now been crossed.

We will not go back.

Vote in 2014 as if you life depends on it, because control of it is surely at stake.

Womenvote

 

 

 

 

Convincing Those Who are Oblivious

Malcom-X-Quote-oppressed-peopleI spend a lot of time thinking.

I write a lot about the things I’m thinking about.

People who think like me, read what I write, and they think it’s pretty okay.

People who don’t think like me, don’t read me, but if they did, they wouldn’t agree with me.

Which is curious, since much of what I think about and write about is pretty well substantiated by actual things called facts.

It would seem evident that my facts should trump your fact-less opinion. But it doesn’t. Because you dismiss my facts. You don’t even waste the time to think about them, you simple use your magic eraser and voilà they are gone.

My husband, the great thinker, The Contrarian, reminds me that people are on a continuum. People are not neatly packed into the left or right or middle. It’s all bleeding all over the place. But we are dealing with averages after all.

“Recent converging studies are showing that liberals tend to have a larger and/or more active anterior cingulate cortex, or ACC—useful in detecting and judging conflict and error—and conservatives are more likely to have an enlarged amygdala, where the development and storage of emotional memories takes place.  More than one study has shown these same results, . . . .”

This has been known for some time. It ends up suggesting that these truisms are mostly true for liberals:

Liberals, according to this model, would be likely to engage in more flexible thinking, working through alternate possibilities before committing to a choice. Even after committing, if alternate contradicting data comes along, they would be more likely to consider it.

On the other hand, conservatives respond rather differently:

“. . .[W]hen faced with an ambiguous situation, conservatives would tend to process the information initially with a strong emotional response. This would make them less likely to lean towards change, and more likely to prefer stability. Stability means more predictability, which means more expected outcomes, and less of a trigger for anxiety.”

You see the dilemma?

Liberals continue to pepper conservatives with facts, and conservatives respond with concerns about values and things that affect them personally. They give you anecdotal information that they see as equally valuable in how they should respond.

Case in point. I know a person who is conservative and a fundamentalist. She is opposed to the ACA because it stems from President Obama, and pretty much is in agreement with all the known Tea Party positions regarding, abortion, gay marriage, guns, and so forth. I’ve never seen her seriously out of alignment with them on any issue.

At one point in her life, her health situation became serious enough that she applied for Medicaid. She was denied as “not eligible”. She self-reported that a “neighbor” couple got Medicaid however. She then went on to explain that God saw fit to have her denied because obviously He had other plans for her.

Let’s try to reconcile this. First, this woman has quoted her pastor as approving statements that call the American poor “akin to the rabble of Rome”. Her remark about her neighbors getting their Medicaid seemed offered as an example of  people who got what they didn’t deserve at least as much as she did. Yet, her application for Medicaid doesn’t define her as a “taker,” because of course she felt that in her situation, she “deserved” it.

However, when Medicaid denied her, that would mean she was not deserving, and thus one of those who was trying to get what she didn’t deserve, thus a taker. Since she cannot see herself as a taker, she is a qualified applicant denied what she deserved by a loving God who had other plans for her.

That’s the way you twist the world to fit your beliefs. People who get government assistance are still takers because they are not deserving, while good people like herself are denied. God has a plan and someday she will understand.

The example is instructive. It will do no good for me to  give her facts about how well Obamacare is actually doing now. She will not be impressed with knowing that in several states, competition between carriers has actually doubled, making it likely that premiums will come down even more in ensuing years. Eight million plus new insured will not do the trick either, since they are like her neighbor, people who shouldn’t get it, and could get their own if they would only get a job.

She might, on the other hand, be persuaded that it’s the Christian thing to do, that a healthier country means that everyone will benefit in myriad ways. Playing to her sense of Christian charity should work. But alas it does not to the fundamentalist. Jesus did in fact make it most clear that we were “our brother’s keeper” and he again and again emphasized to his disciples that here brother meant the truly marginalized. His examples of the marginalized he considered “brothers” were people of other nationalities,  victims of disease, women, those in employment to the oppressors, and sexually active persons.

Some how Jesus’ teachings about carrying for the prisoner, the sick, the hungry, the unclothed, got mixed up. I would take another post to untease the tangle of Pauline and pseudo-Pauline doctrine that is both misunderstood and mis-applied to these teachings to get where we are today with the evangelical right, namely that government should not proffer  programs for the needy, instead, they, the evangelicals should, so they can weed out all those who are not deserving, i.e., the lazy, the takers, the rabble, reserving charity for the “truly needy” which is essentially someone who has suddenly through no fault of their own, “fallen on hard times”, from which, if given just a little help for a short while, they will recover and once again be productive citizens.

That leaves us with appealing to self-interest and values, but here too we run into trouble. Let’s take the issues of food stamps and a living wage as examples. Regularly we are told that food stamps are misused by uncounted numbers of people who are “too lazy” to work. (Facts are to the contrary of course, but facts don’t matter.)  These people are taking advantage of “us” through taxes when they could just as well get a job.  But on the other hand, conservatives are essentially against any minimum wage, arguing that it impinges on an employers right to pay what he/she deems appropriate, and that such a law interferes with free markets. These are values conservatives hold dear: working and free markets.

However, if you wish people to work, but allow business owners to play unfair low wages, doesn’t that put us into the food stamp business? Logic says that if you want people to work you need to pay them enough to care for themselves and their families. So you should support a requirement of a fair living wage.

But again, logic is not the point. Conservatives can and do hold opinions on things that are in considerable conflict. Remember, it is liberals who have to reconcile conflicting beliefs, not conservatives.

While it is easy to say that the way to change the mind of a conservative is to forget facts and give them arguments that appeal to their self-interest and values, such is not always possible as we can see, or at least it requires a great deal more finesse than one would think.

It would seem then, that the answer lies in education. Only by teaching our youngsters that the mind has a way of creating reality to suit its own comfort zone, can we set about the business of giving them the tools that will allow them to avoid the pitfalls of their own predilections.

In this no doubt liberals also have something to learn. The focus  in this essay has been on explaining why liberals can’t change the minds of conservatives with facts. But they too have positive points to contribute. In a stable compromising world,  we could do what we have mostly always done, bring out the best in each other.

What is most important to remember, is that no individual can be utterly pigeon-holed by this analysis. We change over time as well. We do have free will, and the ability to overcome our own negative tendencies. These are generalities across a spectrum. Genetic predispositions are just that, predispositions, over come again and again by serious study, and life experiences. We would do well to remember that.

(Do read the link–it gives a lot more detail and links to further study)

Eric, My Dude, Wha’ Happened to Ya?

Cantor-0bcf9-4269 Frank Luntz really got one thing right. “The GOP is lousy when it comes to doing polling.”

By all accounts, Eric was blindsided by his rather convincing loss to a third-rate “economist” called Brat. He dinna see it cummin’ as they say.

As all politicians do, they manage to put on a thin smile as they stumble to the podium to admit their loss and congratulate the nobody who was somehow good enough.

The punditry is all awash in ‘splainin’ how this happened.

Some say it was his flirt with immigration reform. Other’s his watering down of a bill that would have but a stop to insider trading by congress people, who are as you know, so danged overworked and unpaid that it’s only fair that they should be able to do what nobody else can do without going to jail.

Some say Eric was just a total shit, arrogant and dismissive, failing to act, ya know, like one of his constituents, on those “hanging out  in the district” times. He was in a word, (words actually) full to the brim with the sweet smell of his own poo.

He will likely be replaced by an even more odious (ideologically speaking) commodity, the Brat guy. Who is some sort of economist, but apparently not much of one, who when asked what his position was on minimum wage increases, said he hadn’t had time to work out a “fully crafted statement” on that yet, or some such bullshit. What freakin’ economist doesn’t have a thought on a subject that, ya know, DEALS WITH ECONOMICS?

But I guess one shouldn’t wonder since his economic philosophy seems to be “Brat believes in free-markets as run by some curious amalgam of Presbyterian theology and Ayn Rand’s economic sociopathy.” If that don’t make your head spin I don’t know what will. The atheist Rand married to a dude who claims that his win was a “miracle from God”. I can’t wait to see how it pulls that off.

It is however, most comforting to know that there are plenty of GOP tenderfeet waiting in the wings for their chance on the national stage.

As well as some old has beens who are still trying to be relevant to something that passes for significance in this political world.

johnmccainshocked

Enter one John S. McCain. A meme last week on Facebook asked commentors to sum up Johnny in three words. My favorites were “still not relevant”, “still not President”, and “Sarah Palin, seriously?”. Fresh off his flopping like a dead flounder all over the Bergdahl mess, he ‘s moved on to utter more stale bullshit to an increasingly deaf audience.

You may not have heard, but Iraq is being overrun at the moment with Al Qaida–you know–the crazies who came into Iraq when George W, following orders from Cheney and Rummy, decided to invade it, because they wanted to? That war. The war that we sorta fought to a tie, which gave us our escape window? And we escaped. And like everyone on the planet knew that chaos (or more chaos I should say) would ensue until the damn country became a bloodbath? And a few hundred people have died in that country every month, but Syria was worse, so we didn’t notice? Until the deaths started being several hundred a week? Now ya remember?

Yeah, well, now Johnny, setting aside his blatant memory loss, has declared that we won that war, (more specifically George did after following John’s instructions), and now Obama has gone and lost it, and his entire group of foreign security advisors should be fired, and replaced by the old crew from George’s tenure, and hell, while you’re at it, let George take over, cuz God we all felt so much better and more secure when he was at the button. Such is the way John sees things, or forgets things.

MillerMeet Jeff Miller, (R-FL).

Look carefully since Jeff, is a zombie. Not walking dead, but walking brain-dead. He is shown holding on to his head, for it would float off to the ceiling if he didn’t. It’s full of nothing but helium.

Florida, as you may know, if one of those areas of the country that will soon lose half its sovereign soil when the oceans rise due to climate change. It is of some minor concern to its residents not all of whom are ready to trade their land based homes for boats.

So in their brilliance, they, in part at least, elect this fool.

Jeff, make no bones about it, is a fool, in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Frank has that wonderful ability to hold lots of facts in his empty brain that are in utter conflict.

First, Frank says that scientists are not agreed about who is causing this particular climate change. That’s not true, of course, for they are, to a degree of more than 97%; the rest being dismissed as owned and paid for by Koch brother enterprises and others in the fossil fuel industry.

Frank chooses to side with the paid-for deniers, and of course reminds us that “the climate is always changing”, as indeed it is. The planet we call home has, over billions of years, undergone plenty of change, most of it taking millions of years to build up. No doubt Frank doesn’t believe this because he must stay on the good side of the funny-gelicals who don’t believe the earth is more than 6,000 +/= a few hundred years old. But, for purposes of this argument I guess he believes that climates change over time.

His proof? Oh the dinosaurs. How in the heck could the dinosaurs have been axed if climate change wasn’t a “natural thing”. After all, he says, man wasn’t there (oh no screams Ken Ham–he’s an atheist!), and they weren’t driving around cars and such.

So the fact that the dinosaurs disappeared means that climate change isn’t man made. (Get the ropes and pinions, that jump across that chasm of logic is mighty wide!)

What Jeff doesn’t have a clue about is that the climate was rolling merrily along in old dinosaur land, when a comet or asteroid hit the planet and threw up so much dust and dirt, that the climate changed massively in a very short time (hint, hint like today’s human activities), and produced an unlivable situation for the dinos quickly. (purists note that this is the Alvarez theory to which I generally adhere or the catastrophic extraterrestrial theory. There are other serious theories which we aren’t going to get into here, suffice it that it has no effect on the argument.)

In other words, there is climate change which is normal and then there is that which is abnormal. What is happening to the earth today is abnormal, proceeding much too rapidly, and is demonstrably man-made.

The point is, there is no connection between the dinosaurs and the reality of man-made climate change. Never was, never will be.

And so we end, “Your week in GOP shenanigans and really stupid stuff.”

 

The Shaming of the GOP

iran-contra_cards_coverI mean ya gotta hand it to the GOP and their corp of clowns. I swear the term chutzpah must have been invented just for them.

Given all the back-walking going on within the GOP ranks on this issue of Sgt. Bergdahl, it still remains stunning the degree to which folks like Fox Noise continue to look down their noses at the drooling sycophants that pass as the usual Fox viewer.

Case in point, is one Ollie North, criminal/traitor extraordinaire who was recently on Newsmax to give us the benefit of his wisdom on the negotiated release of Sgt. Bergdahl from the hands of the Taliban.

You remember Ollie. He participated along with candidate Ronald Reagan, in a secret deal with Iran (terrorists) to sell them missiles and then turn that money over to the Contras in Nicaragua (more terrorists). In return Iran was supposed to turn over  hostages, but not until the election was over, so Carter couldn’t get the benefit of it. This was not only negotiating with terrorists, it was downright treason.

Yet, Fox figured Ollie was a good choice to weigh in on the matter of the Bergdahl release. I mean seriously!

From there we move to Johnny McCain who just cannot to this day live with the fact that he is not the President.

homer-pyle-and-sgt-farter-copyBack in February of this year, Johnny suggested that he could probably get behind a trade of Taliban Gitmo detainees in exchange for Sgt. Bergdahl, though he would “have to see the details”. This seems in line with the information that this negotiation has been in the works since 2011, and that the appropriate members of Congress were informed of both the negotiations, AND the subjects of any exchange.

John was enraged when this was pointed out to him. He sputtered, accused journalists of “lying” and then abruptly changed his tune, and suggested that it was a done deal, and we should move on. Then the next day, he was back on the bandwagon, screaming for “his head”.

Joined at the hip, Kelly Ayotte just on Memorial Day was calling on citizens to “remember Sgt. Bergdahl in their thoughts and prayers” and declaring that she was pushing the military to do everything possible to return him to his family. Of course now she’s singing a different tune.

Ayotte, is of course, no different from Lindsey Butchmeup Graham, who get their marching orders from Johnny, came to lately McCain, and both can be forgiven their turnabouts, since it’s all just too confusing to them in the first place. Lindsey of course is facing a primary next week, and so he’s desperately trying to remind everyone in his state that he has a mighty big job in just zipping up his trousers over that massive load of junk he’s carrying.

Their story is not singular as it were. A host of those who were congratulating America on having brought back a prisoner, quickly scrubbed their congratulations from their Twitter feeds when advised that the GOP was tacking once again. At least six Republicans have done so, advised by party leaders apparently that things “had changed”.

This all falls into place when one realizes that the rabble of the Tea People are making their anger heard throughout the faux news blogs that cater to the trailer brigade. Facebook pages, and the usual stories rebound around the likes of WorldNetDaily, Breitbart and Fox Noise, all attesting to the fact that Bergdahl was “probably a traitor”, “probably a deserter”, whose father “looks like a Muslim” and on and on. Impeachment echoes through the halls of crazy land.

None of this has anything to do with the decision of course, but in the usual fear of upsetting the grossly ignorant, GOP politicians run scared. The mill around the Capital, asking each other what to do, after all, elections are at stake, and NOTHING is as important.

The degree to which the GOP jumps when the fringe furrows it’s collective Neanderthal brow, is stunning. Just last week, the NRA after having declared that the crazies in Texas wandering around cheap food establishments with assault-type rifles and camouflage, should just go home, was met with an uproar from these thugs, and beat a hasty retreat, claiming “we made a terrible mistake”.

Such is the state of the GOP that they are drug around by the nose by a band of motley ill-educated morons who have basements full of canned goods, and lockers full of assault weapons, all ready for the coming revolution. However shaming this is to them personally doesn’t excuse the selling out of their soul in exchange for a greasy fingered vote.

The bottom line is quite simple. There are few facts that are known, other than the following.

  1. Prisoner exchanges have always been part of a President’s duties, going back to George Washington.
  2. Prisoner exchanges are done by most countries, including Israel with Palestine. In fact one of their more famous exchanges involved 1 Israel for over a THOUSAND Palestinians. Both sides call the other side terrorists.
  3. This negotiation has been going on since 2011. There seems to be evidence that some Congressional leaders of the appropriate committees were aware of the negotiations, and the general parameters of those discussions.
  4. Sgt. Bergdahl has been charged with no crime. And even if he were, that is no reason whatsoever by any military standard not to secure his release.
  5. The exchanged Gitmo detainees were Taliban, not Al Qaeda. There is a serious difference.

This smacks, as so much of GOP opposition usually ends up being, as nothing more than, whatever the Black guy does, we hate it. Note that as usual, the GOP prior to this event, demanded the release of Sgt. Bergdahl, but as usual offered NO concrete terms of how that should be done. (See Syria, and the Ukraine for similar demands without specifics). So they demand action, refuse to specify what that action should be, and then when ANY action is taken, it’s the wrong action, and still there is no statement of what right action would look like.

This is a pattern of opposition. This is not governance, it is pure mean-spirited obstinate opposition. It is in truth a pandering to the fringe crazies which now seem to run the GOP. These people are satisfied with nothing other than venomous denial to everything this President presents. Of course they have no alternatives. Do you expect to get alternatives from seven-year olds?

Perhaps someday, normal men and women will pick themselves up from the mud, wash themselves off, and decide to reclaim the GOP as a party worthy of listening to. Not today however, not today.