Conservative Comedy Show: Is That Some Sort of Oxymoron?

Allahu-Akbar-Its-Friday It is said (or at least it should have been said) that the human brain is pretty much capable of coming up with anything. I mean we humans have invented the most amazing ways of torturing people and killing them off bit by bit.

Go into any supermarket and stroll down the soda pop aisle or cereal aisle and you can see that we can invent several dozen variations on a theme, making each appear fresh and new.

But I swear I cannot come up with a viable version of comedy that stresses conservative themes and is funny at the same time. It would be a bit like pushing matter and anti-matter too closely together. It just implodes.

What on earth is funny about all the things that the GOP is for? They are for cutting taxes for the rich. That’s gotten to the point that nowadays we are sending money to them since they “pay” taxes in the negative.

They are for trying to offset their growing state deficits by adding “luxury” taxes to food and other necessities, taxes that cruelly attach more to the poor than any other group.

They are for the life of the fetus, which is surely laudable if it were coexistent with care for pregnant mothers, babies, health care, and a host of services to support that fetus as it grows to old age. But they are not.

They are against government intervening in the lives of ordinary people unnecessarily. They call this regulation. But the forms they wish to dismiss are those that protect people from dirty water, dirty air, shoddy manufacturing practices, unfair labor practices that endanger and diminish people.  They figure kids, rather than get a free lunch should sweep the school for their dinner.

But when it comes to regulating behavior, they can’t get enough of regulations. They want to and do, try to regulate every aspect of women’s bodies when it comes to reproduction and girls bodies too. They seek to regulate what women wear. They seek to protect the rights of others to treat fellow human beings badly based upon personal ideologies that they call a “religion.”

They seek to express American exceptionalism by meddling around the world, upping the ante everywhere, bloating defense budgets to accommodate their need to puff out their chests and “prove” America is better. At the same time, they protect themselves and their offspring from standing on any battlefield they create.

They seek to pretend that race and ethnicity no longer are of any concern in their America. They turn the page by flipping the equation such that anyone who brings up the issue is dubbed a “racist”. They employ a few dark faces, who for the price of personal fame, are willing to nod genteelly in agreement. They twist and cherrypick the words of great civil rights leaders and try to claim them as their own.

They live every day using every convenience devised by modern technology. They tweet and fly, pick up their fancy lattes, take their youth-enhancing shots at spas, drive computer directed cars, yet when it comes to any science that impinges on their gravy train of K Street lobbyists and the free-flowing money that is funneled their way, science becomes pure bunk.

They prefer stupid, cute-talking bobble heads to thoughtful men and women.

They prefer “common-sense” to education, except when they visit the doctor or the dentist or the accountant or the lawyer, or the airport pilot. Education is for elitists, who are people who want to be better than the average person, meaning they get embarrassed when they haven’t a damn clue what is being said.

They are all for individuality, and they mean that they will say that everyone is equal, and you can just do the best you can. If it don’t work out, why that poor house thing back in the twenties wasn’t so bad, and we got a lot of free road work done. See don’t you feel better knowing you are paying for your own gruel?

They want to, therefore, end social security, cuz individuals properly prepare for their own old age. John-Boy is remembered fondly and surely was going to care for his ma and pa. You don’t need medicare either since health care is no right but a privilege reserved for those who have managed to acquire sufficient funds to pay for it.

There is no need either for unemployment benefits because it’s your job to foresee that free markets might end your job. Worse, if you are so down and out as that, you probably are not of sufficient moral character to withstand the urge to just sit on your ass and suck off the rest of us anyway, and we can’t have that.

Food stamps? Hunger builds character. See the above regarding unemployment benefits regarding your unfitness for food.

Housing? Ditches are quite comfortable in summer I hear.

And let’s not forget the churches. Our fine Christian houses of worships are dedicated to helping the “truly” poor, whatever the hell that means. Not so much non-Christian houses of worship which are really just oxymorons, cuz that’s what my Jezus said, after all, somewhere; at least he implied it.

I mean two thousand years of working on that issue, is a good start!

Immigrants were us two hundred or so years ago, and that was fine. Everyone knows white trash from Europe beats red skins any day. And immigrants are really good at cleaning houses and mowing lawns and picking fruit. They don’t want hardly anything for the privilege. But too many? Oh now, that makes you an ALIEN and an ILLEGAL.

Those words are words of fear, because damn, I’m following all the good rules set up by my betters, and fuck, life is still not any better, so somebody is to blame, and my betters say it’s THEM.

So, we can hate us some Mexicans and, hell all of South America pretty much just cuz. But we will not hate the Cubans, at least the rich ones who escaped Fidel. They are not aliens or illegals, but good people who lost their wealthy land holdings and much to be commiserated with.

We can hate us some Arabs, as many as we want and wherever we want, because we just want their oil, them that got it at least. The rest? Who cares?

We can ignore all our history and all of the worlds for that matter just because it interferes with the narrative we have to tell ourselves today to get to sleep. I mean the past is the past, why dwell on uncomfortable things like slavery and partitioning and supporting dictators and crummy stuff like that. It just makes me feel bad, and, after all, we have to deal with TODAY right?

Let’s make history a quest to make our kids good Americans! And we know what will do that. Put God back in school! In fact, let’s turn over education our youth to private enterprise, cuz they will do the job better and cheaper! And they will never have an ulterior motive to teach our kids anything that was wrong, or quietly made themselves look like the best thing since sliced bread, will they?

Let’s continue to push for not letting those who think against us vote. Let’s continue to make judges do what we want them too.

Let’s put a gun in every graduate’s hand. And I ain’t talkin’ about graduating from college, or even high school. Grade school is old enough to understand proper gun usage. Carry it proudly son. It’s what the Founding Fathers wanted for sure.

This is what the Grand Overly Dead Party thinks. Now, if you can come up with how to make this funny, do tell. I can’t come up with anything. Not a damn thing. A wake? I can come up with that, but not comedy.

glenn-beck-goes-crazy-in-radio-show-pin-head-funny-comedy

 

 

 

Obama is For Life-I’m for Death

groucho i'm against it So we can start off with the “this is much ado about nothing” which of course begs the question, “why bother?”

Cuz a girl’s gotta write since it’s my passion, and there is always the miniscule hope, (for we all know that it springs eternal) that some poor bastard out there who was “damn the President for dissin’ Christians” will awaken from the fog of dissonance and the clear bell of enlightenment will ring forth: “I was once stupid and now I am not.”

Such is at least my justification for this essay.

I just happened to be tuned in the other morning as the President gave the traditional speech at the National Prayer Meetin’ which is held annually in Washington where all the sinners come to pretend they are doin’ their very best to apply God’s law as they slip another check from Exxon-Mobile and JP Morgan, into their $3000 suits.

The President, as we all know, has pretty much given up on the idea that facts, and good logic will get him anywhere, and as of late has pursued a policy of “screw you, try to stop me” and a general “fuck you” to Congressional Republicans who are fresh off the latest round of “ain’t got no bootstraps with which to pay for healthcare? Well die, you dog, and make room for those who do.”

As every good American knows, there’s the guys in the black hats (bad) and the guys in the white hats (good) always near to the scene. America is built upon this scenario and we have all the cheesy old westerns to prove it. Let us introduce the latest and best entry into the black hats category. A group known as ISIS (not to be confused with an Egyptian god) or ISIL if you have a clue what Levant means.

ISIL is a slipshod group of thugs who claim a perverted understanding of Islam which they use to justify their attempts to take over the world. Since their threat is pretty much everywhere, that means just about everyone else gets to be the guys in the white hats, but Merika of course always has to lead, cuz we are the super, super white hats.

Anyway, if you hadn’t noticed, we have a fair share of Arab Muslims (and Arabs in general) who live in the US, and boy I sure wouldn’t want to be them, since Americans are flighty people who tend to assess blame against whole swaths of people since it’s just easier. We learned that from the movies too, where it’s often best to “shoot first and ask questions later.” Anyway, even the dumbest of President (that would be you Dubya) have realized that it’s really not a good idea to let the great stupid mobs of American whiteness carry on in this manner, and so they are always at pains of ‘splainin’ to the stupid white people that NOT ALL ARABS ARE MUSLIMS AND MORE IMPORTANT NOT ALL MUSLIMS ARE KILLERS. In fact the huge majority are not, but are just peace-loving, family-seeking individuals like you and me.

Now Dubya can say nice things about Arab Muslims, and even hold hands with them, and nobody thinks a thing bad about it.  bush-holds-hands-11-9-10 He can even share a short peck and not even be thought particularly gay. Just good old American manners.

And he can say all kinds of nice things about Muslims to remind dumb American white people that it’s never a good idea to paint a brush too broad.

“Ambush-saudierica treasures the relationship we have with our many Muslim friends, and we respect the vibrant faith of Islam which inspires countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity, and morality. This year, may Eid also be a time in which we recognize the values of progress, pluralism, and acceptance that bind us together as a Nation and a global community. By working together to advance mutual understanding, we point the way to a brighter future for all.” Presidential Message Eid al-Fitr December 5, 2002

But when President Obama reminds us that there are bad people in all religions historically who have done really bad things

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history.  And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ. . .So this is not unique to one group or one religion.  There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.  In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try.

the hue and cry from the extreme right in this country rose like a phoenix, screaming that such utterly evil words had never been spoken in all of our democracy.  Former Governor of Virginia, Jim Gillmore was “outraged” having never heard a more terrible thing from the lips of a President. Santorum and Limbaugh chimed in with their mortification of Christianity today being compared to the unspeakable ISIS killers. And on it went, the rallying cry being “this is not a moral equivalency!!”

And it was not suggested as such either, if you read the text.

It was meant to remind everyone that while the killings by ISIS are horrific, we as humans have been doing horrific things to each other since the inception of so-called civilization, and a good deal of it has been veiled in perverted religious beliefs. People find it most convenient to put on the mask of religion to disguise their blatant lust for power and to express their hatred and fear. It has always been so. ISIS is no different in that respect than all the others. It is no more heinous, no more bloody certainly, and no more representative of the faith it espouses than any of the others were.

A few examples should suffice.

jesse-washington-lot13093-no.38 African-Americans in this country were often burned at the stake during slavery and Jim Crow. If you don’t think it was done in the name of Christianity, then read the words of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stevens:

[T]he first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society … With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so.

It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.” The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws.

The charred body of Jesse Washington pictured above was in 1905 in Waco. The deaths of countless other African-Americans during Jim Crow by lynching, by the KKK (which always has a “Christian” front), occured. George Wallace invoked the name of God dozens of times in his 1963 inaugural  address where he also famously uttered the words, “Segregation now. . .segregation tomorrow. . .segregation forever.” 

The extreme Right-Wingers will tell you that the Crusades were wars of defense. Yet the arguable owners of that land were Palestinians and Jews. Muslims lay claim based on Muhammad. Yet Christians have no real claim certainly any greater than Jews or Muslims. All claim the area as holy.  Yet when the first Crusade ended, the city of Jerusalem was cleared of all non-Christians, and by cleared I mean murdered. Jews who barricaded themselves in their synagogues were burned to death and survivors sold into slavery. All told the Crusades occurred over about 200 years, ending in 1291 or so.

When Saladin recaptured Jerusalem, only then were Jews allowed to return and live in relative freedom.  This was in 1187, nearly a hundred years later.

They claim that the Inquisition was “political” as if that means something.

In fact the Inquisition was instituted by Pope Innocent III and set up by Pope Gregory IX. Confessors to heresy were burned alive. In 1242 the Talmud was condemned and burnings of Jews began in France in 1288. The Inquisition was begun in Spain for fear of “secret Jews” and the Conversos (those that had converted at pain of death in the first place and were suspected of retaining their true Judaic beliefs). In Seville alone more than 700 Jews were burned to death. By the time it ended in 1808, nearly 32,000 died by fire.

And the Inquisition was not just in Spain and France. It spread to Portugal and then to New World colonies and throughout Asia as well. 

We need not but mention the Troubles in Ireland in which religion was the division between sides. Or that of India/Pakistan again, where religion affiliation defined the sides.

It is not that religion perverts human souls, but that some small sick group humans use religion to perpetrate their own evils upon the world.

President Obama, in the hopes of tamping down the ugly nativism that is so beginning to plague this nation with its ugly hate, attempted to remind us that we all have blood upon our hands. ISIS is but the latest in a long line of evil people doing evil things in the name of their perverted version of God.

** Let me recommend Jeff Sharlet’s book The Family which documents the shady and weird folks behind the National Prayer Breakfast.

**Also a great read is Karen Armstrong’s Fields of Blood which argues that religion has played  a lesser role in most violence historically, however much it may have been the cover story. I’ve not read this but I’ve read others of hers and she is a uniquely qualified religious scholar who is highly respected for her scholarship. She was once a nun herself.

 

 

 

Fundamentalism Gone Sideways

a-hyprocrite-religion-fundamentalist-demotivational-poster-1282266143 Anyone who knows me at all well, knows that I’m a bit of a crusader when it comes to fundamentalism. Since I fully admit that, I never ask people to accept my conclusions without good documentation.

I’ll try to be nice here, but please don’t hold me to it.

First of all, fundamentalist Christians refuse to accept that this description to the left is actually what is described in Genesis as the structure of the earth and universe. As you can see, it is not a globe at all, but rather a series of pillars, o’er covered with a “dome” with water above it, and of course below. The sun and visible planets and stars are inside the dome.

If you read the flood stories, you will note that this depiction allows for the waters to both arise from the earth and the sky. It also accounts for the oft-heard phrase, “four corners of the earth”. The “earth” was actually a flat disk. This is acknowledged by Jewish experts who ought to understand their own texts better than others, one would think.

Since even the most staunch Christian fundie accepts the spherical actuality of the globe, you can see why they can’t accept this actual description of Genesis but must fudge it to account for reality.

My point is simply that fundamentalism is based in large part on a fanatical belief in the truthiness of a book, and it is a self-serving literal-ness at best. In this they are no different from other fundamentalists in other religions. As any Muslim will tell you, fundamentalist jihadists misread and twist the Quran in a similar fashion in order to get it  to “say what they want it to say.”

Suggesting that all fundamentalists are cut from the same cloth,  sets the Christian right on edge. They deny it of course. Indeed if you look at the Wikipedia entry on fundamentalism, you discover that it is not limited to even religion at all but pertains to any ideology which is reduced to an irreducible set” of precepts which cannot be deviated from in any respect. A strict literalism is imposed as to the agreed upon rules.

Bob Altemeyer has done some exceptional work in this area, and makes his main research “The Authoritarians” avail as a PDF file here.  The Wikipedia entry, while certainly nothing  but a starting point, has a fine bibliography to get your started located here.  Psychology has done much work in the area and you might start with this Pathos article, which will lead you to books and studies. Another well-researched book might be The Fundamentalist Mind by Strozier, Termen, Jones, and Boyd. This should help get you started if you wish to learn more. Again, don’t accept my word for it, go to the actual sources.

My point is not to rehash what is common knowledge, among anyone who wants to understand why we are troubled in this country with a segment of society which continues to place it’s personal religious interests above the common good, and most would say common sense. It is rather to point out by the above, that these are not choices made by rational minds, but rather what certain brain configurations are prone to fall into. Since in most cases it is extremely hard to eradicate or upset these mindsets, the only solution is to be ever vigilant to keep them out of the decision-making arenas of our common lives.

This we have done a poor job of doing.

Since we believe that religion is a matter of personal preference, we are loath to interrupt those preferences by any sort of “test” to eliminate those belief systems that threaten us all. And I agree that we should continue to do so. But we must also recognize that there are those among us who want a world much different from the one we inhabit. It is their stated purpose and their heartfelt belief that we should all be forced if necessary to accept their world vision in the guise of a government reactive to their vision of God.

They believe in a nutshell that all laws must be referenced to a book, the Bible in this case, and that of course they will tell you what the Bible says should be the law.

You may or not be aware that James Inhofe, (R-Ok) is the new chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Inhofe has for years argued that climate change is a hoax. Inhofe has received, tens of thousands of dollars from fossil fuel interests to fund his campaigns. Of course he tells you that he is a true believer, and perhaps that is true. It is always hard to say. But in any case, the Senator is prepared to argue that 98% of the scientific community is wrong on the issue of man-made climate change, and that his fundamentalist-driven approach is true.

What Inhofe admits, is that it doesn’t matter if climate change is occurring. Man is arrogant to go against God in this matter. As his proof he raises Genesis 8:22 which is God’s promise:

As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

Of course they also interpret that “as long as the earth endures” involves a “self-correcting resilience” that they nowhere find in the bible, but assume.

What I am being asked to accept is that the US and by implication no one else, should do anything about the clear evidence of a catastrophe in the making because of what a few people who are in no way experts in either the bible or the science of climate have decided is best for us all. Are you willing to stake the lives of your children and grandchildren on their being right?

Is Inhofe any different from the thousands who have gone to stand upon hilltops on the appointed day and hour to await the second coming, always to return home at dawn, a home that often no longer is theirs since they have sold or given away everything to insure God knows them as the true believers they profess to be?

Are we to go instead to live in Chief Justice Roy Moore’s world in Alabama? Judge Moore tells the Governor in that state to ignore a legal judicial pronouncement from a federal court on the illegality of a  gay marriage ban because the judge has determined that the bible told him otherwise, and by fiat he proclaims the federal court decision as “unconstitutional.”

So much for the rule of law. While running for governor himself, Moore decried evolution teaching as “distorting our way of thinking”. Yet, the electorate in Alabama saw fit to elect him as Chief Judge of their Supreme Court, making him the greatest interpreter of the law in the state. This is sanity?

My point is that these people are dangerous to OUR life. We can laugh at them, we can face palm their stupidity and their childish emotional needs all we want, but they have carefully and for the most part quietly wormed their way into positions of power within our country. They have infiltrated school boards, city councils, state legislatures, and obviously on into our higher governmental positions where they, armed with pseudo-science and pseudo-theology, restructure our laws to fit their kingdom to come as they view it.

We ignore them at our peril. If we don’t stand against this sort of soft-headedness, we cannot expect an electorate who by and large is too busy to think these things through themselves to do it for us. We will find ourselves soon before the modern-day Inquisition defending truth against a country that is now governed by a rabble of no longer able or willing to discern truth from fantasy religious fanatics. They are NO DIFFERENT THAN JIHADISTS PEOPLE.

You have been warned.

 

 

From Whence Came We?

titles-in-evolutionary-biology-L-5dgnEbFrom an early age, I wondered about where I came from. Perhaps it is why fairy tales failed to trigger my imagination, for I took such things literally and soon discovered that they didn’t live up to logical expectations.

Take Santa Claus. I loved Christmas more than any holiday as a child, and of course I believed in Santa as all young children do who are raised in the Christmas culture. I was not plagued by older siblings who told me it was phooey, or well-meaning adults who “slipped” and brought that belief to a screeching halt.

No, I figured it out all alone, one pre-Christmas night as I lay in bed, trying to will Christmas morning a more hurried arrival. Ignore all that problem of reindeer and flying, and just how much any sleigh could carry, the time just made no sense. Even with a full 24-hours across the globe, Santa would have to travel faster than fast to visit all us boys and girls. I started with just my own “neighborhood” of about one square mile. Why it would take at least an hour, but even it only took 15 minutes to visit a few hundred homes, why there was the city, and then the state, and then all the states, and then ALL of Canada, and then Europe, and even those awful Ruskies had children, and that was a BIG country too.

Well, that is one story, but eventually that grew to all the other questions that needed answering about how the earth came to be, and how the moon came to be, and how humans came to be. I systematically investigated all these things from childhood to adulthood, getting more and more sophisticated answers surely. I became a student of sorts of astronomy and later cosmology, and paleontology. I read books about these subjects for fun, marveling at great mysteries.

I became of course no authority, and understood only up to a point, for sooner or later much of this turns into mathematical equations far beyond my learning. But I got the scientific answers for the most part. As I matured, and developed some sense of a spiritual life, God entered the equation as well, and over the years I discerned that these are really two questions. One demands reproducible proof; the another a philosophical elegance of argument.

Of course the argument rages on, with fundamentalists entering where they do not belong, and atheists peppering them with irrefutable logic at most turns. Both are wrong, because as I said, one does not really relate to the other except when one (the fundamentalists) demands that the Bible be used as a scientific text, and the other (the atheist) insists that all believers are fundamentalists.

Science, in the area of cosmology does posit that there may be unknowables, forever unknowable. Brain scientists question the ability of the brain to know itself in all it’s complexity. There may be limits therefore to human knowledge. If there are, then God has the place of “unmoved mover” as Aristotle suggested.

Fundamentalists fundamentally don’t understand or don’t choose to understand things like the 2nd law of thermodynamics for instance. Sooner or later, in an attempt to sound scientific, a fundamentalist while draw herself up and point out that Darwin’s evolutionary theory violates it. Now, if pressed, she would not have a clue as to why, but she read it somewhere in one of her “how to stump your evolutionary friends” and prove Darwin wrong. Of course it does not, because entropy only works in closed systems. The earth is not a closed system because it is being bombarded continuously with solar radiation (energy).

This is only their second best argument, for their first is always, “if we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” Well, my fine airhead, it’s because we didn’t evolve from monkeys, and nobody ever said we did, except another uninformed fundamentalist. First, we are related to apes, not monkeys (and there is a rather big difference), and second we are not evolved from them, but actually share way way back, a common ancestor. We both branched off in different directions (picture the fork in the road), one leading to life in the savannah and mountains, another covering the earth and developing bigger and more complex brains.

Why do I rehash all this?

Why because there has been a significant breakthrough as of late. And it’s worth your time to learn about it. The results are far from in, and it may not prove to be what the author thinks it may be. But it has the scientific world of evolutionary biology and probably physics as well in a tizzy as other research facilities begin the wonderful process of devising experiments to test out the new hypothesis.

As people like myself, and hopefully you as well know, evolutionary theory does not purport to explain “how life began” a common mis-argument of the fundamentalist sort. Such a thing is called abiogenesis. Evolutionary theory has to do with how species change over time due to natural selection. However, a rather smart guy has offered an explanation of “how life began” in a sense, and it involves that 2nd law we talked about earlier.

He posits, by way of mathematical equations, that replication of cells may be a response to infusions of energy (the sun) into the primordial soup. In other words, life arises as a methodological answer  to the desire to “even” out or reduce the heat of the energy. Because the 2nd law suggests that energy dissipates across the spectrum of the system seeking equanimity, replication of cells actually fosters that law England claims.

If this is true, then it is the underlying foundation of Darwin’s theory, and of course it means that life is what is to be expected in the universe, and not at all a rarity.

Of course, not everyone agrees that Jeremy England is right.

That is what science is all about. There is and will be, as I said, plenty of testing and experimentation to determine whether his hypothesis is correct. But it’s exciting news to anyone who, like I, is always wondering and asking “how and why”.

*Do read the article. It’s not that long.

primordial-soup_02

 

Turn the Page or Another One Spits Out the Stupid

cold-turkeyThe Contrarian made a bold statement yesterday.

“I’m done,” he announced.

I nodded without paying much attention. If you ain’t there yet, you will learn as a sane woman that much of what men say is not worth listening to, so all that waiting with baited breath (what the hell does that really mean anyway?) has long passed me by and I automatically search for certain key words to hear before I engage fully in “listening” to my spouse.

“No more news for me. I don’t care. I don’t care what the Republicans do, I don’t care what Congress does or doesn’t do about anything. I’m done with it all. Today was it.”

This brought me to attention, since I just barely, through the usual fog of interfamily discourse, sensed a certain turning point in life issue here.

“What’s up?” I cautiously inquired.

“Fox is in a fit because the president has come out against Christie and Cuomo and their plans to quarantine aid workers returning from Ebola-stricken nations.” (actually he said something like Fox is having a fucking melt down because Obama said they were nuts for locking up people because they MIGHT be sick). Call it poetic license or anything else that suits ya, I’m writin’ it the way I wanna.

I nodded, since I would assume Fox to take no other position. The equation is simple enough. President says X, Fox says, FOR SHAME YOU BASTARD! Nothing new here.

“Ya see,” he says, “if Obama had been the one to quarantine these people, they would be screaming that he is locking up innocent Americans and depriving them of their rights, and FEMA camps, HELLO, just like we been tellin’ ya.”

“Yep, you are probably right,” I mused. That would be true too.

“Well, it’s the last straw, the camel’s back is broken. I’m no masochist. I’m 64 years old. What is this government going to do to me that I can’t live through at this point? Why pollute my mind and peace of mind with such crap? I read WorldNewsDaily every day, and watch the crazies throw poop at each other from inside their cages and call it entertainment. I read Townhall and Daily Caller, and Blaze for the same reason. I’m constantly overwhelmed by how stupid these people are, with few of them even capable of understanding the most basic of arguments on anything. Why they all take oxygen I’m sure, because not a one of them has sufficient brain cells to engage in breathing without help. So I’m done! This is pure torture to the human soul.”

He blinked.

I frowned.

I write about politics and I basically argue that it is a basic requirement of a citizen to be informed and to vote. So I was forced to confront the issue of whether it was really okay to be a low-information citizen or not. Certainly I argue that more knowledge is better, but I can sympathize with the concept that politicians as a rule today are a rather seamy sort of lying blood sucker. That said, can we expect anything better if we don’t participate?

One is faced clearly with a dilemma. On the one hand it is said that Tea Baggers are rather more “informed” than the average person about political issues. But on the other hand, plenty of reputable studies indicate that Fox watchers are by far the most misinformed of citizens. While it may seem that this is contradictory, it truly isn’t.

It’s quite one thing to know that a subject exists in the world, and quite another to know any truth about that subject. Case in point. Fox viewers (aka typical tea imbibers) know that we have no Surgeon General presently occupying the post. In that respect they may be among say only 30 percent of Americans in general. But if you were then to go further and ask, why don’t we have an SG, you would get from the Tea Fool that it is because Obama’s nominee wants to destroy our 2nd Amendment rights, and therefore the GOP has blocked his nomination.

That is patently false. The nominee has evinced an opinion that gun violence is a proper study of health care in America. There are a volume of doctors and other scientists in the field who agree with him. Congress has for several decades explicitly denied the the budgets of the SG or the CDC for that matter as to an studies on the subject. End result, the SG has zero ability to either “take away”  anybody’s 2nd Amendment rights, or even to investigate the issue. Thus it cannot be a REASON to block his appointment.

Thus we can see that in some cases, it would be much better to have no information than purposeful disinformation of which Fox News and it’s ilk are so famous for.

As to the average person, I would suggest, that most are exceedingly low information citizens. While the most prominent “political” party is now “Independent”, that is just a label that means in essence, “I have not thought even enough about any issue to decide on a party.” At least the Green or Socialist, Libertarian, or even Anarchist has done that.

However, it cannot be said from this analysis that people shouldn’t vote unless they can present a modicum of basic knowledge (as some Fox commentators are now arguing). Although their targets are always the poor and brown skinned, there are I suppose some on the left that bemoan from time to time that people who are essentially Tea Party stupid are out there electing their political equivalents to state and federal office. On the whole, the low information voter does reach the right result, even though they may not know why.

Basically, by one’s twenties, one knows what kind of person one is. One is either a citizen of the world and sees us all in this together with the need to work together for the benefit of all, or one sees oneself as part of a tribe, whose only concern is with others of their kind. Most anybody with a few brain cells can tell which party is which based on that simple analysis.

So I have no fear that the Contrarian will falter in his allegiance to the basic principles he has always espoused and vote accordingly. He will continue to read the paper and no doubt will pick up more than enough from me to ensure that he is still wildly above the average when it comes to political knowledge.

And he points to a real issue for me. It is painful to do what I do. My heart is wrenched again and again at what I see as wonton disregard for the rights of others and a very real turning away from helping with basic issues of food, housing, education and health care as basic rights entitled to by all. It hurts deeply to watch the GOP demand that people have a job before they can eat when there are not enough jobs. It is all well and good to create a worldview, and a religious one to back up to that world, as a means to make you feel comfortable with who you really are. It’s quite another to foist that twisted worldview on the rest of us and demand we live by it too.

I am sick to death of so-called religious people (who are not in the least) misusing MY faith as means to justify their own selfish fears about the world and their own inadequacies. If you are unable to handle your homophobic fears that deep down if unleashed you too might harbor a “crush” on someone of the same sex, or once did, hey, deal with it. Don’t re-interpret texts in a sacred book so that you can feel okay in your repulsion at your own “tendencies”.

So I get the desire to dump it all in the nearest trash can and spend the remainder of one’s thinking life pursing things that make one happy and peaceful. I do. And I think that a person has the right to opt for that. And some days I do opt for it.

But politics is as are most things,  a jealous lover. She calls me back. Perhaps one day too, I shall be able to resist her siren calls. But it is not today.

Peace out.

 

More Patriotic Bullshit

bullshitSeldom does there rise up an example of abject stupid of such gargantuan proportions as a fellow named Todd Kincannon. It is perhaps, should be we prone to speculating on God’s designs, His way of showing the rest of humanity how not to do it.

Todd was once upon a time executive something or other in the GOP of South Carolina, and grad-u-ate, of the law school of the University of South Carolina. That second part should give parents of graduating seniors pause. Somehow that university failed to weed out the chaff and gave this fool a degree.

By now, you no doubt have heard of Todd. He is an equal-opportunity coconut of the first order. In fact, as I said, he may well be the prototype of all nut jobs.

In response to Ebola, Todd suggests that we just “humanely” put them down. He has also tweeted that we need to deal with ISIS pretty much as Columbus dealt with the “filthy savages” he found in Merika–exterminate them. He suggests that African-Americans are good but Africans are savages with AIDS and Ebola, and our President is the latter. There is more, but who cares. The official GOP is pretty much disowning the guy who seems intent on encouraging the scorn.

I rail about stupid, but not stupid in general. Nobody can be faulted for being stupid if that is their fate based upon too few brain cells. I mean one can’t control such things and the most one can hope in such a case, is that the few that exist can get together and counsel their owner to keep his beak clamped firmly shut to notify as few as possible of the infirmity of being rock stupid.

What I rail at is stupid that is willful and deliberate (if there is a difference between willful and deliberate, otherwise I’m repeating myself). There is no excuse for it. Yet people hide behind “two things you don’t discuss in polite society are politics and religion” and other such trite phrases. Another is being “too busy”. Well aren’t we all? If you want to take that route, then you by definition leave the field to those who are so rich that they have nothing but leisure or so rich they have a vested interest in things being done their way. Neither is a good thing, yet this is what we find today.

Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic, was recently interviewed by Stephen Colbert and had this rather profound remark to make:

“A thoughtless citizen of a democracy is a delinquent citizen of a democracy.”

Unlike other forms of government, we get the government we elect, we get the government we demand, we get the government that we choose. If we choose to opt out by our failure to learn the truth about all the issues that confront us, if we fail to vote, we are unworthy of the land in which we live. We are not patriotic, we are nothing but ignorant “feel-good” loafers who are so involved in our own lives that we can spare none for the country we claim to love so much. Patriotism is a good deal more than thanking veterans for their service, singing national anthems, and critiquing the correctness of Presidential salutes upon exiting Marine One.

Opinions don’t count, opinions based on actual facts do. And actual facts are discerned through a sifting process of reading and THINKING about a host of sources, determining what can and cannot be given credence. It does not involve looking for arguments that support what one really wants to be true because it suits one’s worldview, religious needs, or pocketbook.

We have to laugh at the likes of a Ted Cruz, who when confronted with the fact that SCOTUS was refusing to take up a number of circuit cases involving same-sex marriage laws, determined that this inaction constituted some gravest of all forms of judicial activism. We have to shake our heads at the continued doomsday reports from the hate groups like Family Research Council who beat the drums of impending Armageddon should people of the same sex be allowed to marry. Mike Huckabee has threatened to leave the GOP if crazier heads like himself don’t prevail and carry on the fight against this god-less movement.

The FACT is that this idiocy of fundamentalism is not something that can be traced to the apostles of our Lord. This brand of fundamentalism with all it’s “inerrancy, creationism,anti-climate change, and young-earth-ism” is of recent vintage, being born in the early 60’s, about the same time that a periodic Spiritual awakening was occurring among the Boomers. Most went the way of exploring an expansion of God, encompassing other faiths, and new approaches, but the reactionaries withdrew and made God smaller and easier to fit inside their tiny braincases.

The FACT is that homosexuality is not by any means “prohibited” in the bible, and anyone who suggests it is, is engaging in the same literalist interpretation that is  incorrect and utterly unsupported by biblical experts around the world. The literature is extensive and profound on the issue and only awaits the fundamentalist’s courage to actually read it. Contrary to their claims based on nothing, learning truth does not destroy God, but rather it makes God really God, and not some human caricature designed to make one feel okay about ones miserable self.

We are awash in a sea of stupid these days. And for reasons that should shock and astound us all, the stupidest of all seem to seek office. Like minded stupid people find solace across the Internet, finding compatriots of ignorance and losing what should be their isolated “otherness” mantle that used to keep them securely locked in their garrets tormented by a world that rejects their insanity. Such people don’t procreate, since in small town America their numbers are still so small that they seldom by chance run into someone as stupid as themselves and join forces. At least pre-Internet that was true.

Over sixty-percent of 18-20somethings in the GOP are okay with same-sex marriage. What does that tell ya? It should tell you that you need to rethink your stupid, but of course, being stupid you won’t. You’ll rail that this generation of kids just wasn’t properly disciplined with the belt as you were, and thus has grown up without real morals.

Real morality I hate to tell you, has to do with respecting other people and their rights. But you won’t learn that any time soon, since you protect your thin-skin by surrounding yourselves with others like yourselves and then telling the biggest lie of all–most people are like us. Well, they aren’t.

You have no guts, no integrity, no moral compass, and not a modicum of intelligence. You  are unable to hold up your end of a “debate” and are reduced to coded ad hominem attacks to replace the arguments you cannot make. You prefer to believe what makes your tiny simplistic world work for you, and damn the vast rest of humanity who must be wrong-headed, atheistic, commie, socialist, fascist, feminist, racist, lazy and dogs. Half of the above you couldn’t define if put to the test. You wave the flag and tout how “blessed” you are and “share if you love God too”. You question everyone else’s faith while not following a single dictate of the man you claim as your savior.

And still, and still when it all comes down to it, you have to try to cheat to win an election. So where are your hordes of followers? The two thousand who showed up for your “family values” annual lovefest? The three who showed up at your border protests? Or was it the 2 semis and 4 pickups who showed up for your Washington protest? You can try to suppress Democratic votes, but the result will be the same as last time. We will vote in greater numbers than ever before.

And you will lose, and lose and lose until finally you all retreat to your basements and your hoarded food and weapons while we continue to create a world that is fair for all. We have a long way to go, but at least we are moving forward, and you can only slow things down, never stop it.

Stew in that!

 

 

Life Ain’t Fair. I’m the Proof

life-aint-fairThis is not up for debate. It’s not. It’s a lesson to be learned by every single human being ever. It is beyond true. It’s so true, that it probably isn’t proven by the exception. I doubt there can be an exception because even if your life is perfect from start to finish, it has a finish.

Duh.

I knew a guy once who was obsessed with the idea that people who were undeserving often got rewarded. Actually, it wasn’t a tit-for-tat sort of thing so much as it was random reward unattached to random behavior, good or otherwise.

It fairly drives some folks crazy. It sure did him. People who “do everything right” get hugely annoyed when people who don’t “do everything right” seem to be happy. They want them to suffer. It’s like fundigelicals reminding us liberals that “if you don’t repent, you’ll go to hell”. They always smile when they say that, because they are very sure we won’t and so they can be happy knowing “we’ll get ours” come judgment day. They presume of course a judgment day.

It’s why the workers in the vineyard got so pissed when the boss paid the workers who only worked an hour the same as those that had worked a full day. “Unfair!!!” The boss said, “hey, what’s that got to do with you? You got what YOU bargained for didn’t ya?”

Some folks just can’t handle that. Which leads me to believe that they find “doing everything right” a major pain, and they don’t do it because it’s the right thing to do, but because they want the reward. So getting a reward for not doing everything right, might just mean that they won’t get a reward for doing everything right. Kind of puts a monkey wrench in the whole salvation thing don’t it?

It also makes God sort of insane.

Or?

Perhaps God sees things in a way that humans don’t. At least for all the literalists out there, the Bible suggests that God does see not as humans but as God. So perhaps, just perhaps, our assumptions of what is the “right thing to do” aren’t so clear. At least to the point that it might be better if we keep our damn mouths shut when we “disapprove” of what others are doing.

Not talking here folks about murder and abuse and other dictatorial behaviors, but more ambiguous things like gay marriage, and women’s health rights, and stuff like that. Unless you are a hard-nosed self-styled pope (meaning your interpretation of scripture is infallible until God tells you different), most of us concede that there’s a lot of grey in some social policy areas. If that is true, then we best not tell others how to behave regarding them I suspect.

In any case, I personally believe that everyone is “saved”, which makes it all unnecessary to bewail whether anyone is getting their just desserts or not, or being failed by their supreme deity in any way. Unlike the fundigelicals, I do not have to resort to “God’s ways are mysterious” and “God had some reason for inflicting me with this misery that I’ll understand some day.” If I do a good thing it’s because I want to, not because I NEED to.

It’s enough that “shit happens”.

For me at least.

I’m a decent enough person. Far from the best kind of person I can conceive of. I have plenty of people I know who are much better than I am. They are kinder for sure.

Case in point. I was getting blood work done a few weeks ago as part of a general updating of my health records. After slapping my inner arms and squeezing my upper arms to death trying to “pop up a vein”, the blood sucker said this: “Do they usually taking blood from your hand instead of your arm?”

I replied, “yeah, the one’s who can’t do the arm, do the hand”.

Now the Contrarian said that my mistake was in being snarky/sarcastic BEFORE I had properly secured the end of relationship with said person. After all, she still wielded the mighty needle when I dissed her. There is some truth to that observation.

So you see, I am a sarcastic, snarky, bitch type person when I’m (a) in a hurry (b) tired or (c) just damn well feel like it.

This served me quite well when I was a defense attorney. I could utter questions at cop or citizen with such jaw-dropping “and your mama too” sarcasm that I would often see a judge turn away suddenly to hide his snicker before the jury, while a prosecutor jumped out of his/her shorts to bellow “OBJECTION, ARGUMENTATIVE”. I of course would smile softly and whisper, “withdrawn”, as the witness shot daggers of ineffectual rage which of course all missed their target, for their mouths were forever silenced by the loudly following “NO FURTHER QUESTIONS!”

It probably serves me less well now. But it is who I am in the last analysis, and I always feel fairly fake and pretentious when I put on that “oh, no take all the time in the world packing my groceries. I can surely see that changing items in and out until one achieves the perfect fit, is the way it should be done” look on my face.

But back to the topic at hand. Reward.

Yes, I’m not a deserving person, I have a trail of bleeding bodies who all feel “abused” by my acidic tongue, to prove it, one that trails back at least to junior high.

But guess what? My life has turned out fairly wonderfully from my point of view. And nobody else’s point of view matters. And that really galls the hell out of a few people I know. And ya know, that sort of makes me feel even happier.

As they say, a life lived well is the best revenge.