when the status quo frustrates.

Poor Mitt Romney

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010


Good luck with that.

Let’s Talk About Something Less Controversial

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

This post comes with no great proclamations, no sweeping statements that I feel the need to defend to the death. It just comes with an idea, one that I’m fairly sure everyone will hate, right or left.

In the United States, we have abysmal class mobility. The best way to figure out what class you’re going to be in is still to look at what class your parent is in. Those on the left say that this is because the “American Dream” is largely a myth, and there are systematic problems against poor people and people of color. The right say this is because people are lazy and lack personal responsibility. I’m going to go with the left on this one, just because I’ve seen study after study on how poverty basically cuts off your legs before you start the race for success. The solution to this tends to be from the left that we need to strengthen social safety nets to get people out of poverty. I agree, of course: there is a certain level of security that should be people’s by right.

But what about taking it from the top as well?

Right now, we have inheritance laws that give money, that someone did not work for, for whom the inheritor did nothing to earn, and allows him/her to coast through life as a lazy layabout. Why? The persons who actually earned the money are dead, so it’s not taking it from them. Let’s leave real property out of it and personal possessions- just finances and stocks. Why doesn’t all of that money get absorbed by the federal government (it says right on it that it is theirs anyway) and have the stocks reabsorbed by the company. Then we would have to worry less about lazy people getting a free ride.

This, of course, wouldn’t get rid of inequality at a basic level.* You would still have families that could afford better school materials, better tutors, and just have more hours to dedicate to their children. It also wouldn’t get rid of the system of nepotism and crony-ism that we swim in. But, it definitely would level the playing field just a little bit.

Thoughts?

*Anything short of a communistic group houses where all children were required to live and get the exact same things wouldn’t relieve inequality, but even socialist me is not willing to go there because: 1) different people need different things 2) a family unit of some sort is required for healthy development 3) too many people have too many different ideas as the right way to raise children.

Maybe bunnies wouldn’t be such a metaphorical cliche if they just had easier access to contraception

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

First, read Lisa’s little story.

Then listen to the bunnies.

Tell the FDA to Act on Emergency Contraception from Center for Reproductive Rights on Vimeo.

Created by “Once Was A Punkass” Marc Faletti.

Just a little story

Friday, March 26th, 2010

I recently purchased emergency contraception for someone else–fear not, she’s seventeen! So I didn’t contribute to the delinquency of a minor or anything. I bought it for her for three reasons: (1) she lives in a very small town with only one pharmacy, where everyone knows everyone else, and word would probably have gotten back to her parents that she’d bought it, (2) she doesn’t have a car to get to the nearest city to buy it in relative anonymity and (3) she didn’t at the moment have the $40 it costs–she would have in a week, but a week would have been too late.

It wasn’t as easy to actually buy it as I hoped, though–the pharmacy in our small town didn’t have it in stock, and neither did the first three pharmacies that I called in the nearest city. (They did have very disapproving pharmacists, though.) I struck gold in the fourth pharmacy I called, where the phone was answered by a young, cheerful-sounding female voice who informed me that yes indeed, they did have emergency contraception in stock and don’t forget your ID with your date of birth on it when you come to the store to pick it up! I made sure I didn’t forget my ID; I don’t quite look my age, but I don’t look seventeen either! but I wasn’t about to give anyone any excuse to deny me the ability to purchase the stuff after I drove all the way there to get it–time was of the essence in this case.

That was over a month ago, and I am happy to report that she isn’t pregnant. (Not as happy as she is, I can assure you, but still, I’m happy.) I would think that everyone would agree with me that it’s for the best that a seventeen-year-old high school senior shouldn’t get pregnant…but what I find interesting is, apparently there are a lot of people out there who, if she had been a sixteen-year-old high school junior, would have forcefully disagreed and insisted that she should get pregnant. Or a fifteen-year-old high school sophomore. Or a fourteen-year-old high school freshman. This is bizarre and inexplicable to me, given that I think that the more the age of the prospective mother drops, the less and less suited to motherhood both physically and psychologically (and economically, while we’re at it) she is. Apparently others disagree.

Oh well.

20 Ways ObamaCare Will Take Away Our Freedom To Screw Other People Over

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

This list is great. I’ve copied and pasted my favorites, helpfully annotated.

You are young and don’t want health insurance? You are starting up a small business and need to minimize expenses, and one way to do that is to forego health insurance? Tough. You have to pay $750 annually for the “privilege.” (Section 1501)

Freedoms being lost: The freedom to have me pay for your uninsured emergency room visits and your freedom to start up a business which can’t bring in enough revenue to cover a single annual expense of $750. Jesus wept!

You are young and healthy and want to pay for insurance that reflects that status? Tough. You’ll have to pay for premiums that cover not only you, but also the guy who smokes three packs a day, drink a gallon of whiskey and eats chicken fat off the floor. That’s because insurance companies will no longer be able to underwrite on the basis of a person’s health status. (Section 2701).

Freedoms being lost: The insurance companies’ freedom to deny coverage to anyone who isn’t young and healthy.

You would like to pay less in premiums by buying insurance with lifetime or annual limits on coverage? Tough. Health insurers will no longer be able to offer such policies, even if that is what customers prefer. (Section 2711).

Freedoms being lost: Your insurance company’s freedom to refuse to pay for you to be cured of most serious illnesses, such as cancer. You are also losing the freedom to have me pay for your uninsured emergency room visits during your downhill spiral. More Jesus tears!

Think you’d like a policy that is cheaper because it doesn’t cover preventive care or requires cost-sharing for such care? Tough. Health insurers will no longer be able to offer policies that do not cover preventive services or offer them with cost-sharing, even if that’s what the customer wants. (Section 2712).

Freedoms being lost: Your freedom to drive up my insurance premiums by needing a lot more expensive medical treatment for conditions that, had you used preventive care, could have been circumvented or caught far earlier in their much less expensive phases.

If you are a physician and you don’t want the government looking over your shoulder? Tough. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized to use your claims data to issue you reports that measure the resources you use, provide information on the quality of care you provide, and compare the resources you use to those used by other physicians. Of course, this will all be just for informational purposes. It’s not like the government will ever use it to intervene in your practice and patients’ care. Of course not. (Section 3003 (i))

Freedoms being lost: Your physician’s freedom to hide from you the quality of the care he provides and how much it tends to cost. I personally am going to miss the current system of finding a physician, which if I’m lucky can be based on a friend’s recommendation but is more often a total crapshoot based on geographic proximity to my home or workplace, where I get to test-drive him on my precious, one-and-only body.

You are a health insurer and you want to raise premiums to meet costs? Well, if that increase is deemed “unreasonable” by the Secretary of Health and Human Services it will be subject to review and can be denied. (Section 1003)

Freedoms being lost: Your insurance company’s freedom to jack up your rates without any explanation or justification. Jesus Tears Mark III!

The government will extract a fee of $6.7 billion annually from insurance companies. If you are an insurer, what you will pay depends on your share of net premiums plus 200% of your administrative costs. So, if your net premiums and administrative costs are equal to 10% of the total, you will pay 10% of $6.7 billion, or $670,000,000. In the reconciliation bill, the fee will start at $8 billion in 2014, $11.3 billion in 2015, $1.9 billion in 2017, and $14.3 billion in 2018 (Section 1406).Think you, as an insurance executive, know how to better spend that money? Tough.(Section 9010 (b) (1) (A and B).)

Freedoms being lost: Your insurance company’s freedom to funnel as much of their profits as possible into “administrative costs” rather than into your medical care.

You will have to pay an additional 0.5% payroll tax on any dollar you make over $250,000 if you file a joint return and $200,000 if you file an individual return. What? You think you know how to spend the money you earned better than the government? Tough. (Section 9015).
That amount will rise to a 3.8% tax if reconciliation passes. It will also apply to investment income, estates, and trusts. You think you know how to spend the money you earned better than the government? Like you need to ask. (Section 1402).

Freedoms being lost: For 98.5% of Americans, absolutely none.

…but Liberals are Eviler.

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Apologies to Antigone. I need to preface this with the statement that I don’t mean this as pure malicious snark, and that I respect that she laid out her true feelings. But I can’t say I find much with which to agree with her. If she wants to start using hackle-raising words like “evil” about conservatives, that’s fine. But she’s being far too selective. Fact is, the case is compelling that liberals are even eviler than conservatives.

So which is worse? Those who support evil, but insist they believe it is good? Or those who support evil while claiming, at least some of the time, that they actually know it is evil? …in a psychological sense, I probably would have to say the Democrats (and certain of their apologists) are worse: to say you recognize evil to any extent at all, yet to fail to oppose it or, which is still more reprehensible, to act for its furtherance, consigns one to the lowest rung of Hell.

It’s fine to call out evil where we see it. But we should all take care to apply the word with equal rigor to whatever side we happen to identify with. In the vast majority of what Antigone just wrote, it would make perfect sense to apply the exact same arguments that she’s made about conservatives, to liberals. Even the parts about “respect for heirarchy”. Especially those parts. It seems almost willfully tribalistic to pretend that liberals aren’t equally to blame for all of the rotten fruits of American politics.

Liberals and Conservatives– at least the mainstream varieties of both– have got a good scam going. I don’t literally think it’s a willful scam, being overseen by a council of Illuminati or anything, so much as the natural systemic byproduct of America’s two party system. (Although I guess one never really knows.) But it might as well be one. It’s an ever-rightward moving ratchet, and we’re the ones who get squeezed by it. Well, us, and all those brown people all over the world* who our overseers** are exploiting/murdering in the process.

When the conservatives are in power, they’re all like, “All this stuff that makes rich and powerful interests richer and powerfuler just happens to be morally right, too”, while the liberals say “Boo! All these conservative ideas are morally wrong! If we were in power, we’d show them!”

Eventually enough voters get fed up and vote in the liberals. Then it’s the conservatives’ turn to say “Boo! All these liberal ideas are morally wrong!”, and the liberals are all like “All that stuff that makes rich and powerful interests richer and powerfuler are still wrong, except for 80% of it which is actually okay with us now that you mention it, but we can’t make too many changes right now because we need to win the next election so that we’ll REALLY be able to make a difference then, and besides, Stupak/Lieberman/Nader.” Eventually voters get fed up and vote in the conservatives. Ratchet squeezes us further right. Uncle Scam nods and smiles to himself.

Numbers-wise, when it comes to procedural politics, Liberals hold all the cards right now. They could do a lot of good. If they wanted to. Trouble is, they really just… don’t.

With the passage of the medical insurance industry welfare bill one thing was proven. The democratic party can pass legislation without the help from the republican party of which not one voted in favor of this legislation. The excuse has always been that without pandering to the far right nothing can be accomplished which is regarded by many as a realist view of American politics yet this supposed victory seems to disprove that assumption.

In other words if the democrats had chosen to do so they could have passed real health care reform legislation rather than welfare for the insurance industry. The democrats could end the wars in the Middle East but they choose not to do so. It’s not that the republicans force them, it’s what the democrats choose to do, to continue and expand the wars even as jobs evaporate and the U.S. slides ever deeper into another great depression.

Why the Democrats would choose this– and why Americans liberals nearly all wholeheartedly support them in it– is a question whose answer I will leave to the reader to decide.

I’m Waiting

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

I’m sure Costa Rica is lovely this time of year! I’m even willing to help him pack. I admit to being a little confused as to the specific choice of Costa Rica, though, considering that they’ve had nationalized health care for quite a while.

Conservatives are Evil

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Health care reform has passed the House yesterday (as everyone in the blogosphere is talking about). I feel a little bit out side of this discussion, to tell you the honest truth. This is, functionally, what the Republicans advocated for in 1994. If the Republicans have advocated for it any time in the last two decades I neither see it as a great liberal victory nor the end of America as conservative see it. This is a band-aid over a bullet wound. Blood’s still seeping out through the edges, and you’re still going to die of blood loss, but it’s better than a kick to the head.

But the thing I’ve learned after this whole mess is to firmly, and irrevocably decide that conservatives are evil. It pains me to say this, because that means my friends, family, and coworkers are evil. But, if the word has any meaning at all, “evil” is what they are.

It is evil to advocate for people to die because they can’t afford health care. It is evil to say that money is more important than anyone’s life. AND it’s evil to advocate for shooting someone because they disagree with you (even if you think they’re evil, too).

Conservatives have absolutely no qualms calling me evil. And most liberals go with the “They just have different values” views of conservatives, or, alternately, that they’re just ill-informed. Well, let’s take a look at those “different values”.

According to the work of Jon Haidt conservatives have three “values” that liberals just don’t seem to have: purity, respect for authority, and loyalty to the ingroup. “Purity” is a nonsense value at best- a human isn’t “pure” anything. “Purity” is a great quality for metals, for water, and for air- for humans it edges is into mental health territories of the “precious bodily fluid” type. Real life is messy, trying to make everyone “pure” cuts out life. “Respect for authority” is a fuzzier, nicer way to say “Respect for hierarchy”. They don’t respect scientists in their field (people who arguably earned their respectability), they don’t respect political leaders when they’re the wrong party, they don’t respect anyone in a position of power that the determine to be illegitimate (just ask women CEOs). They also mean “respect” as “obedience”. I wouldn’t consider it respect to blindly do what someone tells you to do- I would call that insulting. What they do enjoy is the kyriarchy- white rich men on top, everyone else filtering through the bottom. Again, this is evil. This is causing harm and hardship to people over completely useless markers or markers they can’t help. Finally, their last value is “loyalty to the in-group”. This “value” is something that is at its best morally neutral (preferring the company of your friends to say, co-workers), and its worst, the evils of jingoism, racism, and pep-rallies.

These “values” have little sub-”values” tailing off them. “Purity” ends up meaning “anything I find icky is wrong” so it becomes “racism” (different foods and music are gross) “sexism” (women’s sexuality is scary and icky so let’s make sure they can’t get contraception or abortion) “heterocenterism” (butt sex is teh icky). “Respect for authority”‘s little sub-value is “gleefully ignorant”. They never have to look up anything because, hey, the right authority figure said so, and doing so makes you disobedient. In-group loyalty is obvious for the sexism, racism, heterocenterism, and religious prejudices, but then it also leads to nice little paranoias from everyone from agnostics to zoologists.

How could desire to cut out life, being against equality, ignorance, and paranoia be “good”? How could wanting to harm others, provided you don’t get harmed or even benefit, but a “good”? These values are wrong, and people who ascribe to them are acting in an evil fashion. And maybe it’s time that people actually started getting called on that.

The Texas School Board Is At It Again

Friday, March 19th, 2010

All I can say is, thank God my kids aren’t being educated by the Texas public school system. Much like Sarah Palin, they lend themselves to easy mockery–but unfortunately they can’t be discounted; they did win at least part of their battle to cheat the children of Texas out of a thoroughly factual science education (State education board approves science standards: New standards remove specific references to age of the universe) Like kids today need to know how old the universe is anyway! Tchaa!

Now that science has been gutted as well as they could manage, the Texas school board is turning its gimlet eye upon our history books, with fairly predictable results. Here are a few of my favorites from the Proposed Revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 113,Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies, Subchapter C, High School Curriculum, with the Board’s deletions shown crossed out and additions in bold –hope you enjoy them as much as I did:

(4)
History. The student understands the emergence of the United States as a world power between 1898 and 1920. The student is expected to:

(A)
explain why significant events, policies, and individuals, including such as the Spanish-American War, U.S. imperialism expansionism, Henry Cabot Lodge, Alfred Thayer Mahan, and Theodore Roosevelt, Samuel Dole, and missionaries moved the United States into the position of a world power;

(8)
History. The student understands the impact of significant national and international decisions and conflicts in the Cold War on the United States. The student is expected to:

(6)(D)(A)
describe U.S. responses to Soviet expansion aggression after World War II, including the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the Berlin airlift, and John F. Kennedy’s role in the Cuban Missile Crisis;

‘Cause when we do it, it’s quite different from when those nasty Commies do it!

(B)
describe how McCarthyism, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the arms race, and the space race increased Cold War tensions and how the later release of the Venona Papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government ;

(Notes from the Board meeting: Back when McLeroy was chairman of the SBOE, he sent a list of hand-scrawled editing instructions to the board-appointed curriculum writing committee, made up mostly of educators (the exception was McLeroy’s appointee, contrarian conservative gadfly Bill Ames). It included a note on this standard…it read: “Read the latest on McCarthy — he was basically vindicated.” …McLeroy said he got his ideas from a book by M. Staton Evans, a conservative writer, entitled Blacklisted by History. A Publisher’s Weekly review says Evans is “given to conspiracy thinking—an approach that, by its nature, yields claims that can neither be confirmed nor falsified. Defense attorneys and debaters like Evans follow different rules than historians—they try to score points, not to advance knowledge.” TFN quotes what it calls the leading scholar on the subject, Harvey Khler, a professor at Emory University and author of Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America. “The new information from Russian and American archives does not vindicate McCarthy. He remains a demagogue, whose wild charges actually made the fight against Communist subversion more difficult.”)

Sixty years from now, Texas will also be teaching its children that the Patriot Act is the only reason why we’re not all now facing Mecca with turbans on our heads five times a day at gunpoint. Civil liberties are so overrated. Can’t wait!

(C)
identify the causes of World War I and reasons for U.S. entry involvement in World War I, including propaganda (information disseminated by an organization or government to promote a policy, idea, or cause) and unrestricted submarine warfare;

Can’t have the kiddies learning about the government engaging in propaganda to garner popular support for engaging in a war on foreign soil! They might apply that knowledge somewhere outside their history class, you know.

(E)
evaluate the explain the roles played by significant military contributions of leaders during World War II, including Omar Bradley, Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, Oveta Culp Hobby, Benjamin O. Davis, Chester A. Nimitz, George Marshall, and George Patton; and

Women and black people are overrated too!

(D)
identify the roles of significant leaders who supported or opposed of the civil rights movement, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Betty Friedan, George Wallace, and others;

Well, I guess it wasn’t possible for them to delete the black people from the Civil Rights history bloc, but hey, at least they managed to get rid of the women!

(10)
History. The student understands the impact of political, economic, and social factors in the U.S. role in the world from the 1970s through 1990. The student is expected to:

(A)
describe Richard M. Nixon’s role leadership in the normalization of relations with China and the policy of détente;
(B)
describe Ronald Reagan’s leadership in domestic and international policies ,

Because kids in high school won’t understand otherwise that the President is a “leader” and think instead that the Presidents’ “roles” are what they ate for breakfast..? I’m actually kinda surprised they didn’t go ahead and amend the above to say HEROIC leadership! or possibly Chuck Norris wears Nixon-and-Reagan pajamas to bed every night! (which now that I think about Chuck Norris’s political views, he probably does)

(C)
discuss the role analyze the impact of third party parties candidates such as Ross Perot and Ralph Nader on presidential elections ;

And for a contrast to the pedestal being raised for previous presidentially-related folks, we now see who deserves to have his name cast down forever into oblivion BLEHHH! ..third parties are clearly inspired by Satan anyway.

B)
identify analyze the causes of the Great Depression, including the impact of tariffs on the decline in worldwide trade, buying stock on margin, the stock market crash speculation, and bank failures, and actions the flawed monetary policy of the Federal Reserve System;

Whatever causes the US economy to collapse have a few issues, be it farther back in the past OR IN RECENT TIMES DAMMIT, it so isn’t the fault of Free Enterprise!

And last but not least:

(B)
describe the impact of significant examples of cultural movements in art, music, and literature such as Tin Pan Alley, the Harlem Renaissance, the Beat Generation, rock and roll, the Chicano Mural Movement, and hip hop , and country and western music on American society , including;

(Notes from the Board meeting: “I’d like to delete hip-hop and add country,” said McLeroy. Some board members, particularly African-American member Lawrence Allen, D-Fresno, did not take kindly to the suggestion. “What exactly do you think hip-hop is? You might be deleting something you know nothing about,” Allen told McLeroy. An extended debate ensued, and McLeroy lost.)

Yes, Virgil, Men and Women Can Be Friends

Friday, March 19th, 2010

The Person of Honor at my wedding was my male friend, PE. PE in have been close friends for a long time now. At no point in our long friendship; a friendship that has included sleeping over at one another’s house, sharing hotel beds, walking around in the moonlight and getting really drunk, has there been anything that could be construed as sexual or romantic. Not a kiss, not a hug that wasn’t platonic, not a lingering look that has set either of our hearts beating. Yes, my friend PE is straight.*

So, when people write articles describing a gender-neutral housing policy for dorm rooms, all I can think is “about damn time”. I know it would have been easier for me to find a male roommate that I knew in college rather than a female one**, not to mention a lot easier for Hubby and I get to get an apartment together earlier. But, of course, an article like this has to bring out the people who apparently think the relationships I have with my male friends are fictitious, whom the only reason that a male and a female would room together would be because they wanted to have sex with each other.

Where does this belief come from, exactly? Nobody I know my age lacks for mix-gendered friends. Heck, as near as I can tell, even my parents and my in-laws have mixed-gendered friends. We are not leopards, whom only come in contact with each other for sex. We are social creatures that mingle all the time. If you don’t have that urge before you move in together, I’m telling you snoring, bad breath, bed-head and uncapped toothpaste tubes are not going to generate a deep and abiding lust.

Will some boyfriends/ girlfriends room together? Absolutely***. Will there be relationships where there is underlying sexual tension that will be released? Again, absolutely, but not near as much as the comments seem to think. The dire predictions of uncontrollable fucking, destroyed grades, et cetera are based in fairy tale land****. I also think that the number of romantic couples that will want to move into together are actually much smaller than people think. Most college students are not ready to live with their significant other, and the ones that are already do.

College students are adults. I realize that people seem to dispute this all the time, but they are. If they want to have a roommate who’s of the opposite gender- let them. In one’s life, we have to navigate all sorts of different relationships. Fear-mongering about how “men can’t help it” and “women are helpless” are wrong, stupid, and damaging cliches.

*I’ve also had former boyfriends whom I’m good friends with and our contact is now non-sexual. I have also had friends where there WAS sexual tension, and for a variety of reasons, we never acted on it and still stay good friends. I also have had friends where we do occasionally fuck on top of the things that make us friends. There are a wide variety of relationships that I have, and have had, that forcing me to room with females did not get rid of. Heck, one of the sexual tension ones was because my female roommate was straight and I really liked her body.
**Though playing roommate-roulette actually worked with me. I had studious, neat, and mostly gone female roommates.
*** And good for them. This would definitely cut-out all of the negotiation and scheduling with roommates that having sex on college takes right now.
****The same place where the ’50s was a golden era filled with upright, moral people.

My Twisted Place in the Kyriarchy

Friday, March 12th, 2010

The Kyriarchy, for those of you who don’t follow a lot of feminist/ progressive scholarship, is “a neologism coined by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza and derived from the Greek words for “lord” or “master” (kyrios) and “to rule or dominate” (archein) which seeks to redefine the analytic category of patriarchy in terms of multiplicative intersecting structures of domination…Kyriarchy is best theorized as a complex pyramidal system of intersecting multiplicative social structures of superordination and subordination, of ruling and oppression.” What this means is that the various “isms” are intersected and overlapping and far more complicated than just a strict hierarchy.

Sometimes, I wonder about women who seem bound and determined to keep other women down. Or people in minority communities that want to deny rights to other minority groups. Or working class stiffs allying with big business when it seems like cutting yourself off at the knees. Heck, it always seemed to me to be the weirdest phenomenon in the world when feminists are against transgenders or homosexuals are against bisexuals. But, in some twisted way, maybe it does make sense, and that sense would be that if you are both oppressed and an oppressor, it is much easier to identify with the powerful than the powerless.

I’m female, I’m bisexual, I’m fat, and I’m crazy, I’m not-Christian and I’m definitely not rich. Those don’t exactly make me on top of the heap when it comes to rights in the United States. BUT, for all the things that I’m fighting against, I have plenty of privilege I’m coasting on. I’m white, a big one. I’m middle class, I’me educated, I’m mostly healthy, I have no visible health problems, and I’ve got pretty good health insurance. More than that, a lot of the things that count against me are not as visible as other things. If you look at me, with my wedding ring on my left finger, you’re not going to think “bisexual” which is pretty helpful on a day-to-day basis. I can pass as “straight”. No one after talking to me can go “oh, yep, she’s totally bonkers”. And, though in sheer dollar terms, lower class, I’m going to be pegged as middle class or higher by people I just talk to. My clothes are of that style, and my syntax is middle-to-upper class. So, depending on the situation, sometimes I’m going to be more oppressor than oppressed. Some times I’ll be more oppressed than oppressor.

I was thinking about this today when my racist friend* and I were talking about the African-American community. He, of course was hitting all the stock crap, (they are more violent than “normal” people, they’re out-breeding us, yada yada) and I was giving the pretty much stock answers (no they’re not, no they’re not, what in Christ are you smoking?) and I finally came with “Racist friend, seriously, how many black people do you actually KNOW? You live in the middle of freaking white-bred nowhere North Dakota.” His response, was “How many black people do YOU know, if you’re oh-so-progressive”. His retort, while completely dodging the issue, did give me pause. With the exception of a few people I worked with at the thrift store, I DON’T know anyone who’s black. I have more homosexual friends than black friends. Could you imagine being a black person and not having any white friends? It is a mark of great privilege that I don’t have to be exposed to a culture other than my own (though, I wish I could figure out what my culture WAS), and in the same token, it’s sad that we have such a segregated society that’s the case. I enjoy talking to my Somalia coworkers: they told me about things that I had only read about in books, and I did my best to try and explain fundamentalists Christians to them.

I wish the world was equitable so it would be like water. I don’t have to think about getting clean water- it comes out of the faucet. It took a lot of people to get it that way, and it takes a lot of people to maintain it, but for the most part it is just there. I want social justice to be as invisible as clean water- something that you’re grateful for if you stop and think about it, but you rarely do that.

*Hey, if they get to have “gay friends” and “black friends” I get a racist friend.

Whipping your own side is a form of masochism (which is fine, if you’re into that kind of stuff, I guess)

Friday, March 12th, 2010

The US House of Representatives debated whether to end US military presence in Afghanistan by the end of this year.

No surprise, of course, the resolution in question failed, 65-356. But perhaps its real purpose was to give legitimacy to a debate even occurring at all.

In fact, much of the debate from the “no” side came in the form of questioning whether the debate should have happened at all, including speculation that Rep. Kucinich and others had “forgotten about 9/11″ and that they were deliberately trying to undermine America in seeking to end the eight and a half year war.

The last thing any kind of vested interest wants is to start talking about change. But don’t you worry, change-haters– not only the bill got squashed, but press coverage of it was kept to an absolute bare minimum. Nothing to see here. No uncomfortable ideas need pollute the already divided public’s thoughtways here. Any play it did get was devoted to rationalizing what a bad “strategy” it is for peace activists to pick any fight they’re not absolutely sure of winning. Because, after all, “appearances do matter.” It’s interesting to me that this kind of thinking is exactly what gets the United States “bringing democracy” to only the countries that it does. But perhaps I digress.

So what about that there quiet press? What do you think, Trollblog?

…the Times is willing to publish good reporting as long as the topic written about does not have critical day-to-day, life-and-death importance for our lives. So for topics the Sulzbergers regard as peripheral and fluffy, we get good stuff. But when the chips are down and the rubber hits the road, on war and peace or unemployment and depression, other considerations intervene, and the Times becomes the propaganda organ of an unexpressed neo-con, neoliberal non-partisan “centrist” agenda.

The media have chosen sides, and it’s not our side. We have to recognize this before we can deal with it. Even if all of the Democrats and liberals magically wised up about this overnight, I still doubt that we’d be able to overcome the systematic media opposition. But they haven’t wised up; they’re still hoping and praying that their holy fathers, Czar Sulzberger and Czar Graham (or maybe Czarina Weymouth) will hear their pleas.

Fortunately for the Czars, their Cossacks are loyal and up to the job.

Interesting choice of the word, “Cossack”. And will you look at that– reigniting just by chance a couple of days before the house vote on the Kucinich-sponsored bill whether to pull out of Aghanistan, the ongoing campaign to label as “unserious” and “ineffectual” anyone who is seen to fight for anything resembling a meaningful change was given its regular booster shot just in time. The official purpose of this particular Democratic party whipping is to keep Dems in line about the health care bill, and I believe that it probably really is just a fortunate coincidence for those with a neocon agenda, but still the timing is just exquisite, isn’t it? Whistle so blown, out trots Markos Moulitsas and attendant heelnippers.

Charlie Davis:

When not helping raise money for the same party that endorses locking up hundreds of thousands of Americans for non-violent drug offenses — and whose rule has brought us progressive achievements like the surge in Afghanistan and the official policy of killing citizens without so much as a judicial rubber-stamp if they travel to sufficiently swarthy countries and associate with the natives — Moulitsas is busy enforcing Democratic orthodoxy and party dogma, his latest threat of an ineffective primary challenge coming against poor old Dennis Kucinich for the sin of failing to endorse the White House and congressional leadership’s corporatist, pharmaceutical-insurance-complex-boosting joke of a health care reform bill.

“[I’m going to hold] people like Dennis Kucinich responsible for the 40,000 Americans that die each year from a lack of health care,” Moulitsas declared on MSNBC this week. Tough words. Now, here’s who he promised to support primary challenges against after 189 House Democrats voted to extend the war in Afghanistan, against a measure offered by the dastardly Kucinich, thus ensuring NATO forces will continue killing Afghan civilians at a healthy pace: ____________. That silence is a reflection of an awful strange and morally dubious set of priorities.

I’m going to hold people like Markos Moulitsas responsible for, I don’t know, EVERYTHING BAD IN THE WORLD. People like him, who beat down and belittle anyone who dares to actually act on the strength of the convictions that he claims to share, are the ones who keep all the shitty things shitty.

The really ironic thing is how Kucinich only gets into trouble because he’s doing his best to work within the system. Being a Democrat sure can be a problem sometimes, can’t it.