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Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in Review

And so here we are again.

On the eve of yet another shiny new year in this, the glorious future.

Is it just me?

Or was 2011 some kind of a disappointing year?

I mean, come on, it was 2011. It’s supposed to be the future.  All bright and shiny and futurey smelling.

Sure, there were some good things. 

For example, we’re now more than a decade into the zippy George Jetson 21st Century and there still aren’t any flying cars, for which as I’ve mentioned before I am eternally grateful.  Flying cars. Bad idea. So good on on Detroit for not inventing any yet. 

But, still, the first year of the second decade of the 21st Century was, well, lame.

Frankly, I expected more.

Turns out Obama isn’t an alien reptile terminator in a rubber human suit from some Future Liberal Hell of Evil sent into our past so that he could be born in Africa and then smuggled into the United States to renounce his citizenship so that he could then study abroad in a school full of Muslims which would somehow then facilitate his sneaking back into the US to become President in order to destroy Capitalist Jesus with his Socialist-Darwin White-Baby Abortion Ray powered by the sparkly rainbow emissions of same-sex marriage and the white-hot lies told by global climate change scientists (Well sure, when you say it all together like that it is a seductively persuasive argument).   Heck, as it turns out, he’s not even really black.  As conspiracies go, the sullen whimpering end of Birtherism turned out to be pretty damned disappointing – though admittedly the mascot was fairly entertaining in a wild-eyed, crazy-hair sort of way. Wait, am I thinking of Orly Taitz or Donald Trump? Man, can you imagine what the offspring of such an unholy union would be like? Actually, no need to imagine, that question answered itself – and seriously, look at the picture, Dom Deluise in drag channeling Glenn Beck, or is it just me? Just when you think it couldn’t get any sillier.

Those Swiss bastards at CERN turned on the Evil Large Hadron Collider of Mega Death and ran that sucker up to full power.  Whoopie Tee friggin doo. My unbalanced washing machine was more exciting. No earth destroying black holes. No anti-matter explosion that cracked open the crust of the planet.  For a minute it looked like there might be some kind of faster than light evil beam of evil, but it turned out to be just your standard stream of high energy exotic particles. Ho hum. Just cutting edge physics, insights into the very fabric of the universe, nothing to see here, move along. Not even a giant lightening-wreathed rift in space-time wrenching open a glowing portal that allowed monstrous blood swilling Hell-demons to cross into our world from an alternate Evil Dimension of Evil. Nothing. It didn’t even affect cell phone reception. No God Particle, no Son of God Particle, not even a Minor Deity From An Obscure Cult Particle. Apparently all that happened was some “invisible” particles that cost a lot of money and only physicists can see went whooshing around in a big circle. Not even one evil Hell-demon. Woooo. Exciting.

The much ballyhooed Rapture turned out to be just as big of letdown as the End of Days always turns out to be. Always.  Two thousand years they’ve been telling us Jesus is coming back Real Soon Now and, man, this time he’s pissed. Two thousand goddamned years, folks. You’d think they’d be right at least once just out of random chance. But they’ve been right exactly never. I mean, damn, the Cleveland Indians have a better win/loss record. They’ve predicted the Second Coming what? A hundred, two hundred, five hundred times? Hell, I don’t know, I’ve lost track of how many times Jesus was coming over, but then he stood us up, again – you’d think people would start dating somebody else. But no. This time, man, this time for certain. Read your Revelation, Dude, totally for sure this time. Bible Math don’t lie, Sinner.  Hell, they even had two shots at it this year. What happened? Nothing.  Not one Rapture Balloon. I didn’t even get in any skeet shooting.  The Rapture sucked big hairy donkey balls. Again.

They Repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Coincidently enough, that was the last New Year’s Eve post.  It’s now okay to be totally gay in uniform. And what happened? Anarchy! Chaos! Insanity! Sparkly queer carnage in the streets! Babies fell screaming from the fiery orange sky like taut little water balloons filled with chunky spaghetti sauce! War! Terrorism! The hideous undead rising ravenous from their moldy graves to lick tomato sauce from the sidewalks! What? What’s that you say? Oh. Right. Heh, sorry, I get excited. My mistake, I was thinking of the Iowa Republican Caucus. So, DADT. Gone. Gays serving openly in uniform. Two hot gay queer homosexual lesbians in uniform shamelessly kissing on the pier upon return from extended combat deployment. It was on the national news. Turns out lesbians are just like normal people. And they like to kiss. And now I need a cold shower. And what? Right. Nothing. No sparkly carnage. No exploding babies. No rampaging Hell-demons. Talk about your basic letdown. It was so gay.

They got Osama. Blam! Bullet in the brain pan. US Navy SEALs dropped out of the sky like winged death incarnate and gave him a little double-tap fuck you from America.  Turns out he wasn’t twelve feet tall.  He couldn’t shoot lightening bolts and killer bees from his dagger-like fingers.  He wasn’t living in a cave in Tora Bora making nuclear bombs out of goat skin and coconuts like the Taliban version of the Professor from Gilligan’s Island.  He wasn’t cranking out blueberry Slurpees as the night manager at a 7/11 in Palm Springs either.  He was just some unwashed asshole living like a mange-ridden rat trapped in a box.  The accounting was a long time coming, but when the cold-eyed Navy snake-eaters kicked in the door of his bedroom he didn’t go out fighting – instead he cowered behind his wife like the frightened little rat he always was.  In the end, the US Navy dumped his dead ass into the sea along with the rest of the day’s garbage.  Adios, Stinky, say hi to the fishes.

The war in Iraqi is over. At least for America.  The president promised that our troops would be home for Christmas. And they are. Damn that Obama for keeping his word.  As most of you likely know, Iraq is personal to me. My opinion on the end of the conflict is here.  By setting a date for withdrawal, Obama was supposedly setting us up for our own Dien Bien Phu.  American troops were going to get slaughtered on their way out. Jesus Haploid Christ! You can’t set a date!  Why, Evil Insurgents of Evil, twelve feet tall and shooting killer bees from their eyes, will lay ambush to our convoys on the road to Kuwait!  Except, of course, nothing happened.  We handed over the keys, showed them where the circuit breakers were located and reminded them to water the plants.  Then drove to the airport. Yawn. No ambush. No killer bees. No journalists asking Hairy Perry, the Military Genius of Texas, how come his dire end-of-the-world (oh noes!) predictions on the Iraqi withdrawal were exactly as accurate as Harold Camping’s Rapture Launch Date – this despite Perry’s vast, vast military experience as a junior Air Force reserve C-130 cargo plane pilot with no combat experience or knowledge of the situation on the ground.  Oh well, there’ll be another war, I’m sure conservatives will get that one right. Practice makes perfect.

Hell, it was a bad year for dictators everywhere, wasn’t it?  Moammar Gadhafi died in a drainpipe, again just like a sewer rat in a trap.  After forty years of raping the Libyans, he ended up with a stick shoved up his own ass.  Really can’t say that I blame the Libyans for getting some violent payback – half a century of pent up rage, Gadhafi was lucky he took a bullet in the head before he got violated with a telephone pole, instead of the other way around. Not that it bothers me either way.  Again, Gadhafi was personal to me and I won’t miss him.  Of course, it happened on Obama’s watch and he didn’t fuck it up, so it only took about five minutes for the crazies to come out of the woodwork.  That Obama, how could he betray our friend Moammar like that? Oh noes! Now Libya will become Muslim! And an Evil Terrorist State of Evil! Muslim Brotherhood! Ook! Ook! Libyans will shoot Mohammad-Shaped Killer Bees from the their eyes! Oh noes!  Egypt. Nigeria. Syria. The Arab Spring is breaking out all over, and what in the hell is the deal with that? Why, it’s like those filthy Muslims want liberty and freedom too. But, of course, that can’t be right – they couldn’t be just like us! That’s preposterous! Besides, they wouldn’t know what to do with a democracy if they had one.  No, no, better they live under a dictator. Makes you wonder what the civilized countries thought back, oh, about two and half centuries ago when the filthy American colonists had their own little spring – Good Lord! Those damned uncouth peasants! How will they live without a king? What if the Capitalist Brotherhood takes over? Next thing you know, they’ll be over here demanding that we recognize their crappy lice infested country, spreading their filthy democracy. Like they’ll ever amount to anything.  Quick, turn out the lights and let’s pretend  we’re not home!  The one bright spot is that it looks like Vladimir Putin will be Czar for life of Russia, so at least the conservatives still have one dictator they can cozy up to. Maybe they can get him to build a wall across Germany if they ask really nice.  Question: if conservatives think dictators are awesome and they think Obama is a dictator, why then don’t they… oh, you know, fuck it. Never mind.

 

 

Yep, 2011 was pretty lame alright.

No Armageddon. No Zombie Apocalypse. No Hell-demons. No Anti-Christ.  No Rapture, Rupture, or Raptors.  War in Iraq over. Terrorists dead. Dictators toppled.  Economy improving.  Jobs slowly coming back.  Housing market finally on the upswing.   Steve Jobs died, but the iPad II was released. We got Super-8 and The Debt in theaters, A Game of Thrones on HBO, and The Walking Dead and Terra Nova on TV. Justin Bieber did minimal damage. Astronomers discovered about a billizion new planets orbiting other stars and at least one of them is bound to harbor some kind of weird alien Hell-Demons who thirst for the blood of our babies.  We got a good look at Vesta, which is cool because part of the novel I’m writing (intermittently) is set thereabouts.  NASA launched Curiosity towards Mars where it will join Spirit and Opportunity – still functioning years after they should have died – and with any luck we’ll find weird alien Hell-demons in our own backyard, or fossilized evidence that little hell-bacteriums once existed on our red neighbor.  Facebook turned the sparkly fair dust of the internet into billions of dollars in the real world and made Mark Zuckerberg fabulously wealthy.  Americans are still infatuated with the talentless antics of the Kardashian Sisters – and in that regard perhaps the elusive Hell-demons do walk among us after all.

No, 2011, wasn’t terrible per se, but I’m hoping we can do better in 2012. 

 

I’ll have some suggestions on this very subject tomorrow, they may involve Hell-demons.

In the meantime, here’s hoping that 2012 treats you all better than 2011. 

And remember, no flying cars. Ever.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Things That Chap My Ass About Christmas

It’s Socialist.

Really, think about it for a minute.

Christmas is just a big old pile of steaming liberalism.

Take this guy, Santa Claus.

Santa was never elected, he apparently just took over the whole process when nobody was looking.

He wears a red suit. Duh.

Claus sounds a lot like Claws. And a claw looks a lot like a sickle, which as everybody knows is the symbol of communism.  He’s got the population under continuous surveillance, and he keeps lists of people based on some arbitrary socialist measure of good and bad.  People stand in line to see him, in fact there are queues everywhere during the Christmas season – and standing in line is one of the defining pillars of socialism.

Then there’s the whole gift thing. He apparently sneaks into your house at night - without a warrant or probable cause or any kind of Constitutional controls, I mean you don’t need to be sent to a reeducation camp to see this do you?  And he leaves presents for the “good” kids based on some kind of arcane request system – which to me sounds a heck of a lot like “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” – and the presents are made in some kind of collective factory run by an oppressed ethnic workforce.  And the “bad” kids? They get a lump of coal – the very symbol of the lumpenproletariat – it’s like he’s just rubbing your face in it, isn’t it?

Next there’s the whole green vehicle thing. Santa’s sleigh runs on hay and grain like something Ed Bagley Jr. would drive to his weekly party meetings at the Al Gore I Hate America Sustainable Headquarters. And reindeer? Where do they come from? Right, exactly, Russia!

And this entire political apparatus is propped up on the backs of the workers, who are expected to support the power structure with the fruits of their labor – i.e. they are forced to give up a portion of their grain and dairy production in the form of cookies and milk – in support of the entire society. What’s next, socialized healthcare? My God, before you know it, we’ll be living in Canada!

You have only to look around, shake off the shackles of oppression, to see it:

Music: Heroic music has long been a tool of the power elite.  Designed to lull the masses into a malleable state of submission through endless repetition.  Two months of Joan Jett’s Little Drummer Boy and Dogs Barking Jingle Bells will turn all but staunchest anarchist into a pudding-brained drone.  People will band together in collectives and go door to door spreading the propaganda of socialism through the vehicle of “Christmas carols.”  The more easily influenced will actually leave their homes and join the mob of carolers like Bolshevik peasants joining the October Revolution. 

And speaking of the the Mob: Have you been in the stores during the holiday season?  The shelves are stripped bare by crazed crowds driven to a frenzy by the sounds of Carol of the Bells blaring from every speaker in the nation.  Let the rumor spread that Wal-Mart might have a new shipment in from the state factories and mile long lines form almost instantly. What is it? Zhu-Zhu Hamsters? Fisher-Price’s Elmo Live Encore? Toilet Paper? Shoes? Cabbages? We don’t care! Get in line!  Wait, what’s that? black market Twilight Barbies sold from the back of a nondescript truck? I’ll take two, Comrade!

The Secret Police: If mind numbing music wasn’t enough, while you’re standing in line for hours on end you get to listen to the endless ringing of little bells. It’s the Salvation Army, Santa’s intelligence gathering arm. They’re everywhere, on every corner, in every store, always watching like the pervasive surveillance system they are.  Shaking you down, demanding a cut, all in order to “redistributing the wealth.” They wear red jackets for crying out loud, could it be more obvious?

Socialist Art: The symbols of this Socialist Season are everywhere. Armies of giant inflatable Frosty The Snowmen and Santas dominate the landscape like those concrete statues of Marx and Lenin that once filled the squares of Moscow.  Yesterday I saw a pickup truck that had its “Truck Nutz” replaced with two large red mirrored balls and a garland of tinsel – my friends, when the state comes for your testicles, you’re living under the jackbooted heel of communism.

Propaganda: The socialists are piping their message directly into the minds of our children. The airwaves are filled with TV specials like that one with the Island of Misfit toys, a not so subtle reference to Gulags and the fate of those who don’t fit in. Who can fail to see the subliminal message in the final climatic battle scene when the imperialists subvert The People’s Heroic Heat Miser into a decadent display of dancing?  Or how about when that communist Charlie Brown attempts to convince the gang that his miserable substandard shrub is really a beautiful Christmas tree? For the love of the Almighty Dollar, people, open your eyes!

Fruitcake.  Yes, I know, you were wondering where the hammer in the “hammer and sickle” was.  Look no further than this abomination.  When the revolution comes, it will be fruitcake that smashes the windows and staves in the head of the free man, mark my words.

And finally:

image

Coincidence?  Not bloody likely, folks, not bloody likely.

An Open Letter To The Lady In the Center Lane

Dear fellow driver,

Question:

What’s it going to take?

No, seriously, how bad does it have to be?

Just how outright silly stupid dangerous do things have to get before you put down your cell phone and pay attention to the road?

I left Anchorage last evening, headed for the Valley on the Glenn Highway. 

I suppose that requires some additional description for those of you who don’t, in fact, live in South Central Alaska.  See, it was about 4 PM, the sun had set and the sky was turning pitch dark.  It was snowing. No, strike that, it was snowing like a bitch with intermittent whiteout conditions driven by strong winds along the highway. In fact, it had been snowing all day in your standard issue Alaskan blizzard. The road itself was coated in an uneven, two to three inch thick, layer of packed snow interspersed between patches of black ice – because apparently ADOT no longer feels the need to actually get off their fat asses and do the job we pay them for, i.e. clearing the damned roads and putting down some sand.   It was rush hour and despite the horrible conditions, homeward bound commuters were moving along between fifty and sixty miles per hour, which of course, caused even more blowing snow and reduced visibility even further.

Then there was you.

You were doing about thirty in the middle lane, drifting back and forth from side to side.

Cars were piled up behind you for a hundred yards. 

Angry and frustrated drivers were recklessly swerving into both the inner and outer lanes trying to avoid the backup you were causing. 

As I came up the inner lane, cautiously watching out for drivers dodging out from behind you and in front of me while fishtailing on the icy roads, I thought perhaps you were having trouble handling the conditions. I thought maybe you were one of the those idiots who doesn’t bother with winter tires, or maybe you were like the guy I saw the other day at the intersection of the Parks and Glenn Highways with three “limper tires” and one headlight. I realized that I was being uncharitable.  Maybe, I thought, you were old, or had poor eyesight and maybe you were scared of the horrible conditions and simply being cautious.  Less charitably, I thought that despite your (presumed) justifiable caution, you like most Alaskan drivers were pathologically incapable of understanding Left Lane Fast, Right Lane Slow or simply didn’t care that you were making an already dangerous situation worse. 

But, of course, it wasn’t because you were being cautious. Was it?

No, you were texting.

As I pulled alongside your 4x4 SUV, I could see you staring intently down at your steering wheel oblivious to the road, the blizzard, and the traffic piled up behind you.  You face was under-lit by the white glow of your phone.  Your thumbs were moving madly back and forth over the screen like a kid caught in a Chinese finger puzzle.

Perhaps you remember me?  I’m the guy in the green truck. The one that blew his horn at you when you began to drift into my lane. 

Or perhaps not, since you just jerked the wheel to the right and never bothered to glance up.

So, back to my question.

How dangerous does it have to get? 

Icy roads. Darkness. Blizzard. Three lanes of rush hour traffic. Even combined, that wasn’t enough to make you put down your phone and pay attention to the road.

How many lives do you have to endanger before you start paying attention?

You own life obviously isn’t worth it.

Nor was the life of the small toddler you had strapped into the child seat behind you.  And indeed there might have been two kids back there, I couldn’t see the entire back seat clearly, just the one small hand drawing patterns on the fogged window facing me.

Nor was my life worth it to you.  Nor the other twenty or so lives within your immediate vicinity.

So, one life isn’t enough. Twenty lives aren’t enough.  So, how many lives do you have to endanger before you start paying attention? Thirty? A hundred?  Is there a number that matters to you more than whoever it was that you were chatting with online?

Ice, snow, whiteout conditions. None of these things seem to be important enough to make you pay attention to the road. What would? An erupting volcano maybe? A forest fire.  The return of Bearded Angry Jesus? A herd of enraged charging elephants ridden by crazed robot polar bears armed with machine gun lasers?  What?

I noticed that your tailgate had two stickers on it. 

One said, ironically, Watch For Motorcycles.  Where? On YouTube?

The other one, even more ironically said, Abortion Is Murder.  Let me ask you something.  What do you call it when a clueless idiot like yourself kills her kids because she was driving through a fucking blizzard on a dark icy highway while staring at her goddamned phone?  Would you call that murder too? Or just negligent homicide? What if you kill yourself and your kids, is that murder/suicide?  How about if you kill me, would I be just collateral damage? How about if you killed twenty of us in a massive pileup? Serial murder, or would that be genocide?

You are a danger to everyone around you.  You don’t deserve to have a drivers license.  And if it was up to me, I’d take away your goddamned kids and charge you with reckless endangerment. If I could have gotten your license plate I would have filed charges against you for endangering my life. If I had been facing you on the side of the road I would have kicked your fucking ass. The fact that you are a woman bothers me not all, you deserve a good and thorough ass kicking – because there is apparently nothing else, short of cutting off your goddamned thumbs, that will get through to you.

You’re an asshole, a selfish, ignorant, stupid fucking asshole. 

Sincerely,

Jim

 


This country needs to implement a Federal law making texting while driving a felony on par with Reckless Endangerment and subject to severe penalty. The states are too damned stupid to get it done. It needs to happen at the Federal level, and it needs to happen right now.  I’m talking immediate loss of license, substantial fine, and jail time for starters.  I’m getting damned sick and tired of having my life and the lives of my loved ones endangered by these jackasses.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

If This Goes On

Note:  I had most of this post done and was conducting my usual futile pre-posting search for typos when Congress announced that they’d finally struck a deal on the payroll tax holiday extension.  Which, of course, required that I rewrite some of the post.  I’m pretty sure they did it on purpose. Because they are dicks.


 

 

Remember the Cold War?

Sure you do.

You know, the Cold War, the fifty year long battle over ideology that damned near ended the world?

Basically the Cold War was a big pissing contest between the United States and the former Soviet Union.  The best summation of which was probably the so-called Space Race.  For thirty years the US and the Soviets tried to one up each other. Both spent vast, staggeringly unbelievably vast, fortunes in blood and treasure to be first in space.  First satellite. First dog in space. First monkey in Space. First man in space. First woman in space. First into space twice. First old guy. First left handed guy.  First to eat in space. First to piss in space. First to sleep in space. First to die. First to orbit. First to make a hundred obits. First to make a hundred and one. First rendezvous. First docking. First around the moon. First unmanned lunar landing. First manned landing. First probe to Mars, Venus, Jupiter.  First space station.  First this and first that. First!

Oh, yes, we – both the Russians and the Americans – cheered every first, no matter how small, by our own respective teams and booed the other side and called them cheaters.

The Russian beat us to orbit.  They were first with their Sputnik and then first with their cosmonauts.

We caught up. Then we blew up and they took the lead.

Then they burned up on reentry and we took the lead back.

In the end we beat them to the moon and so we won.  Yah! Yes, that’s right, America won. Ha! In your face, Soviet Bastards! In your face!

Except, well, what did it get us?  What did we win? Really?

What was the prize? Bragging rights?

Four decades later and who cares? I mean who really cares who was first? Russians were first to orbit. Boo! Americans were first to the moon. Whoopie! And then what? How many of the current generation do you see wandering around with an “Apollo XI, We’re Number One!” sweatshirt on?  By 1972 and Apollo XVII we’d already lost interest. To the current generation, the whole Space Race is little more than a not very interesting historical footnote and some ancient primitive hardware gathering dust in a museum somewhere.  See, the thing is, neither country got a sustainable space program out of all those trillions of dollars and rubles, out of all those lives, out of all those firsts.   Sure, both societies benefitted from the technology and the science, and we still do, every day, but after all of that, after all of those lives and all of that expense and all of that effort and all of the tears and all of the cheering, after all of the chest beating and flag waving and dick waggling and bragging rights, well, after all of that, twelve men walked on the moon forty years ago and we couldn’t go back now even if we actually wanted to. We never made it to Mars, or the moons of Jupiter, and the dreams of living among the stars that I grew up with are mostly dead in this the newest generation.  We went, we came back. Whoop Tee Doo, put that in the history books next to Kitty Hawk – if they still teach Kitty Hawk in history class anymore. I haven’t checked lately, more than likely the Texas Board of Creationism has substituted angels and Ezekiel's Wheel for Orville and Wilbur by now.

And yet, if you step outside right now and look up at the night sky in just the right place and at just the right time, you’ll see a space station.  The International Space Station.  The largest, most complex, most technologically advanced, and most successful sustained long duration mission ever lofted by the hand of man.  Americans didn’t do that.  The Russians didn’t do that. The Europeans didn’t do that.  We did it.  We did it, Americans, Russians, Canadians, Europeans, Japanese, Israelis, Indians, all of us working together.

We don’t cheer now when Americans go into orbit. But neither do we cheer when the Russians fail or have a setback. And the same is true with them.  We’re in this together.  Americans ride Russian rockets into orbit, Russians live in Japanese built modules lifted into space in the bellies of American built Shuttles and assembled with a robot arm made in Canada.  American ground control oversees the mission in conjunction with their counterparts in Kazakhstan. Russians and Americans take turns commanding the station. The first billionaire tourists have bought their way aboard that station in a Russian capitalist venture, and within a year a civilian rocket lofted by an American company will dock with the station.  And you know what? That’s a good thing. A damned good thing. Because it demonstrates very, very clearly that we, all of us, can work together if we want to.  And the more we work together, the more we understand each other, the more we speak each other’s language. 

When I was growing up, during the Cold War, the Russians were the enemy. There was a time when our differences almost ended the world for all time. Now? Now they are the people we build space stations with.

Sure, we’ve got our differences.

So?

Sure trust is sometimes hard to come by.  Sure there are fights and bickering and bad days and sometimes we don’t know how we’re going to pay for things. Again, so? So what?  This generation? The one growing up right now? They have a pretty good chance of not dying in nuclear fire. Tell me that’s not a good thing. Tell me that’s not what matters.  The more we work together, the more we realize the things we have in common, the more we accomplish. You have only to step outside on a clear night and look up to see it.  And no sane person, Russian or American, wants it to go back to the way it was.

One day, if we keep on like this, we will go back to the moon and to Mars and maybe even further, and we’ll do it together

 

It’s ironic, then, don’t you think?

Ironic that we Americans can work with our former mortal enemies easier than with other Americans?

Funny how we can compromise when it comes to building a trillion dollar space station with people we once called “the Evil Empire.” Funny how we can work to build a future for our kids with people we spent the better put of a century locked into a mutual murder/suicide pact with, isn’t it? 

Funny how we, Americans, can’t seem to find that same spirit of compromise and teamwork when it comes to working with Americans.

Funny sad, funny stupid, not funny ha ha.

Sad and stupid that we can’t seem to work together when it comes to something simple, something we all agree needs to be done, something that we all want.

I am, of course, talking about the mess in Congress.

You know it’s not about the tax breaks.

It’s not about class warfare. It’s not about the rich and not about the poor and most certainly not about the middle class.

It’s not about the economy, or jobs, or the national debt.

It’s not about the upcoming presidential election, well not totally anyway.

It’s not even about ideology.

It’s about face.

It’s about hubris.

It’s about bluster, and chest beating, and who can piss furthest into the wind. It’s about pride.

This latest congressional deadlock over extending the payroll tax holiday was about one thing and one thing only. It was about dicks – and like most matters of this nature, this entire adolescent pissing contest is nothing but locker-room theater by a bunch of spoiled selfish arrogant immature pricks who are worried that somebody, somewhere, somehow, might think that they have a wee little one.

Here’s the bald simple truth of the matter:   This congressional Cold War? It’s all a farce.

There was never any doubt that Congress would pass the payroll tax holiday extension, or that the president would sign it

Anything else would have been political suicide.

The Speaker of the House knows this, you bet he does.

John Boehner painted himself into a corner. As a result, he had to bend over and take it right up the poop chute. He knew it.  And he’s got nobody to blame but his own lousy leadership. Boehner has spent the last year showing us what he is, this last week he was just haggling over the price. 

The House deserves no credit for reaching a deal. None. It’s not an accomplishment to dodge a rubber bullet you fired at your own self.

Here’s the thing, the economy is in the toilet.  It may not be circling the drain anymore, it may have crawled out of the dirty water and may be inching its way up the filthy stained porcelain, but the economy is still in the crapper. You know it, I know it, and every single voter in America knows it.  So do the politicians.  Americans are pissed off. They’re tired of this bullshit, most of them anyway. They want this endless bickering to stop. They want congress to stop acting like children and start doing the job they get paid handsomely for. Americans, most of them, have had just about enough of this nonsense.  They’re out in the street. They’re out of work. They’re out of money. Half of them are out of their damned minds. They’re a year out from a major election. And they’re out of patience.

As a result, it’s a damned dangerous time to be a politician.

Luckily, for these preening jackasses, the worst thing that is likely to happen is that they’ll get voted out of power – instead of being dragged from their ivory towers and stood against a wall.  On a side note, a number of these congressmen, including the most intransigent of the current bunch of strident obstructionists, would do well to remember that they are the primary reason so many very angry Americans are heavily armed and equipped for violent revolution. But as usual, I ironically digress.

If congress allowed taxes to go up on the poor and middle class, especially going into an election year, they’d be cutting their own throats.

And they know it.

Boehner and his Tea Party masters have been trying to sell this as a war of ideology, the political Cold War version of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Nobody wants taxes to go up, they claim.  But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t let it happen if they could somehow be sure that the blame would fall squarely and unambiguously on the President and the other guys.  But they can’t guarantee that.  Voters are fickle.  They may be unhappy with Obama, but you raise their taxes by $150 per month and let unemployment benefits expire in this economy and see what happens.   Instead of the Cuban Missile Crisis, House conservatives would have been looking right down the barrel at the political equivalent of the Bay of Pigs.  

And they know it.

And so, after much bluster and chest beating and dick waggling, they signed the Senate version of the tax holiday extension plan. 

And there was never any doubt that they would.

Because, see, this really isn’t about ideology, or doing the right thing, and it sure as pluperfect hell isn’t about us, you and me, the insignificant middle class getting dirty-dicked by these arrogant pricks. Because if it really was about ideology, if it was about principle, if they really thought that they were right – then they would have let taxes go up and damn the consequences.

But it isn’t about that.

It’s about face.

Everybody has already agreed to the basics. The tax holiday must be extended. Ditto entitlements (long term unemployment benefits included).  The only argument is how to pay for that.  Tax the rich? Or cut something else out of the budget. Or a little of both?  The senate hammered out a deal with broad bipartisan support – over ninety percent of the forum approved the bill. 

A two month extension gives both the House and the Senate time to work out a permanent long-term deal.

John Boehner himself initially agreed to this deal.

Yet, House conservatives balked - and Boehner folded like a cheap suit when his Tea Party masters yanked sharply on his choker chain.

House Conservatives suddenly swore that they couldn’t agree to a two month extension, they wanted a longer deal.   Really?  Then why in the hell didn’t they complete a bill and forward it to the Senate a month ago?  It’s not like expiration of the payroll tax holiday was a surprise.  It’s not like we didn’t know that long term unemployment benefits were due to expire on December 31st.  If this was really about a long term deal, then they should have done their goddamned jobs two months ago. Instead, they deliberately let it come down to the wire, and they did that specifically because they thought they could use this issue to make Obama look bad and for no other reason.  They weren’t expecting conservatives in the Senate to show common sense and put the needs of the country over politics. 

They gambled, and they lost.  That’s what happens when you bluff, sometimes you get called.

But instead of manning up and taking their lumps, they’d acted like petulant children and tried to hold onto the pot.

Ever try to reason with a mad child?

Same thing. 

Unfortunately, we can’t send these brats to their room for a timeout.

This morning, House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R-VA), insisted that the differences between competing House and Senate 12-month plans could be resolved “within an hour.”  Really? Then why the fuck wasn’t that done two weeks ago?  I’ll tell you why, because Cantor and his pals are a bunch of spoiled privileged childish dicks.  That’s why.  He’s exactly the kind of guy who would play poker in a game where the stakes are the lives of one hundred and eighty million Americans.  And he’d do it solely in order to advance his own political agenda and for no other reason.

Think about this for a minute.  For whatever reason, these sons of bitches waited until the last minute. Now we’re talking about taxes and budgets and entitlements (and an oil pipeline for fuck’s sake, which is included in this mess for some stupid assed reason that makes no sense whatsoever).  There’s about five working days left to go.  What kind of bill do you think you’re going to get? Seriously? Two days before the holiday break?  A week and half before the deadline? A bunch of political hacks all pissed off and panicked and worried about if people will think they have a little dick?

Honestly, do you really want to live with whatever they managed to throw together at the last damned minute?

Here’s a thought, wouldn’t it make more sense to sign a quick two month extension, make sure Americans have some breathing space (You know, the people you’re supposed to be looking out for) and then take that time to sit down and deliberately hammer out something we can all live with? I mean, wouldn’t that make sense considering that they screwed around playing politics instead of doing the job and now it’s a thing?

Well, yes, of course that would make more sense. And yes, sure, we could do that.  Sure. But …

We could do that but the payroll accounting software most companies use isn’t designed for two month increments. 

No, seriously, that was the argument.  Payroll accounting software is designed for quarterly adjustments to taxes and withholdings and etcetera and so on.  So? Think about that for a minute.  Why bring this up at all?  No, really, why bring that up at all?  Unless somebody is actually thinking about raising our taxes.  Funny thing, nobody has mentioned that, and what passes for journalism in this country hasn’t bothered to actually ask. So, what’s the deal?  This is only an issue if House Republicans are thinking that they might be raising your taxes in two months (or lowering them, I suppose, if you’re a millionaire).

Next, of course, was the standard GOP canard, i.e. a two month extension raises uncertainty for businesses and thus they won’t create jobs and invest in America and the sky, you know, it will fall. Oh noes, not uncertainty! Let’s just say that’s true, and not the same old tired Chicken Little bullshit excuse that has allowed these same businesses to go on for ten years now without creating any jobs despite tax breaks and huge piles of bailout money.  There’s an easy fix.  It’s called leadership. Sign the two month extension, then House, Senate, and Executive all stand together on neutral ground and sign a fucking pledge to the American people guaranteeing that they will hammer out a deal by February that doesn’t change the tax and entitlement rates that exist right now.  Period.

House Republicans should have no problem with this idea, since according to their leader, Eric Cantor, it’ll only take an hour or so to work out the differences between existing plans.

That should give business the assurance they need to invest in the future and create all those jobs they keep promising us in exchange for our tax money. Tell you what, while they’re at it, how about Congress pledge to raise taxes on Corporations who don’t start hiring Americans – and by Americans, I mean people in this country.  And if they don’t, then they can not only start paying taxes, they can pay back all those tax breaks and bailout dollars they’ve taken from us – that ought to pay for extending the payroll tax holiday. Conservatives love pledges, this should be a natural for them – though, of course, making a pledge to the American people instead of a rich lobbyist would be something new. Hell, they can even sign it in Grover Norquist’s blood if it will make them happy. 

Well, sure, we could do that, but …

If there’s one maggot in the GOP apple that I detest over all others, it would have to be that pale flaccid worm, Karl Rove. Yet, I was forced to agree with him when even he said House conservatives needed to sign the extension.  And of course, wherever the slimy trail left by Rove goes, the rest of the conservatives follow. Most of them anyway.  Hell, even the king of obstructionist partisan politics, Mitch McConnell could see which way the wind was blowing by squinting through his Coke bottle glasses.

So, what was the hold up?

Dicks.

Cantor and the rest of these self-centered children didn’t want to agree because they were afraid that it would be a “win” for Obama. 

Of all the childish, stupid, moronic nonsense.

They don’t give a damn if one hundred and eighty million of their fellow Americans lose, so long as Obama doesn’t “win.”   This should be no surprise to anybody, this is the same math plugged into the same equation that these Creationist peckerwoods use for everything of importance. These are the same selfish bastards who would let forty million women and children go without health insurance or medical care so that one poor woman doesn’t get an abortion on the government dime.   These are the same sons of bitches who would let a hundred million people die of AIDS in order to prevent one woman from using a condom.  These are the same ignorant fuckers who would cut funding for millions of textbooks and school lunches and science program, so that they can continue to fund high school football in Texas and failed abstinence-only faith-based bullshit. 

This is about dicks and nothing more.

Frankly, if it was up to me, I’d line them all up and have them drop trousers.  Then we can get out a ruler and … smack them right in their useless shriveled nuts.

What?

Oh, you thought I was going to say measure up and settle the issue once and for all?  Wrong. I don’t care who has the bigger dick. This isn’t about congressional dick. This is about doing the right thing, because it’s the right thing.  It’s about not reliving the stupid Cold War in our own back yard.  If these people really cared about the economy and business and the people who elected them, then they’d start working together.

Forty years from now, nobody, and I mean nobody, is going to give a damn one way or the other.  Like the Cold War and the Space Race and the first guy to use a urine bag in orbit, nobody will give a damn which one of these people had a bigger dick.

The only thing they’ll remember is that these people were dicks.

If we can work with our erstwhile enemies, we ought to be able to work with our own goddamned countrymen.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are You Crazy? Is That Your Problem?

Ever see the movie Big Trouble In Little China?

No?

That’s too bad, because it’s great fun.

It’s one of my favorite movies. Hell, the one-liners are worth the prices of admission alone. 

About midway through the movie, there’s a scene where the everyman hero, Jack Burton, (played by Kurt Russell doing a hilarious over the top impression of William Shatner channeling John Wayne) confronts the two thousand year old evil Chinese warlord and sorcerer, Lo Pan (the always outstanding James Hong).  Long ago, Lo Pan struck a bargain with the God of the East, Ching Dai, who imposed upon him a horrible curse of no flesh and condemned him to walk the earth as the “ultimate evil spirit.”  To fulfill the deal he made with Ching Dai, Lo Pan must find and marry a special girl. Lo Pan has been searching for that girl, a girl with green eyes, for more than two thousand years.  When he finds her, and appeases Ching Dai by sacrificing her on their wedding night, he will be granted his wish – and his wish is, of course, ultimate power.  Over the years, Lo Pan has found and sacrificed a number of likely girls, but none have been the right one to mollify his demon. Lo Pan, reduced after two millennia of cursed life to a palsied wizened basket-case in a wheelchair, explains his plan to conquer the world:

Lo Pan, his reedy voice rising with monomaniacal fanaticism, “I must find a special girl, Mr. Burton.  A girl with green eyes. One brave enough to embrace the burning blade! And when I find her, I will marry her! Then Ching Dai will be appeased and my curse will be lifted!”

Jack Burton, brow furrowed in understanding, “And then you can go on to rule the universe from beyond the grave!”

Lo Pan, gleeful that Burton understands, “Indeed!”

Jack Burton, sarcastically rolling his eyes, “…or check into the nearest psycho ward, whichever comes first, eh?”

It’s my favorite scene in the movie, especially the part where Jack Burton looks Lo Pan right in the eye and, heedless of the vast power once wielded by the ancient sorcerer, asks him point blank, “Are you crazy? Is that your problem?”

 

You’ve already figured out where I’m going with this, haven’t you?

What gave it away? The guy willing to sell his soul for ultimate power or the serial marriages?

 

Back in October, Newt Gingrich opined that federal judges who made unpopular, or as he put it, “radical,” decisions should be made to answer to Congress.  

Back then, that silly comment barely broke the surface of Newt’s, then, moribund campaign. 

With his recent surge to the forefront of GOP presidential hopefuls* however, instead of backing off on this bizarrely unconstitutional position, Newt doubled down. 

Last Sunday during an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, Gingrich told Bob Schieffer point blank  that the Capitol Police or Federal Marshals should be sent to arrest judges who make “radical” decisions. Note that Gingrich did not actually specify who gets to decide when a judge’s decision is radical – presumably President Gingrich will tell us when it’s necessary.

Schieffer: Let me just ask you this and we’ll talk about enforcing it, because one of the things you say is that if you don’t like what a court has done, the congress should subpoena the judge and bring him before congress and hold a congressional hearing. Some people say that’s unconstitutional. But I’ll let that go for a minute. I just want to ask you from a practical standpoint, how would you enforce that? Would you send the capital police down to arrest him?

Gingrich: If you had to.

Schieffer: You would?

Gingrich: Or you instruct the Justice Department to send the U.S. Marshal. Let’s take the case of Judge Biery. I think he should be asked to explain a position that radical. How could he say he’s going to jail the superintendent over the word “benediction” and “invocation”? Because before you could — because I would then encourage impeachment, but before you move to impeach him you’d like to know why he said it. Now clearly since the congress has....

Schieffer: What if he didn’t come? What if he said, “No thank you, I’m not coming?”

Gingrich: Well, that is what happens in impeachment cases. In an impeachment case, the House studies whether or not — the House brings them in, the House subpoenas them. As a general rule they show up. I mean, you’re raising the core question — are judges above the rest of the constitution or are judges one of the three co-equal branches?

Are you crazy? Is that your problem?

Gingrich seems to have a particular hard-on for Judge Beiry, the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.   Biery made a number of rulings regarding religion in Texas schools, specifically the inclusion of prayer in graduation ceremonies, that offended the hell out of Newt Gingrich – and a number of other folks who we’ll get to in a minute.

Gingrich doesn’t agree with the judge’s decision (no kidding, right?), which was to ban officially sanctioned prayer by teachers, administrators, members of the school board, or other officials during public high school graduations – note that this subject would never even have ended up in Biery’s court if the fanatical evangelical creationists involved hadn’t been assholes about it in the first place, but I digress.  So, instead of filing an appeal, or living with the judge’s ruling, or attempting to change Federal law to allow for prayer during ceremonies, or any of half a dozen other options available under our law and Constitution, Gingrich instead thinks that the judge should be subpoenaed to appear before Congress and account for his decision – note that there is no Constitutional or legal precedent for this. 

If the  judge declines to appear, President Gingrich would send Federal Marshals to arrest him. 

Then, Gingrich would have the judge impeached. Something Gingrich knows a bit about, but I digress. Again.

Question: What do you suppose Gingrich and other conservatives would say if the current occupant of the White House proposed such a draconian tactic?  Or how about if, say, a federal judge struck down portions of Obamacare and Nancy Pelosi had that judge jailed for his insolence? What? I’m just asking. I’m sure Gingrich would totally support that.

You don’t have to be an ancient Chinese sorcerer to see what Gingrich is up to with this. 

Besides pandering to Evangelicals in atonement for his previous sins, I mean.

See, Biery is on pretty solid Constitutional ground with his ruling. Gingrich knows it, and so do the Texas Creationists.

You bet they do.

Call the judge to account, and he would very likely be able to repeat chapter and verse supporting his decision – and that’s exactly what will happen should this go to the Supreme Court.  That’s why Gingrich doesn’t want it to go before experts in the law and on the Constitution. That’s exactly why he wants the judge accountable to congress or better yet the president (providing he or another fanatical Christian is the president).  A congressman or the president can use their religion and their bigotry and their personal beliefs for guidance – a judge can’t (or isn’t supposed to anyway, but yet again I digress).  

Hauling a judge before congress as Gingrich demands, jailing a judge who makes an unpopular decision, would undermine our entire method of government.

And that is exactly what Gingrich is proposing.

 

Are you crazy? Is that your problem?

 

Now, I think the thing that astounded me most about Gingrich’s CBS interview was Shieffer and his “some folks” say that’s unconstitutional but I’ll just give you a pass. Wait. What? We’ll just let that go

Are you kidding me? 

No seriously, are you kidding me?  We’ll just let that go? 

What the hell?

That rumbling sound you hear is Edward R. Murrow spinning in his grave.

Honestly, this is what passes for journalism at CBS?   Schieffer should be relegated to interviewing Paris Hilton and reading the scores from last night’s Dancing With the Stars.  You have wonder how many CBS executives a half-assed excuse for a journalist like Schieffer had to blow to get his job.

We’ll just let that go for a minute? Forever, actually, since Schieffer never did come back to the question.

And that question is the crux of the entire matter.  

Congress should have the power to arrest members of the Judiciary based not on violations of the law, but on a whim? Because some congressman thinks the judge’s decisions are “radical?”  

The President should be able to detain and arrest Judges because they make decisions he doesn’t agree with?

What’s that you say? Newt didn’t say the President should be able to arrest members of the Judicial Branch? Newt was talking about judges having to answer to Congress? I’m exaggerating?  Yes.  Perhaps you should go back and check which branch of the Federal Government the Justice Department and the Federal Marshal Service are actually part of.   See, either Newt doesn’t himself know (which I find unlikely), or he intends to give the office of the President virtually unlimited power. Once you start arresting judges for making decisions you don’t like, where does that stop?  Gitmo?

Of course the third possibility is that Gingrich just thinks we’re all too damned stupid to know the difference.  Not an unreasonable supposition I suppose, given that Bob Schieffer and the folks are CBS certainly are.

Let’s just let that go?

I don’t think so.

It’s not “some folks” who find Gingrich’s nonsense unconstitutional, it’s the Constitution itself, it’s the Founding Fathers, it’s two and a half centuries of the United States of America that declare this idiotic third world despotic idea unconstitutional.  Separation of Powers and the constitutionally mandated system of checks and balances are the very heart of our republic.  

Jailing judges who disagree with the government is what happens in dictatorships, in theocracies, and in fascist states. 

Imagine the kind of country we would be living in if the Framers hadn’t made the Judicial Branch independent. 

Civil rights. Equal rights. The right to vote. The end of slavery and Segregation. The Right to Representation and the rest of your Miranda Rights.  All of these were “radical” at one time.  Did you know that there was a time when a State could prevent married couples from buying or using contraception? And it would still be that way if it wasn’t for a couple of “radical” judges. 

Of course there are gong to be rulings you don’t agree with.  Do you think the men who wrote the Constitution didn’t know that? Of course they did, and they were willing to live with it because it’s one of those things that come with freedom.  If you always get your own way, you’re not living in a democracy.

If it wasn’t for the independence of the Judiciary, America would be a very, very different county.

But, of course, that’s the point.

That’s exactly the point.  Isn’t it?

Some folks, such as the members of the American Family Association, who today endorsed Newt Gingrich for President, want exactly that, a different America. 

They want an America radically different than the one we have now.

The AFA is an organization of fanatical evangelical Christians who, according to the organization’s current director, Bryan Fischer, believe that non-Christians should not be protected by the Constitution. Yes, you read that correctly, the AFA publically professes that the Constitution of the United States and the rights it embodies only applies to Christians.  (Fischer has also opined, with the endorsement of his many followers, that the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor, has been “feminized” by liberals because during the current conflict it has been awarded primarily for saving the lives of fellow soldiers and not for killing people. I know, I know, I’m digressing again). 

These are the people who would unashamedly turn America into a militant evangelical version of Iran – and have in fact declared their intention to do exactly that, starting with making non-Christians into non-citizens. These are the kind of professional double-thinkers who claim to stand for “family” values and then endorse a serial adulterer, these are the folks who speak of Christian morals and then endorse the only Speaker of the House to ever be sanctioned on ethics violations – violations he admitted to by the way, and which eventually led to his resignation from office. 

But, of course, all is forgiven now because God apparently conveniently absolved Newt of his transgressions – well, at least according to Newt anyway.

Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, founder of the AFA said today, “Newt Gingrich recognizes the threat to our country posed by judges and lawyers imposing values upon the country inconsistent with our religious heritage, and has proposed constitutional steps to bring the courts back in balance under the constitution."

I strongly suspect Wildmon has never read the actual Constitution. 

You know, the staggering level of hypocrisy displayed by people like Gingrich and evangelicals like Wildmon never ceases to astound and disgust me.  These are the same assholes who, like former President George H. W. Bush, claim that non-Christians cannot be moral or ethical people (and in Bush’s case, non-Christians in the service of their country shouldn’t even be considered patriots), because they lack the guidance of the evangelical’s version of God.  But then they turn right around and use God as an excuse to justify their own immoral and unethical behavior.  All somebody like Gingrich has to do is make the completely unverifiable and utterly unsubstantiated claim that he’s been “forgiven” by his deity, and evangelicals start falling to their knees in order to give him sloppy oral gratification. 

These are the people who make up Newt Gingrich’s base.

Gingrich accepted the AFA’s endorsement, calling Wildmon “one of the most important leaders in the country in the battle to uphold our founding principles.”

If that doesn’t scare the hell out of you,  you’re not paying attention.

If CBS was actually a news organization and Schieffer was actually a journalist he would have turned the klieg-lights on Gingrich and looked him right in the eye and asked point blank, “Are you crazy? Is that your problem?”

Instead, CBS literally gave Gingrich a pass.

The independence of the Judicial Branch of the US Government exists for a number of very good reasons – chief among them is preventing people like Donald Wildmon and his band of yellow-eyed fanatics from turning the United States into Jesusland.  These people relentlessly condemn Islam as violent and evil, and Mormons as a cult, and atheists as immoral,  but don’t you think for one damned minute that people who believe that Constitutional protections only apply to Christians wouldn’t be out lopping off heads, burning non-believers at the stake, and running the Holy Inquisition Sausage Grinder at full power if they could get away with it. It sure isn’t God who keeps them from doing it, it’s the Constitution of the United States and the power of independent Judges.

The independence of the Judiciary is the primary thing holding them at bay. No wonder they want destroy it.

I’ve heard it said that that Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think a smart person looks like.  

Smart or not, Gingrich, like the ancient sorcerer Lo Pan, is certainly cunning.

I don’t think he means what he says.  I don’t think he sincerely intends to see the Judicial Branch brought to heel. I think his outrage is carefully calculated and about as real as his first two marriages.  I think he said what he said, and used Judge Biery for a specific reason. And you saw that reason today.  I think Newt said what he said, and continues to beat this drum, specifically to get the endorsement of Evangelical Christians.  And they were just dumb enough to fall for it.

Hell, if I was a betting man, I’d bet that Newt Gingrich isn’t even a believer, not really, not in private. I doubt that he believes in anything bigger than himself.  Not that I really give a damn one way or the other.

 

In the end, of course, Jack Burton defeated Lo Pan and saved the world, but frankly I’m starting to think that the character we need isn’t Jack Burton after all.

I’m starting to think we’re going to need Snake Plissken.

 

 


* What’s the word for a group of presidential candidates. Pride? Like a pride of lions? Murder? As in a murder of crows?   Maybe clamor. A clamor of candidates.  A bloviate? A rectum? No, wait, I’ve got it! An embarrassment of candidates. Yeah, that’s it.  Remember, you heard it here first, folks. Thank you and drive safely.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Everybody’s So Different, I Haven’t Changed

 

I call it being disconnected from the timestream.

It started when I joined the military.

Thirty years ago, I left home and the Midwest where I grew up and went off to find my place in the world.  I was gone for more than a year that first time, boot camp and technical school, before I came back home for a visit.  Things had moved on while I was away, but not very far.  I left again after a few weeks of leave and went off to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.  It was almost three years before I came back again.  More things had changed, and so had I.  I left again, and was again away for years. I always intended to come back permanently, but somehow I just kept going.  There was always another hill, another horizon, another distant shore. And so it went, the years turned into decades, the world changed, there were a couple of wars, I got married, I had a son, and somehow there was always one more battle to be fought, one more hill to climb, until finally when I came back I hardly recognized the place where I grew up. 

And few folks there remember me.

Now, when I return, briefly, to Michigan I am a stranger in a strange land.

My folks still live there, and my mom tells me about people I haven’t seen in a very long time or have never met.  She tells me about the children of my cousins who now have children of their own – and I can’t get past the fact that in my mind those second cousins are only four years old, how could they have kids? 

See, for me, time stopped when I left home. 

I expected to return and find things the way I left them.

Instead, the children I remember are pot bellied and balding and talking about mutual funds and mortgages and what college their kids are failing out off.

I am adrift in the timestream.

I suppose it happens to all of us, in one degree or another.

Of course, the reverse is also true – for those people, and the many others I’ve met over the years and lost touch with, I am the one who has changed radically.

With the advent of social media, I have reconnected to a number of those long unstuck people in recent months.

Inevitably they all say the same thing (with varying degrees of either joy or aghast), Good Gravy, you’re a liberal! When did you change sides?

This seems to be happening more frequently of late.

Every time I write something like the previous post on same-sex marriage, people I haven’t seen in years, hell decades – acquaintances, former comrades in arms, people who I knew long ago – see it on Twitter or Facebook or Google+ or some other link and write to ask when I went over to the dark side.  It’s never a flood, but the nature of social networking is that it grows exponentially like neurons in some vast global brain, and when I write something that gets a lot of play people who knew me back in the day write to find out if I’ve been kidnapped by sparkly gay environmentalists and spirited away to their lair beneath an abortion clinic in San Francisco or something.

When did you change sides?

I’m not big on introspection, I am who I am and I like it that way just fine – sharp edges and all –  but the fact that I keep getting asked this question made me wonder: have I changed? Inside? In my conviction. Where it counts?

Have I really changed so much that people I haven’t seen in years think that I have switched “sides.”

I believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and I always have. I believe that all people have those inalienable rights.  All people, every single one, and I always have.  I believed in it so much that I went off and spent most of my life defending those ideals. And so, when people whom I haven’t seen in a very long time say, “when did you change sides?” it makes me wonder.

There are things that define Left and Right, that define the line we Americans have drawn in the soil of our nation. Abortion. War. Peace. Guns. Homosexuality. Creationism. Evolution. Big Business. The Environment. Race. Sex. Religion. Entitlements. Poverty. Wealth. Government.

Things like this bumper sticker:

In case you can’t read that, it says, “Tolerance is for the person who has no conviction.”

This bit of sound-bite Christianity is taken from Christian Apologetics. It’s the sentiment of certain evangelicals, if you don’t believe as we do, you don’t count. This is an odd philosophy to embrace when you profess belief in a religion whose founder said, “turn the other cheek.” Don’t you think? For me, this sentiment brought things into sharp focus.

Have my views on those fundamental divisions listed up above changed in the last thirty years?

I believe strongly in tolerance, have I no conviction?

To answer that, I’d have to look at where my viewpoints came from in the first place.

Growing up, I was bullied – mercilessly, tenaciously, relentlessly, day in and day out, from grade school to the day I graduated from high school. It took me a while to get over it. It’s not something I dwell on these days. Time lends perspective, and while I don’t much miss the place where I grew up I realize that I wouldn’t be who I am without it. My experience is tempered by the fact that I had good family and a few good friends who were always there for me, and by the things I’ve seen since in the dark and dangerous corners of the world – no matter how wrong you think you’ve been done, there are always those who are far worse off and you’d do well to keep that in mind.

I have no compelling need to either get even or prove anything to people I haven’t seen in decades and who likely don’t even remember either me or their cruelty, but I suspect that experience during my formative years explains a number of things about why I see the world the way I do. Back then there wasn’t much I could do about it except endure – these days, I do not suffer a bully to live (which, if you’re paying attention, might help you to understand my commenting rules), nor will I stand idly by and let somebody else be victimized. Period.  This is non-negotiable.

When did I become an advocate for gay rights?

I never did.

I’m an enthusiastic advocate for civil rights. I’m a passionate and unrelenting advocate for human rights, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, age, origin, station in life, or any of the other bullshit categories people use to exclude others from full participation in our society, and that most certainly includes sexual orientation.  Give me one good reason why anybody should be made to hate themselves. Give me one good reason why one person should be able to define another.  That’s what bullies do, you know, define others. Put them in a box. Limit who they can be. Force them into categories: Fatty, Fag, Geek, Nerd, Retard, Stupid, Ugly, Loser. Bullies make their victims hate themselves.  Well, I won’t stand for it.  The single most fundamental of all human rights is the right to define yourself, that’s exactly what the Founders meant when they said, We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness… Noting more and nothing less. Either we are all free, or none of us are. And I am fully willing and able to stand up to any son of a bitch who says different.

When did I become so anti-war?

I never did.

I have always held that viewpoint. You think that odd for someone who spent their entire adult life in the profession of War? Willingly?  Heh, you don’t know many professional military folks then. War. Violence. I was born the year the world nearly ended because a bunch of lunatics came within minutes of lobbing nuclear missiles at each other over a shitty worthless speck of an island in the Caribbean.  I grew up during the Cold War, every single day pundits and politicians speculated not if we would destroy ourselves, but when – every kid in my generation grew up with the realization that the world could end at any moment because a bunch of assholes we’d never met couldn’t get along with each other. Every single evening during my childhood the TV was filled with the bloody images of Vietnam, pictures of dead and wounded soldiers and burning helicopters and body counts. The streets were full of  protestors and haunted shattered warriors.  I remember the Iranian Hostage Crisis, and a couple of folks I only vaguely knew bragging about how they’d cornered an Iranian student in the parking garage of the local junior college and beat the hell out of him in revenge. There, that would teach those goddamned Ayatollahs.  And I thought, what the hell? How is assaulting some random Muslim, an Iranian attending an American college and who might grow up to take back his country, how is that in our best interest? How does that make any sense?  Contrast that against the tales of honor and glory and duty told by the likes of Pournelle, Heinlein, Drake, Kipling, Hemmingway, and the other books I read and the stories my dad told of Korea and my uncles in WWII. It seemed to me then that war might be a necessary evil, but an evil nonetheless, an evil that takes a terrible toll on both the winners and the losers.  Two decades of military service, two wars of my own later, and my opinion hasn’t changed.  Until there is a fundamental change in human nature, war and conflict will be a necessary evil.  But it is not something to be entered into lightly or for false reasons or because of hysteria or without due diligence and thorough consideration and an understanding of the consequences. Every single life lost, on both sides, is a waste of humanity – in both senses of the word.  Stand before the Vietnam memorial on the Mall in Washington D.C., run your hands over the 54,000 names inscribed there and tell me that I’m wrong.  I’ll be 50 years old in a couple of months, during my life we’ve been at war for more than half of that time. All of it if you include the events of the Cold War. That’s insane. We could have remade our world into a paradise for all, we could have fed every soul on the planet, we could have raised the standard of living for every single man, women and child and erased poverty forever, we could have cured diseases and afflictions and genetic defects, we could be halfway to the nearest star by now – if we had put one tenth of the energy into ending the causes of war as we do finding excuses to kill each other. How many Einsteins, how many Galileos, how many Rembrandts are laying out there dead on the battlefield? How many Sagans and Salks starved to death in Africa this year?  How many Bill Gates and Steve Jobs died of cancer and AIDS?  Lost before their genius could be realized? How much of our potential have we as human beings pissed away in war and conflict and burning death?  My son is now a teenager and for all of his life, every night the TV is filled with bloody images of dead and dying soldiers, burning helicopters, and body counts. Americans are still beating up Muslims in parking garages and my son hears my stories of Iraq and Libya and Beirut.  Our streets aren’t filled with protesters this time around, but there are plenty of those haunted shattered warriors out there and more every day.  When did I become anti-war? Wrong question.  The correct question is why the hell aren’t you?

When did I become pro-abortion? When did I become anti-gun? When did I become anti-religion? And so on?

I never did.

It’s all part of a set piece. The world is full of dying children, here and abroad. They starve to death every day in unlamented tens of thousands and rot in a hundred thousand unmarked graves.  They die of disease and neglect and war and poverty and abuse and slavery and a thousand other horrors. I’ve seen them. I’ve walked among their shattered bodies.  Those folks who bleat so loudly about God’s will and God’s love should go out and see with their own eyes what God’s will and God’s love has wrought in the dark corners of the world – and right here in the United States.  People like the Pope pray and sing and enjoin his followers to save a handful of cells unattached to the uterine wall.  That pompous hypocrite. Children? You’re goddamned kidding me.  There’s a place in hell for that guy, yes there is. See, I’ve walked through his home too.  He lives in a palace of gold surrounded by a city-state of riches while real live living children are abused under his very roof, while tens of thousands more starve and struggle and cough out their lives on parched soil.  Mega-Church pastors stand before millions of TV viewers every Sunday and lament their poverty, while surrounded by billion dollar empires of glass and steel and silver.  They talk of peace and wage war. They speak of sacrifice and live like kings. They praise truth and yet decry science. They preach love and inclusion but practice hate and exclusion.  They offer salvation, at a price.  They speak of humility and arrogantly try to impose their will upon the world.  When did I come to hate bullies?  For just as goddamned long as I can remember. 

When did I change?

The simple answer to that question is that I never did.

So what changed then? Because something sure did.

What has changed are the labels, the boxes people keep trying to put me into.

I tried to visualize it and this is what I came up with (Maybe those classes the Navy paid for with Tufte at Yale weren’t wasted after all):

Chart

You can click on the graphic for a larger image.

I attained the age of majority during the Carter Administration.  Back then I was defined as a traditional conservative.  Balanced budget. War only when necessary. Mom. Apple pie. Conservatives were doctors, engineers, scientists, the guys with the buzz cuts and white shirts who worked at NASA and got us to the moon and back. They smoked Pall Malls and drank Pabst Blue Ribbon. They worked on the assembly line at Ford and GM and they BBQ’d in their backyards in the suburbs on the weekends. You didn’t have to ask, you knew they were veterans.  If they went to church on Sunday, that was their business – they never talked about it.  They were Boy Scouts and Little Leaguers and members of the Elks Club. Live and let live. They were the folks who said “I don’t agree with what you say, but I’ll die to defend your right to say it” and they meant every word of it.

By the time Reagan came along, people dropped the “traditional” and just referred to my position as just “conservative” with a lower-case “c.”  Most everybody I knew was the same. The first warning signs came when people started referring to something called compassionate conservatism.  Compassionate? As a opposed to what?  Condescending conservatism? Intolerant conservatism?  Screw you conservatism? Seriously, why would you have to qualify a political position in a such a manner? Unless of course, there was some indication that your beliefs were increasingly less than compassionate. Unless, you yourself, believed that your ideology was increasingly one of selfishness.

Eight years later when George the First took office, people had added the prefix “moderate” to my version of conservatism.  Moderate? Again, as opposed to what? Extremism?  Yeah. Funny thing, that, as it turns out…

Clinton took office and the noun “conservative” disappeared altogether leaving me with just the modifier like fractional division where certain values just cancel out.  That’s what happened to me, I got cancelled out right out of the Republican party.

When George the Pinheaded ascended to the throne, we moderates were relabeled “progressives.”  I thought that was an improvement. Progressive. Progress. That’s a good thing? Right?  Yeah. Funny thing, that, as it turns out…

And now, under Obama, I am, of course,  a homo-lovin’ red-commie anti-capitalist liberal-traitor rat-bastard who hates America (insert the label of your choice here, Fatty, Fag, Geek, Nerd, Retard, Stupid, Ugly, Loser, and so on. Go on, you know the words) – as are all Americans who don’t cling to their guns and their bibles and their militia uniforms. The entire republican party has shifted right and thrown people like me over the fantail into their wake.  You’re either with us or against us. Conservatives who used to be the serious men in white shirts and buzzcuts, the men who got us to the moon and home safely again, the ones who once taught science and engineering and medicine in the colleges, are now the party of Creationism and Rapture and screw you I got mine. Live my way, or don’t live at all.  I don’t agree with what you say, so I’ll have to kill you until you’re dead dead dead because you have no right to say it. None.

My views have not changed. I’m still the same guy you used to know.

I stood fast, firm in my conviction and the war flowed around me and the battle lines shifted like flowing mercury.

One day I looked up and realized that I was on the other side. 

 

And you know what? I’m just fine with that.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Uncivil Righteousness

We all have the same civil rights.

That’s what Michele Bachman said to a group of Waverly High School students in Iowa last week.

We all have the same civil rights.

Isn’t that nice?

We all have the same civil rights.

Of course, it depends entirely on what you mean by “we.”

Bachmann told the teenagers, “We all have the same civil rights…”

“Then why can’t same-sex couples get married?” asked student Jane Schmidt, who is also the president of Waverly’s Gay-Straight Alliance.

Bachmann’s answer?

They can get married.

Just not to the people they love.

Clever, huh?

SCHMIDT: One of my main concerns is government support for the LGBT community. So my question is what would you do to protect GSAs in high school and support the LGBT community?

BACHMANN: Well, number one, all of us as Americans have the same rights. The same civil rights. And so that's really what government's role is, to protect our civil rights. There shouldn't be any special rights or special set of criteria based upon people's preferences. We all have the same civil rights.

SCHMIDT: Then, why can't same-sex couples get married?

BACHMANN: They can get married, but they abide by the same law as everyone else. They can marry a man if they’re a woman. Or they can marry a woman if they're a man.

SCHMIDT: Why can't a man marry a man?

BACHMANN: Because that's not the law of the land.

SCHMIDT: So heterosexual couples have a privilege.

BACHMANN: No, they have the same opportunity under the law. There is no right to same-sex marriage.

SCHMIDT: So you won't support the LGBT community?

BACHMANN: No, I said that there are no special rights for people based upon your sex practices. There's no special rights based upon what you do in your sex life. You're an American citizen first and foremost and that's it.

ELLA NEWELL (a junior at Waverly High School): Wouldn't heterosexual couples, if they were given a privilege then, that gay couples aren't, like given that privilege to get married, but heterosexual couples are given a privilege to get married?

BACHMANN: Remember every American citizen has the right to avail themselves to marriage but they have to follow what the laws are. And the laws are you marry a person of the opposite sex

According to Bachmann’s convoluted logic and staggering condescension, gay people have the same right to marry as straight people, they just have to be not gay.

Got that?

Opines Bachmann, allowing gay people to marry somebody of the same sex would be conferring special privileges on a select group based on their (presumed) sexual practices. Because, as I’m sure you all know, gay people only want to get married to each other for the squicky gay rainbow sex and not because they actually love each other and want to commit to spending their lives together like normal people do. It’s totally true and you can look that up.

In replying to Ms. Schmidt, Bachmann gave a total of six responses – and those six paragraphs clearly demonstrate why this ridiculous goof should be kept as far from public office, any office, as is possible.  Not only should voters, all voters especially including conservatives, soundly reject her bid for president, they shouldn’t even elect her to be the town dog catcher – let alone a United States lawmaker. 

The paragraphs above demonstrate not just a cognitively challenged viewpoint but a sharply bounded intellect as well. But, Hell, you know maybe she was just having a bad day. Too much cold medicine and not enough hetro bang bang jungle monkey sex or something.  But both in the context of the conversation above and in the broader context of 21st Century American society, Bachmann’s responses add up to a big fat intellectual zero. 

Her statements are neither internally consistent nor do they make any sense whatsoever in the context of her own stated political positions. It’s nothing more than gibberish, the kind of internal bizarro-world rationalizations given by an un-medicated psychotic. 

Well, number one, all of us as Americans have the same rights. The same civil rights. And so that's really what government's role is, to protect our civil rights. There shouldn't be any special rights or special set of criteria based upon people's preferences. We all have the same civil rights.

All of us have the same civil rights.

Except, of course, the part where we don’t.

What? You want a non-gay example? Bachmann, as a high ranking member of the government, has the right not to be strip-searched at the local airport. You and me? Not so much.

Civil rights are those inalienable entitlements that each American is given by his or her supposed creator (or by the happy accident of just being an American, whatever), i.e. life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the specifics of which are partially delineated in the Constitution.

The key words in Bachmann’s statement above are “us,” “we,” and “our.”   Bachmann’s use of those words is not all inclusive, when she says “us as Americans,” she is not talking about everybody. She barely acknowledges that gay people are human, let alone American.  It’s the doctrine of extremism and increasingly of mainstream American conservatism itself, i.e. you’re either with us or you’re against us. There is us, and there is them, and that’s all there is.  Period.

In Bachmann’s clearly stated worldview, Americans are Christians and Christians aren’t gay. Period. 

But then how does Bachmann explain gay Americans who are both clearly gay and clearly American?  Simple, according to Bachmann, gay people aren’t really gay, they’re just wrong, broken, defective. At best they are the result of incorrect choices and the victims of uncontrollable lusts and dangerous behavior. At worst, homosexuals are the work of the literal boogieman. Bachmann’s husband has made an entire career and a tidy living based specifically on that exact view of homosexuality – i.e. it’s not a sexual orientation, it’s a disease, a sin

A disease like alcoholism or drug addiction.  A disease which can be cured

A sin like avarice or gluttony, a sin for which the sinner can repent.

The rights Bachmann alludes to up above include, but are not limited to, the specific rights spelled out in the Constitution and its various amendments.  And, according to Bachmann, government’s role is to protect those rights.  Unfortunately, while each human being may be entitled to the same civil rights, what the Constitution fails to define in any but the most general sense is what, exactly, constitutes an actual American – or what constitutes a human being for that matter.  Apparently, that definition was a truth the Framers thought was self-evident enough that it didn’t require formal description (well, except for that part about slaves being only three fifths of an actual human being, but I digress).  Because of this, for the last two and a half centuries, senators and representatives exactly like Michele Bachmann have used their religion, bigotry, and shameless lust for power to define who exactly gets to be a human being in America and who doesn’t.  We’ve used this exact reasoning to exclude all kinds of people from full realization of their civil rights.  People who are the wrong color, people who worship the wrong god or none at all, people with the wrong political view, people who lack the proper reproductive organ, people who can’t read, people who have funny accents, people without land or means, people whose ancestors came from the wrong country (including those whose ancestors came from this country before it was this country) and so on right up to this very day.

Americans have civil rights. Gay people aren’t American. Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

And it’s really just as simple as that.

That’s what Bachmann means when she says that we all have the same civil rights.  We.  Us real Americans.  We all have the same civil rights. Those other people? They aren’t really Americans, so they don’t count.

That’s why in Bachmann’s mind equal rights means special rights.

If she, and those like her, actually saw all people as people, we wouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place, would we?

They can get married, but they abide by the same law as everyone else. They can marry a man if they’re a woman. Or they can marry a woman if they're a man.

Try something, substitute the racial designator of your choice for the gender nouns in that statement, i.e. They can marry a Caucasian if they’re a Caucasian. Or they can marry an Asian if they're an Asian. Or they can marry an African American if they’re African American. And so on.  How’s it sound now? Think it would stand up in court? They can only marry if their ancestors came from the same European culture. They can only marry if they are both of the same religion or attend the same church. They can only marry if they own land or have jobs.  They can only marry if they can both read. They can only marry if they both love tractor pulls and lite beer.  They can only get married if they are both liberals, or both conservatives, or both independents. They can only get married if the wife casts her vote same as the husband. They can only get married if the woman is a virgin. They can only get married if they are of the same socioeconomic caste.  They can only get married if they plan on having children – and only if they are both capable of producing children together. They can only get married if they don’t have any genetic defects that they might pass on to future generations.

Oh, hey, I know, they can only get married if they are both blond haired and blue eyed and a card carrying member of the master race…

How about now? How’s that sound?  Too far? Too extreme?  Of not extreme enough?

Don’t try to tell me that it’s not the same, because it is

It is exactly the same. 

Now, this is typically the point where people like Bachmann, or her mouthpiece, start bleating the standard slippery-slope warning, i.e. if we let gay people marry other gay people of the same gender, then we have to allow people to marry animals and farm equipment and the Eiffel Tower.

That’s true. 

Just as soon as dogs, milking-machines, and French landmarks are sentient self-aware beings who have attained the legal age of majority and are responsible for their own decisions under the law. 

This is the same exact legal precedent that gives people with Down Syndrome, Autism,  or other cognitive impairments, the right to get married, i.e. if they are of legal age and are legally responsible for themselves no matter their particular impairment, then nobody can prevent them from getting married – even if the thought of mentally challenged people having sex makes others squicky and uncomfortable.   Just as it is conversely illegal to have sex with somebody who isn’t legally able to give consent, such as a child or a dog, or to marry somebody who can’t understand what they are doing, such as a person in a coma and no more aware or legally responsible for their own actions than a potted plant. 

The admonishment “but but but then we’ll have to let people marry animals and so on” is a logical fallacy and a specious idiotic product of somebody who simply doesn’t have an actual argument other than “I don’t like it.”

The inalienable civil rights of others are not determined by what makes you uncomfortable. 

You deal with your own squick on your own time, you have no right whatsoever to force your logical fallacies on others.   If the thought of homosexuality makes you uncomfortable, too damned bad, that’s your problem, you deal with it.  Just as if the thought of a black man marrying a white woman bothers you, or people of different religions bothers you, or people with Down Syndrome.  It’s your problem, and that has no bearing whatsoever on other peoples’ civil rights.

According to Bachmann, the purpose of government is to protect civil rights for all citizens.  Bachmann is also a vocal advocate for small government, maximum individual sovereignty, and minimal federal meddling in people’s lives.

So how come Bachmann, as a sitting United States lawmaker, is going around telling a bunch of high school kids who they can marry?

[Why can’t people marry who they want to?] Because that's not the law of the land.

There was a time when the law of the land didn’t allow people of Bachmann’s gender to vote. Or own land. Or hold a job. Or run for office.

There was a time when the law of the land considered people of color property and less than human.

There was a time when the law of the land herded people of certain ethnicities into internment camps for no reason other than they had slanty eyes or their last name was Eichmann or Frazetti.

There was a time when the law of the land allowed a government committee to destroy your life simply because an anonymous accuser alleged that you might be a communist – or a terrorist.

There was a time when the law of the land sterilized people deemed undesirable. 

There was a time when all of these things were the law of the land. That doesn’t make it right. That doesn’t make it moral.  And it doesn’t mean we can’t fix it.

Times change. Society changes. Laws change

Bachmann knows this, else why is she fighting so hard to change the law of the land that allows all woman access to a safe and affordable abortion?

Times change. The men who founded this country knew it and expected exactly that, and that’s specifically why they incorporated directly into the fabric of the Constitution a method for changing it as society itself changed.

It is blindingly obvious that Bachmann is a coward, a moral coward, who instead of answering a teenager’s question honestly and directly, i.e. instead of giving her real reason for opposing same-sex marriage, hid behind a specious sound bite.   And make no mistake, Bachmann knows exactly what she is, i.e. a coward and a hypocrite, otherwise she would have answered this question directly. We’ll come back to that in a couple of paragraphs.

A great many of the horrors of our past have been perpetrated under this same exact moral cowardice. 

The Red Man doesn’t feel the same way about his kids as we do. 

Negros are better off as slaves in America than as savages in Africa.

I was just following orders. 

I didn’t know what was happening inside Abu Ghraib, the CIA was in charge.

We can’t change the past, but we can damned sure change our future.

They have the same opportunity under the law. There is no right to same-sex marriage.

There it is again, they

And the truth of the matter is that in many cases they don’t have the same opportunities under the law.  They don’t have the simple right to see a loved one in the hospital – if that loved one is their same-sex partner. They don’t have the right to insurance benefits or next-of-kin notification or joint ownership or medical decisions or tax breaks or any of the veritable host of rights that come with traditional relationships.  In a lot of cases, they don’t have the right to adopt children if they so choose to do so – or, in some cases, gain custody of their own biological offspring.  In fact, there are a lot of rights they don’t get – including the right not to be discriminated against when it comes to fair and equitable representation of their civil rights and interests by their own Goddamned Representative.

Bachmann says that a man is free to marry a woman and vice versa.  True.  But, ask yourself something, if same-sex marriage is allowed, how does that change – in any way whatsoever – a man’s right to marry a woman and vice versa?  How does same sex marriage in any way, any way whatsoever, affect traditional male/female marriage?  If men can marry men and women can marry women, can’t men still marry women and women still marry men and will not one goddamned thing be any different for Michele Bachmann in any way whatsoever?  Assuming that you’re heterosexual, your rights, my rights, your marriage, my marriage, Bachmann’s marriage, will have changed not one iota. If you’re straight, same-sex marriage affects you, whoever you are, in no way whatsoever, other than the fact that you will have to come to terms with the idea that some people you don’t know, somewhere that has no impact on you, are maybe doing something that you don’t like.

LGBT people aren’t asking for special rights, they’re demanding the same rights that any American is entitled to, i.e. life, liberty, and the pursuit of goddamned happiness. Nothing more, nothing less.

And to be clear here, it’s not just gay people making this demand, a hell of a lot of straight people, say like yours truly, demand the same. Not because we either approve or disapprove of who you have sex with or who you love, but because in America either we are all free or none of us are.

[Will you suppose the LGBT community?] No, I said that there are no special rights for people based upon your sex practices. There's no special rights based upon what you do in your sex life. You're an American citizen first and foremost and that's it.

No. That’s the only truly truthful statement Bachmann made. No. You can depend on me not to represent your interests as long as I am in government. No, despite the fact that I swore to support and defend the Constitution and civil rights for all Americans. No. Fuck you.

Here’s a thought, a hell of a lot of heterosexuals perform the exact same sexual acts that homosexuals do.  In fact, heterosexual sex only has one combination that homosexual sex doesn’t have. I’m not going to spell it out for you, being as this is a family blog and all, but you should be able to figure it out.  If you’re having trouble, type the word “sex” into Google Image search and educate yourself on how the naughty bits fit together in various combinations.

Every single American should fully understand the implications of this line of reasoning: Given that there is only one thing heterosexual couples can do when it comes to sex that homosexual couples can’t, and people like Bachmann have stated fairly specifically that that one act is the only form of sex they believe to be sanctioned in the eyes of their God, then their actions indicate that they believe that they have the right and the authority to dictate how you have sex – and quite likely the position you have it in.  Here’s the kicker, Bachmann and her ilk believe they have the God-given right to dictate why you have sex, not for pleasure or intimacy or love, but for the sole purpose of reproduction. 

That’s what this is all about. 

Now, you want to talk about governmental overreach?

Bachmann not only wants control of your bedroom, she wants to decide how you think.

And that’s why Conservatives should send this woman packing sooner rather than later.

If there are no special rights for people based upon their sex practices, then there should be no special prohibitions either.

Now, this is typically the point where people like Bachmann bring up how gay marriages don’t produce children, or don’t produce children without help.  This is an asinine argument. There is no requirement whatsoever, under any law or regulation at the Federal, State, or local level for a marriage to produce children as a requirement for validity.  If you require that gay people produce children as a result of their particular sexual practices in order to be married, then you must apply this requirement to all marriages regardless of the genders of those involved.  This argument is invalid. It also doesn’t apply even within the context of traditional pairing. It’s also stupid. Fail. Try again. 

As to that bit about being an American first and foremost, well, we’re back to a United States Representative telling American citizens who they are.  And I have to wonder what Bachmann’s reaction would be if, say, President Obama told this girl that she was an American first and foremost – and thereby implying that Schmidt was a Christian second.  I’ll leave the imagining of that outraged response by the usual rightwing pundits as an exercise for the reader.

Remember every American citizen has the right to avail themselves to marriage but they have to follow what the laws are. And the laws are you marry a person of the opposite sex

While the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act does specify that marriage is between one man and one woman, the actual implementation was left up the individual states. DOMA has no Constitutional basis at all and is quite likely to be repealed upon Supreme Court review – especially since the White House has declined to defend it.  As to the Constitution itself,  House Resolution 56, the so-called Federal Marriage Amendment, was introduced before the House of Representatives on May 21, 2003. Ratification of this constitutional amendment would have overridden state law and defined marriage as between one man and one woman in the US Constitution.  So far, it hasn’t even come close to getting out of committee, let alone passed the House or Senate and gone to the states for ratification.   The question at this point is of course, how someone who strongly advocates for State’s Rights and smaller Federal interference, and in fact is campaigning for president on this exact issue, could possibly be for an amendment that is directly counter to those stated positions – unless she is, in point of fact, a flaming hypocrite who simply wants her way. 

In Iowa, where Bachmann made this condescending proclamation, the law specifically says that you do not in fact have to marry somebody of the opposite sex. But, I digress. Again.

 

Here’s the thing: The plain and simple truth of the matter is that aversion to same-sex marriage here in the land of the free and home of the brave is based entirely on religion.

Just so.

Take religion out of it, and there is not even one legitimate reason why any mentally competent adult should not be able to marry any other mentally competent adult regardless of gender – and especially despite what some politician thinks. (Don’t. Just don’t even go down the road of, “Gay is a mental illness so gay people aren’t mentally competent. Because that just makes you even more of a douchebag than you already are. You’re also wrong).

Same-sex marriage deprives nobody, not one single person, of any right that they have at this exact moment.

Same-sex marriage cannot be shown to have negatively affected any traditional marriage in any way whatsoever, ever – even if that was a factor for basing a law on.  Which it isn’t.  And so-called defenders of traditional marriage should be damned grateful that we don’t start implementing laws based on what might or might not impact good old-fashioned hetro marriages, because booze, gambling, sports, money, work, porn, children, and religion are a far, far, far bigger threat to traditional marriages than any random pair of queers minding their own business in the privacy of their own bedroom.

Same-sex marriage in states that now allow it has had zero, repeat zero, impact on the lives and livelihoods of people who oppose it. No church has been forced to perform marriages that they oppose, just as they didn’t have to perform marriages they opposed prior to the legalization of same sex marriage – hysteria not withstanding.   Marauding bands of sparkly homosexuals don’t roam the streets waving guns and wearing tri-corner hats.  Law and order and life seems pretty much the same now as before. National security remains unaffected.  The earth’s orbit hasn’t changed.  Now, it’s true that a lot of lives and livelihoods have been degraded to some extent nationwide in recent years – but that has everything to do with the immoral actions taken in the boardrooms of Wall Street and nothing whatsoever to do with gay marriage (If you want to go all Westboro Baptist and argue that God is punishing America for Teh Gay, I will listen to you – just as soon as you can prove what you say using accepted mainstream scientific methodology and empirical forensic laboratory evidence to the legal standards in the US state of your choosing).

Now, this is typically the point where people like Bachmann bring up the final ultimate idiotic argument:  If gay people get married and raise children, those children could turn out to be gay help us lord jebus oh noes!  Gay parents might make for gay kids. So? What do you care? Seriously, one way or the other, so what? Question, without resorting to pseudo science or Jesus, explain where gay people come from now

Here’s the thing, so pay attention: In America we don’t make laws based on religion, yours or anybody else’s. Period. 

And no, American law is not, in point of provable fact, based on the Christian bible.  No, it’s not. It only looks that way if you cover one eye and ignore pretty much most of the bible. Sure there are some superficial similarities, the bible forbids murder and theft for example. Hardly surprising since most human societies generally frowned upon killing people and stealing their shit long before Moses went up the mountain.  Thou shalt not murder people and steal shit isn’t something you should need God’s guidance on. But the bible also says that rape is fine, providing the rapist marries his victim afterward – I’m curious why Michele Bachmann doesn’t advocate for changes in our law to reflect this biblically endowed civil right: Rape + marriage afterward = God Happy. It would certainly have a far, far greater impact on our society than if one man lays with another don’t you think? (Here’s a question, what if one man rapes another? Can they get married then? Whoa. Sorry, somebody slap Jesus on the back there. My bad)  How come Bachmann isn’t advocating for the abolition of divorce? After all, dissolution of a marriage is forbidden in both the New and Old Testaments.  How about adultery? Why hasn’t Bachmann demanded that Newt Gingrich be stoned to death as specifically directed by God?  There wasn’t any of this vague “lays with” crap either, God said commit adultery, die motherfucker. Period. Speaking of Children, God recommends that if a man dies childless, his widow must have intercourse with each of the man’s brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband’s male heir. 

There is plenty more where that jackassery came from, but I think that’s about enough silliness at the moment.

And yet, this is exactly what Michele Bachmann and the religious Right would have.  And that is exactly why Bachmann refused to answer Jane Schmidt’s question directly and instead choose to hide behind an inane and idiotic sound-bite like “it’s the law of the land.”  Her answers are motivated entirely by her religion and her un-American attempt to force those religious views on everybody else in this country.  She knows it.  She absolutely knows it. And she knows why it’s counter to everything this country stands for.

And that’s exactly why she tried to hide her real intentions.

The  law of our land is that our laws are not based on religion. 

Nor should our law be based on hate.

Give me one valid argument against same-sex marriage that isn’t, ultimately, based on either religion or just plain bigotry.

Bottom line: We may not all have the same civil rights, yet, but we all have the right vote against dimwitted hypocrites like Michele Bachmann.

Please do so.

 

 


Commandment #1:    Speculation about Marcus Bachmann’s sexuality is not relevant to the conversation.  Whether or not he is straight, bent, closeted, confused, or a piece of farm equipment is his business.  Does that or does that not make him some kind of hypocrite? Who gives a fuck? He is not running for office.  Should he become First Dude and lead the charge for Teh Gay Cure, then you may have at him.  Until and such, mocking, ridiculing, or belittling any person for his or her supposed sexual orientation is the tactic of the hater and the bigot.  Don’t be that person, at least not here.  Any comment that engages in such douchebaggery will be deleted immediately and without notice. 

 

Commandment #2:  This post is in no way whatsoever an attack on religion in general or Christianity in particular.   It is a blunt assessment of one Christian and one form of Christianity.  If you take that personally, that’s your problem. Don’t make it mine.  If you feel that this is directed at you and your beliefs, then you should go back and read the post again, carefully.  Sound out the big words and get help if you need it. If you still feel that this article is a condemnation of your personal brand of Jesushood, well then it probably is. Go somewhere else and think about that.  Any comment attempting to turn this into a discussion of my supposed intolerance of your particular religious viewpoint or about the much ballyhooed persecution of the poor, poor American Christian will likewise be removed without warning or comment.