Friday, October 31, 2014

Women understand the actual difference between Democrats and Republicans and how crucial it is to elect Democrats to positions in both State and Federal government. Because our asses and our ability to actually retain jurisdiction and control over our own asses are actually on the line. And a centrist Democrat will still protect my ass from the Republican maniacs who are trying to jam an ultrasound probe up my ass, against my will. That is a real fucking difference.

A Congress with a supermajority of liberal, progressive and centrist Democrats will be a fuckload better than a Congress that has juuuuust enough GOP assholes to continue jamming up every progressive initiative.

A Congress with a supermajority of liberal, progressive and centrist Democrats WILL be able to pass Immigration Reform and stop destroying Latino families;

A Congress with a supermajority of liberal, progressive and centrist Democrats WILL be able to protect women's right to control our own bodies, our reproductive health and our own destinies, OH -- and to stop Koch-financed Zombie State governments from raping us with ultrasound probes, which, and this is so sweet, those fuckers will then make US WOMAN pay for out of our own pockets. That doesn't happen under Centrist Democrats.

Harry Reid wouldn't want his own wife to get an abortion, but he does not give a fuck if I do.

A Congress with a supermajority of liberal, progressive and centrist Democrats WILL be able to pass measures to slow the release of carbon into the atmosphere...and to slow and possibly reverse the progression of Climate Change.

A Congress with a supermajority of liberal, progressive and centrist Democrats WILL be able to get the fuck rid of the Sequester and start funding SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH!!! Hooraaaaaaay!!!!

A Congress with a supermajority of liberal, progressive and centrist Democrats WILL be able to pass funding for INFRASTRUCTURE REBUILDING -- Roads and Bridges and Updating and upgrading the Grid....which will ...SSSSHhhhhhhhhh, (stimulate the economy and reinvigorate the Middle Class).... Infrastructure is like a tax break for the rich and corporations that those fuckers have to share with all of us! It's like a tax break for the rich conditioned on it being reinvested into specific projects that benefit everybody, not just those greedy McFuckers.

A Congress with a supermajority of liberal, progressive and centrist Democrats WILL be able to pass a minimum wage hike, which will also exert an upward pressure to raise wages that are already above the minimum wage. Not only that, but when you raise the wages of the lowest-earning working poor, WHAT HAPPENS??? THEY SPEND THAT MONEY, PUTTING IT BACK INTO THE ECONOMY....HOOORAAAAYYY!!! And that stimulates the economy even more!!! YAY MINIMUM WAGE!!!

A Senate with a majority of liberal, progressive and centrist Democrats will confirm liberal and non-crazy Justices to the Supreme Court and to the Federal Courts. So when Antonin Scalia, that reactionary, fascist piece of shit DIES, the whole composition of the Court will change from Asshole to majority liberal, pro-separation of Church and State, and pro-choice! Hooraaaaay!!!

A Congress with a supermajority of liberal, progressive and centrist democrats WILL be able to pass a Constitutional Amendment that holds that MONEY IS NOT FUCKING SPEECH and that will overrule Citizens United and set in motion the process that will return the control of government to The People from the super wealthy, the industrial lobbyists and corporations.

That is the fucking difference, and that is why even those lily-livered Blue Dog Democrats are worlds better than the World of Shit brought to us by the Obstructionist, Fascist GOP.

And oh by the way, you're seeing Democrats right now as centrist and annoying as fuck because the states with Senate seats open are almost all traditionally Red States or Purple States. That is why Alison Grimes is humping rifles and french-kissing coal. She also will not jam an ultrasound probe up my hiney against my will. Neither will Hillary.

One last thing, a Congress with a supermajority of liberal, progressive and centrist democrats WILL be able to block the GOP from imposing a Sexual Intercouse Tax on women, where we work the same as men, but instead of having birth control covered under health insurance, we have to pay for it out of our own pockets, a tax of anywhere from $600-$1200 annually, while men get to fuck us baby-free for nothing. Grover Fucking Norquist some of that mother fuckers!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The only thing we can accomplish if we go back to Iraq

...will only stay accomplished if we stay there forever or until we destroy ourselves economically.

We can't have the oil without dumping more trillions on perpetual war...not to mention World War, once Iran and Saudi Arabia finally say "Fuck it," and own up to their engagement there. And if we're going to have a world war, hey, let's invite Pakistan to join us. Of course, if you're going to invite Pakistan, you have to invite India. They hate each other! After all, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and we can always use another friend. Right, India?

Shit, invite Afghanistan! They've gotta be pissed off at somebody. Why shouldn't they get a chance to be part of the war? Of course, all the A-List terrorists have already moved from Afghanistan to Syria, so we have to invite that shit show, for the entertainment value at least. They'd be insulted if we didn't.

Oh, goddammit, if Syria comes, Russia has to as well. Oh, all right. I mean, what's a good game of "Spin the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile" without Vlad?

Somehow I feel that all the oil in the Universe could never pay off enough to make that war worth fighting.

We should try to replace all the infrastructure in Iraq that we destroyed (and here, at home would be nice too), make sure they have as many schools and a grid and the shit we broke. We just have to know who the fuck we can trust with our money, like someone who won't take our Marshall Plan money and spend it on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and genociding the opposition.

We need to get all enlightened interfaith clergy to start channeling energy for PEACE. We've got to support autonomous self-determination for the parties in Iraq, and offer them one helluvan incentive to peacefully organize and seek answers, to think outside the sandbox. Do some confederation that is FAIR.

We need George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Abraham, Jesus, Moses, Mohamed, John Lennon, Bobby Kennedy, David Ben Gurion, Nelson Mandela, all the groovy Sufis, Voltaire, Rousseau and all the Philosophs and anybody who made the supreme sacrifice for the greater good and raised the human race higher....

That's what we should do.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Protestant Philosophy and Government Policy on Poverty

Calvinism had its roots in concept of "Predestination," a theology that held as follows:

God, who knows and sees all, including the future, has already selected (predetermined) all those human beings who will be saved and go to heaven.  Because fallible, finite humans neither know nor comprehend God's infinite plan, we cannot know who is saved or not.  Consequently, it's possible that the drunk passed out in the street or the beggar on the corner are among God's chosen, the ones He has already selected for salvation.

Accordingly, good Christians should have unconditional mercy towards ALL people. Otherwise we might offend God by judging or harming someone who is beloved and saved in God's eyes.  The roots of Calvinism started from this point of radical humility, at the root of the concept of Predestination.

That fallible human beings cannot begin to comprehend the boundaries of God's love and mercy is a profoundly humble, charitable and beautiful notion.

Unfortunately, once put into human application, interpretation of the theory of Predestination degenerated into the mundane notion that one's appearance or status in the earthly realm actually reflected one's status in Heaven or in God's eyes.  In the light of the radical humility of the uncorrupted Predestination theory, which recognized and honored God's greatness and infinite mercy, the arrogance of the degenerated interpretation is plain by comparison.

Given the undue "faith" and weight accorded to the earthly items, treated as indicators or signifiers of divine intervention or salvation -- that a guy with 5 Mercedes is more likely to be saved than a guy who has to take the bus -- the sanctification of mundane possessions, wealth, and STUFF is unmistakeable as flat out idolatry.

Tragic and shameful!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Ethics of Buying Clothes Made in Buildings That Collapse

The notion that one would not wish to buy clothing manufactured in abusive circumstances strikes me as neither left nor right but Capitalist -- in terms of its appreciation of supply and demand and using reduced demand to create pressure for behavioral change by manufacturing owners & management -- and ETHICAL, in terms of using consumer pressure to advocate against the abuse of human beings involved in the manufacture of the goods we buy.

 To say, "Don't buy goods manufactured in Bangladesh," is to say, I don't want my dollars to support unethical treatment of humans beings who make the products I buy.

 It used to be a mainstream and unremarkable for Americans to be shocked by and non-controversially opposed to the consumption of clothing produced in sweatshops. Anybody remember years ago when Kathy Lee Gifford was publicly humiliated upon the discovery that a clothing line bearing her logo was manufactured at a sweatshop? Her apology and promise to rectify the situation wasn't even contested.

I sure as hell don't want to give my business to anyone who treats workers as undeserving of the basic safety and dignity we would want accorded to any human being. It should go without saying that I don't want my consumer dollars going to the profit and benefit of any owner or manager who treats his workers like so much expendable cannon fodder.

The site of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire is on the campus of NYU, a block up from Washington Square Park, and a quick jog from where I studied Labor Law at NYU School of Law. Moreover, the women who died in that fire were my ethnic forebears: Eastern European Jewish women and their descendents. Those people in Bangladesh could have been me.

These are human, ethical considerations. Human beings should not be treated like that, and I don't want my consumer dollars to support that. Period. If that means I buy five shirts because I can't afford to buy 10 anymore, I'm cool with that.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Oh No He Didn't: Arkansas State Senator Calls Bostonians "Librul Cowards"

On Friday, April 19th, as Americans held anxious vigil during the police pursuit of and  violent confrontations with the Boston Marathon bombers, one state senator from Arkansas, Nate Bell, saw fit to post this on Twitter:

I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine? #2A
On the senator's campaign Facebook page, 8000 reaction posts (many by outraged Arkansans) called for Bell's head while a grand total of three posters-- surely sock puppets for Bell, his mom and his grandpa -- posted in his defense.  To them, I offer the words of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

As a New Yorker, I ordinarily regard Bostonians as my arch rivals: the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins fans I love to hate come game time.  But like my fellow fans who paid tribute to Boston with a rousing rendition of "Sweet Caroline" at Yankee Stadium, I, too, feel an urgent need as an American to show solidarity with my cousins in Beantown.

Senator Bell, your state should beg the Waltons to funnel a small fraction of their multi-billion dollar fortune into some remedial education just for you because your ignorance about your fellow Americans on the East Coast is appalling. The truth is, we eastern liberals believe in protecting our families, and we most certainly have the means to do so. Still, like all too many of your craven GOP partisans, you remain stubbornly impervious to facts and empirically-verifiable reality, let alone the best interests of the American people.

Compared to you and your constituents in Arkansas, we northeasterners pay out a whole lot more in Federal taxes than we ever get back in benefits and services.  As a result, much of the means you have to pay to protect your family CAME FROM US. That's the first reason why you should either say “Thank you,” or kindly shut the hell up. We will gladly settle for the latter.

Many of us eastern liberals actually do choose to own and keep guns in our homes. Some of us even hunt!  We have woods and deer and everything out here!  We just think it's overkill to keep semi-automatic weapons and high-volume magazines in densely-populated, urban areas, especially when a nice, loud shotgun blast can scare off an intruder even better.

Others (indeed, most) among us would rather take our resources and pool them into a common fund (you know, tax revenues -- shhhhhh!).  You see, the large amount of money we raise when we pitch in together enables us to employ a well-regulated professional police force outfitted with semi-automatic handguns, assault rifles, armored trucks, k-9 units, cameras and even robots to protect us.  It works very well.  For more than 15 years now crime rates in New York City and Boston have been at lows last seen in the 1960s. 

We northeastern  liberals also have this crazy habit of taking note of things like facts and statistics. They show us that guns kept the in the house expose women and children three times the risk of being shot and killed by another family member, as compared to the negligible danger of being shot by a stranger in a home invasion. 

I’ll spare you any further discussion of statistics, as I wouldn’t want to make your  head explode from all the, you know, *knowledge.*  We'll leave that for the folks at Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Boston University, Boston College, U Mass, NYU, Columbia, Barnard, Baruch, Queens College, Brooklyn College….  Eh, never mind.

One of your three supporters made the colossally ridiculous claim that it's "bullying" when American citizens criticize outrageous remarks made by an elected government official.

A bully kicks someone when he or she is down.  Do I really need to remind you that terrorists attacked Boston, leaving 180 of its citizens and visitors injured, many with life-altering amputations, and 4 residents dead, including two beloved daughters, a sweet little boy and a respected police officer? Those are the wounds you so arrogantly doused with salt.

Perhap, State Senator Nate Bell, you can explain to us “cowardly liberals” how packing heat can stop opportunistic terrorists with concealed bombs and homemade grenades.  Perhaps you can explain how professional law enforcement officers are supposed to tell the difference between armed terrorists and idiot yahoos running through the street with AR-15s.  

And when you answer the door with a semi-automatic firearm in your hand, you go right ahead and explain to SWAT teams, conducting house-to-house searches for armed and dangerous fugitives, that you’re just protecting your family.  That should go well.

Perhaps you can explain to the family of MIT Campus Police Officer Sean Collier, who was ambushed and shot repeatedly while sitting in his police cruiser, how you could have done a better job than he did, despite the fact that he was armed with a semiautomatic weapon.  Same goes for the cop wounded in the gun fight between the terrorists and a team of twenty trained law enforcement officers.

Of course if you weren't so busy flexing your Internet muscles behind the safety of a computer screen, you'd be out there catching bullets with your teeth and jumping on grenades to save your colleagues.  Please proceed, Senator.  Please proceed.

The Boston Marathon is the most perfect embodiment of participatory democracy in sports.  Everyone is free to take part by running, walking, rolling in a wheelchair or by offering cups of water and cheering on the racers from the sidelines.  Begun in 1897, only eleven years after the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, the Boston Marathon is the occasion when all the denizens of Beantown throw their arms open to the rest of the world and put the best of America on display.

In light of all this, it could not be more obvious that the attack on the Boston Marathon -- on Patriots Day, no less -- was an attack on America itself.  And while Boston police and residents were braving a hail of bullets, bombs and grenades, while the families of the injured held vigil at Boston hospitals, and while 4 Boston residents lied dead, all you could do was launch a self-serving, partisan barrage of insults against your fellow Americans.

You'd have to be a colossal horse's posterior to insult the Bostonians under any circumstances, let alone ones such as these.  They are, after all, the sons and daughters of the Minute Men.  You know, the folks who kicked the tails of the British in the Revolutionary War.  Compared to them, your Tea Party is nothing but a cheap replica. 

You might also recall that, together with my forebears from New York, Bostonians kicked Arkansas’ Confederate hiney in the Civil War.  As to the former, you can just say, “Thank you,” and in light of the latter, you can shut the hell up.  We’ll gladly settle for the latter, or we'd be happy to refresh your memory any time.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Reserving Judgment Before Having the Facts Is NOT a Defense of the Guilty

I discovered tonight that two tweets of mine, made in the course of a more-than-2-hour discussion, were posted out of context in an article advancing the proposition that "Progressives are defending a convicted pedophile, because he's a progressive."
The notion that I have done anything of the sort -- support a convicted pedophile -- is patently false. That my tweets have now been used to make me the poster child for "Progressives in Denial about Child Predators In Our Midst" is a gross and outrageous misrepresentation of my opinion on the matter and of me. That the original misrepresentation is being linked to in other articles elaborating on the same false characterization only amplifies the offensiveness of this misrepresentation.

 The use of my tweets in the original article are out of context and entirely misleading. I specifically stated in that discussion that I was NOT defending William Glenn Talley, but that I did not know enough about the case in order to RESPONSIBLY form an opinion as to the facts of the case.

When I wrote those tweets, I had just learned of the existence of the case.  I had barely skimmed one of the appeal decisions on a 4th Amendment issue and was seeking additional information. At that point I was listing hypothetical possibilities that I wanted to either confirm or eliminate by consulting reliable materials -- such as published court decisions and news accounts -- about the case.

Other than the one case I had skimmed, all I knew about the case at that point was what I been told by strangers through tweets.

I had read nothing, other than such tweets, stating that Bill had been convicted.  The appeal case I had skimmed said nothing about any conviction because it was "interlocutory" in nature.  That is, the appeal had been heard and decided years *before* any conviction had happened.

Also in that thread, I was told that Bill had been found guilty by a jury of his peers, a claim that, despite the self righteousness with which it had been advanced, turned out to be FALSE.  As my review of the actual court materials demonstrated, there never was a trial on the merits of the case.  There was never any jury.  There was never any jury verdict.

This should underscore the fact that assertions made in tweets -- especially regarding the background facts on a case as serious as this one -- are unreliable and potentially inaccurate.  To rely on them alone is irresponsible.

I thought that we as progressives are supposed to be better than "Right Wing Nut Jobs" because we value basing our opinions upon sound, reliable information, not on hearsay -- what we heard from someone with only second hand or third hand knowledge of the facts -- especially when what we hear are tweets from someone we do not know.

To print my tweets out of context, and to characterize them in a manner that I had specifically stated in that tweet thread was incorrect and that did not reflect my opinion of the case or of Bill, is disingenuous and outrageous. To identify me as someone who defends or has defended Bill is false. To attempt to ridicule or shame me, based upon a position I have never taken is equally incorrect and outrageous.

The ONLY position that I took in that thread was that I was not prepared to form any opinion of the case or of Bill AT THAT TIME, and that I wanted to research the background on the charges and read any available cases and news accounts, so that I could find out what had happened, appraise the facts and decide for myself.

I have written to request that the author of the first article linked above print the entire thread, reflecting all of my tweets in that conversation, not just the two that, taken out of context, utterly misrepresent the position I was taking at the time and my position on the case as a whole.

Now that I have read all the court documents and materials on the case, that are available online, I will be happy to share my opinions on it once the record has been corrected, as requested. For now, I need to close and go to sleep. I will follow up, accordingly.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Manifesto of a Progressive Single Female Land Owner

I’m of the last generation that grew up on analogue communications – hand-written letters and no email, typing on Corasable paper in college. Word processors – the DOS kind – entered the workplace the year after I graduated, in 1985. The only phones we had was our land line, and when I was in the car, out shopping, or off picking blackberries in Webster, you couldn’t reach me. If I got lost on the way home, I stopped at a gas station and looked at a map. Cell phones looked huge and ridiculous, and having and using one cost a fortune.

Everyone raised after that point grew up with their lives being broadcast in some fashion. With email, GPS and online social networks, status updates, options on electronics and web sites with default settings on “track,” it seems that we live much more publicly than we used to, which is good in a lot of ways, but also a double-edged sword.

Privacy is a huge area of Constitutional rights that I think could use a serious shot of adrenaline. It is the very core from which We the People store and build our power. It is the locus of our integrity as individual human beings. Keep in mind as well, that with the increasing economic disparity, the Middle Class has not only lost out on income but also on privacy. With every home lost, gone is also a power base, a zone of autonomy, independence, and influence.

Privacy is the reason why the government is not supposed to tap your phone without a warrant. It is why the government can’t force you donate one of your kidneys to Rupert Murdoch, even though he’s stinking rich, and you are the only perfect match for him, and without your kidney he’ll die. Privacy, of course, is the seat of bodily integrity, and that is a kickass feminist discussion for another day.

Privacy is a zone in which we can interact freely and without government surveillance or interference. It is the zone of liberty in which, provided you don’t bother anybody else, you can do as you wish. It is also the zone in which the people are sovereign to their government, as in they get their powers from us, and all rights and powers are reserved to the People. That’s express in the 9th Amendment. It is also grounded in "The Penumbra of the Constitution."

Privacy is not the same as secrecy. It can be open to the public. It can be transparent with documentation, but it can also be free of governmental supervision and surveillance. My home is a gun-free, bigotry-prohibited, progressive-friendly, human liberation zone. It took me until my late 40s to be able to afford it and get in here, ‘cause the mortgage and taxes ended up being less than my monthly rent in NYC. Now I am a single-female homeowner and tax payer. How many times has that happened in human history, without having to marry some nobleman or captain of industry, minister to his needs, and have him die before I died of repeat child-bearing?

The private sphere is a crucial power base for the Middle Class. It is the very essence of democracy, in which every man and woman can be a king, a free and autonomous political being. As such, as a private citizen who has dominion over this land and this ediface, I want to devote the resources I have to the movement and towards the expansion and acquisition of more zones of privacy within the reach and control of the Middle Class.