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Truth To Power

the strong do as they wish, and the weak suffer as they must

Archive for April, 2011

On horses and homophobes

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

In 1995 I was in Mansfield, Ohio on a business trip. Being stuck in a hotel for a week, I got bored and found a CD store down the street. I went in, looking to buy a copy of the newly released greatest hits of Bruce Springsteen, which I knew had come out that week. I walked around, saw no sign of it, and asked the guy behind the counter if they had it.

“Sure.” And he led me to the rear of the store, where a large cardboard stand-up display of the Boss resided.

I asked him why it seemed to be hidden in the back of the place.

“Well, he cheated on his wife with his singer, got some folks around here upset.”

I bought the CD and left, understanding for the first time the phrase “You ain’t from around here, are ya?

Ohio ranks about mid-way among states as to churchgoers at 43% of the population. So when I read the following story, I wondered. Are the monsters that did this going to attend Wednesday night services, reeking of gasoline?

Eight horses burned to death in barn fire in apparent anti-gay hate crime attack in Ohio

Eight horses – one just a week old and another ready to give birth – died in a raging barn fire in Ohio that lawmen think was set because of hatred for gays.

Brent Whitehouse of McConnelsville said an orange glow outside his home on Easter night drew him to the horror.

Somewhere in Ohio sits a man, or men, who decided to celebrate Easter Sunday by murdering innocent animals because they insanely believed that homosexuality somehow has something to do with them. But those of us who don’t think that way, we probably aren’t gripped by the sort of religious mania that these cretins most likely bath in. Most people- most decent, sane people- understand that a person’s private life is just that- private.(And if this turns out to have been a crime committed by people not of faith, I apologize. But I doubt it.)

I don’t believe in capital punishment in any way, shape or form. The state has no business murdering itself, no matter the reason. So if these guys get arrested and convicted, life in jail. Be interesting to see how they find the sleeping arrangements.

But I say this. I have no plans to ever enter Ohio again (once is certainly enough), but if I do, and I ever have occasion to find myself among the lowest scum of the state and meet these people, I have a plan. I’ll find a wooden packing crate, fit them with this, and toss in a match.

See, I love horses. I love gays. I loathe homophobes.

Who’s with me?

Lady, accept it. You’re racist.

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Before I sent that email, I should have stopped to think about the historical implications [of depicting a black man as an ape],” she said. “That can be offensive . . . and I am so sorry.”

Can be offensive“? I’m having a hard time wondering when calling a person an ape WOULDN’T be offensive, but I’m not of Marilyn Davenport’s generation. She’s part of my mother’s generation, a generation that I recall using the term “pickaninny” to describe the children I’d meet once my elementary school was integrated in a fashion after a black school shut down. I was raised in a household where there was a clear distinction made between “those people” and us, and the term “they” meant blacks. In later years, her mind freed from tact by Alzheimers, my mother used the term “CPT” when describing length of lines in the supermarket, and I actually had to ask someone later what it meant.

Do I consider my mother a racist? Yes. Now, she wasn’t an “active” one- other than a few off hand remarks, she kept such feelings to herself, unlike the man who gave me my first job. Now he was (and still is) an unrepentant bigot who hides his loathing of non-Whites in a torrent of unrelated, unsupported “facts”, but it’s all just window dressing, as if you can’t be both smart and full of hate at the same time.

Now, at the moment Republican Party official Marilyn Davenport clicked “send” on the email containing the image of our President as an ape, I’m sure she chuckled and didn’t think too much more about it. I doubt it was the first time she’s done something like that, or laughed when she got something similar in her inbox. She’s never had to face any condemnation of herself based upon her race, and she’s clearly triumphed over the sexual discrimination that women still face, so I can see how she might be confused about calling a black man an ape- I’m sure she’s been witness to such “jokes” all her life, and probably was truly bewildered that someone called her on it.

But here’s the thing.

First off, calling a black guy an ape? Racist.

Highest paid radio broadcaster babbling on in faux Chinese? Racist.

And do you think a Texas reporter would have spoken to John McCain- who would have inherited the same f’d up economy, and would have bailed out the same rich friends that Obama did- as he did to Obama?

And lets not forget the Georgia clown Lynn Westmoreland, who defied belief by stating that he, as a Southerner raised in the 1950s, had “no idea” that calling the president and his wife “uppity” was offensive.

Racism is the concept that a person holds one race to be superior to another by genetics, not behavior. Only racism allows you the freedom to insult another person based solely on what you perceive their status to be versus yours. Sadly, a far too large segment of our nation finds such things as “Obama as ape” to be funny, and that entire “Taking America Back!” crap that the Hannity’s of the world foster? Don’t have to be a genius to see that Obama’s actions aren’t to blame- he’s simply George Bush on steroids, and you folks just loved you some George Bush, didn’t ya? But was George Bush a “good man” because he mouthed some platitudes about being “born again”, despite his un-Christian behavior, and you let his illegal wars, bailouts and prescription drug plan go unremarked for eight years. But elect – actually elect, instead of install via the courts- a black man, and the not so latent racism that is this young nation rears its ugly- and thankfully largely elderly- head.

So yeah, lady, you’re a racist. Now, reports refer to her as a “sweet grandmother”, and I’m sure she is. My mother is sweet too. I’ve stated several times that the only reason I voted for Obama was to watch the nut parade come out from under their rocks, so we could deal with them. Sunlight being the best disinfectant, as they say. Well, the sun has shone upon Marilyn Davenport. And if you think it’s a lot to do about nothing, you’re probably two things. One is white.

The other is wrong.

We need to label Congress as we do food

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

People sputter whenever the concept of the Fairness Doctrine is mentioned- and generally, for good reason. While an odious propaganda organ like Fox News, which clearly operates in bad faith and has a demonstrable ill effect on our nation probably wouldn’t (nor shouldn’t) be tolerated in a sane society, we don’t live in such. Nor do we wish to live in a nation where the government, via funding or a Fairness Doctrine, can dictate which ideas are allowed to be broadcast.

Nor can we really force our media to tell the truth. In fact, our courts have held that its basically not against the law to distort or lie during a television broadcast. And none of this matters to those of us who would rather watch animal testing than cable news- we educate ourselves with the wealth of information available via other, non-corporate sources. But I have an idea that will possibly elevate the woeful level of understanding that the average citizen has about their government.

The government passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) in 1990, requiring “most food to bear nutrition labels and prescribes their form and content. They must state, among other things, the number of calories per serving and the amounts of fat, cholesterol, sodium, and fiber.” Now, one can debate if this makes a whits worth of difference in the long run- if people want to eat slop, by all means, eat slop, we’re just giving you information to make a choice. So I purpose doing the same for Congress.

Imagine the next time you turn on cable news or CSPAN, and they are running say, Paul Ryan pitching his really groovy, “serious” plan to hand over Medicare to private insurance and screw the poor, a graphic would pull information from opensecrets.org showing that he’s speaking on behalf of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries that hired him to represent them in Congress. When James Inhofe spews out more nonsense about climate change being the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people, you’ll be able to see that he’s simply reading the script handed him by the Koch brothers and the energy industry, his largest benefactors. This is not a radical idea- the information is largely in the public record, and not disputed at all. Now, I’m sure Congress wouldn’t like it, and might try and claim that they are acting on their own, but since nobody in Congress has a brain, spine or heart, I’m sticking with the employer/employee angle.

Oh, wait.

You thought they represented you?

If this actually was a Christian nation…

Monday, April 4th, 2011

If this actually was a Christian nation, we wouldn’t have a graph like this:

graph

Now, I first encountered this graph on redstate.com, and of course they use it, as they do everything, to bash Obama and poor people in general. Which, if you’ve held your nose and visited the site over the years, wouldn’t surprise you. They only care about unborn people, once you’re out in the world, unless you’re a upper-class wannabe, they don’t give a shit about you.

Now, you can contrast their Beckian nonsense (No brainer – they want unemployment to be high, to bring about a collapse. Leftist are devious, evil, heartless. Forced collapse of the US economy. That is what “fundamental transformation” is all about.) with some actual facts the economy in this country, such as:

Much of today’s inequality is due to manipulation of the financial system, enabled by changes in the rules that have been bought and paid for by the financial industry itself—one of its best investments ever. The government lent money to financial institutions at close to 0 percent interest and provided generous bailouts on favorable terms when all else failed. Regulators turned a blind eye to a lack of transparency and to conflicts of interest.

I imagine that the CEO of GE, Jeffrey Immelt, considers himself to be a moral and Christian man. He even serves on the board of the Robin Hood Foundation, laughingly enough. That group is described as a charitable organization, which attempts to alleviate problems caused by poverty in New York, United States.

Try paying your taxes, you greedy bastard.

I quit attending church, or really, taking “faith” seriously when I was around 14 years old. I’ve never returned. It didn’t provide the answers I was searching for- answers I found in works of reason, rationality and science. But I did take away from the experience the single greatest moralistic and humanistic “words to live by” I’ve yet encountered:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Now, Christians didn’t invent the Golden Rule, but they certainly latched onto it. And why not? If every action you took was moderated by that simple notion- treat everyone as you would have them treat you- imagine! Imagine such a world. Imagine if instead of rushing to short-term gains brought on by union-busting and out sourcing, that CEOs lived as actual members of their communities, instead of looking out the tinted windows of limousines on the way to a gated mansion. Imagine sending books, medicine and food to the Middle East instead of drone bombs.

But instead of the Golden Rule, we live by Gold Rules. Its not an accident that the wealth of the top 2% of this nation has swelled like a bloated tick since Reagan, while the rest of us watched our wages, net worth and home values flat line. It’s because this “Christian Nation” has waged war both abroad and at home and allowed greed to be championed as a virtue rather than condemned as a vice. Every morning men who consider themselves to be moral, consider themselves good Christians, get up and spend the rest of the day in nothing more than an orgy of greedy self-interest that is sucking the marrow from the bones of this nation. If they think about their fellow man at all, its purely in form of market share, or to sneer at as the morally deficient crowd at redstate.com so love to do.

Put another way.

If this was a Christian nation…you’d be able to tell.